Sunday, June 24, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

The last few weeks have been a wonderful mix of meeting new people, setting up our classrooms, figuring out new school policies, and teaching! Now that I have a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon to relax and reflect, I thought I might as well update the blog to let all of you in on some of our recent activities.

To start with, Michael and I have kept the same teaching positions that we have had the last couple of years: I'm teaching high school English and Michael is teaching middle school and high school history. The one change is in homerooms; I'm continuing as the 12th grade homeroom teacher, but Michael has switched from 10th down to 9th grade homeroom. That means that he's categorized as a middle school teacher this year. Last year, we did just about everything together at work (along with the 11th grade homeroom teacher) because we both had high school homerooms. This year we won't work directly alongside each other, which, I think, will be mostly beneficial for us. :)

We have officially finished the first two weeks of school, although the first week hardly counted as a week. We had two days, and we got out early on both of those days. Even so, I've forgotten how tired I get after teaching! For the last week and a half, both Michael and I have felt like we were in a semi-comatose state after school got out...

However, it is so good to be back! The end of the last school year was a bit rough, and as we were preparing for a new school year, I just wasn't as excited as I normally was. Even after the first couple short days of school, I just wasn't really sure how I felt about my new class, schedule, etc. This past week of school (the first full week of the semester) really encouraged me, so at the moment I can honestly say that I'm excited to see how this year turns out. I'm excited to see how God works in my life, in the lives of my fellow teachers, and in the lives of my students.

After school (on Wednesday, I think) one of my 12th grade students came into my classroom. She began talking about student government, for which I am one of the teacher representatives, and some things that she wanted to see happen for this year. I was, first of all, really excited about her interest in student government, but I was even more excited about her passion and her desire to get involved and start some new activities. This particular student is a Christian, and I knew that last year when she started coming to GES, but I hadn't ever really had a good conversation with her about it. Most of the Christian students I've taught have never really talked to me much about their faith. This girl, though (I'll call her L from now on) started talking about how she wanted to start after-school life groups for the middle school and high school students. L wants to see more community amongst the students, and she wants to see the teachers get more involved in the students' lives, so that more of the students will come to know Christ.

L's parents are both pastors, and her whole family are Christians. As I talked to her after school that day, our conversation switched from student government related ideas to faith. I found out a whole lot more about who she is, how God has worked in her life and how she wants to see her Buddhist friends come to Christ. These Buddhist friends are also students in my homeroom class. L told me about some conversations she's had with some of them, about the questions they have asked her, and about what we can do to point them toward Christ instead of away from him.

Eventually, the conversation turned a little bit more, and she said, "You know, Mrs. Megan, after class I came up to my locker, and then suddenly found myself in front of your door. I walked in, and I didn't really know why, but now I'm glad I did. I really think God wanted me to talk to you and to tell you about how God uses our weaknesses. We are weak, but God is strong."

Wow. Now that was a paraphrase, by the way, but I think you get the point. I could have cried after she said that. Never have I been so encouraged by a student, and never has encouragement come so directly from such an unexpected place. We talked a while longer, exchanging stories of how God has worked, and essentially just talking about how awesome God is. As she was leaving, I told her that any time she wanted to talk about God's goodness, that she could feel free to come to my classroom. :)

As I look at some of the challenges I've faced in the last few days, as I reflect on my interactions with some students whom I can already tell I won't get along with in my own power, L's reminder (God's reminder through L) flows over my heart and gives me peace. This year will have no shortage of obstacles and challenges to face, but God is my refuge and fortress, an ever-present help in trouble. He is in control. He is my strength.

I feel very strongly that this school year needs to be bathed in prayer, from beginning to end. I've been learning recently that although I struggle with consistent prayer, I need to be in prayer regularly. Prayer keeps us in tune with the Holy Spirit, and when we are in tune with the Spirit, we are so much more equipped to listen and follow His calling.

Please join me in this. Pray for the school year at Global English School. Pray for the new teachers, many of whom are struggling with various forms of culture shock and homesickness, as well as some health problems. Pray for the returning teachers, that we may not become complacent, but will take every opportunity to tell of our Creator and show his love to everyone around us. Pray for the students, that their ears and eyes may be opened, that they will be able to hear and see the Truth. Pray for L and for all the other Christian students who attend our school, that they may be lights in the darkness, and that they will take opportunities to witness to their friends, so that their friends may hear the gospel in their native language.

I look forward to updating you from time to time this year, and I hope that through prayer, the workings of the Spirit, and God's strength through the weakness of his servants, that we will see some amazing things happen this year.

If you would like something more specific to pray for, please send me an email. I'd be happy to converse with you!

Blessings to you all!