Archive for November, 2014
by Jeannie Koehler, Finance Director
It’s all about expectations. Boy, I sure had some high expectations when I was hired for this job! I really should have set them higher. I expected to be challenged to learn a new skill. I expected that it would be nice to be able to see my children during the day and drive to/from the school/work each day and how convenient that would be. I expected that it would be nice to earn a paycheck after so many years staying home. What I did not expect was that my emotions would take a daily rollercoaster ride, usually ending in such deep, deep gratitude to be working in this place, and seeing the work of God through our administrators, teachers, coaches and parents.
I never expected to meet families who put everything on the line to send their kids to school here. Their sacrifices usually so hidden from common view, as they put on a grateful face and send their kiddos off to their classes. Because they know, and value, that their children will hear the Word every single day, preparing them to be salt and light and yes, letting them build and grow their faith in a bubble, for now. And I never expected to be so incredibly heart-broken when a family is led to pursue other academic institutions. I can’t help but wonder what we could have done better for them and I know our staff feels the same way. And we genuinely miss them.
I never expected to see the “human” side of our teachers and coaches who do so much more than teach our children academic material or how to play a sport. I have heard them share their desire to reach the hearts of our children, and really, truly, rejoice when they share a “God Moment” with one of our kids. I have heard them explain their heart-felt plans to help our kids become life-long learners who are able to discern truth for themselves. I have seen them continue to learn and grow themselves and get excited about passing on new knowledge to our children. I have seen them pray with and for our children, with their whole hearts.
I never expected to have leadership, including our Foundation, who want to make this school the best it can possibly be, with the best possible intentions and hearts for our families. I often hear questions like, “how will families feel about this?” or, “do our families need this?” They have the strongest desire to see our children succeed while they are here and beyond! And to be able to stand firm on the foundation they were taught while they were here. They are not just providing education for pre-k through 12th grade, they yearn for life-long impact on our families!
So as I watch yet another Mom/Dad throw themselves into Library Duty, or Bake Sale or Thanksgiving Party, with their whole hearts, my expectations are filtered through a new lens. I find myself thinking how grateful I am that my children are surrounded by people who want so much more for them, who want Jesus for them.
by Christine Humphrey, Secondary Science Teacher
The other night I happened to watch a TV show that demonstrated how they believed early steel might have been produced. Two gentlemen stood there with a giant lump of iron ore; proceeded to heat it in a furnace and then continued to pound off the slag. Eventually, they had formed some pieces of iron, which was great, except that it wasn’t hard enough to stand up to repeated poundings or use, without eventually breaking. Somewhere along the line (the show continued) these ancients discovered that if you “cooked” the iron with things like leather and cow poo you could make a new material, one that was pretty hard and resistant to breaking – they had made what we now call steel.
I sat there thinking about the fact that in this early form of steel, iron was essentially made harder by some pretty common (and really unpleasant) items. I don’t think the ancients realized what they were actually doing chemically (packing carbon atoms in between the iron atoms), but they knew it produced a better and more useful end product.
This made me think about how a similar process can be at work in my own life. In the day to day things (some big, many small, and some painful or unpleasant), my “mettle” is being “cooked” in the fire of living. If we know Christ as our Savior, scripture assures us that God is working out all things for His glory, and our good. This reminds me that even the unpleasant things that come my way serve a purpose in my life. I can either allow them to strengthen me with God’s help, or I can be overcome by their commonness or unpleasantness.
At the end of the segment, the two men opened up the container where they had cooked their iron, leather and cow manure. All that you could see was a piece of dingy metal and the ashes that surrounded it. Upon further treatment, however, by heating, pounding and polishing- the hard steel blade emerged. It was a metal that had been improved. I pray that I will allow God to improve my own mettle by His heating, pounding and polishing.
by Russ Bruxvoort, 6th Grade Teacher
Three cars, a four-story house, great health care, a lap-top computer, cell phones, showers, 3 bathrooms, 5 bikes, all the food I can eat, dental care, clothes for a couple months, thousands of dollars worth of books, a big screen tv, and the list goes on.
A shack made out of corrugated metal and plywood, an outhouse, no running water, walking everywhere, food for 2 meals a day, no refrigerator, dirt floors, maybe one run-down bicycle, washing clothes in a stream, illiterate, clothes for a week, no access to a doctor or a dentist, living 8 miles from the ocean, but not ever seeing it, and the list goes on.
Loving our families, worshiping the same God, going to a wonderful church, experiencing joy in relationships and play, wanting the best for our kids, praying, singing, and having fun, and the list goes on.
Life in America, life in Nicaragua, and what we have in common.
I have had the privilege of going to Nicaragua for the last four summers to lead a pastors’ workshop in northern Nicaragua. A few years ago our church decided that it wanted to develop a relationship with a church in an impoverished Latin American nation, and Nicaragua made the most sense. We began by helping with their building and moved on to focusing on spiritual growth.
It has been a tremendous experience for myself, my wife, and our daughter, Kyla, who went when she turned fifteen. It totally changed Kyla’s life and plans for her future. It is not an exaggeration to say that she fell in love with Nicaragua. That first trip also changed my wife’s perspective on wealth and poverty. She also left part of her heart in Central America.
I could go on about the wonderful trips for me, but I want to focus on one story. This last summer I went down planning on talking about spiritual disciplines, but found out that they wanted me to talk about unity. Fortunately for me, I was planning on talking about John 17 which has a strong emphasis on the unity of believers. After the morning session I asked God what He would have me talk about in the afternoon knowing that I had planned on spiritual practices. He, with confirmation from my translator, told me that I should speak about confession.
After teaching about the various forms of confession, I gave the pastors the opportunity to confess their sins to God or to another pastor. At the end of this time, one of the pastors asked if he could address the other men and women there. He wanted to confess that he had sinned against another man who was there whom he had worked with. The offended brother and his wife came up while the man repented of his sins. It was amazing to see God move in this way.
I have had the privilege of leading six student trips to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. I have seen lives changed in incredible ways as eyes are opened to other places in the world. I have had the joy of worshiping God with fellow believers from other cultures. I encourage as many adults and teenagers as possible to go on a short-term mission trip. God will use you, and you will see God and the world with changed eyes.