Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Teacher's Mission

I feel like, and I've been told as well, that my mission field is my classroom. In public education there are many opportunities to model and share the Christian life with students and teachers alike who may not have ever heard of or considered Jesus.

I've used this many times as my excuse for not going on a mission trip to Mexico, just three short hours away, on spring break. But not this year. This year I went with Hands of Mercy to build a house for a homeless family south of Ensenada.

I was told that my heart would be changed; I thought it already had. I was wrong. I haven't slept well all week; I keep dreaming of being back in Mexico. I keep thinking of the little girls playing with rocks for toys.

As a teacher I have always assumed that my students and I were close in our expectations for our lives: get educated, get employed, get married, start a family, serve others, etc. But what about the girls in the rock pile? What are their expectations for their lives if poverty is all they have ever known?

Then I reflect on the subject matter that I teach: computer multimedia. I could hardly explain to the folks in Mexico what that even was, and why I taught it. Music videos seem very irrelevant if your biggest job during the day is bringing fresh water to your home/shack.

I want to be confident. I want to believe that God has my just where He wants me and is using me the way that He sees fit. But I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest and that all of the time I have invested into teaching what I thought mattered doesn't matter at all.

Or does it? God uses me everyday in the lives of my students in ways that I cannot see or know. I hope that the sharing of my experiences in Mexico with my students has a lasting and positive effect as they see one of their role models moved to take action in a new and selfless way.