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.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this.

    When I was in high school a friend of mine built houses with his church in Mexico during Spring Break. When he came back, God was pulling at my heart with intensity upon hearing his stories. The next year, I called the youth pastor who I'd never met at a church I'd never attended and requested permission to become a part of this event. He actually had to get an extra plane ticket just for me. I traveled to to a place where I didn't speak/understand the language with a group of 60 people I had never met before. I did that Spring Break trip twice. When I went into college, I enrolled in Spanish classes, adopted it as my minor, and went about leaning how to advocate for those precious children that come to the United States from Mexico...to a country where they don't speak the language with an entire group of people they don't know.

    There is no doubt that mission trips can be life changing. Maybe you are being called somewhere else, but let me just assure you that wherever you are, you can be confident that God is using you.

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  2. it does have a positive impact to share this even if they are not christian...

    :)

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  3. God may be calling you in a new direction, but never forget that he can use you anywhere. God needs his workers in all walks of life in all corners of the world. I once heard that Mother Theresa used to say, see the thing that is in front of you and do that. Do the job that is ahead of you, there is importance in it! Technology and all that we see as "valuable" do lose their importance in light of what else is happening in the world. However, what we do has importance to our students lives, they will have more opportunities and the ability to do more good in the world as a result of their time spent with you. Let God continue to use you where you are at until He chooses another path for you.

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  4. This is such a beautiful post! I've included it with this month's Cornerstone Accolades.

    http://thecornerstoneforteachers.blogspot.com/2009/05/cornerstone-accolades-april-2009.html

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  5. thank you for sharing this! It's DEFINITELY God that led me to read this tonight! I too am a teacher in the public school system and do feel like my classroom and school is my mission field for now...but I really have Mexico and the women and children who work in the factories on my heart after a class I took 6 years ago!! I want to go to that nation, I hear what you're saying, our lives are mostly consumed by vanity in comparison to what people in Mexico face. I'm in a mission program now and I sooo want to go to the nations. thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

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