Signs of Growth
The following quotes are from end-of-the-semester papers that the Personal Finance students were required to write. They provide evidence that God is still at work in our midst even though there have been some hard times. This Personal Finance class has helped me see finances in a whole new light.
It must be spring. A dry, southwest wind has been howling off and on for the past several weeks. It’s almost time for graduation. We have only one more week of classes before the students go their separate ways for the summer.
March was definitely not a trouble-free month. It seemed as though the school was under attack from all sides, but when the dust cleared, Christ was victorious! In addition, as a result of the attacks, I think the school is stronger and more unified as the students participated in extending grace to a repentant fellow student who had fallen into sin. While this was certainly a painful experience for all of us, there is no better way to teach such concepts as discipline within a community of believers, the need for public repentance when there has been public sin, and the ultimate goal of restoration. The hard lesson of consequences, even after repentance, has also been agonizingly modeled in our midst.
My mind is racing. So many things I’d like to share with you…
… opportunities to talk about Christ the past few Sunday afternoons as I get to know a young woman and her adult son who attend the Sunday afternoon meals for “those less fortunate” in the community around IBC.
… grief of dealing with doubts from people who believe slanderous Facebook posts accusing the school of dabbling with New Age spiritism and our president being a heretic.
… reward of being able to share with the student body and most of the staff some of the things I’ve been learning over the years about how to care for this body in a godly manner.
… encouragement at the response from the students to the mission conference and hearing of at least one individual who is taking specific steps to be able to travel to Russia this coming summer.
…sorrow at the passing of the woman who takes me in every two years when I stay in Middleboro, Massachusetts for seven weeks duration, but relief at knowing she is with the Lord.
… joy in hearing stories of God’s work in the lives of several of our graduates as I prepared to write the articles for the recent newsletter.
“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger, and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12)
When we finished reading this passage in our Spiritual Formation group, having just celebrated another birthday (one young lady will be 19 this coming week), our conversation turned to the frailty of our existence, the brevity of our lives, and the necessity of making every moment count for God.
Honestly, I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. Driving that far north in December and January, navigating unfamiliar streets in downtown Saint Louis, piloting my way through a massive crowd of college students . . . just seemed like a lot to undertake at my advanced age and lack of adaptability. Okay, so I’m not that old nor, hopefully, that inflexible, but my fears were real.
In the city of Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, it is estimated that there were as many as 4 million Native inhabitants before European contact in 1496. By 1570 that number had been reduced to 125. In Central Mexico one third of the Native people died of smallpox within ten years of exposure by the Spanish conquerors.
“I hope I can keep ahead of her,” I thought as Sarah’s lesson time approached. Although I only have five music students this semester, they are all practicing and progressing, unlike sometimes. One student is fighting tooth and nail to learn piano, and though it has not come easy for her, she has kept at it and consistently practiced. What a joy to work with her!
Term one is now over and I still was enjoying teaching Introduction to Christian Education when it ended! Now I have an easier term ahead of me but major preparations to be made for the History of North America. I am also in charge of the arrangements and preparations for our annual fall conference October 15-18. I will need to get busy writing/editing the fall newsletter as well, so it will be a very busy term even though I’m not teaching a three-credit course until the third term.