Monday, May 16, 2011

Discipling Nations in the Classroom

After a long time of praying and thinking about how to further my education I decided to apply to become a teacher here in Romania. Through a very long process of gathering the right papers and documents I was accepted into a certificate program that will enable me to teach English to 1st through 10th graders here in Romania. My goal was to get some experience in the Romanian educational system, get some training in teaching, and to obtain some recognized accreditation for teaching here in Romania (which will be helpful for working with the children here).

For the practical phase of this course I have been doing classroom observations in one of the high schools here in Constanta and it has been a very good experience! I was disappointed not to be observing a primary school classroom but spending time at the high school has been so inspiring! I was so impressed by the ability and knowledge of many of the students and the values of the teacher who is mentoring me. I was reminded that high school is such an important time in a young person's life. They can be influenced for good or bad and there is such an opportunity to make a difference in their lives during this time. And good teachers have such a special opportunity to do this.

But the situation for schools and teachers in Romania is not an easy one. There is very little money available and if you are a teacher you are not making very much at all. So many struggle to make ends meet but still they are there day after day investing in young lives! I admire you teachers so much! Today I was with a friend of mine, Andreea, who is a teacher in a small city about an hour and a half from Constanta. Most of the students are coming from poorer families and the school doesn't seem to have very much in the way of resources either. They seem to have a good team of teachers, but still the challenges are there. Many of the students are not motivated to learn and I can see that they are in need of discipline, role models, and someone to listen to them and believe in them.

My friend is pouring out all that she can every day to share hope with these young people and to do whatever she can to motivate them to learn. They need more than just English but lessons about how to live. This is what we call "discipling nations". This is what Jesus commanded his disciples to do when he left the earth to go back to the Father. He said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and to teaching them to do everything I have comanded." Jesus taught us how to live and the world so desperately needs to know. My friend loves the Lord and she loves her students. Every day she is doing her best to teach them what Jesus taught her and I am so impressed! But she is fighting an up hill battle and I want to ask you to pray for her, and for other teachers who are giving so much to the young people of Romania. They need our support and encouragement and wisdom from God. Many people long to see the educational system changed here in Romania and I am praying that God's people will be a part of this.

We can also pray for this next generation that is growing up with all kinds of negative influences. Pray that each one of us will be a support and model for the young people around us and that they will be raised up to make a difference in this world! May they come to know their Father God, through Jesus, and His purpose for their lives and then really live life as it was meant to be: Loving God and their neighbors as themselves. This will change society. This will change a nation!
"All that is not the love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that."
- Dominique Voillaume
(From "The Signature of Jesus" by Brennan Manning)