“Thank you, Mrs. Long,” said a student as she left my class. It was my first day teaching at Numonohi Christian Academy (NCA), the New Tribes school at the mission center near us. “What was she thanking me for?” I wondered as I gathered up my things and go ready to ride the school van home. “Oh,” it dawned on me, “She was thanking me for teaching her that day. That’s weird…”
When I taught at public school in the U.S., it was certainly a different experience, although no less rewarding. Teaching at NCA is rewarding in different ways. I get to help other people’s church planting ministries. Some of the students at NCA have parents who live in tribes doing church planting. For various reasons, being in the tribe is not the best thing for those students, so NCA provides a way for their parents to continue their work and know that their children are getting the care and education they need. Some of the students at NCA have parents who serve in support roles on center- as pilots, accountants, doctors, mechanics, etc. Having a school on center enables them to do their work full time. Other students are PNG citizens, and NCA gives them the opportunity to get quality education from a Christian perspective.
Not only do I get to support their parents’ ministries, but I get to have an impact on the kids as well. So many of these kids have big dreams about how they are going to impact the world for Jesus. My job is to teach them English well and give them the skills they need to accomplish anything the Lord leads them to do. I also hope to be an example to them through my walk with the Lord. This is such a weighty task, and I literally am up in the night oftentimes thinking things like, “Did I pick the right book for that group to read? Was that test I gave them too hard- am I giving them the skills they need to succeed or am I discouraging them? How do I make sure my students learn everything they need to? Am I being a good example of someone who loves Jesus?”
While I’m sure every teacher can empathize with those feelings, they are not unique to teaching. I feel them now as a parent and we soon will feel them as church planters. How do we challenge without discouraging? How do we make the difficult decisions about how to confront a sin issue? How do we make sure new believers are well equipped to live for the Lord once we’re gone? All these things surely show us our need for dependence on the Lord. It is His work, and only He can enable us to do it as we ought.
So, for now, as I’m up at night wondering what I’m going to do with those junior highers, I am thankful not only for the opportunity to invest in their lives, but also for the opportunity to learn dependence on the Great Teacher.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, & Wyck
We had a ladies’ night on campus. It was just a fun excuse to get dressed up and hang out.
Our boys in their new cars
– Karissa is really enjoying teaching
– Our boys continue to do well. Recently Ty prayed and thanked God that we moved here.
– The kids who come to Awana are learning about God’s Word
– Matt just got back safely yesterday from a survey trip. More details about it to come in the next letter.
– He is risen!
– That God will supply a great third family to join our team
– For God’s guidance in future plans
– Karissa’s spring break is ending next week. Pray the boys will do well when she goes back to teaching.
– For wisdom and help for Karissa to be a good teacher