Maybe you think of the formational work done through relationships of missionaries, pastors, and small groups. Perhaps you think of the theological work done through seminary, preaching, and teaching within the church. Or you might think of the practical work of maintaining a building, gathering physical resources like Bibles, and running programs. I think we can all agree that, in some form, people are essential in equipping the church.
Have you ever pondered how the people involved in “equipping the church” are equipped themselves?
One of the hidden stories of equipping is education, specifically the education of the children of missionary families. In general, missionary newsletters don't tend to talk much about education. There might be a line or two about how their kids are enjoying school, or a prayer request for new friends but beyond that, education is never really the focus of a newsletter. It's one of the hidden stories of equipping.
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So how does this hidden story connect with equipping the church? Education occurs in many different forms, but in all its forms, it allows families to do what they feel God has called them to. One of these forms that I'm specifically involved in, is formal schooling in an international Christian school. These schools play a vital role in supporting families to stay on the field. My ministry is the children who walk through my classroom door every morning. It's the ones who've moved on from my class and the ones who have yet to enter my class. It's the notion that parents can serve with confidence because the school is there to support them.
This hidden side of equipping can often seem mundane - preparing class work, marking math tests, editing essays, asking reflective questions while reading. Maybe this is why we don't talk about it much. However, my mundane has ripple effects that impact the church at large. This past year, parents from my class were involved in pastoring and mentoring local believers. One of the parents finished seminary and was ordained. Some of the parents are involved in a refugee camp. One family was fully engaged in language study. Some families are training and encouraging local believers to reach out to their communities, and another family is engaged in medical care. That's all just in one classroom! Imagine the impact that a whole school can have?
And of course, I have the privilege of mentoring and nurturing each student in a Christian learning environment.
One of the challenges that my school - Sahel Academy - is specifically facing is a loss of location. In 2020, we experienced a catastrophic flood which has led us to look for a new, permanent home and we are currently in the fundraising process to purchase a new property so that we are able to continue to serve families through education.
Would you pray for Sahel Academy, students and staff, as they start their second year in temporary housing and face this upcoming transition?
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