Teaching in a “3rd World Country.”

“It’s like we go to school in a 3rd world country.”

This statement was spoken by one of my yearbook staff members on a day that the Internet was inaccessible on campus. Our Internet had been touch and go at the beginning week, but it had finally refused to cooperate by Thursday.  I admit, I too was frustrated and inconvenienced by the unreliable connection. At that point, I was ready to give up but I could not let technology beat me! I demanded the attention of the students in my classroom and I gave them what I called “verbal-docs,” since they could not use Google Docs.

I currently have 25 yearbook students. They each fulfill a specific task in my crew. While lecture and group activities can affectively help students learn skills that they all need, it is not the best method for getting each student on task. In fact, it is nearly impossible to keep the class on task without giving each editor their own job. I have found that the best way to do this is to provide a detailed document of directions online each day.  The students come in to class and know that the first thing they are to do is to sign on to Google Docs to see what they should be working on for the day.  This is my staff:

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Given the high quality camera that took the pictures above, our new Mac computers, and the school wide wireless internet connection that is usually available…. it is obvious that I do not teach in a 3rd world country. In fact, I am quite blessed to be in Europe and to live in an age of technology that I can have video chats with my family for free. In that way, I’m far from poor.

Believe it or not, these privileges sometimes cause me to doubt what I am doing and why I am here. It seems unfair to live such a good life. After all, isn’t ministry supposed to be really hard?

I can guarantee that life is not easy where I sit, but I recognize how I am rich in many ways. When my student made mention of a third world country, I pictured a schoolhouse in the hot African sun. I recalled the ministry that many of my friends had been a part of, in countries where nutrition was a daily life or death situation. Instantly, I felt burdened and guilt flooded my heart. A question I had been resisting entered my mind again, “Why am I here?”

Do not misunderstand me. I am very glad to be here. I feel particularly called to teach at the Black Forest Academy. If you want to know why I feel that way, you can send me an email. I am happy to share.

This question that I have been avoiding is related to my deep burden for the world. When I allow it, my heart aches for the hurt, the hungry, the oppressed, and (most importantly) the people without Jesus.  Yet, when I look at the needs around the world, I am overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. That’s when the Lord reminds me that I am where I am supposed to be. I am part of a ministry that cares for teenagers and for their parents, who are spread out among 50+ countries, meeting needs and spreading the Gospel.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I do not know how I am going to raise the support that I need to return next year, whether or not I should switch mission agencies, or when I should return home.  I am confident, however, that God is working in my life and through my life at The Black Forest Academy. For now, I will concentrate on the next task at hand- Spring Semester.

Here is a video that sums up why I am here. I found this to be very encouraging. God provided it at just the right time. Hopefully you aren’t in a “3rd world country,” and your Internet speed allows you to watch it.

Here is a video that I put on YouTube this summer. It expresses my heart for this ministry well. I made the video using the results of some research that I had done and the pictures of BFA students.

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