We took 33 ninth graders up to a small village in the mountains on a short term m-trip. Just two weeks earlier we had broken them up into groups and told them, “You will teach 7th or 8th graders for 50 minutes. Create the most creative, imaginative lesson you can think of. See you in two weeks!” My students went to work. Resolved to create the best possible lesson they could conjure, they toiled and poured their hearts and souls into the assignment.
We made it up to the village school and the students prepared to give their lessons. “Are we teaching 7th or 8th grade?” one girl begged to know. But plans had changed, as they often do. “Eleventh grade,” I said to her. Her eyes widened dramatically. “What??” she said. “Yes, plans have changed,” I replied. These ninth graders had already taught me so much, so even though the eleventh graders would be older than them, I had no doubt they would do a great job.
“You can do it,” I said, “I know you can.” “Ok,” she said, “we’ll do it.” I stood back and watched my students excel. Their lessons were creative. The students they taught were captivated. And most of all, they loved. They loved each other, they loved their new friends. I was beaming with pride and humbled to be called their teacher.
I think my eyes frequently widen when God puts a seemingly impossible task in front of me. “What??” I say. But just as I took pleasure in the courage of my students, I think God finds that same pleasure in us when we fearlessly jump into the seemingly impossible tasks He gives us.
I was brought back to memories of my 18th birthday. My best friend and I jumped out of an airplane. It’s counterintuitive. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s pretty scary. But once I jumped out of that plane, all of my fears were released. Peace swept over me. I was exhilarated. Ironically, no one ever dies from jumping out of an airplane. People who die while skydiving do so when they hit the ground, not when they are suspended in mid air. Strange, then, that I felt relieved while I was still in mid air, despite the fact that possible danger was still to come. But I had completed the step of faith that was required of me. I was in the hands of God now.
“How did you feel teaching students who were older than you?” I asked my ninth graders. “It was scary at first,” they said, “but it was really great!” God honors our leaps of faith. He joys in our risk-taking and our courage to try something counterintuitive. And then He carries us. We just have to jump.
These past two months have provided many opportunities for new experiences. Read about recent developments in The Nit-Grit: Smiles and Sweat, check out new photos on the photos page, and be sure to read through the full list of prayer requests on my prayer & praise page. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!