One of the cool things I’ve been able to do this semester is meet with a group of teachers and high school students who are interested in combating injustice. This group came about after one of the teachers discussed the purpose and mission of International Justice Mission (IJM) during high school chapel. We have been meeting every other week and going through a study put together by IJM specifically for high school students. There have been some great discussions, but what I am the most excited about is that we have a group of students who want to take action. You can pray for our group in the coming months and into the next year as we look at what is being done in Vienna to help the oppressed. We are going to be meeting with a few people who are working in the city with prostitutes, refugees, and others. As the students hear about the work being done, they are going to develop an action plan for getting involved. I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do through them!
Matt and I are reading a Lenten devotional by Henri Nouwen called Show Me the Way. I’m two days behind (of course) so I just read the devotional for Saturday. It’s about returning to God. He uses the story of the prodigal son as reference. I like what Nouwen had to say because he talks about the fact that the son returned for entirely selfish reasons, a fact that has always kind of bothered me. But then he talks about how God views us. I absolutely love the picture he gives of God’s response to us when we return – selfishly or not.
But Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, “I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits. Do not run away from me. Come back to me – not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you and let my hands run through your hair? I am your God – the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you any more, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all of your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but that will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.'”
~ Henry Nouwen, Show Me the Way, pg. 76-77
Then he offers this simple prayer that I am praying right now:
O Lord, my Lord,
help me to listen to your voice
and to decide for your mercy.
Praise God! We have a new elementary principal for next year. This has been a huge area of prayer for all of us as we have been “borrowing” the secondary principal this year. We are all so excited and so thankful for John Janett and his desire to serve here with us. Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying with us. God is good!
This is turning out to be a multiple post day!
I just had another amazing conference. I spoke with a mom who is a Christian, but her husband is not. Her son became a Christian when he was in first grade. She spoke with me about how much this school means to her and her son because her son is not allowed to attend church with her, but that Jesus has allowed him to be in this school. She shared with me about how excited her son is to have Chapel here each week because that is church for him.
She asked that we pray for her family, for her husband’s salvation, for God’s continued grace to allow her son to attend our school, and for her son to continue to love God with all his heart. I can’t wait to pray for them!
Today is parent/teacher conference day. I actually love this day because it’s the one time during the year that I get to really have a focused conversation with each of the parents. Today I was reminded, in the best possible way, of the impact we are having on our students.
One of the parents I met with today said that she wanted to thank me for doing something special for her daughter. They have been talking to their daughter about what she wants to do when she grows up. Her answer is that she wants to grow up and be a missionary teacher! Her parents are so excited.
Here’s the amazing part of the story, though. This family is from Vietnam. However, their daughter has never lived there. She was born in Holland, has Australian (yes, the one with kangaroos) citizenship, and lives in Austria. She is fluent in German and English and understands quite a bit of Vietnamese. She often talks about not being sure who she is or where she’s from. But – and this is the amazing part – she feels now like she has found Vietnam in her heart. She wants to be missionary teacher in Vietnam so she can tell the people about Jesus!
Her mom and I were crying and getting so excited. Please join us in praying for her that the Lord will continue to grow in her a love for Jesus and desire to share him with the world.