Thursday, June 16, 2011

My next post, I think, will center on something deep. Something mysterious. Something philosophical. Probably something like the will of God. Are you ready?

Actually, I'm not quite ready to pry open that can of worms (almost, but not quite). Let's stick to something more basic for today: the faces of the Christian International School of Prague - the faces of people that have taught me so much in my six months year, people that I hope I have taught as well, people that I will miss next year.

Faces of Students

Unfortunately, I don't have photos of every single student. Here are a few of the photos I do have:

My students Amy and Jessica B. Amy rocked her To Kill a Mockingbird project (Amy, are you reading this?), and Jessica B appreciated The Great Gatsby. What more could I ask for as a teacher?

My student Jessica D, headed off for a Stateside university in the fall. What stood out to me most of all about Jessica D (as about some of my other students) was her sweet, caring spirit - always inquiring after her fellow students and even her teachers, encouraging and supporting them in whatever they do.

Hope and Valerie, who remind us to have fun.

Wendy, one of my 11th grade girls (or possibly a friend of hers). This photo reminds me of one of the most important lessons I've learned this semester:

What we as human beings, whether teachers or students or neither, need most of all is not brilliance. It is not spiritual sermons or chapel messages. It is not wise advice. It is love: the love of God, consistently demonstrated in His body.

Faces of Staff

Again, I don't have pictures of every single staff person. Nor do I have room on this blog for the photos I do have. Here is what I will remember from the staff:

Work hard. Minia agonizes over the tests that she creates, checking and rechecking them to make sure they suit what the students have been learning, that they're worded in the least confusing way possible.

(I just know someone is going to ask: No, Minia is not Muslim. It was really windy when I took this picture, so the scarf is to reduce wind.)

Play hard. (Yes, I know that I'm using slang. It just happens that the slang goes along with the pictures.) Sport a face just like Melanie's:

Enjoy just being with people. Probably all of you readers know someone who you can just sit with, someone you don't have to talk to every single moment that you're together. Kate S is like that: She's great at just stepping up and being encouraging without saying a word.

Read God's word together. After a while, friendships bottom out and encouraging, affirmative talk sounds like a Hallmark Card unless it is rooted in the truths of God's word.

Concluding Thoughts

As I get ready to return to the States (only 13 days! sniff, sniff!), I've remembered that all too often, American Christian relationships tend to center on doing stuff: Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, Wednesday evening service, a few service projects, a Sunday school, a community service activity, and the list goes on.

All these things are well and good, but six months hanging with the students and teachers at CISP has given me a different angle on the American vision: What is most important is not the service project, not the special midweek service, not the choir performance. What is truly most important is that we spend time with God and with each other, not necessarily doing anything; that we affirm each other and speak God's truth into each others' lives.

This is what it means to be the body of Christ.

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