Email from Asia

TEACH Journal of Christian Education, Nov 2012

By David Arthur, Published on 01/01/12

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Email from Asia

TEACH Journal of Christian Education Email from Asia David Arthur Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Education Commons Recommended Citation - David Arthur Head of ‘A’ Level Studies, International School, Shenzhen, China “But I’ll gladly exchange it all for a transformed life; a student who bravely steps out and makes a decision for God David with students [Photograph: David Arthur] It was a most interesting experience—reading It was about this time that, quite by ‘accident’, over the original article for TEACH entitled, I discovered there are other Christian teachers at “It’s not about me” (Volume 4, No 2, 2010), our school. OK, so maybe that sounds amazing to and to consider what has changed during the you, but in our situation, this kind of ‘information’ is intervening period. It prompted some serious not exactly trumpeted from the rooftops. Now the thinking. Is the title still just as apposite as it building of another small cell group has begun again was back then? —new people and a new dynamic. However, we need the same supportive fellowship and serious Updating from last time: Meg* graduated at the end cultivation of the “we are not alone” slogan. of that year, and went off to study overseas at the Life at school sometimes drifts lazily along, place of her dreams. From time to time she appears and sometimes it feels like the waters of a grade on ‘that’ social networking site and shares bits of six rapid. Our team in my department gets a lot her fascinating journey of Christian growth within a of satisfaction from helping to make students’ secular university environment. It will be good to meet dreams come true; dreams for further study in the again sometime and explore her progress towards ‘land of heart’s desire’. One of the challenges of becoming “a thinker” rather than “a mere reflector”. trying to combine counselling and administration My ‘young’ Christian colleague Jeffrey* recently is the delicate balance between ‘comforting the decided, that after six years of teaching, the Lord afflicted and afflicting the comfortable’. In classroom was calling him to a different mission field. Right teaching, the main aim always is to teach the subject now his work is mainly doing translation, but his effectively and efficiently, but in the background the real passion is to become a Christian minister. He ‘tune’ is still the same: “Make a positive difference is already a lay preacher, and there is no doubt that in your world, be the change you want to see, stand God has something amazing lined up for him. up for what you believe, and don’t be afraid to be Jeffrey and I had often prayed for another different”. As for me, I’ll cheerfully do a swap. You Christian teacher to come to our school and, in can have all the top grades, honours degrees, time, those prayers were answered. For a year or awards of various shapes and sizes, and recognition more the three of us enjoyed sweet fellowship at our for what the world thinks is indispensable. But I’ll ”an end, as both of them announced their intentions one!) has a lot of colour and variety—exploring new lunch and prayer times, and support was there for gladly exchange it all for a transformed life; a student whichever one of us was “weak and heavy laden”. who bravely steps out and makes a decision for God. But now, it seemed like it was all going to come to Life outside of school (thankfully there actually is to move on. Added to this, we (my wife Adele and I) places on foot or by bicycle, building relationships also were in the middle of making the tough decision, with family and friends, doing the short walk to and about whether to stay or go. Eventually we decided from school through typical big-city suburbia, fixing to do “one last year”. Each week we picked up the all manner of broken things from toilet seats and burden of encouraging each other to ‘finish strong’. lights to helping ‘broken’ people, going on holidays, coping with language problems, and being part of a very supportive home group. There is generally something new around every corner. What does the future hold here, in this place? It’s a bit of a mystery, but as long as we never forget that we work for the Master and not our boss, it will be the most satisfying and exciting thing we could do, and the best place to be right now. I’ll keep you posted. Or should I say, ‘emailed’. Shalom, David. TEACH

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