Friday was my last day stepping foot into the high school where I had worked for several years.
I have been substitute teaching there throughout the semester, and Friday was my last day to do that. I couldn’t believe the class I ended the day with…It was the last hour of the day, on the last day before Christmas break. Usually this is a time teachers somewhat dread because the students’ behavior can be a bit crazy as they are about to escape from those walls for a couple of weeks. But not the class I was in! They were all quietly working on their assignment. And when they finished it, they quietly occupied themselves with something else. I didn’t have a single behavior issue. I mean, they weren’t even whispering to each other! By this time in the day I had already accomplished all of the tasks I had brought with me. (I mean, I have pages of to-do lists these days! I can’t go in empty-handed!) All I was left with was a book to read. But they were so quiet, and I was so tired, that I found myself on the verge of nodding off while I sat at the teacher’s desk, so I had to put the book down and watch the clock slowly tick away.
But in the evening I was blessed with a unique opportunity. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) invited me to be the guest speaker at their 5th Quarter event after the night’s basketball games.
So, I brought some Ugandan handcrafts to sell during the games to those who came to attend. Several alumni (especially those who are in their freshman year of college and home for their first break) came to the game, and I was happy to chat with them for a little bit too. Once the final buzzer went off and I packed up my crafts, I made my way to the FCA event.
Being a teacher at a public high school, opportunities are rare when you are asked to openly share about your faith with students. I was really excited for the chance, especially since this was going to be my very last time at the school. Forty to fifty students attended, plus a few alumni.
I was able to share my testimony of how I became a Christian (one version of that story is in this blog post from several months ago). I also explained how I got connected with Juna Amagara Ministries in Uganda, where I live, what I do with ABIDE, and more. I made sure to give time to answer their questions as well. I tried to stress how I cling to one of my favorite verses, Joshua 1:9. When Moses had died, and Joshua was about to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel, God said to him, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. In the same way, I know that God is with me wherever I go. I firmly believe that if God calls you to something, He will make a way. He will never ask us to do something, then leave us without a way to be obedient. So, for me, I know that God is calling me to take a step of faith and move to Uganda. So I can go with strength and courage, because I know my God is with me.
That’s not just true for me, or other missionaries that end up in different parts of the world. That’s true for all of us who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. So, wherever God leads you–near or far–He will be with you. No need to fear.
After I was finished sharing, and they took care of other FCA business, we ended the meeting with a prayer circle. Everyone held hands, and the first person shared a prayer request. We went around the circle, and several other students shared prayer requests with the group. In the midst of that, I was encouraged by several students mentioning a desire for the group to be praying for me. It was nice to be a part of that prayer time. I pray that these students continue to stay strong in their faith, despite the temptations they are faced with by this world.
Thankfully my friend came along with me for the night and was able to snap some pictures for me!