Saturday, November 5, 2011

What is Ben's role?

Lately I have been struggling mightily with jealousy.

I envy my coworkers. I envy them because I work with remarkable men and women who dearly love Christ and have a passion for young people. They are having amazing conversations with our students and leading them to Christ. I am having to fail students in history.

QCS has a discipleship program, one which I struggled through last year as I had all of the special cases. By the end of the year all but one of my students had been dismissed from QCS or told they would not be allowed to re-enroll. The only remaining student is so deep in the academic hole, he might not be make it through this year. Like I said, special.

This summer I watched my dear friend Ivy with girls she has been disciplining for years and asked how she built such strong bonds. She spoke of constantly pursing them. Creating situations to build their relationship. Ivy probably didn't know that I went home and wrote down a summary of our conversation with the intention of making sure her advice worked its way into my group. I planned out not only biblical material to cover but also how to spend time with them one-on-one so I could build a more personal relationship with them.

Then, some complications arose that were no one's fault, I just found out I do not have a group this year. The ratio of students to teachers is so low that my time slot just went unfilled. Put into an odd position, I decided not to join in with another leader. Honestly I went home angry. Mad. Not at anyone. I had not been slighted by a coworker. I was not left out. I just was not needed in this area. It was brutal to take. I wake up early every morning to pray for my students. I switch up the grade level every day and some of the special cases are prayed for daily. So to intercede for them so much, to plan so much, to desire so much to build deep spiritual relationships and then not have that opportunity? It stings.

I think I might have come to Haiti simply to teach and get a really cool experience. I did not know over two years ago when I was applying that I would care as much as I do about the spiritual development of my students. However, very quickly I have learned to care about that. In fact, Katie and I often question how any wealthy, Haitian teenager could possibly learn about God without us and our school!! (please hear self-mockery) We freely chide ourselves for having a dim view of God's sovereignty.

This lack of a discipleship group has lead to a temporary and hopefully brief crisis of identity. I have found myself questioning what exactly my role is. How do I find a way to balance faith, academics and student-teacher relationships?  I have no freaking clue. I am still wrestling with this.

The only way I have found to not become over come with jealousy is this passage and a great quote from a commentary: “He that planteth and he that watereth are one".

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? iServants through whom you believed, jas the Lord assigned to each. 6 kI planted, lApollos watered, mbut God gave the growth. 7 So nneither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each owill receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are pGod’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, qGod’s building.
10 rAccording to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a sfoundation, and tsomeone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a ufoundation other vthan that which is laid, wwhich is Jesus Christ. 
 
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. 1 Co 3:5-11

-B


3 comments:

  1. Please don't forget that you're ministering to an unseen congregation out here. I take your words, happy, sad, frustrated, whatever, and think about them for hours.

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  2. Ben, I taught at QCS ages ago and some of my former students are still my friends today. We didn't even have discipleship groups at the time. The class I sponsored (Class of 99) had kids who really struggled to learn. I fought for them, tutored them, loved them. You don't need a group; you have a classroom. Go for it! btw, I really enjoy reading your blog. Found it via Ruth. We lived in Haiti from 1988 to 2000 and both our sons graduated from QCS.

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  3. Bright side- you now have a chance to build relationships with any/all the kids, not just "your" kids. Some of them may be naturally drawn to you based on something real - common interests, etc., not just because you are their assigned mentor. Any relationship you build when the kids freely choose to talk to you will probably be more meaningful to both of you.

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