EDITOR'S NOTE: This perspective from Lincoln City, Ore., no doubt echoes the sentiments of Adventist teachers all across the Northwest. It is yet another reason why we honor and respect dedicated Adventist educators who understand their mission is the Great Commission.
For the last two years I’ve had the privilege of teaching Bible to a 90-percent non-Adventist student population. Last year I discovered the children didn’t really know the story of Joseph, so we dove into Genesis and put the textbooks on the shelves. Watching their eyes light up with wonder and awe as we read about our patriarchs was my biggest joy. Bible class was full of questions. They were engaged, and one student literally sat on the edge of her seat as I read aloud. They couldn’t believe this was in the Bible; I couldn’t believe they didn’t know it was there.
This year we studied more stories and discussed how even these wonderful people (insert Abraham, Joseph, Adam, the Israelites, etc.) made mistakes, but God still loved them SO MUCH. We talked about the two kingdoms of this earth over and over — how there are only two: the kingdom of good, light and love and how God is that King; and the kingdom of evil, hate and envy, and how Satan is that king. We noted when Bible characters chose kingdom sides, and we related how we too daily choose our side.
When we got to Matthew and read the Christmas story, one of the children noted it didn’t sound right. We turned to Luke, and they agreed that sounded more traditional. I mentioned that the four gospels are all the story of Jesus, told from different perspectives. One attentive student raised her hand and sincerely inquired, “So which one do you believe?”
I was stunned. I explained how each person notices different things more than another, just like they would write different things if I asked them all to write about their school year. They understood.
But the simplicity of the question continues to resonate in my mind. If our school wasn’t here in this community, there wouldn’t be a single Christian school in the county. We wouldn’t be there to give them Bibles. Even though several of these kids say they go to church at least once a month, they have no sense of the timeline of the Bible or even the major stories (like Joseph).
Not only do I get to share exciting stories like the Red Sea parting, I get to tell them that Jesus is always in our boat (Matt. 8:23–27) even in the middle of the storms of life. I get to tell them about daily manna and water from a rock, and I get to show them that Jesus is who sustains us every day.
I know the harvest is ripening at Lincoln City Adventist School this spring. Pray for my students as Jesus works in their hearts. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Karie MacPhee, Lincoln City Adventist School principal
As space allows, the Gleaner provides the You Said It section for Northwest Adventist members to share their personal testimonies or inspirational thoughts. The views expressed are those of the writer and may not fully reflect those of the North Pacific Union Conference or its leadership. We welcome submissions of 500–900 words for You Said It.