It’s Monday, the start of another school week. I wake up like normal and hit snooze a few times before I get up and read my Bible. Then I drive a moto to the school with my fellow student missionary and roommate, Katie. On the way, we see a dog chasing the moto ahead of us, and we say a quick prayer of thanks when it leaves us alone.
When we get to the school, we have worship and then breakfast. Today is fried noodles! Then I have some time to prepare for my classes. I am substitute teaching for Kindergarten English, which is so much fun. We do some alphabet practice and classroom vocabulary and learn “Father Abraham” in English.
The next class I teach is second-grade English. One of the students always starts class with prayer. Then we sing a few songs and work on phonics. Today they focus so well that we even have time to play Simon Says before class is over.
Next on the schedule is lunch, and I take some time to call home and wish my wonderful father a happy birthday. After lunch, it is time for fifth-grade music. Today we learn the song “Superhero,” which is a great opportunity to talk with the students about the true identity of the superhero in the song—Jesus Christ. After music comes first-grade PE, which is always a bit hectic! Today we play “Go Crazy and Freeze,” and the kids have lots of fun. The game fits their personalities well!
After school, I do some grading, and then it’s time for my night class. Night class has been a struggle lately. While many of the evening English classes mostly contain adults or teens who are enthusiastic about learning English, my class consists of seven of our morning students. But at this point in the day, they are usually tired and just want to play. I love these kiddos, and I’m sympathetic about their state of mind, but I also want them to enjoy the class and learn. Tonight, I go in with fresh determination to lay down some rules. Everything goes great at first. We play a game to learn in, on, and under. Hands on the desk, hands in the desk, and then get under the desk. All of a sudden, a desk falls on one little boy, cutting his hand. I feel so bad for him! We get him cleaned up, and he heads home. Not long after that, the power goes out. I consider sending the rest of my students home, but instead we sing praise songs in the dark until the school day finally comes to an end.
Overall, it was a really good day. Not perfect, but God was there. In Cambodia, the days can be long, and many are hard. I have been homesick, and I have found myself lacking in many, many ways. Still, I pray every morning that God will fill me with His Spirit and strength and help me share His blessing. I’m not a perfect teacher. Some days, all I want to do is walk out of the classroom and never come back. But God is a perfect Teacher, and He shines through our cracks. Over the past few months at the school, He has helped me learn to love my students—even the ones who drive me crazy. He helps me recognize the blessings all around me, and I praise Him for the high-fives and hugs that fill my days and make me smile. I praise Him for my backpack full of students’ pictures—many proudly displaying the words “Jesus Loves Me.” Because of Him, I get the opportunity to share love and light with my students, many of whom have grown up in households full of fear. Even when my students don’t listen, when desks fall, and the power goes out, God is still here and working. Tonight, one of my students told me she was afraid when the lights went out. As Christians, we have nothing to fear because Christ’s light shines in darkness. But for people who live without knowledge of Him, fear is a natural response. Tonight, my students and I were able to sing together until the darkness went away, and in that room, I felt only peace and joy.