My year did not turn out as I had planned and expected it to. As far as I am concerned I should be in University carrying on with my studies but here I am, in the workplace, and not the workplace I always envisioned myself to be in. I teach in a High school with a roll of learners double the size of a normal school because it’s the only public High School in the area. It consists of learners who come from adverse circumstances and extremely poor backgrounds. Discipline is difficult to enforce because most of the learners are much older for their grade or to still be in school for that matter. The first time I entered a classroom of 84 learners they mumbled among themselves that “they are being taught by children.” In most cases you’ll find learners bored, chewing bubblegum with their hands on their chin looking at you as if they have no clue on what you’re on about. English is a huge challenge as most learners in the school have not been exposed to it. As an English Teacher, it creates a platform to render change, but the circumstances are extremely difficult it would need me to hold God’s hand and partner with Him.
The desire for change drives me on, but it wasn’t that way in the first few weeks. The environment was so different, and the people so bizarre from what I knew and I constantly found myself angry at how God would just allow me to be in such a place. There is no Gym, there is no Church (CRC), it’s a one-street town…what in the world am I doing here!!? Despair brought me constantly to my knees and without realizing it, my relationship and dependence upon God was growing stronger. In the midst of everything I received phone calls and messages from friends, from people in the Church, my leaders which was of tremendous encouragement. When I told one friend of mine about my situation he encouraged me that I was at the right place. He explained how as Christians we tend to feel entitled to “great” things and it’s not wrong because we were created for greatness. However, what we deem as great might not be great in God’s eyes. As scripture says, “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke16:15).
My friend’s encouragement allowed me to perceive my current circumstance in a different light. From waking up with a grumpy attitude believing that I was too great to be in that school, I now wake up with enthusiasm and joy and I partner with God. The circumstances in my school are too huge for me that I would have to decrease and allow God to show forth His glory, greatness, and power. All He needs is an available instrument and I’m willing. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land”. It doesn’t matter what land it is, whether small or big, because God is still God in a small place.
This brings to mind the issue of not being able to attend Church regularly. I thought my spiritual life would deteriorate with no weekly fellowship but I read of how Daniel from the Bible maintained his spiritual fervor even with odds against him. EM Bound states that “even though Daniel was away from the house of God and deprived of religious privileges, he did not forget God while he was in a foreign land. He is a striking illustration of a young man who was decidedly religious under the most unfavorable circumstances. He proved conclusively that one could definitely be a servant of God though his environment was anything but religious. He was among heathens as far as a God-fearing nation was concerned. There was no temple worship, no Sabbath day, no Word of God to be read. But he had one help that remained with him, and of which he could not be deprived. That was his secret prayers, and his assurance that God would answer him.” Daniel’s example impacted my life significantly. I might not be able to attend church every Sunday, but I have the Holy Spirit, I have the Word of God, and most importantly I have His listening ear.
Jesus has become my best friend, and I guess He’s using this season of my life to draw me closer to Him. I don’t have access to many things but I am not deprived of the things that truly matter such as love, joy, peace, and righteousness. At one time I received a phone call from a principal to go teach English at her middle class school, but I had already started working in my school. That was an opportunity for me to run to a modernized environment but when I prayed about it I felt the peace of God that I was at the right place. So, I rejected the principal’s offer. I am at the right place because to bring change in my school requires me to step back and allow God to shine through. Difficult circumstances bring forth God’s glory. What is a testimony without a test? I am in the right place because I’m in an impoverished area where learners are in need of a miracle, and the miracle is Jesus in me the hope of Glory. I pray continuously that God’s purposes will be fulfilled with me being here and I pray that I will leave this place empty, having used my every potential.
I am not where I dream to be but I am where God wants me to be, and that is so fulfilling! It feels like the will of God. I’m learning to abandon my dreams and walk in faith regardless of whether circumstances resemble the dream that I had for my life or not. Life is not as easy as it previously used to be back in the years but God shows His faithfulness by continuously comforting, encouraging, providing, strengthening, and revealing Himself to me. Attaining our dreams is not proof that we are in God’s will but being able to surrender them is a sure sign of spiritual maturity. “Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mathew 16:24). And His words are still relevant today.