As a teacher here at West Side Christian School, my colleagues and I seek out opportunities for our students to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our local and global community, with the hope that they will experience the joy of serving others and will continue to become kingdom builders. We are often privileged to witness and participate in beautiful moments when we see our students sharing the love of Christ with others in tangible ways.
For instance, the elementary team event in February gave the students in grades 1-5 an opportunity to make tie-knotted blankets and cards for, as well as pray for, some children with serious illnesses. My 4th graders also sang at the Christian Rest Home during Christmas time and for Veterans Day. Middle schoolers raise money for our friends at our sister school in Guatemala and our students collected cereal for kids at Wedgewood Christian Services. We’re so grateful for these – and many other -- opportunities!
A recent Bible class activity in my fourth-grade classroom at West Side Christian School included a lesson on “Training to be a Child of the King.” As a class, we brainstormed the ways we could put this into action.
I knew about a Grand Rapids Police Department officer through my husband, a fellow officer, who had been diagnosed with cancer and needed encouragement during his chemo treatments. The students couldn’t wait to pour over their Bibles and find just the right verses to share with Officer Whitten. I found pictures of Officer Whitten and his family on his Team#333 Facebook site, giving us a glimpse into some of his personal interests and hobbies. The students began decorating the cards with Michigan symbols, Team Whitten, and heartfelt messages.
The students also began to read their cards to each other and asked questions like, “How do you get cancer?” and, “Why does God heal certain people but not others?”
My husband delivered the students’ cards and a devotional Bible to Office Whitten, and posted this message on Facebook: “Students made and had these very touching Go Blue cards delivered to Torey yesterday along with the Devotion Bible. Each and every card was very special” – which encouraged my students in return!
This experience allowed my students to experience the joy of serving God by serving others. It also provided opportunities for us, as a classroom community, to talk about our hope in Jesus throughout difficult circumstances; about heaven and that because Jesus died for us and is preparing a place for us that we shouldn’t fear death.
It’s a privilege to share these moments with students at West Side Christian School and walking alongside of them as they learn what it means to live as a child of the King!