Adventure Specialists' Advice

January 26, 2017


I've been reflecting on family a lot lately. I was blessed to be able to go to California for Christmas this year and spend the holiday with my family. My sister's family was on home assignment, and it was a rare privilege to have everyone together for the holiday. We took the opportunity to have family pictures taken, and I received them this week. I am so thankful to have had the time to spend with them. Yet, at the same time, rekindling those relationships makes being apart again even harder.

I talked to one of you a bit this week about the struggles of being so far away from family and how it feels like a sacrifice at times. Also, I've spend a lot of time interviewing potential new staff and they have this level of excitement for getting involved and coming here that is a distant memory for most of us. That led to another conversation with someone reminiscing about what it was like to move your home to another country the first time. Leaving family is definitely one of the things that feels most sacrificial.

While riding in the car, I had an interesting conversation with my 5 year old niece, Elisa. My mom had just left to go home, I was preparing to come back to Malaysia in a few days, and they were getting ready to go back to Pakistan a few days after I left. Elisa sentimentally said, "I wish we could be in two countries at once." Trying to be the wise auntie, I answered, "Someday, we'll all be together in heaven and we won't have to leave again." I'll give you her deeply theological answer later.

One of the things that keeps us sane in living overseas is building a new "family" here. That's why it is so important for us to develop relationships with one another, celebrating the good times and crying through the hard ones. We need to become aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and sisters and brothers to one another. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said, "No one who has left homes or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age—and in the age to come eternal life." Mark 10:29. Our family in heaven will have grown to an unimaginable size.

But when I shared my "wisdom" with Elisa, she didn't ponder all of these familial extensions. She knows she has substitute family in Pakistan; she even calls them papa, mama, uncle, and auntie. However, that's not where her mind went. When I said we would be together in heaven one day, she simply replied, "Not everybody."

The truth of that really hit me as I reflected on this conversation. And that answer, "Not everybody," is exactly the reason we make the sacrifice. We give up many comforts, not to be rewarded by God with more, but to share the truth of eternal life with more people. Christian education gives us an unparalleled opportunity to share God's love and promises with children. We have kids from a great variety of backgrounds and we not only teach them our subject matter, but share our lives with them. We give them the opportunity to see the difference Christ makes in us and then get to explain to them the "reason for the hope we have." (1 Peter 3:15)

May God continue to bless you and use you to be a blessing to others as you sacrifice time with one family, work to build another family, and strive to increase the family of God.

Important Dates

Jan. 28-31: Chinese New Year (No School)

Feb. 7: Combined Staff and Staff Photo

Feb. 14-18: ACSC Basketball Tournament and Spirit Week

Feb. 15: Progress Reports

Feb. 21-23: MEW

Feb. 28: Divisional Meeting; DJHS Decisions

March 6: No School

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The Non-Negotiables

Last week I discussed why active learning is valued here at Dalat. One thing I really appreciate about active learning is that there is so much flexibility to it. The structures are easy to adapt to your context, and they can be changed to fit a small or large group. However, there are two parts of active learning that are not negotiable. Going without these two active learning ingredients would be like making a pizza without a crust and tomato sauce--it just wouldn’t be a pizza anymore! Likewise, these non-negotiable factors are quality questions/problems and total participation. I’ll be talking about both in the coming two weeks. For now, as you do your active learning structures, consider the types of questions you’re using and if what you’re doing is requiring each student to actively engage with the question or problem.

Susan Allen

Instructional Coach

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