“In West Africa, the teaching profession is not highly valued,” said Sebastian*, a Resonate Global Mission missionary. “As a result, it is rare to find those who enter the profession out of a calling and passion to teach.”
And then along came a carpenter.
Under-resourced and overcrowded classrooms.
James had been working as a skilled carpenter with a successful business for many years when he heard about the Educational Care training his church was hosting. A Resonate initiative, Educational Care gives educators working with limited resources an opportunity to develop teaching skills and strategies that honor God.
And there is a severe lack of resources in West Africa classrooms. Despite the schooling teachers go through, they are underpaid for their expertise and schools are underfunded. Classrooms are often overcrowded with students; walls are often bare of posters and diagrams that help students visualize lessons; and children have no choice but to share the few books provided.
“Many of the teachers we know usually have to take second jobs in addition to their teaching profession in order to make ends meet,” said Sebastian.
As a result, teaching is often pursued as a profession only when people have no other options. Many are not passionate about their work with children, resulting in dull lessons and little encouragement for children in the classrooms.
And yet, despite the stigma associated with teaching, James was curious about Educational Care. He had no use for the training in his carpentry work, but he showed up on the first day and asked to join.
A carpenter in the classroom.
“I was not sure how to respond,” said Sebastian. “Practicing educators are the primary audience for our ministry output, but after a moment of prayer for direction, I felt led to welcome James.”
That’s when God changed James’ life.
During the training, James and the educators participating discussed how all of creation belongs to God and how he cares for every person, place, and process.
“Every aspect of education—from its foundations, contents, practices, and outcome—belong to God and ought to honor him,” explained Sebastian. “From a biblical perspective, the vocation of a teacher is to take care of God’s children so they will become citizens of heaven and earth and that God will be glorified through their lives.”
“I sensed a calling to become a teacher and take care of God’s children,” said James.
Pursuing a calling to care for God’s children.
James enrolled in a local government institution to become certified as a primary school teacher. He has also completed other Educational Care training modules on teaching for different learning styles, developing student gifts, school leadership, and more.
“The training is supplementing my formal education with the biblical foundation I need as a Christian educator,” said James.
Because of your prayer and support, Resonate missionaries are shaping teachers in West Africa and around the world. In a region where teaching is looked down upon, your Resonate missionaries are working hard to challenge the stigmas, provide resources, and equip teachers like James who are passionate about caring for God’s children.
“God calls those he qualifies and qualifies those he calls,” said Sebastian. “May the Holy Spirit anoint [James] and empower him so he will make a difference in his classroom and in students’ lives!”
*Name changed for security
This article was originally published on crcna.org.