Recently, we have been receiving resumes and applications for the position of Educational Administrative Assistant in the secondary office. The other day, I planned to meet with the current admin assistants to go through all the resumes and decide on whom we should interview for the position.
But before the meeting, I went into my staff file and pulled out Melody Hirsch’s resume from 13 years ago, whited out her name and replaced it with “Janice Jones,” (it was the first random name I could think of) and then slipped it into the pile of new resumes.
“Oh, I have a new one I just put in the file this morning,” I said, “have a look and see what you think.”
Without missing a beat, Melody read through the resume and when she got about half way through she exclaimed excitedly, “No way! This applicant worked in the exact same office that I worked in Vancouver. That was the best job. They loved me at that office. Wow, what are the chances that an applicant for this job would have worked at the same place as I did in Vancouver? This is crazy!”
Joanne Poortinga, the other admin assistant, wasn’t going to play along with this for very long…she figured out what was going on. “Melody, that’s you!” she said.
It took a few seconds to register and then she looked at me and said, “That’s ridiculous. YOU did this, didn’t you?” she laughed and shouted at me, “I can’t believe I didn’t even see my own home phone number on the front page!”
Sometimes, things are hiding in plain sight.
Just a way to improve the budget?
Our international program is a bit like that; it is an amazing ministry hiding in plain sight. A few weeks ago, I responded to an email from a concerned parent who thought that perhaps our International Program was just a great way to improve the budget. I explained that, at ACS, our International Program is far more than an excellent business venture, providing a high quality, Canadian, Christian education. It is also a chance to share the love of Jesus with students from far off places who have never heard about God. They become part of a Christian homestay family, become part of the local church, become part of a vibrant Christian school community and eventually come to an understanding about what it means to be a Christian. They don’t all decide to follow Jesus, but they all hear and see His amazing love.
Students go on a retreat in the fall, many join a Youth Alpha program, all of them hear clear Bible teaching in every grade and they are prayed for by our staff every week. Over time and through meaningful relationships, our staff earn the right to be heard and they share the gospel openly with students. What an opportunity we have to share Jesus with students who come to ACS as international students. Every year, students from our international program are baptized by local churches. A few years ago, I went to Cultus Lake and watched our students be baptized in the Canadian outdoors. What a celebration! This work is an incredible ministry.
“My teacher sat down with me…”
Here is a summarized excerpt from an essay by one of our international students from a Bible class this year;
“I was reading a chapter in the Bible, of course in Mandarin, but at that moment I didn’t believe in God and I just regarded Moses as a character from a book. Before I accepted God, my life was a mess, and I wasn’t being able to keep up with living in it.
At home, I felt tortured by my middle school teachers and I hated my life in my home country. I saw myself as a ‘screw-up’ and didn’t think there was anyone who could save someone who was garbage in life. But here, my teacher sat down with me and told me they believed in me. And, they told me about Jesus. And I prayed and welcomed Jesus into my life and I believed that He is the Saviour of this sinful world. At that particular moment, I felt so released. I knew He forgave me and all my sins were washed away. And He also wanted me not to hate others who hurt me but to love them because He has always loved me. I will always remember that great day, because the sky was so blue on the day I prayed with my teacher to know Jesus.”
Hiding in plain sight.