Have you ever asked, “What does it mean to be a Christian?”
We are excited to have a whole new group of Grade 11 and 12 students embarking to India again this year. They are off to go serve and love two children's homes in northern India. Our team will run a Vacation Bible School for the 70+ children at the home, giving the staff a much-needed rest and the children a fun, engaging, and hopefully spiritually uplifting experience. In addition, the India team will spend some of their time exploring India and learning how the Indian Church and its international partners are responding to the needs of the country.
Stories are all around us. They tell us who we are and who God is. They can fill our sails with meaning, while other stories insinuate a different purpose for our lives. There are numerous stories, stories like consumerism that say that we are consumers and money is God. Other stories, like pluralism, tell us we are who we want to be and God is who we believe Him to be. In contrast, the Bible lays out for us another story - one that tells us we are God’s creation and loved by Him. This story gives us our identity, rather than saying we need to invent it. His story explains our sinful condition but provides hope by pointing to a God that hasn’t abandoned or left us to our ruin. Instead, it’s a story of God seeking after us and making a way for us to partake in His story of redemption. This powerful story is a living story that invites us in. Our desire at Kelowna Christian School is to help students see how their personal stories fit within God’s overarching story and plan for their life.
This powerful experience had a tremendously positive impact on our students as they wrestled with these questions. Traveling through Delhi, Amritsar and other cities their hearts broke as they witnessed the ruin that poverty brings to so many. They helplessly watched the poor being beaten with sticks, left in the cold, and marginalized from the social culture of India.
In contrast, at the children’s homes, our students watched the transforming power of people who not only hear God’s story of redemption but also choose to be part of it. All of the children at the home came from the same hopelessly impoverished circumstances that our students just recently experienced in the urban cities. However, the children who called these buildings home were alive, strong, and filled with joy! The contrast couldn’t be starker. Our students saw firsthand what can happen when people align their lives with God’s story. Our actions matter because they make God’s story come alive in our world.
God has invited us, KCS, to join these children in their amazing living story found in the beautiful Himalayan mountains of Northern India. We invite you to follow our journey through our blog and Twitter channel (posted above) and pray with us for our students and their experience and impact in India. If you interested in learning more about the children's homes, please visit Child of Mine at www.childofmine.ca. Our leaders would love to talk with you and share more about our experiences.
Ian Sharp, Daryl Klassen, Joanne Marees, Eva Linttell, Brent MacArthur
2019 KCS India Mission Trip Leaders
We believe that to achieve KCS’s mission of growing disciples of Jesus Christ who glorify God through a life of service to Him and others, we need to model that behavior. Over the past several years, our school has been influenced by Darryl Deboer and a program called Teaching for Transformation. During our training time with him he introduced us to this quote:
“It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture”
This quote is both inspirational and scary. In my experience as a teacher and in the church I believe this statement to be 100% true. The tension between scary and inspirational exist in the challenge that this quote presents. Creating engaged creative students within the confines of the classroom is possible, but can be difficult. It is often beyond the walls of the classroom that we have more success in achieving this.
India will be a chance for some of our students to contribute to Christian culture or at minimum observe people that are. We have already seen this in our community, as the whole school raised $13,000 for Child of Mind in only 6 weeks. The Kindergarteners made blankets, the Elementary students wrote letters, and the Middle and High School ran fun fundraising challenges for their campus. We are taking only taking a small number of students, but our entire student body is engaged. We are excited to experience and see God’s story in India, and how we fit into that Story both while in India and when we get home.
“We are story-formed people. Our lives are first shaped by narrative, not by information. We don’t learn how to live the Christian life by memorizing facts, rules, precepts, morals, imports, exports, governments, and drains... We begin to see our lives as part of a pattern within the larger story of redemption. We long to live a life worthy of that story”
KCS High School Teacher