Eighth Grade

A few of my eight graders

I’m reading The Hiding Place, an autobiographical novel by Corrie ten Boom, with my eighth graders. The book follows Corrie and her family as they follow God into the task of sheltering and hiding Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland, and finally into the heart of the extermination camps themselves.  If you haven’t read the book, you need to. It’s a quick, easy real whose plot is woven like a spy novel, and even better, it’s all true.  However, the best part of the book is that Corrie is a Christ follower.  This is one of my most favorite books of all time, and it’s hard to believe that I’m allowed to share such a gem with my students.  As we read each page together and marvel at Corrie and her family’s bravery and faith in the midst of overwhelming evil, we learn together. 

There’s something very special about this class. As I stand in front of them and lead discussions, I can feel it.  I’m not exactly sure why, although I do have some theories. I asked them to discuss the haunting question, “Why does God let His followers suffer?” yesterday.  I wasn’t really sure what kind of a response I’d get, but many of the responses I got were deep, thoughtful, and straight from the Word itself.  I was blown away by that. In a moment, the tables were turned and I became the pupil. As we thought through suffering, listening to some of the profound words of Edith Shaeffer in her book, Affliction, and the well-known song by Ginny Owens, “If You Want Me To,” I saw from the looks on many faces that pain is not a distant idea.  Although HOPAC is a school for expat and missionary families and upper class Tanzanians, there are many students who have had family members die for various reasons.  (Sarah, one of our tenth grade girls, lost her mother just this week.  Please pray for her family.) The room took on a somber tone, but also filled with the fragrant aroma of truth.  “Those who God chooses to use greatly are usually those He breaks significantly.”

Please pray for this class as we delve into the theme of suffering in the upcoming weeks.  Pray that the Lord would teach their hearts and use this unit to prepare them for whatever refining fires they will face in their lives.  I cannot see the future, but I am fairly confident that many of these students will be serving in missionary roles on into their adult lives. With the world at their fingertips and God as their leader, I know His dreams will surpass my wildest speculations of what their lives may be.


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