Philippines Mission Partner Update – Barners’ Christian Academy
Philippine driver’s licenses expire on the holder’s birthday, mine expired the day before we left New York to fly back to Davao, Philippine.
After preaching (Giving Thanks: Ps 118) Sunday and giving a Bible message Monday (Exemplifying Christlike Love: 1 Jn 4) to the teachers Monday, I (Paul) headed on down to the LTO (Motor Vehicle Office). Instead of just picking up a new license, the new rules require a slew of tests (medical, physical, mental, etc.) and a good chunk of the day sitting in on a live, interactive class most of it in the local language.
When the dozen in my class finally finished and sat in church-like benches waiting for an hour to be called to get our final biometrics scans, I briefly stood before my “classmates” and joked, “now class, since we are gathered together, let’s have church!” I then quickly sat down to get lost in the crowd so that I wouldn’t get into trouble for leading an assembly without a permit. But now, my new Philippine driver’s license is good until 2032!
Meanwhile at Barners’ Christian Academy (BCA), Teacher Donna led her 3rd-Grade students in the Monday flag raising ceremonies. They recited the pledge, then energetically clapped & sang the BCA school cheer, did morning calisthenics to an upbeat Christian song, and prayed. Then, already lined-up in rows by grade level, each student placed his or her hands on the shoulders of the student in front of them and filed to their classrooms for the 1st day of 3 “2nd Preliminary” exams.
Last Friday, Teacher Donna had read to her class the Bible verse in Romans 7:15. It describes the struggle: “I do not understand what I do. What I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”
Zach raised his hand. “Yes, Teach. Sometimes I want to do good, but I end up doing bad. I seem to have a mind that wants to do good but a body that does bad.”
Donna explained, “The sinful nature of each person influences what we do and the choices we make. In this verse, Paul is telling us that even if we want to do what we know is good, the sin inside of us can cause us to do those things we don’t want to.”
Acelle then spoke up. “Teach, we should think about higher things.”
“Exactly,” said Donna. “The Bible says to affix our thoughts onto what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” She then called Acelle and Zach up to the whiteboard. “You two have names that begin with the 1st & last letters of the alphabet: A and Z. Likewise, if we remember these things we have mentioned, we should have a lot less problems avoiding sin.” The 2 students then wrote the 2 halves of the 8 attributes listed in Romans: Acelle wrote in blue, “TRUE, HONORABLE, RIGHT, PURE” and then Zach wrote in red, “LOVELY, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT and WORTHY OF PRAISE.”
Donna glanced at a poster on her wall that said, “Teachers have 3 loves: 1- the love of learning, 2- the love of learners, and 3- the love of bringing the 1st 2 loves together.” So, knowing that her third-grade students love Art more than Bible, Mathematics & Science, she challenged her class, “Would you like to now discuss the arts?” They cried out, “Yehey, finally it’s already Art.”
So, Donna told them that after the Bible discussion they would have an activity about this, and as expected, they were all excited and happy. The classroom was filled with happiness and excitement. Everyone was paying attention to the discussion and recited together the 8 attributes which will help them keep away from sin.
In Art, they learned about foreground, middle ground, background, landscape, and portrait. So, after their discussion, they proceeded to the activity in which they were going to draw a beach and a mountain and must apply the foreground, middle ground, and background.
Donna then pointed to the beach in the foreground and said, “As long as you keep God’s desires in the foreground of your life,” she then pointed to the mountains in the background, saying, “then sin will not be the focus of your thoughts.”
In the 3rd grade classroom last Friday, a lot of things happened. Not just the discussion of the topics, not just the quizzes and exercises, but also the discipline of the pupils’ behavior. In addition to being the teacher, Donna also played the role of a big sister and Christian role model, who simply wants what is best for her students.
Until next time…Let the islands rejoice!
Rev. Paul Barner