My name is Hannah and I had the privilege of serving and learning at Bethesda for the month of July 2018. I have been a preschool teacher for the past three years and have just begun a new position as a kindergarten (Grade R) teacher in August. Since I had heard about this ministry over ten years ago, I was excited to finally be able to visit and tutor several different children and too serve and assist in a kindergarten classroom. I was looking forward to learning about education and the classroom in South Africa, as well as being an encouragement to the students and teachers.
During my time in the kindergarten classroom, God impressed on my heart three specific ideas that I can take back to the States with me and use in my own classroom. First, the teacher had such love and respect for her five-year old students. She never got angry with them and yet had absolute control of her classroom. My desire is to constantly be aware of how I am coming across to my students, and even more than that, to be showing them Jesus through my treatment of them. Second, because JCA is a Christian school, they spent the first twenty to thirty minutes each morning learning about a Bible story and singing praise songs. While I am unable to do this in the public school I teach in, I was made aware what a difference it makes to get one’s heart and mind centered on Jesus before jumping into academics. I am resolved to spend that time with Jesus on my own each morning before I teach my students in order to get my fill of Him, and have overflow of love for my students. Thirdly, I was impressed at the patience the teacher demonstrated in waiting for responses to questions or class discussions. She gave plenty of time for the student to think, and made sure the rest of the class was patient and respectful as well. I was honored to be able to learn in this teacher’s classroom.
I had a wonderful experience at Bethesda, from the time spent playing with and getting to know the children, the encouragement the staff was to me in my relationship with God, and the things I learned in the classroom. One of my favorite memories from South Africa is the time I spent worshipping with Christians at different churches as well as the school, both in the classroom and during assembly. It was a beautiful picture of what heaven will look like!
As I travel home and step back into my life in America, I plan to keep the people from Bethesda, the children, houseparents, teachers and staff, in my heart and my prayers. Their ministry and faithfulness to God has helped me grow and be encouraged in my spiritual journey. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with the people God brings into my life!