‘You don’t see the plant, but the roots are growing underneath’

28 Jul, 2017 | Hungary
Jessica Alyea
OM Hungary team members (L-R) Corrie Arrowsmith, Rebecca Lingenhoel, and Suzanne Cole at the International Christian School of Budapest where they teach and serve Hungarian and international students.
The international Christian school near the OM headquarters in Hungary was founded in 1994 by several mission organisations working together to serve missionary families in the area. ICSB today comprises approximately 250 Hungarian and international students in kindergarten through 12th grade, with more than 100 faculty members, including three OM team members following their calling to share God’s love with students. 

Meet the teachers:

Corrie Arrowsmith, UK
2 years at ICSB
Third grade; all subjects 

Rebecca Lingenhoel, USA
21 years at ICSB
High school and middle school music and drama; Hungarian culture

Suzanne Cole, USA
7 years at ICSB
Multiple high school history and social studies courses; assistant girls’ basketball coach

What’s your favorite part of your job?

CA: The thing that’s most rewarding as a Christian, as a missionary, is when in their faith, the students get it. Like one morning we did the lesson on the Red Sea, and suddenly a kid goes, “Wow. God’s powerful.” And I’m like, "Yep! But you said it!’" And often you don’t see it for a long time. You’re planting a seed and you water it and water it and water it--and the plant, you don’t see, but the roots are growing underneath. And you might not be the one to see when it suddenly sprouts and has the fruit. It might be the next grade teacher. Like the fourth-grade teacher has said that one of the kids that I thought I was getting nowhere with suddenly blossomed. And it’s all those roots that have gone down year after year after year. And suddenly God surprises you, and you don’t see it coming because you haven’t seen the roots. And this fruit blossoms from nowhere. It’s those moments that--that’s why I do my job.

RL: I see between 100 and 130 students in my room over the course of the week, so I have great opportunities to see students grow in their abilities as musicians and as people. I love the opportunity to challenge them to grow in their understanding of music, of the Lord, of their impact on the world through using their gifts. Over the 20 years I’ve taught, I have seen students grow into men and women who desire to work together, to challenge, inspire, and encourage each other to things they wouldn’t be able to do on their own. Music challenges every part of the student: intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical--and watching God work in and through them in all of these areas is my greatest joy as a teacher.

How have you seen God working at ICSB in the past couple years?

SC: We live in a community that puts a lot of focus--not always intentionally--on being excellent in performance, whether academic, athletic, artistic, or even spiritual. In the past year, I have really felt God moving in the school in ways that have caused students and staff to really examine the value of performance-living. Members of the staff and the student body alike have experienced incredible breakthroughs in wanting to live a life that is authentic and vulnerable instead of focusing on being the ‘example Christian’ that it seems like everyone expects you to be.

What has God taught you through teaching?

CA: I’ve realised, I have to be so open with the kids. I’m British. I’m reserved. I don’t normally share my heart with them. But when they can see that you’ve struggled with something, or you made a mistake too, they realise, ‘Ah, it’s OK for me to make a mistake. Ah, I might be weak too, but God is strong.’ The example I use with them is that it took me a long time to pass my driving test because I have a weakness in spatial awareness. And it was a sore point with me. I was embarrassed about it for years. But I’ve used it two or three times now with the kids--that, look, even though I was weak in something, I persevered. And I got through it. We all have giftings in different areas. God’s just been showing me how to be humble about my weaknesses so that He can use that for His plan and so that the kids can see Him working through me. That’s something I didn’t really expect that God would use, but He has.

SC: God has taught me how little I know! Teaching is a humbling experience, to be sure. Through that, though, God has really showed me that He provides exactly what I need and I don’t have to be worried or afraid of failing or not being good enough.

RL: Patience, love, seeing people through His eyes. The necessity to see beyond the momentary condition of a piece of music or a child and see the hope of the finished product--so much like He looks at us.

Do you have a passion to teach others? Check out OM's opportunities for you here.

Credit: Jessica Alyea · © 2017 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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