The last few weeks have been full of work, sweat, lessons, laughter, happiness, and tears… and completely void of energy 🙂
As of this afternoon, I have successfully completed my first full year of teaching! It has been over 11 months since I arrived in Indonesia, making for one heck of a school year.
It has been a beautiful year with so many great memories, but I am definitely running on fumes right now!
That said, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
As the year came to an end, my students continuously reminded me what teaching is all about. And really, what living with Jesus is all about. They have been such an incredible example of His love to me and to so many others!
One event that especially grabbed my heart took place yesterday, on the last day of school for the students.
Headed, organized, and pulled off (excellently) by three ninth grade girls was an event raising awareness, money, and hair for those with cancer. “Be Brave and Shave” was inspired by Zoe’s 4-year-old cousin who is suffering from cancer. Zoe decided to shave her head, and Abby and Soyoung joined their friend in support.
The girls didn’t simply stop there, though, but turned their mission into an all-school event. They led 20 people in cutting and donating their hair or shaving their heads in front of hundreds of spectators and were featured in the Jakarta Globe (read about it here). They raised over $4,000 dollars to help support children in our area of Indonesia that cannot afford cancer treatments.
The event was absolutely beautiful, and especially close to my heart as my grandfather has been bravely battling cancer this year. These girls, and those who joined them, have set an incredible example in so many ways.
Dream Big. I love that these girls did not just stop with the already major commitment of shaving their heads, but took it so much farther. I was concerned with getting my math homework done when I was in 9th grade. They, on the other hand, took on this huge issue and, by doing so, blessed so many people that wouldn’t have been able to benefit otherwise. Taking the challenge on with a passion, they did a fantastic job with it!
Support. This was such a beautiful picture of Christian community, as they shared each other’s burdens, shared in the laughter and the tears. First in Zoe’s support of her cousin, then in Abby and Soyoung’s coming alongside her in doing so, next in the 17 other people who joined them, and finally in the crazy huge turnout from the student body. People were so united in this.
The shirts worn by people participating in and supporting the event read “I’m thinking of…” on the back, and those wearing them wrote in the names of the people that they were doing this in honor of or in memory of.
Priorities. In both a culture that is hugely focused on looks and a time of life that is so often about seeking your identity, these girls took a shocking step. They so clearly saw beyond what most their age are striving for, and instead set their sights on what is truly of importance.
Zoe said it so beautifully when interviewed by the newspaper: “We’re teenage girls, we probably spend too much time on our hair, and if it’s this hard to choose we probably care too much so we want to be less vain.”
Selflessness. I was so challenged by the way that these girls put aside what was easy and comfortable for themselves in an effort to support others who were going through a difficult time. The didn’t even stop at their loved ones who were being affected, but chose to bless the community in which they live.
There’s no chance that I will be able to capture all of the love, beauty, and emotion of this event in a blog post, but I hope that you can be inspired by these incredible teenagers even through this feeble account!