The teacher of my class of whom I was assistant to became such a significant part of this trip for me. So much so that I have to use an entire post to talk about her. Her name is Marina, and she’s the best teacher I’ve ever met. This was partly due to her experience as a middle school teacher during the school year. For example, on the first day of VBS, me and Marina’s niece and daughter (who were my two awesome helpers), set up the chairs in our room in several rows. But when Marina saw this, she suggested that we put the chairs in a half-circle around the room, so that we would basically stand in the middle of the class. This proved to be a much better set up, because it allowed us to interact at a more personal level with the kids.
But her teaching skills weren’t only due to her experience, they also had to do with her character and her evident love for her students. Through her example, she showed me how to engage the students in a bible lesson. The other teacher’s assistants in my team kept telling stories about how rowdy their kids were, and how hard it was to get them to sit still and listen. This is what made me realize how amazing my teacher was. I mean, all the other teachers were wonderful. But Marina seemed to have developed a special connection with the kids in my class, because for the most part during the bible lesson, they were enthralled. Even I was entranced by the bible lessons. She made them sound so beautiful and thrilling. She had the skill of really capturing the awesomeness of God in each lesson, and it made me so thankful she was there. No way could I have taught the lessons in the same way. Besides her teaching skills, Marina also radiated Christ through her actions. She showed love to me and every child she talked to. She showed genuine care and interest in my life by asking me how the trip was going, what was my life was like at home, and helping me prepare my testimony when it was my turn to share it with the children. She also encouraged me to pray more when I noticed how every day, right before VBS started, she would shut herself into an empty classroom and pray for about 10 to 15 minutes. Seeing this reverent action reminded me who we were doing this for, and that we can’t do it without Him. It made me realize that the secret to Marina’s success was simply Jesus Christ.