Your NFC – June 14, 2013

Click here: June 14, 2013 for the entire issue.

by Karen Swenson

by Karen Swenson

Impacting Eternity Through Teaching

High school graduation—a time of joy as we celebrate the culmination of the students’ four years of study; a time of expectation as we look forward to what God has in store for these talented young people; and, for those in the international school community, a time of sadness as we say “viszontlátásra” (farewell) to students who are scattering around the globe.

Seniors 2013 001

Saturday was graduation day at International Christian School of Budapest. Although I am no longer affiliated with the school, God has given me special opportunities to impact the lives of many of these students, including nine of the graduating seniors. During the past year, I taught AP Physics (8 students) and AP Statistics (3 students), neither class offered at the school. I also taught Algebra 1, Geometry, and Spanish 2 for students who needed an alternative educational setting. In addition to teaching classes, I tutored several other students or offered preparation sessions for SAT, ACT, or TOEFL. My students ranged from a sixth grader to the seniors and included students from Korea, China, India, Hungary, Great Britain, and the United States. Many were the children of American missionaries; others were international students whose parents are involved in business.

Seniors 2013 003

One of the students who graduated on Saturday was a Chinese young man named JiLi. I began working with JiLi in grade 8. He had come to Hungary three years earlier, but studying in an English-speaking school had been an overwhelming task. He was caught in a cycle of defeat and failure. After working with him in an attempt to break the cycle in grade 9 and having limited success, I recommended the family find a computer technical school where JiLi could pursue his interest and gifts. Following 14 months of studying computers in Beijing, he returned to Budapest with a new understanding of the importance of English and a new spirit within him. The transformation since then has been truly amazing. Now, two years later, he has received his high school diploma and heads off to university in the United States next year.

Some of the students come to me because learning is difficult for them, either because of language or learning issues. Others come to me because they are capable students who want and/or need a challenge. One such student was Abbie, who came to me for AP Physics and AP Statistics. Abbie and her family moved to Budapest two years ago when her father accepted the pastorate at an international church in Budapest. Moving midway through your high school years can be a daunting task, but Abbie jumped right in and became an important part of her class. Not only did she participate in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track, but she also maintained a 4.0 GPA and was valedictorian of her class. Abbie is a capable and godly young lady who heads off to study environmental biology at university next year.
Seniors 2013 002

As I reflect back on the students who have crossed my path during my time in Budapest, I am amazed and humbled at how God has taken the gifts he has given me and how he has used them to impact his kingdom. One mother recently shared the following with me: “Our ministry is pastoral care and counseling for missionaries, and we see many families who have to go back to the States because of special learning difficulties their children are having. The mission community loses far too many effective people because of educational issues. You have helped keep many, many families, including ours, healthy, effective, and on the field because of your unique calling and giftedness to serve children/teens who are gifted or who have learning problems.” Because of the work I am doing, missionary families are able to continue their ministry and touch lives in Hungary and many surrounding countries. Eternity is also being impacted as I teach and mentor the future leaders who pass through my classroom. I praise the Lord for how he is impacting lives through the teaching opportunities he has given me.

Karen Swenson has been teaching in Hungary for 15 years, serving with NWYM Teaching Abroad since 2002. Before going to Hungary, she was active in Newberg Friends for nine years. The work of teaching fills most of the hours in the week, but she looks forward to having time to play her cello and finish a quilt.

Click here: June 14, 2013 for the entire issue.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.