How would you feel if you were introduced to a new officemate and the person turns out to be a former student? Here is the story of a teacher whom God used to touch the life of a student, not knowing that one day, God would use them to accomplish His work together.
In 2004, I entered my first teaching job in one of the Christian schools in Zamboanga City. I remember being excited at the idea of making an impact in the lives of young people, and at the same time nervous, not knowing what awaited me. Maan was one of my students that year. Because she was a sweet and friendly young girl, I immediately became very fond of her. We would see each other in and out of school and just catch up. We would talk about what was happening in our lives and pray together.
Maan was in first year high school when she encountered God through a retreat organized by LifeBox, which is now Every Nation Campus. She surrendered her life to Christ and would have started her discipleship journey had she not been distracted by some of the cares of the world. She got disconnected from her church community and took another path. My path also took me farther away from her. I was sent by my school to Manila to pursue higher education. I left the school, but the desire to teach and be with students never left my heart.
After finishing my studies in 2014, I went back to Zamboanga to teach. To my surprise and delight, Maan was also in the same school, no longer a student but a colleague. Working with a former student seemed surreal at first, but seeing her passion and commitment to fulfill her purpose in life made me feel overjoyed and proud. I was also relieved to realize that the years apart had done nothing to weaken our relationship; it was easy to continue where we had left off. For six years, we shared our lives together and prayed for each other. We became closer as friends and co-teachers. We were so excited for this year—but then the lockdown happened.
At a time when people are saying that everything in the world seemed to have stopped moving, it became apparent that God’s power moved even more in people’s hearts. God used this lockdown to speak to Maan and draw her close to Him. She was reminded of the time she had encountered God as a university student. She started wanting more of Him in her life. By God’s grace, it did not take long for her to see the truth that God is all that she needed in the situations she was facing. She knew, without a shadow of doubt, that God was calling her back to Him.
The lockdown did not stop Maan from starting her discipleship journey. For several weeks, we met online to go though ONE 2 ONE. When we finished that, we started our Victory group. Just last Saturday, August 29, Maan participated in Victory Weekend. God is indeed transforming lives, even in the midst of this global pandemic.
As a teacher, it is a privilege to be used by God to touch the lives of the next generation. We have been given a platform to effect change that will go beyond the four walls of our classrooms. God is calling us to be present in the lives of our students and to keep planting His word in their hearts, even if it does not appear to be bearing any fruit. In God’s perfect time, He will cause these seeds to grow.
Maan has started to share the love of God to her family. She is also eager to pray for the teachers and students in our school. How God sparked her passion in the most unlikely season will never fail to amaze me. We may not always understand what He is doing, but He is definitely calling us to be part of it. Just as God has used me to reach out to the generation after me, I know He will use Maan to reach out to the generation after her.
. . . but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
Teacher Nida is a school-based occupational therapist and Values Education teacher in a Christian school in Zamboanga. She also serves as a Victory group leader in our church there.