• Laura Hewett

Shine

Earlier this week a teacher friend of mine in America was telling me a student recently asked her, "Do you even know who TobyMac is?" And when she replied, "Do you even know who dcTalk is?" the student did not. I was appalled. Kids these days. Don't even know the origin story of Toby Mac or that the current lead singer of the Newsboys was his childhood friend from Washington, DC when they used to rap together with that third guy named Kevin that no one remembers (Kevin was my mom's favorite).


I was going to make a whole post about a deep cut off a dcTalk album when I realized, what's more 90s than a song by a band who had a greatest hits album in 2000 but is still going strong with the help of one third of dcTalk in the place of their now long forgotten original Australian frontman (I'll always love you, Peter Furler)? So here we are, with undertones of Australian accents and one of the weirdest music videos ever made, a recounting of my week.


I was hired to teach at this incredible international school, and while my job is focused on the students in my class each day, I have the absolute privilege of students keeping up with me after they leave my classroom. Just this week, a coworker returned from a recruiting trip in Texas from where, unbeknownst to me, a pair of socks and emotional letter were smuggled into my office. I showed up to work on Thursday to discover the note with recognizable handwriting and a pair of unique socks chosen especially for her weird former teacher. "You are home to me," I read through my tears as this alumni told me our transcontinental connection mattered to her.


The day before I'd woken up to a message from her little brother who just finished boot camp in South Korea. He's been promoted up to the next thing in his mandatory service, but he had a brief moment where he was allowed to view and send messages. I'm honored I made the short list as he asked me to pass on his greetings to my other students who knew him.


The day before that, Tanya, the most incredible member care missionary in the world, stopped by my room for a brief encouragement. "You're genuine," she told me, "Students come to you because they can see that you aren't faking it." I'm so far from perfect, but I'm doing my best to point kids to Jesus, and I hope that continues to shine so they can see through my mess and recognize the good works are only meant to glorify the Lord.


The next song on the Newsboys' Going Public album is "Spirit Thing," and honestly, that's got even better lyrics for this week. There's some times where I get that "holy nudge" and buy chocolates for my coworker because I know she's not slept enough this week while she's been dealing with health issues and trying to get all her grading done. It's the same "circuit charge in the brain" that makes Tanya come to my classroom just when I need her to. That "early warning sign" is something I can talk to alumni about when they call me up in college and tell me about the crazy things God is doing in their life - or about how they are ignoring God and having problems in life.


"Sometimes it works a bit like a teleprompter," and a year and a half ago, I prayed over a student and told her a weird sentence that didn't make much sense to me. Last week she called me up and told me it had stuck with her and that God had used her Sunday morning experience to connect directly with what I'd told her so long ago.


When I did my lesson on Christology this week, I told the students about an alumni who came to my house for tea with friends once and told me that I talked about Jesus like I know him. "Yeah, duh, that's what being a Christian is about," I thought. I was heartbroken to hear her go on that most of her experience with Christians was very different; she'd encountered a lot of nominalist religious people who turned her off to the idea of being a Jesus follower because he seemed like a dead and distant dude. I pray that all of you who call yourselves a Christian can learn to recognize that "spirit thing" as the real God at work in you, "and when it's teleprompting you, I pray you'll let it through."


If any of you get prompting to pray for me this week, I'm happy to receive it. I've still not been sleeping well the past several nights, and I'm hoping to get back on track with holistically resting and walking on that fabulous treadmill. It's been hard to find the time to get all my responsibilities done and still care for myself well while I'm so fatigued.

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