A foot in two realms.
I am teaching students in Belize a Biblical Interpretation course by Internet, but as I engage them in chat sessions and by email daily, and as I set up the course for them, I feel as though I am there, in Belize: a foot in both worlds.
From my desk, which looks like a wardrobe, entering Narnia is almost a fitting analogy, but not quite. This is real, and nobody moves. We meet each other, almost as if we were two sides of the same computer screen, except that we are both appearing on the same side, at the same time. Metaphorically, they enter North America while I enter Belize. Many feet in two realms.
Some of the students seem challenged just with the academics, and some seem challenged by the local telecommunications company in Belize. But they are all enthused, for their backs are to the wall. This is it. There is no other theological educational plan, so we are invested in each other, to make it work, and it is working.
One of my goals is to leave no one behind. It was not an officially assigned goal, but it is a role that I gladly take on for the Gospel.
And so, it comes as a pleasant surprise to the students when I reach into the muck of their situation and metaphorically pull out a rose of a solution, so that they can keep going. And they are so relieved. They are not left behind. Another dashed hope averted. Someone cares.
And they learn things. Learning things about God, about mission, about prayer, about being Anglican in Belize. Part of teaching the future leaders of the Diocese of Belize is to learn to come together as a team. We work with the regular folks whom the Lord gave us. Some might be little rough around the edges, but they are part of our team. People are people, everywhere.
It may be hard for some people to see growth right now, but it is happening, slowly, deliberately, patiently, day by day, one footstep at a time. And then, one day in the future, other people may suddenly notice what is happening, and see what God did. And they will be amazed and may want to become involved.
If you see the students through God’s eyes as successful, there is a good chance that they will succeed, but maybe not in the way that you or they expect, but in God’s way. So, not only do all the students and faculty have a foot on each continent, we have one foot on earth and one in the Kingdom of Heaven. That could be a lot of feet in heaven and on earth!
Ways to support us.
Your prayers and financial support make the online educational ministry happen. Thank you.
Please make checks out to: "SAMS", and put "Mudge" in the memo space. The mailing address is: SAMS, P. O. Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003-0399.
God bless you,
Shaw+ and Julie+
Global missionaries of SAMS and Albany.
Shaw and Julie in San Ignacio, Belize, July 2012 with Ms. Cecile Reyes, Administrative/Diocesan Secretary. Photo by Fr. Juan Marentes.