The school year has started and there are a handful of new teachers at CAS. On the first day of orientation I met Ashley who was sitting very quietly between some of the teachers. I noticed her quiet and gentle spirit imidiately because she sat around others who were a bit more talkative. I soon found out that she had arrived the day before. By the end I introduced myself and offered my help since I had a vehicle and I too needed to buy some groceries.
I have been reading some of her blog posts and it's evident of her love for the Lord. I wanted to host her here so you can meet her and follow her journey as she love the little first graders. She is very insightful and deep in her blog.
This is her story:
1. Background information
Born in Warner Robins Georgia to Michael and Jada Harris on . My Mother, Jada Harris has worked in Christian Education for 30 years now and has made me her assistant practically since I could talk. A love and passion for international travel and work was instilled by my father who was in the Air Force and constantly bringing home fragrant gifts and exquisite stories and photos from abroad. I grew up with an older brother, a younger sister and two more younger brothers, so the more people I can have around the better. When I was in kindergarten the Gospel was presented in an Easter chapel at my school, during which I broke down and after talking with my teacher, prayed and asked God to be the Lord and Savior of my life, thanking Him for His love and payment for our sins on the cross and believing in the power of His love. Since then I have been seeking to follow Him with my life, praying that He use me to be His hands and feet bringing the love and hope of the Gospel to the world.
2. What brought you to Guatemala?
Technically who brought me to Guatemala, God absolutely. And a woman who was an administrator with my mom at Grace Brethren Christian School who has become like an adopted grandmother to me over the years. She learned of my passion for international missions and felt a call on my life like I did to serve internationally one day. Her church has been going to Guatemala since the early 1990's so in 2011, she asked if I would prayerfully consider going. Which I did and within a few months ended up on a plane to Guatemala for the first time. Looking back I'm not sure what I was expecting, though definitely not that it would change my life and my heart. That the sparkling eyes of the people of Guatemala would forever be etched on my heart and soul and that God would bring me back over and over again and now to live and serve in this country for His Glory to reach the brokenhearted with the love and hope of the Gospel.
3. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
One of my favorite quotes is "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." by Maya Angelou. Growing up watching my mom in Christian Education and being thrust into the circle at an early age I saw the truth in a quote by J.C. Maxwell, "A teacher is one who know the way, goes the way, and shows the way." Especially in Christian education where a teacher does not just light the way for academic pursuits but stands as a light for The Way, The Truth and The Light, the way to hope and love and eternal life. An opportunity to used of God to stand as a light for children all over the world is a beautiful blessing to me.
4. Any goals for this school year?
I would love to see each child blossom this year, in school and in their lives. I pray that they see the love of Christ and the hope of the Gospel through their teachers and in everything we do this year. This year I pray my students think, question, design, create, struggle, collaborate, try, solve, invent, reflect, and learn. I pray to inspire my kids and I can't wait to see how they will inspire me.
5. What do you expect to get out of this school year?
I look forward to collaborating with other teachers at the school both in and out of work. For it has been said by Robert John Meehan, "The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives." I pray to grow in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am learning to trust Him more and more and step out in fearlessness when He asks me to walk on the waters. My verse for this year, prayed about and adopted in January is "Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid, Do not be discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Getting a call to move to and teach in Guatemala with one week preparation time definitely was a call for me to grow in my trust of Him but I still have a ways to go and I look forward to how He works this year.
6. Favorite moment so far these past 2 weeks of school?
About half my class ended up sick by of this week, out with fevers and stomach bugs. It was pretty bad. The first one to get sick was a little girl who ended up being out for the last two days of the first week, which we only had three days to start so it was interesting. But she came back with a picture for me, drawn on this little slip of paper in all primary colored markers of her and I which she handed to me with a big hug and exclaimed, "Oh I Love You Miss!" Then sat down and began quietly reading.
7. Final Thoughts?
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" Helen Keller
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3
Here are some pictures she sent me from her volunteer work here in Guatemala.