I had grand plans to write a great blog summarizing the reports from MISSION POSSIBLE.
For those of you who aren’t ladies, or weren’t part of the last quarter of the year: Mission Possible was simply the ladies of the house being intentional with the teachers of the house. Connecting with, praying for & stepping in to action to influence regionally.
I sent out 3 questions to each of our group leaders & 3 similar questions to our teachers. As their answers poured in over the last few weeks I realized there was no way I could adequately summarize & re-tell what they had to share! Their perspectives and experiences were each uniquely incredible & rewarding, here are just a few of their responses.
Practically, what impact did the Mission Possible have on your classes/school?
Andrew: Practically, I was able to do more activities in my classroom due to the use of the school supplies provided by my group. Also, I was able to maintain a calm, serene attitude due to the supply of tea and the kettle provided by my group.
Daniel’s ask practically was for some of his students who haven’t ever been out of Winston-Salem city limits to be able to go on the field trip this spring through supporting their fundraiser: “There are three students that we're close to helping go on this trip. It's really been amazing to see their balances go up and hopefully be fully funded within the weeks to come”
Maria: The ladies that were in my group provided me with great supplies like paper towels, Clorox disinfectant wipes, Kleenex tissue and snacks for students that sometimes don't eat. These are all items that I would've had to purchase myself. It was wonderful being able to have so many snacks and tell students how they were donated by women from my church. It was so awesome having multiple students come and be able to choose what snack they'd like for the day. Some students would tell me that they hadn't eaten all day. (These are high-schoolers!)
Stephanie: One of her prayer requests was for Creativity Renewed, and during those 3 months she didn’t really experience any change with that, but as she stepped into 2017 there has been an increase of creativity in her approach in class and it’s exciting!
Practically, she’s now the teacher her co-workers are going to when they need a box of tissues, she has overflow to share!
How did being covered, spiritually, impact you? Your classes?
Andrea: Being covered spiritually impacted me by helping everyday with daily battles in my mind and thoughts of not making a difference.
My classes were affected in a positive way as well. Students were more receptive and more easy-going this year at the start. One student was in an awful accident at the beginning and I know she has improved more rapidly because of the constant prayers through this group.
Daniel: I've noticed a shift in the atmosphere for sure. For the most part, all of my students respond positively to me on a regular basis and I've been able to speak life into a few young men's lives. I've also had interactions with students around the school that I would not otherwise come into contact with that have looked to me as a leader. I never asked for that mantle, but God seems to have me placed to do something for these students.
Stephanie: Those 3 months were a very hard season for her, school was rough, but also family health issues added to the weight she was bearing, knowing that she had a group of people praying for and close at hand to reach out to was a big encouragement.
Specific ladies in the group were perfectly placed by God to help her power through & stand against some in-school adversity she faced during this 3 month span of time.
Maria: Even though as a teacher, I sometimes get tired and feel "burnt out," it seems like I'd get a reminder in my spirit or a random reminder from a student or another coworker about the difference I am making in the lives of the high school students during the time the team was praying for me. It felt really good knowing that others were praying for me and cheering me on.
Andrew: Spiritually, my group covered my school, students, and I in prayer. I received an email every few weeks providing encouragement, either from scripture or a devotional, which seemed to target something I was feeling on that day. I was truly encouraged to know I had others looking out for my spiritual well-being.
What did you learn/experience through this process?
Andrea: I learned that I need to ask for help when needed, whether spiritual or practical.
There are people who care and did not know what we as teachers do on a daily basis nor the battles we fight every day.
I have experienced a new hope through this connection with the church and ladies to continue being a teacher at a not so easy school setting.
Daniel: As with life in general, it's tough to let go and let God do the work. I find I am more reliant on God for everyday processes both positive and not so positive, which is something I've needed. Recently, there has been some bad spiritual attacks on other teachers and it's started to create division amongst the ranks, but God has somehow protected me from fallout though I have seen the impact. It hasn't been pleasant, but I know my source.
Maria: It was cool connecting with those who I haven't always talked to outside of "general speaking." Now, I have new connections in particular with Terri and Sabbath. In addition, it also made me feel important and valued when randomly someone in the group would ask how things are going and let me know they are praying for me, my family and my "School Kids." I learned that it's important to make positive connections outside of your normal circle and you never know who's praying for you. This experience also helped me to be open to receiving blessings from others. I am truly grateful for this experience. Another beautiful part was how the group blessed me for Christmas with some items just for me like a large scented candle, my favorite candy, gift cards, warm slippers, jewelry, Christmas cards and more! I almost cried with the extra time and resources they decided to pour into my life. I haven't received so many gifts at one time from people outside of family since I was a little girl. I truly felt honored and favored by God. Thanks for connecting with us, teachers! #Grateful
Stephanie: she wasn’t surprised that the season was so hard, because so often when we step in obedience to God’s direction, and become intentional it almost always brings resistance.
She’s thankful for the connections & relationship that was strengthened and formed during this season of Mission Possible.
Andrew: Through this experience, I was encouraged--I had people looking out for me and supporting me in a profession that traditionally does not receive support from the government, administration, or community. It gave me a new sense of purpose.
We then asked our ladies group leaders these questions:
What did you learn from this?
Anita: No need is insignificant, whether it is practical or spiritual. Our needs are areas where we need help, and that's going to be vastly different for every individual. None of those should be taken lightly when someone actually puts themselves out there to ask for help with whatever it is.
Donnica: I was reminded of how much of "self" teachers generally give to their students; how they truly care and are saddled with the burdens of so many kids & families. How often their own families get what is left after providing to other families for the majority of their time. It was significant to see how even small gifts and words of encouragement provided support and relief.
- Leaders/weight bearers will naturally rise to the top.
- Prayer is the most important thing.
- Teachers are awesome and incredibly selfless.
Terri: if we all just come together and do a little part in the mission, we will all fit together like pieces of a puzzle to complete our goals and our calling from God!
- I learned better how to lead.
- I learned how to rely on prayer more since she didn't "need" us in the classroom, just to pray and give.
- That we have some generous people at our church willing to run with a vision ASAP!
What was most surprising about this mission?
Anita: What the needs turned out to be. I imagined something very big and complicated, but the needs were simple--not insignificant but not the daunting task I imagined.
Joy: Just by praying & connecting our teacher cried in relief, she knew she was covered & cared for.
Marion: That I had a picture in my mind of how this would unfold for my group & for my teacher, but it unfolded differently.
Allison: Her wishes for her students, her hopes and dreams for them. that such a simple thing (like clorox wipes) can help so much
What did you experience through this process... practically & spiritually?
Donnica: For me personally, spiritually carrying the responsibility of the group was both challenging and rewarding. It was fulfilling to know that we could play a role in changing the spiritual atmosphere of a place I have never stepped foot & in the home of one of our "family" members. Spiritually seeking God for words of encouragement and prayers for Andrew proved God's faithfulness and that when we ask what is on His heart for a particular person/situation, He will speak.
Joy: Spiritually carrying each others burdens brings us into an intimate friendship and relationship.
Terri: It felt so good to have a group of us lifting Maria and her students in prayer. It was such a positive experience for me to be able to meet some new friends and make a difference in Maria's life and school!
Marion: Our teacher’s practical ask was for his students to be able to go on field trip this spring, and the practical way to make that happen was to support the field trip chicken pot pie sale. The group gladly participated in that (anything to easily help dinner happen some nights!) . Our team committed to praying for him & to eating chicken pies!
Spiritually, that God ALWAYS speaks when we talk to Him. It was great how throughout the 3 months God gave some specific scriptures & words to pray over & for our teacher.
Allison: Awareness of what the teachers need and go through, and what they are praying for their kids. Practically, we saw needs not met by the schools that we were able to meet. Spiritually, we got to press in and learn to continue to press without knowing when they were answered.
I couldn’t break up this reply from Christa:
We are a Title I school that is highly impacted my poverty (physical and spiritual). Many of our students come from single-parent homes with the other parent being incarcerated or absent. Less than half of our students are reading on grade level presently, but we are working to change this every day. The staff has huge hearts for our students and work hard to engage them despite the distractions, but it's a hard job. Administration, which I am a part of, works hard to keep the hearts and heads of teachers lifted. So when Angela came to me and asked about the needs of my school, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
This mission reminded me and the believers on my staff that LOVE DOES (it doesn't just give lip service). And God sees our needs and anticipates them before we can even ask. We have a new reading program we are using in GCS this year that is designed to meet the needs of students at their individual reading level. A large part of building up better readers is getting kids to read more. The mission supplied monies so that we could buy treats for our students and incentivize them for reading every night. And it's working! This past week, we gave out over 500 treats for students who are reading at least 30 min a night...more than ever before. Students are challenged to "up" their minutes of reading every month and are rewarded for this. Thanks to the ladies of the mission our student’s excitement over reading has been renewed!
I was asked to provide prayer requests for our schools, and the ladies of the mission committed to pray for our students, teachers, parents and administration for about 15 days leading up to Christmas Break. We were covered in prayer and gained strength during a time we were running out of steam and closing out the 1st semester. Knowing that we were being prayed over was wind beneath our wings and helped carry us so we could continue to lift our students. Praise God!
The ladies of the mission supplied treats for staff every day the week before we let out for Christmas Break. It was AWESOME! Our teachers were like little kids as they awaited the treat of the day! They enjoyed homemade cookies beautiful wrapped and tagged with a blessed word. There were goody baskets in every workroom filled with teas, healthy snacks, notepads, pens, and sweet treats. They supplied the goodies for a coffee, tea, hot cocoa and popcorn bar (parents came to serve the goodies and they too were amazed at the generosity of the church). And a catered lunch was provided on the final day! And every lunch box had a note of affirmation. . And I am still finding notes stuck to desks, mirrors and filing cabinets!!! How awesome is that?!!! I saw smiles and heard people talking about our church in powerful ways ("What an awesome church?" "I have never seen a church do something like this!" "I need to get my church to do something like this for someone." "This must be an amazing church--to actually DO something like this for us.").
Lastly, I want to share about a teacher I've known for 6 years who is on staff. She claims to be an atheist. She found me during the week of the staff treats and said that the message attached to the cookie really spoke to her...and the message was about Jesus! She said she kept thinking about it! I was so amazed that God spoke to this young teacher through the word and love that was wrapped up with that cookie! God works in mysterious ways for sure!
The ladies were on a mission to show the love of the Father, touch our hearts, lift our spirits, and reach our kids. And they did!!!! Praise God!