Thursday of this week we had a special visitor at school, Bosco. Bosco is a pet therapy dog who works with Mr. Hayford's sister-in-law (Mrs. Dietre Hayford) through Pet Partners. Bosco's job is to help comfort people in need. They may be sick, dying or have emotional issues.
We had a great time learning all about Bosco, his training, and what is expected of him.
We met Bosco last school year, so he was a returning friend!
Bosco has a unique calling. He must behave differently than many dogs, when he is working. Many of Bosco's natural instincts must be trained out of him. When Bosco is working, he must not react to loud noises, people trying to get his attention, other dogs or animals. As one student put it, Bosco must resist temptations.
This is Bosco's "calling". He knows what to do when Mrs. Hayford takes Bosco into a hospital. He knows what the person needs. He will often cuddle with the ill person and simply lie they and be "loved" upon. This calling can't be taken out of him. We were told this is something he loves to do at home with his family, as well.
While Mrs. Hayford was speaking to the classrooms about Bosco, I thought about our calling that the LORD put in us before we were part of our mother. We are told in Jeremiah 1:5 that the LORD knew Jeremiah before his birth, He said to Jeremiah: "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."If this is true of Jeremiah, this too must be true for us as well.
We all have been given special gifts and talents that we are to use to glorify the LORD in whatever He has called us to do.
Some of us know what we are called to do from an early age. Some of us don't know until we have the "aha" moment and find that position that just seems to "call" to us. Some of us have someone who directs us to the path we are to take. Some never seem to find it till they retire and then...there it is! But no matter what we do we are to do it all to His glory.
It was interesting to watch Bosco with Mrs. Hayford. He waited for her to give him the directions he needed before he acted. At times it was a bit of a wait. For us it was a couple minutes. For Bosco, it must have seemed even longer, because he would be receiving a treat at the end of his task or trick.
Again, how much like Bosco we all are. We must all "wait upon the LORD". How often to do get impatient and want it now. Our reward is much more than Bosco's though. Our reward is that one day we will be in paradise with our LORD. For us it is quite simple but also very hard as well. It is very hard to resist the temptations of this world. We are told that all we have to do is, "Believe on the LORD Jesus, as your Savior, and you will be saved". (Acts 16:31a)
Our calling cannot be taken away by anyone - it was placed there by the LORD. The calling that our children have been given is there for them to discover. It is up to us to help guide and lead them to where He wants them to go with their gifts.
We celebrated Valentine's Day on Thursday. A day of showing those we love, that we love them. The kiddos really enjoy this day, as do the teachers. We receive joy in watching the children share their love with the important people in their lives.
We are here for the children. We are here to show them we love them. We are here to protect them. We are here for a multitude of reasons. Mainly, we are here to show them the love of the LORD. We are here to show them the GREATER LOVE! We are here to show them what the LORD did for them. We are here to show them Jesus and then let the Holy Spirit do His work.
We spend the year teaching the students about the Greater Love, the love that Christ gave us, the love of His laying His life down for us.
While we might not be called to lay our life down for another, we are called to do for others. We are called to love not just one day of the year but every day. We are called to show the love that Christ showed us to others. We are called not to ask about the person we are showing our love to but to show that love to them simply because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Over the course of my teaching career I have been blessed with many leaders, guides, and mentors. They have all made an impression on me. At times I have wondered why these amazing people have given some of the assignments to the staffs on which I have served.
When I taught in Western New York, I worked with a wonderful principal, for one year. He often handed out "strange assignments" during our faculty meetings.
He would say one day next week I'm going to assign you to a random classroom without any warning, or for one day you must teach without any text books, worksheets, or support materials. He would pick the day and tell us on that day. We would have to be prepared to work in either a setting we had to adapt to/or an unfamiliar setting. Needless to say, many on the staff grumbled when he would do this.
The questions and statements always came up "Why? We're experienced teachers, we don't need these kinds of exercises!"
Our principal was training us for a path we might have to walk someday.
He was right, we would face experiences where we had to think on our feet, where we wouldn't always be prepared and have the best, near-best, or even close the to best of everything.
Over the years, I've often thanked the LORD for this mentor, as he taught me not only how to work in extreme settings, like we've had these past couple of weeks, but he taught me what the Bible Parable about the "Ten Virgins", Matthew 25:1-13, is about. Yogi Helming (no relation, different spelling) taught us how to always be prepared.
He taught us that in our calling as church workers we must be prepared, that we don't know what the day, or hour might bring. He taught us that we must be prepared to give an account in and of our faith. He taught us that we can not build up our faith for another. He taught us we must lead by example. He taught that our being prepared will lead others to be prepared.
Shortly after I left Martin Luther Christian School in Western NY Yogi contracted cancer. He led in this area too, by his faith. He faced this disease with strength and dignity. He knew his LORD and Savior. There was no doubt when he passed from this world into the next, that the next world was that where his Savior & our Savior, Jesus is. I know that Yogi is there. I know because he was one whose lamp was full.
What are you being trained for? What are you being challenged to do? Where will it lead you? Where will it lead your children? Let the LORD guide you.
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School