This past Saturday I had the privilege of leading the devotion for the parish nurses for the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I was asked to do this by Nurse Pat, our school nurse, provided by CLEF.
On the drive home from this event, I started thinking about the growth of CLEF. They are now celebrating their 25th anniversary.
They started very small, with a man with an idea, a dream, and a group of dedicated people. These people approached a handful of Lutheran schools with this idea of helping in a small way. I was there the day my former school's principal was approached. Our school started with the painting and repair of a couple of students' bathrooms.
The seeds were planted!
I remember the words that were spoken to the principal of our school. It might just be bathrooms today, but who knows where this will go in the future? As CLEF grew the goal became to fill the desks to tell the children about Jesus.
Today, CLEF is so much more than painting bathrooms, and it never changed from the goal of telling the children about Jesus.
Also, on the drive home I began thinking about how I was asked to write and lead the devotion. This is not something I would ever have thought I would do when I graduated from Concordia forty years ago. In fact, this is the LAST thing I ever would have wanted to do.
When I took the call to my last school, I was required to write a devotion for a series of devotions our church was putting together. Our Pastor, Bob Burke, was insistent that ALL the teachers write one. I didn't feel qualified. He encouraged. The seeds were planted!
When I took the position of principal at my last school, our District Executive, encouraged me to write a weekly message for the newsletter. I didn't feel qualified. He encouraged. The seeds were planted!
When I would write for our newsletter, here at Grace, my late husband Gerry, was my editor. I didn't feel qualified. He encouraged. The seeds were planted & watered.
Today, I have another editor, and when I'm not sure how my message sounds, she encourages. The seeds are watered!
The children of our school are here because the parents have planted them with us.
We are now the ones that are planting and encouraging - watering and feeding.
Who knows what these seeds will produce?
THE LORD knows - just as He knew where CLEF would go those 25 years ago. Just as he knew that I would someday take the time to use His words to encourage others.
What will you plant today?
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School