the many faces

It’s the calm before the storm. Tonight is the last night before school officially begins! The students all arrive tomorrow!

I can guarantee you that my face is going to hurt by this time tomorrow from all the smiling. I simply cannot help but smile whenever I see one of my students, and then we wave at each other, and smile even bigger. That’s just on a normal day! Now after not seeing them for 6 months… major smiling is about to happen.

But at the same time, I know I’ll be sad to discover who isn’t returning to Dandelion. Many of my former students, now 9th grade, have decided to go back to their hometowns to finish middle school. There, they’ll have a better chance of getting into high school. It’s a good decision, but I’ll miss them! Others simply drop out because they’ve given up, they have to work, or a myriad of reasons.

You may remember the story of Bill (Xiewenbo) from last year, an energetic and mischievous boy. He was always getting in trouble, never paying attention, totally unable (or unwilling) to keep up with the rest of the class. But I saw still deeper with what I think were God’s eyes, just a glimpse. So I just tried to love him, to show him attention, to explain to him why it made me sad when he did bad things. I saw a change come over him in just a few weeks, and there are still few sights I treasure more at the school than his big smile when we’d wave to each other in passing. But I was very sad to discover that he dropped out of school after the first term of 8th grade. I wasn’t surprised; it was incredibly hard for him to learn in this environment. But I still wondered where he was now. I was happy to hear an update about him today! Apparently he came to visit the school a few weeks ago, just to see his old teachers and say hello. They said he is taller and a bit fatter, and also working a part-time job. They said he was happy, and that makes me happy too.

There are so many faces I love, so many stories I’ve been a part of that I can’t wait to see again. But perhaps most exciting about tomorrow is seeing the faces of the brand new 7th graders, 40 of whom will be my students specifically. To think that tomorrow I will meet the kids that will capture my heart for this next year. I wonder who I'll be writing a blog post about next week? Crazy!

Who might you meet tomorrow? See them with open eyes – maybe they’ll be your next best friend! Remember that they have a story too. Pray to see them with God’s eyes. That’s what I’m praying now. Here it goes!


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