Signing Off for 2016-2017

It’s June 9! Where has the year gone? It seems like just yesterday we were out on the field celebrating our 30 for 30 project. We certainly have enjoyed the chromebook cart and the improved internet connection that we were able to purchase with the funds you gave to the school. We started the year with 246 students, and today we have 265. We are looking at possibly even hitting 300 next year. God is so good!

As I write this I can hear the sounds of happy children out on the playground. Our Finance Manager is on a field trip at the zoo with her primary daughter. Grade four is at the Blumengärten Hirschstetten, and our high school science students are at VIS making ice cream and combining that with the effect of salt as a cooling agent. Our eighth-graders just practiced for their Celebration on Monday night, and now they are taking their first finals in math and science. Life at ICSV is never dull!

As this is our last Eagle of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for allowing us the privilege of partnering with you in the education of your children. They are truly gifts from God, and we treasure each one. May you have a wonderful summer with your students. We look forward to seeing you back here on Wednesday, August 23. For those of you who will be leaving us for another adventure, we wish you God’s blessings. I hope that your time here at ICSV has been filled with happy memories and growing experiences. You will be missed.

We will keep you posted on the progress of the “Cool the School” project this summer. Please continue to pray that people will give as they are able. We have a ways to go in meeting our goal. Also, please pray for our new staff that will be arriving toward the end of July and for those who are completing their time at ICSV. One of the hardest parts about living and working in an international community is having to say goodbye. Since I don’t handle goodbyes very well, I will simply say, “Signing off for 2016-2017.”

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

The Bible Teacher’s Example of Grace

Mr. Bill Wiisanen and Mr. Cristian Pana, two of our Bible teachers, gave an extra credit question to their Apologetics classes about the topic of grace. They asked their students what it would look like if they gave grace on the exam that they had just taken. They then asked whether they should show grace or not, and if they should show grace even if everyone did not agree to it in the class.

What really surprised me about the students’ answers was that most of them said that the teachers shouldn’t show grace on the exam because it wouldn’t be fair. Some students felt that if a student did not study, then that student did not deserve grace, so it should not be given. Those students who had studied did not like the idea of someone who hadn’t studied getting the same 100% as they would – even if 100% was higher than they had earned on their own.

Another common opinion was that grace should be given to those who had tried their best or who had participated in class. The students attached grace to the idea of merit – you should be able to EARN grace. But if a better grade was given to those who deserved a better grade, then it really wouldn’t be grace, would it?

An interesting point that several students made was that it was really up to the teacher whether or not he showed grace on the exam, because he was the one who created it. I think that comment shows a real understanding of how grace works with God. Since God created us, it is He who extends the grace. The created human beings really have no say in the matter.

In reading all of these comments, it reminded me that it is hard, even for Christians, to accept grace for what it is. We want to have some say in who receives it and how it is extended. Even if we won’t admit it, we may still think of ourselves as meriting God’s favor because we are good people, or because we have tried to obey God’s commands. It is really hard to think that God extends his grace to EVERYONE. Maybe that’s why when someone has had a really hard life and has come to God when he’s at the end of his rope, he experiences God’s grace in such a deeply amazing way that he just has to share his experience with others.

Grace is not fair. It cannot be earned. It is the creator’s right to extend grace to those whom he desires. Enns describes grace this way: “the unmerited or undeserved favor of God to those who are under condemnation.” Mr. Wiisanen worded it like this: “Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve (salvation).” So how did the story end? The teachers took the test in place of the students. Whatever the teacher scored is what was entered in as the students’ grades. So every student got a 100%, a grade not based on their actual performance, but because of grace.

Even though they all received an A+, several students still had trouble accepting the outcome. One student really wanted to know how he had done on the test on his own. Another student was very truthful and said that she really didn’t know how she felt about it. Others who had prepared well were not happy that those who had not studied got the same grade. In the end, this is one lesson that the students will remember, possibly more than anything else that has been covered this year.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8).

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.