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Sometimes this year, it really was all rainbows and butterflies.

In April, the sky would grow dark and the heavens would open, always, it seemed, right at recess time. The children would shriek and scramble and pretend like they were finding shelter, but really, they took their sweet time getting out of the rain. Then the sun would push its way through the clouds, and a rainbow would embrace the campus.

In May, the butterflies hatched. And I would watch two kindergartners march to the office with the attendance folder (each holding one corner, of course, because it was a very serious job, of course). They would be enveloped by the early morning sun, with hundreds of white butterflies flitting around them.

Many, many times I thought, How is it that I am so privileged to get to do this job? 

Haven of Peace Academy's graduation was held on the last day of school. I don't know most of these students, but I was there when some of them started kindergarten in 2005. 

This was the first day of school in 2005; we had just returned to Tanzania after seminary and it was Gil's first official day as chaplain. Thirteen years ago.....and I got to see them graduate.

I don't mean to minimize the hard stuff, because it is there and real and dark. Many times this year, I broke up fist fights and bent down to eye-level for heart-to-hearts about stealing and lying and cussing. Sin is sinister in how it muddles perspectives and puts up defenses and shadows the truth. This broken world is evident in kids who are hurting, brains that don't learn like they were meant to, and the crushed spirits that come as a result.

But that's just what's so amazing about all these years sharing space and life with these children, and why serving as principal this year was such a privilege. True Christian education, when it's done right, is an act of redemption--it's bringing the world back to the way God intended it to be. Calling out the beauty, lifting up spirits, strengthening minds and bodies, teaching the consequences of sin and pointing to the Cross.

My cup overflows. I get to walk alongside these children as they learn and struggle and grow, lose their teeth, sit on time-out, and read and dream. And prance through the butterflies and dance in the rain.

These are the wonderful people I share a building with. Director, principals, finance, IT, counselor, operations, HR, procurement., nurse..all the people who keep HOPAC running.

The day the Maasai visited first grade

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