Change – that is an ongoing, inevitable, and necessary challenge in the whole world, but especially here. Nowhere is this so evident as in the classrooms where small children come to spend several hours a day with me. I work at BridgeWay North American School in Mexico City.
Education in the context of missions is everchanging, too. Moreover, it includes the schooling of the youngest in the field. "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6, ESV) This verse raises vital questions. Whose children are we talking about? Which way should they go? How do we do that in our current environment and culture?
Providing suitable educational options for missionary families has always been essential. Furthermore, quality training requires more than the customary classes in reading, writing, mathematics, and other traditional subjects. Global workers want their children in their formative and impressionable years to learn within an environment having similar core values to the ones in the home. At the same time, these parents want their children to graduate with prerequisites essential to move on to post-secondary schools or other training programs.
Additionally, the parents of the children I teach want opportunities for extracurricular activities like those of children in their home county. The families I deal with come from various countries, not just the USA and Canada, so I need to consider many factors when deciding how to teach a lesson.
Additionally, we as the teaching staff must think about education for the children of other families in the community. Should we leave teaching only to the local government and other nationals or could we offer them opportunities, too? Once these basic questions have been answered, we work to develop the content and curriculum for a school in Mexico City!
Although we are just beginning our seventh school year, we have already faced ongoing changes and transitions. Our vision is to be a place that will transform not only our students' lives but also the lives of parents and the community.
Gone are the days of boldly deciding, "Let's start a school!" and soon after seeing children sitting in classrooms actively learning.
However, to implement that vision, we wonder: What kind of a school are we to be – an international school based on Christian values or a Christian school with an international program? How can we best meet the needs of our students and community while delivering a quality education and still imparting the values we hold dear? How can we do all of this in a financially responsible way, keeping costs as low as possible for our school families and still making ends meet?"
We haven't been able to fully answer those questions, and some of the answers have shifted. We are still on the path of defining our identity.
Although God is unchangeable, he is also the Lord of change. Therefore, we seek His guidance at BridgeWay and as global workers.
Ultimately, we strive to do our best, with God's help, amid the changes, even when it seems we have more questions than answers.
By Gwen Rowe