International (MNN) — Students and teachers worldwide continue to suffer from pandemic closures. Life may be getting closer to normal in the West, but schools were still closed in 26 countries last month and only partially re-opened in 55 nations.
TeachBeyond’s David Durance says there’s a silver lining to the global education crisis.
“One of the repercussions of [the] coronavirus [pandemic] is that it has accelerated trends. There’s a real awakening in many of our creative access countries [involving] hybrid learning environments, and these are sprouting up everywhere,” Durance says.
“We probably could have 20 new hybrid learning environments every year if we had the resources to do it.”
Society rejects and opposes the Gospel in places known as “creative access” nations.
“About 40-percent of our ministry now is in [the] creative access [sphere]; it is explosively growing,” Durance says.
TeachBeyond offers Christian education to missionary children and kids from the wider community, but some creative access countries outlaw Christian schools. By expanding activities and turning classrooms into a hybrid environment called a “Learning Center,” believers get to share their faith.
“When people [have] a chance to bring kids to a school-type environment during the day, but then [have] an opportunity to do life together in community, there’s this sweet opportunity to share what Jesus has done for us. And it can happen in the most restrictive, creative access environment,” Durance says.
“In one of our most restrictive countries in Southeast Asia, [we’ve] launched a school that’s openly Christian,” he continues.
“We would never have dreamed that this was possible. But because it’s in this hybrid learning environment, the government is supporting this.”
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“We really feel like we need to be sending twice as many members every year to meet the need that God’s put before us,” Durance says.
“Pray for wisdom as we step into very complex environments, and we just need to see a response from the Christian community in Canada [and the] USA, to respond in faith and be willing to take those steps to serve overseas.”
Header image depicts students in a restricted access nation. (Photo courtesy of TeachBeyond)