Russia (Mission Eurasia) — While Anna, a #SchoolWithoutWalls graduate from Alexandria, #Russia, actively serves in summer Bible camps and many other projects at her church, her main passion is her profession as a high school teacher.
“A year ago, a student from our school committed suicide. It was a tragic loss for the student’s family, our school, and our entire city,” Anna recalls. “After this tragedy, some Christian psychologists conducted a study at our school on suicide, because they were concerned for the other students. The results for the 8th graders showed that a lot of them were prone to suicide, and almost all of them showed signs of anxiety. I then realized that my students needed help.”
Anna, a seemingly ordinary teacher, had to become an extraordinary teacher. She started inviting students to talk with her in her office after school. “Right now, I am not your teacher; I am your friend,” she would say. “I want to know what you have going on inside. I won’t leave as long as you have something that you need to talk about. I’m listening.”
Anna was unwavering in her efforts to help her students, because she knew that she was responsible for them before God. Some of the students’ families were having problems and their parents were not caring for their needs, so the students would isolate themselves and lash out at one another.
“I felt like I had the worst class in the world,” shares Anna! “You cannot imagine how bad it was, having so many incredibly talented but stubborn children in one class.” Despite how difficult her class could be, Anna saw great potential in her students, so she refused to give up on them, and soon they started to open up! “I taught them to talk to each other and to have respect and compassion for one another,” Anna recalls. “Since many of my students did not have this opportunity with their families, I encouraged them to create a supportive, loving environment at school.”
Anna knows that her profession is an opportunity for missions, so instead of just getting through her day so that she can do “real” ministry in her free time, she uses every day as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to her students and make a difference in their lives.