Here’s a new, occasional feature to my blog. My vision, adapted from my colleague Rick Apperson’s “5 Questions” (with his blessing!), is to interview disciples of Jesus who are doing unique things. Of course, I realize that we’re all called to follow Jesus in the unique times and places He plants us, so by “unique,” I’m thinking compared to most of 4th Point’s western Canada readers. (‘Hello!’ to anyone reading in Taiwan and southern Ontario!)
Aimee Bootsma is a familiar name at Telkwa CRC. We love receiving her newsletters and we regularly uphold her in prayer as she – at the right time and in the right place! – is currently teaching grade 4 students at Nicaragua Christian Academy in Managua Nicaragua. You can keep up with her via her blog. I’m grateful she has taken the time to let us catch a glimpse of what she’s doing and what God’s doing through her…
What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the name “Jesus?”
He’s an amazing teacher; He knew His audience and He taught them in a way they would understand. Jesus is a Shepherd to His sheep. He cares for them, loves them and goes out of His way to find those who are lost. He forgives, He heals, He brings peace, He is just, He is merciful, He is loving, and He is compassionate. Jesus can’t be described in a few words! He has so many character qualities that He is called by many different names in the Bible.
How were you drawn to teaching in Nicaragua?
Since college I had a heart for teaching overseas. I didn’t actually go until 3 years later. Nicaragua excited me because it was growing in terms of ministry opportunities. I had heard stories of hope and transform and felt that it would be a privilege to be apart of the ministry in Nicaragua. In the end God confirmed in my heart that I would go to Nicaragua and I’ve never doubted that it was the right decision.
What is your favourite part of your work?
The most rewarding part of teaching is seeing the students grow, not just in understanding the academic material, but spiritually and socially as well. Students who ask critical questions, faces that brighten when understanding has been reached, and children praying are other rewards of teaching.
What’s one thing you miss from back home in Ontario?
The most obvious thing I miss is being with family, especially during significant milestones in their lives. Other longings are for snow and outdoor winter sports, hot baths, fresh sweet corn, fall colours, and carpeted floors.
What challenges are there in being not only a teacher, but a teacher in a foreign country?
One of the challenges of teaching overseas is that you won’t necessarily have the same amount of resources or teacher support you would if teaching in North America. Also, you may be teaching under some extra stresses such as heat and humidity, power outages, screaming pigs, or tarantulas running in the class.
What advice would you give to someone interested in teaching overseas?
1. Don’t assume that things will turn out the way you expected them to. God’s ways are not our ways and He has a unique way of fulfilling His will for our lives.
2. Learn about the values of the culture you are living in and adopt them as your own. For example, if community is important, invest a lot of time in building relationships.
3. You’re a guest in their country. Learn from the local people and love them for who they are.