December 11, 2009

Testimony of Home Church in a school environment

I believe Home Church to be a magical tool, a divine inspiration that being practiced can totally transform our own lives and those of others.

Although Home Church traditionally is done in an environment of 360 homes, because the principles are universal, Home Church can be applied in many situations. This story is about some of my experiences with a school where some of my children went.

The school itself was a kind of private school but under rather much government control. The school was based on principles such as teaching children to be creative and free.

Because I wanted to have some influence over how my children were educated at the school, I decided to make the school situation to a kind of Home Church project. This testimony is about seven years of involvement in which I spent about 20 hours weekly to serve the school, its teachers and students and their parents.

My first activity was to volunteer for work in the school garden. The school had a nice garden that had been rather much neglected for a few years. When i first got to meet the school, a group of parents had just formed to clean up the mess. I decided to participate. Already there was a leader of this parents group and the first day that I helped, I was not allowed to enter the school's premises. Instead i was told to clean up the streets around the school. After I had performed well the task to broom the streets, I was asked to get rid of all the weeds that had filled the school's garden. I graduated also from that task and then was permitted to plant flowers.

As time passed, I gradually was accepted to more inner and supposedly more sacred spaces of the school.

It was one of the principles of the school that children would need to be educated in how to grow vegetables. But alas, there was no teacher available for this particular course. So I came up with a plan that parents would help the teachers to give these classes. Several parents volunteered and teachers became enthusiast. For several years it then became my task to teach children and teachers alike how to grow a nice vegetable and flower garden.

Parents, children and teachers participating in this garden work met several times a week. Because I invested more than others, I was asked to become the leader of the parents' group that took care of the garden. Over the years, my work as a volunteer developed. Together with parents, teachers and children we made a nice playground, we gave a new paint to the inside and outside of the school building, we repaired the leaking roof, etc...

After several years I was asked to become the president of the school board. At that stage something interesting happened. I had come to know all the teachers of the school and many of the parents and the children. But becoming the president of the school board meant that I now had to deal with the government who was supervising and controlling the school's activities.

Over several years of time, the school had become an attraction for more parents to have their children educated. The local government felt they were losing control. National-level government officials were sent in to check and they put on the brake, forcing teachers to do things according to official government rules. This kind of government influence frustrated the parents and teachers who had done their volunteering work with so much zeal. Another group of parents and teachers who supported the government, gradually took over the school.

The level of the situation had clearly advanced from one of a local school to a national-level affair. At that time I decided to focus my efforts on other areas of life and I took my children out of that school. Externally, seen from the viewpoint of how the school ended, this project seemed a failure.

But what I have kept from all this is close friendship to a group of parents and teachers. I also had gotten deeper insight in the schooling system in the western world. I gained very much more from this experience. What I came to learn most of all is how Home Church principles can give us direction and courage to learn and grow in many ways. Home Church is a method that gives us the guidance how to develop our love and friendship. It should be done in prayer and love for God.

When you have made similar experiences in doing Home Church, please comment and tell about it!


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