There is no denying that teaching is a noble but challenging profession. The hours are long, but the rewards are great. Anyone brave enough to choose to be a teacher, has most likely been called into the profession. Teachers have big hearts, who give so much of themselves to their students. The teachers at Hope Academy and the 2nd Mile Education Center in the Dominican Republic are no exception, which is why it is important to us to find creative and meaningful ways to encourage them.
For the 2022/23 school year, we chose to gift each of our teachers at both schools with a MudLove bracelet with the word, “Firmes.” In Spanish, “Firmes” means “Steadfast.” In my own life, 1 Corinthians 15:58 has always been a huge encouragement, especially during difficult circumstances. “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]. During the process of deciding on a gift for the teachers, God, once again, brought this verse to mind and I knew it was the perfect way to encourage our teachers as they embarked on a new school year that would undoubtedly be filled with hard work, challenges, fatigue and questions about their calling. In my mind, it was as if this verse was written specifically for teachers!
Each teacher was presented with a printed card with the verse, translated into Spanish, along with their bracelet. To make the gift even more special, all of the bracelets were made in the Dominican Republic by the ladies of Vida Plena, a ministry partner of 2nd Mile Missions.
I wear my bracelet on a daily basis because it serves as a visual reminder that my work, like that of the teachers, has purpose. On those days when I am tired or discouraged, I am reminded that I can be steadfast and immovable, knowing that my work for God is not futile or wasted. This past November, we had the opportunity to hear a testimony from one of the teachers about the ways her bracelet was also an encouragement and reminder to her to persevere. Carmen, who teaches at Hope Academy, was struggling with illness and had lost her voice. She awoke one morning feeling very discouraged, wondering how she was going to be what her students needed that day, when she was physically tired and couldn’t speak. And then she saw her “Firmes” bracelet along with the verse card sitting on her kitchen table. She was immediately comforted by the truth of God’s Word, knowing that God would give her the strength she needed to do the job He called her to do.