"Because the world needs all the Billy Graham’s it can handle, but it needs a lot more of the unknown, unsung Christian heroes that work hard, love Jesus, and are making a difference in the lives of the people in their churches."
There are moments in the life of an ESBS staff member that can only be described as priceless. I was recently given one of those moments.
Over spring break I went to visit my younger sister, Gracia. She was one of my students the first year I came on staff, 2012-2013. Words have never been enough to describe how proud I was of her that year. She started at 16 years old and, believe me, she turned in stellar work. ESBS is not an easy school, but she rose to meet the challenge. Why? Because she wanted to know God’s word. She wanted to know her Bible. She wanted to know who God is, what He’s done, and what He’s doing.
Since leaving ESBS Gracia has worked hard. She’s grown up, taken classes, pays her own rent, cooks her own food, and currently works as a receptionist in a law firm. She loves to work out and eat healthy. She helps at church, and wants to attend Kauai Bible College this fall because, in her words, “I know what my Bible says, now I want to know what theologians think and what Church history has to say.”
Everything she does and says comes from a longing to love and serve the God who created her. And that in and of itself is a blessing too great to express. She’s my hero.
But the priceless moment I’m speaking of right now was sitting down in her living room with her and two middle school girls as they began to do an inductive Bible study on the book of Colossians. It was a surreal moment, a proud moment, and a moment so full of joy I felt I was about to burst. I didn’t burst though. I sat quietly as she reviewed the basic steps of inductive Bible study and gave her girls (three were missing that night) an introduction to Colossians. We read the book out loud, heard some historical background, and then she asked the girls what they noticed.
It was so simple. It was so easy. And Gracia was a natural. The girls are forgetful, but excited about their study. They love each other and they love their teacher. And they told me that they love doing what we call ‘builds’. No one says that. No one.
There are a lot of things that you could do on a Thursday night. There are a lot of different ways you could spend your time. But I can’t think of anything better.
Honestly, when you staff at ESBS you can really struggle. Sometimes the budget is tight. Sometimes you wonder if anything you’re doing and striving for is making a difference. There is no glory. There are no riches. There’s no fame. There’s a lot of heartache, a lot of average-day office work, a lot of grading, and, sometimes, a lot of trouble. But the fact of the matter is that we can’t see into the future. We don’t know what God is doing. We have absolutely no idea how He’s going to use the students that come through our schools for His kingdom and glory.
Some will be pastors. Some will be businessmen and women. Some will be moms and dads. Some will be missionaries. And some will be 19-year-old receptionists sitting on their living room floors helping seventh graders understand the book of Colossians.
And that’s what makes it all worth it. Why? Because the world needs all the Billy Graham’s it can handle, but it needs a lot more of the unknown, unsung Christian heroes that work hard, love Jesus, and are making a difference in the lives of the people in their churches. The world needs more Gracia Stark’s. The girls sitting on her living room floor will probably never have their life changed by Billy Graham, but they will never forget the girl who took the time to get to know them and teach them how to study the Bible.
And that is priceless!
Written by: Ellen Stark
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