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Passing Through Samaria
M. Hicks

Wouldn’t it be great as educators if we could just do the things we like the best? If we could politely just say, “no- thank you” to the parts of the job that are draining, stressful or mundane? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could even choose the people with whom we work? That would be heaven, but it doesn’t work that way, does it?
 
Most of us don’t look forward with eagerness to all of our duties, nor do we necessarily enjoy working with all of the people with whom we must engage. I’m sure if we asked a group of educators to make a list of the things (and people) they could do without it wouldn’t take very long to have a healthy long list.

Things like:
 

          In-services…evaluations…state reviews…certifications…testing…                     continuing education requirements... difficult parents…challenging                     students…annoying colleagues…demanding administrators...you could             add many more I’m sure.

 
We are not alone in these feelings. In John 4:4 we pick up an amazing story about Jesus.
 

“He left Judea and went away again to Galilee.

And He had to pass through Samaria.”

 
I love God’s word. I find that sometimes the most encouraging things are hidden in small, obscure little passages like this one
.
Between Judea and Galilee was a region Jews usually avoided. Rabbis typically chose a much longer route to avoid going through that region because Samaria was not a friendly place for the people of Israel. Going there was like wandering through the wrong parts of a big city…at night…by yourself. The Samaritan’s worldview was different. They were on the other side of the tracks. They were unclean. Lines had been drawn and neither group accepted or trusted the other. Sounds pretty familiar, huh?
 
But Jesus “had to pass through” Samaria on this occasion, and not only was He on His way to Galilee, He was also exhausted as well.
 

              “So, Jesus, being weary from His journey,

was sitting thus by the well.”

 
Have you ever been weary and in places you’d rather not be? Jesus understands fully those feelings, but He gives us an idea of what to do. You know the rest of the story. In that place, and in that wearied state, Jesus did something extraordinary; He gave living water to a thirsty soul. This act of love not only changed the Samaritan woman's life forever, it also transformed an entire village.
 
Being an educator often takes us into regions like Samaria…places we would rather not be, stops on the way to our planned destination. It defies reason, but in those places God tends to use us the most.
 

Watch for unplanned encounters with an unlikely people.

 
Jesus never let differences, or weariness distract Him from recognizing the thirsty souls around Him…even the hostile, difficult and annoying ones.
 
I also love what happened after the woman at the well left Jesus. The disciples returned from their food run and John records they were “urging Him, Rabbi, eat”, but Jesus strangely was no longer hungry.
 

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me
and to accomplish His work.”

 
There is something about doing the will of the Father, and accomplishing His work, that nourishes and restores our own souls.  
 
This year when you find yourself in a place where you’d rather not be, weary from the unpleasant parts of being an educator, stay watchful. Its there, in unplanned moments with unlikely people, you may encounter a thirsty soul.
 
And when you give living water to others, you’ll find your own cup is strangely filled.
 
Have a great year.
 

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

(Galatians 6:9)

 

 
 
 

Meeting New Teams in the West This Summer
Ames and Marshalltown 
Had a great time of fellowship with these awesome ladies. They are praying and planning a fall gathering in the Ames/Marshalltown area, home of the Iowa Buckeyes. Thank You Lori Adams for all you do to encourage and empower Christian Educators in that great state.
Des Moine 
We had to gather three umbrellas to give us enough shade, but Panera in Des Moines Iowa was a great place for the first meeting with this amazing team. They are praying and planning about a city wide spring gathering. The prayer time at the end greatly encouraged me to forge on. I wonder what the folks inside the window were thinking. : )
Bend, Oregon
Stephen Williams, the founder of Prepare the Way Ministries and author of Navigating Public Schools will be taking point on the first Central Oregon Gathering in Bend in October. What a blessing traveling together and getting to know this brother. Stephen will also be helping us with other gatherings in the Northwest and providing follow up legal freedoms workshops. 
Colorado Springs
When David Strehlow picked me up at the airport in Colorado Springs and pointed to a thin line near the top of the Pike's Peak Mountain range and said, "That's where we're going" I thought he was joking. Well, 8500 ft later I realized he wasn't. What a beautiful place and great fellowship with faithful servants of Christ. The Strehlow's have taken point in leading the next LIFT America Gathering on September 15th.
Albuquerque New Mexico
What a joy to visit LeAnn Stubbs and her team in Albuquerque. LeAnn's heart for children in New Mexico and for the educators that work with them  was inspiring. I believe God is orchestrating something special in this great city that will spread to other parts of the southwest.
Maple Valley, Washington
Stephen Williams and I were blessed to drive north from Portland Oregon to Maple Valley east of Seattle to meet with Kim and Mike Potter. Kim is courageously stepping out to bring the first LIFT America Gathering to the state of Washington. She is in the praying and team building stage right now. LIFT her up in prayer that God will guide her steps and make the path forward clear.
Infinity and Beyond
Along with the 13 LIFT America Gatherings last year many new teams are praying and planning to bring a gathering to their city in the  2018-19 school year.
West Palm Beach, FL
Seminole Co, FL
Hernando Co, FL
Fremont, CA
Dallas, TX
Williamsburg, KY
Memphis, TN
Akron, OH
Amherst Co, OH

Maple Valley, WA
Bend, OR
Colorado Springs, CO
Albuquerque, NM
Ames/Marshalltown, IO
Des Moines, IO
2018-19 Theme: Sent to Love
 
Jesus said in John 20:21
"As the Father has sent me into the world, so now I send you."
 
What does that look like for an educator? Why did Jesus come? How do we carry on His work? John 3:16, gives us the simple answer.
 
     "For God so loved the world that He gave His son."

Because God loved He sent Jesus, and now He sends us. 
* He touched a leper, and in doing so, not only healed a man, but restored dignity, removed shame and affirmed worth. We can do that too. We can love the ones the world has deemed untouchable. 
* In the Gerasene Demoniac he delivered a man trapped in darkness by looking beyond his snarling brokenness and seeing a person held captive by evil. We too can look beyond the abrasiveness and love the difficult ones others have given up on.

These are just a few examples of what being sent to love might look like. We hope you will join us when the next LIFT America Gathering comes to your area. And bring some others with you. 
LIFT America- Pilot Point Update
July 29th Launched the 2018-19 school year with a gathering in Pilot Point TX. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship and encouragement. Tammy Morgan and her great team did an amazing job pulling it all together during the summer months. Grateful for such a faithful God.
LIFT America is an outreach ministry of CEAI (Christian Educators Association International).  Check us out at ceai.org and let us know how we can serve you.                              
Mike Hicks,
Director of LIFT America(mhicks@ceai.org)

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