Shalom Mennonite School Blog

Recent News & Updates from the School

Do You Have a Travel Plan

Imagine with me the last vacation that you went on as a family.  You had a specific destination in mind; you had a path of travel all mapped out, and you had specific things that you wanted to see when you arrived.  You calculated precisely when you would leave, and when you would get there.  You may have even planned some specific stopping points along the way.  Now this is the question: Did it all work out the way that you had planned?  Was your vacation successful?  For some of you, your travel plans may have had hindrances such as flat tires, traffic jams, and poor weather conditions.  But, even in the face of these hindrances, you adjusted your itinerary and continued to accomplish your goals on an adjusted time frame.  You didn’t give up on the goal just because of encountering some hindrances.  You predetermined that the goal was worthy, and you planned to attain it even in the face of hardship.

Now consider the following questions: What is your “travel plan” for raising your children?  What destination do you have in mind for them?  Do you have a path of travel mapped out?  How will you get them to where you want them to be?  How will you know when they have arrived?  What are the benchmarks you want to see in their lives?  Sometimes we make plans for the small things, but lose sight of the bigger and more important things in life.  It has been said that failing to plan is planning to fail. This holds true in most cases.  I believe this will hold true with how we raise our children.  When we plan a vacation, we usually have great desire and anticipation for our expectations to be met during our special time away.  In fact, planning and anticipating the vacation can sometimes be as fulfilling as the vacation destination itself.  How do you find it with your children?  Are you planning and setting a course that will get them to a desired destination?  Most of us reading this probably find ourselves with young children who may be throwing up hindrances to our “travel plans” for them.  Shall we give up?  No!  We have already decided that the goal is worthy and that we will persevere in the midst of hardship.  Even though our plans don’t always work out, we adjust and accommodate so that we can still lead our children toward the desired goal for them.  The goal gives us the motivation to plan and to carry out our plan to raise godly children.

This time of year we often think of the birth of Christ.  This may give us nice thoughts and feelings as we imagine a clean, warm, straw-filled stable like the cards portray it.  However, we must realize that the stable was probably dirty, smelly, and cold.  It was part of a plan for the lowly and humble Christ child to be born.  It was not the stable that inspired His coming, for this was only one stop on His mission to save sinful men.  God definitely had a plan.  He knew how He could fulfill that plan.  He set a course for His Son that was completely fulfilled, and now the world has reaped the bountiful blessing of redemption through Jesus Christ.  It was the Father’s plan for the life of His Son, coupled with the Son’s complete obedience that created the most impacting person to ever walk the face of the earth.  May we as parents set righteous and godly goals for our children. We must raise them to be men and women of impact as they confront the world around them.

Set your goals high for your children, and don’t become weary in urging them on to be a person of godly impact.  During the years of childhood, their path is mostly determined by you.  May you be diligent in providing them with a clear “travel plan.”  Urge them on, encourage, correct, redirect, and point them towards a clear destination.

Lyle Musser, Administrator

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Leaving Community for the Sake of Community

Recently, I engaged in a small discussion with some SMS students who were talking about how nice it is to live in the country away from so many people—especially weird people. I’ve lived in cities almost half of my life and enjoy cities, but it was now obvious that my enjoyment of living in cities was definitely in the minority. I didn’t say much more, but that short discussion got me thinking about our comfortable Christian communities.

Living within our Mennonite communities is quite comfortable and secure. Community is supposed to be that way. Our churches, schools, and businesses all network together enabling us to be more effective in the kingdom of God. There truly are many benefits and comforts of living in a community, but sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice these blessings.

Many reasons exist why individuals leave a community. Sometimes individuals leave for negative reasons. However, I would like to propose a positive reason for leaving a community—namely, leaving community for the sake of community. If we truly value community, we will want others to experience the joys and benefits of living in a community, too. If we truly value community, particularly Christian community, we will want to see Christian communities established in places where Christian communities don’t yet exist.

Why do we sometimes need to leave the comforts of our Christian community? It’s necessary, because Jesus commanded us to expand His kingdom until Christian communities exist in all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Every lost soul around us needs to hear the gospel but so does every nation (ethnic group). Going to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) doesn’t necessarily mean that we must always travel to distant geographical locations. The “all nations” and “ends of the earth” have already come to us as refugees. In Lancaster City alone, at least 500 refugees a year are being resettled from many different nations.

Leaving community for the sake of establishing communities will cost us. Jesus left His comfortable “community” in heaven to die and make a way of salvation for us. We, in turn as His disciples, receive the privilege and responsibility of carrying on Jesus’ mission so that all nations, kindred, peoples, and tongues will one day be around the throne and the Lamb worshipping God (Rev. 7:9-12). Leaving community for the sake of community costs us, but those who “sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5).

I personally love my job at SMS and enjoy seeing how the kingdom of God is being built in small ways every single day. SMS plays a crucial role in maintaining our strong communities. I’m so thankful that I am privileged to help contribute to the building of God’s kingdom at SMS this year.

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