Dreaming in Dundee
The students at Baldragon School in Dundee, Scotland didn’t expect me, an American minister, to enter their classroom this morning to discuss matters of life and faith. Nonetheless, we discussed such things as aspiration, faith, Christ, calling, and hope. In Scotland, students are required to attend classes where local pastors speak with them. In fact, the local parish pastor serves as the chaplain to the neighborhood school.
When asked what they are desiring to do in the future, a wide variety of answers were given. One young lady said that she aspired to be a pediatric nurse, another said a vocalist, another an artist, and one sheepish young woman still dreams of “finishing university one day”. One young man aspired to remain outside the walls of a prison, and the boy next to him courageously expressed his desire to be a minister.
These students know that they were in some ways behind before they ever got started; but dreaming, if even momentarily, is an escape from their less than ideal neighborhood and their lot in life. My role today was to speak to them about my less than ideal beginning and the certainty that Christ will move them toward their calling in life and even beyond all limitations.
I encouraged the students to ask any question and I would give them the absolute truth as an answer. They all seemed to want to know if American schools are actually like what they see in the movies. They also wanted to know why our students have guns. Good questions. In Scotland the police do not have guns and the students certainly don’t have guns.
I subsequently met a very young thirteen-year-old boy who has had to stay out of school recently. When he is in school he is allowed to leave class early because he is frequently bullied. I met him at Downfield Main Church in a gathering where he ate more than his share of cookies, played the drum during a worship set, and engaged himself in a discussion about the Lord’s prayer. Next to him was a young teen that he had brought to church for the first time. As I shared the gospel with this new boy, I thought of humble beginnings and the possibilities that exist in a generation of young people so hungry for cookies and the gospel, regardless of the opposition.
With the right ministry of encouragement and with the liberating gospel, the Baldragon students will be fine. I believe that one day, a compassionate pediatric nurse will do unto the least of those in her community, and in so doing, do unto Christ. I believe that when people speak life to these students, they too will believe that they can do all things through Christ that strengthens them. I believe that God is more potent than poverty, bigger than bullying, and constantly at work when those in the neighborhood cannot find a job.
I came to Scotland to look for and confirm an opportunity for “my” American church to make an eternal impact in partnership with other churches around the world. I haven’t been on the ground but for a short time, and it is already becoming quite obvious that possibilities abound.
-Dr. Gary Hewins,
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