“I am grateful for the foundation I received when I was a student at MEI. When I was given second chances I believe God was working in my heart. Seeds were being planted as my teachers invested in me.”
When I was a student at MEI a foundation was being laid in my life. I was partially aware of it, but mostly oblivious and ungrateful. With hindsight I can see that God was using the teachers and staff of MEI, my fellow students and the entire experience to build a strong faith in me.
While studying at MEI I broke rules regularly, vandalized school property and no doubt frustrated and disappointed more than a few teachers. What might have shaped my faith more than anything was the way I was treated in return. In the face of my failures, again and again I was extended grace and shown mercy. I was not treated as my actions deserved.
Over the years I have come to know my Creator in a personal way. As part of my work I have spent considerable time studying, memorizing, and dramatizing the Gospel of Mark. The stories continue to touch me at a deep level. One thing I am seeing in Mark brings me right back to my time at MEI: Jesus surprised people. He came into people’s lives with healing and forgiveness. He treated people with respect and grace. Even those who opposed him and eventually killed him were forgiven and blessed.
Shortly after I graduated from MEI, while on an international mission experience I developed a vision to launch a retreat and training centre. It was a dream that lay dormant for about two decades before the timing finally seemed right. A friend from my MEI grad class helped the MARK Centre become an organization in the summer of 2000. Soon after that, another grad of MEI decided to draw up plans and lead us through a building phase. Generous hearts were stirred to participate, so that today we have a peaceful centre named after the gospel of Mark and a growing vision to help people hear God’s voice all over the world.
As I’ve studied through Mark with various groups of young adults, one poem has come across my path I want to pass on to you. Doreen Kostynuik has captured something here that is simple and engaging;
Follow Jesus around the Scriptures – be an observer
Watch how he looks
Watch how he touches
Watch how he is present to people
Watch how he prays and takes time out
Let him look at you
Let him touch you
Let him hold you
Let him heal you
Let him be present to you
Then become the look
Become the touch
Become the presence
By Doreen Kostynuik
Today I’ve got two daughters at MEI who are being trained as young leaders to serve the world. They are beginning to dream about where they could go and what they might offer. It’s incredible to me to see how they are already tuning into their unique gifts and what makes them come alive. It is inspiring to see how MEI is modeling a lifestyle of mission to my girls. I’ve personally been involved over the years in some of the training sessions for the annual MEI mission trips. To watch how God guides and provides for these international trips from year to year is exciting. I also have friends who serve in various countries and have actually received MEI mission teams. The feedback has been strong. One of the recurring reports is that the MEI teams come to serve. Like it is described in Doreen’s poem, MEI students, and specifically my two girls are learning to move from studying and watching Jesus, to allowing him to interact with them personally, to eventually become the look, the touch, the presence in the world.
I’m grateful for the foundation I received when I was a student at MEI. When I was given second chances I believe God was working in my heart. Seeds were being planted as my teachers invested in me. Even though I was mostly unaware of it, a foundation was being laid that has lasted. I was one child that mattered.