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A Challenge to Make a Difference

December 03, 2012
By Dean Wagenaar

On November 26, the entire student body (in several different settings) enjoyed the opportunity to hear and observe a presentation by Mr. Joel Van Dyke, a missionary living and working in Guatemala.  At the high school Mr. Van Dyke walked the students through a visual presentation of the created beauty (numerous pictures/stories of incredibly scenic landscape), a brief history (of both inhabitants and government), and the extreme challenges of poverty that face a segment of the population in this small country.

Early in the interaction, Mr. Van Dyke recalled how God had, through life experiences, changed his high school and college self-centered goals and dreams into an attitude of service and commitment to assisting those who are poor and overlooked.  Eventually this missionary landed in Guatemala and began working, as one part of this ministry, with incarcerated gang members of whom he shared photographs and related extraordinary stories.

As the presentation unfolded, Mr. Van Dyke issued a number of challenges to the SCHS student body.   First, he challenged the students to not participate in just “mission” trips but instead to pursue “vision” trips where the participant understands that he/she does not just go on a trip, return, and end the trip but instead has an experience that extends the vision of the participant to see the constant need and causes that person to continue to act on those needs on a consistent basis. 

Second, he passionately called the young people in the audience to genuinely show compassion, kindness, and friendship to all members of the student body, to search for not only the hurting and lonely but also those outside their social groups and spend time getting to know, interact, and care for them. 

Mr. Van Dyke recalled numerous high school experiences that he wished he could redo, and this time offer concern and friendship.  With passion, he begged SCHS high school students not to make the same mistakes he now regrets.

This chapel presentation again reminded us of the opportunities God has given us, of God’s blessings we assume, and of the incredible differences small acts of love, kindness, and compassion can make on those we daily see but often do not take the opportunity to know or encourage.  

In Christ,

Dean Wagenaar