The Gift of Giving Back

philippines school childrenGiving Christmas gifts this time of year is often a dance of lists, budgets and wondering, “Will they like what I got them?” One sure, always appreciated gift is that straight-from-the-heart gift of giving back.

I once had the privilege to witness one “giving back” gift unwrapped before my eyes one rainy morning in the Philippines. We stood on the second-floor balcony of a newly completed Christian primary school. As the rain dissipated, the students filed into the courtyard for the morning’s flag-raising while singing their national anthem. A dedication speech was given, and the students rushed to their new classrooms, built with prayer and provisions from the community and supplemented by donors to Worldwide Christian Schools.

“Excuse me,” the school’s principal said to me. “I’d like to introduce you to someone who is very special to us.”

I turned to greet a young woman who had been a former student when the school was a simple set of classrooms made of bamboo walls and thatched roofing.

“We want you to know that this young lady designed our new school as you see it now,” the principal said, as if this graduate was her own child.

This somewhat shy alumnus grinned, and replied, “I wanted to give back to the school and say thanks be to God for everyone who made my dream of becoming an architect come true.”

This account reminds us that Christian schools like this one do infinitely more than teach academics that equip graduates to go on to higher education. Transforming dreams into reality is translated here as “blessed to be a blessing” because Christ is at the center of the curriculum.

Giving back is truly a gift that keeps on giving, one generation to the next.

Thank you for joining us in this season of giving in advancing the Kingdom of God through education.