July 1, 2013
Online Journal - We Are So Blessed!
Janet Griffith, Superintendent, Alberta Conference, Lacombe, AB

Have you counted your blessings lately?  Have you counted your blessings lately as an educator?   Do you ever wish you had more resources, more personnel, better facilities, more equipment, a science lab, music room, and the list can go on forever. 
 
During the Christmas break I had an opportunity to take a trip to the South Pacific.  What I experienced there was an Adventist school that is starting up again after being closed for approximately 10 years.  This particular school had an elementary section that was up and running, however, the high school section was struggling and they were offering grade 11 this year in hopes that the school will continue to grow to a full-fledged high school.  In the process of making a visit to the school, I again, understood how blessed we are here in Canada to have the resources, facilities, and opportunities to grow professionally. 
 
The facilities I visited were in dire need of a functional library;  a coat of paint on the walls would be fantastic, windows replaced and fans that actually work.  Yet the teachers and pastor were overwhelmingly positive and optimistic about their school year.  They do not have a gym to play in when the weather turns nasty.  (They don’t get snow, but they do get cyclones!)   The teachers make by hand every poster they use in the classroom.  What is a teacher’s manual?  Teacher resources were at a premium and library books---well let’s just say there wasn’t much to choose from, and what was there was wrinkled and moldy from the humidity.  Yet the staff was happy! 
 
Do they have challenges?  Yes!  Do we have challenges?  Yes!  It is only by the grace of God that we have what we have for resources in this land of plenty!!  Yet do we really appreciate it?  It is so much easier to complain and moan and groan because of what we do not have, yet we are so blessed because of what we do have!  The material things that assist teachers in the classroom are wonderful.  What if you didn’t have an alphabet set, or a bulletin board to put up, or a Christmas program to prepare for, or a SMART board; or paper and pencils.  Yes this small South Pacific school did not even have paper to write on let alone teacher resources.   Yet they are functioning.  The students are happy and the teachers make it work, no matter the situation.
 
So I implore each and every one of us to take an inventory of what we do have, praise God for them, and count the blessings we receive for our schools and classrooms.  As the song says:
 
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
 
Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain
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