Wow! Have you ever noticed how time passes by so quickly? School starts—then it ends; and another year is over. For me, that cycle has continued for almost 42 years; but this year that cycle ends, as I have retired from denominational work. Oh, at the time of this writing I’m still working three-quarter time, but that doesn’t change the fact that the time went by quickly!
As I reflect on the years of service, I am grateful for the privilege of working in and for Adventist education! I have been blessed by working with dedicated teachers who have given up so much to work with other people’s children. I have seen awesome teachers who loved the Lord and served Him in spite of little appreciation, always working on a shoestring budget, yet giving their best day in, day out, year after year, who have allowed me the privilege of working with them and for them.
Throughout the years, I have been blessed by working with such amazing students. All of them had such unique and God-given characters that I was privileged to be part of their growing experience in education and life—students who became doctors, lawyers, pastors, teachers, carpenters, administrators, professors, moms and dads, plumbers, physical therapists, nurses, entrepreneurs, IT professionals, etc., and, especially, strong Adventist church members!
I have worked with so many parents who are dedicated to Christian education, who give of their time and talent. Some parents have set out on a journey with their children hoping for the best and giving them the best, yet who have lost their children in accidents, war, or to the world—but these faithful parents continue to hope in Jesus’ resurrection and promises! These parents are awesome!
I have also been blessed to work with amazing administrators, both at the school level and at the conference level. Men and women who loved the Lord and weren’t afraid to do that which was best for Adventist Christian education!
Overall, it has been a fulfilling 42 years of service, because working in Adventist education was a work that made the difference in the lives of young people! Young people who were/are worth every penny spent on them to bring them to an understanding of a relationship with Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Indeed, for me there is/was no other passion greater than working with and for our (actually your) children!
At this time when it would be easier to cut church subsidy to our schools, let us not grow weary in doing good—especially to the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10). Let’s continue to give our kids something that demonstrates that God answers financial prayers, even for them. Let’s demonstrate that when God says He will provide, He will—even for our students!
We are a people longing for Jesus to come, but, in the meantime, let us not forget our purpose! Our young people are worth the sacrifice that every Adventist must make for Christian education to be successful! Adventist education equals evangelism! And how we as a people demonstrate our support to Adventist schools will demonstrate to our young people what we really believe!
After 42 years in denominational work with Adventist education, God has never failed and He has been forever faithful! Believe it!
Pat Giese, the Southern New England Conference superintendent of schools, has retired after 42 years of service in Adventist Christian education.