A Joyous, Sad Christmas

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light"            John Keith Falconer

            Last weekend Jana and I were invited to lunch with an alumnus of ICS. When I started working at ICS in 2006, he was a freshman and the starting point guard for my varsity basketball team. I had the opportunity to teach, coach, and mentor this young man for four years. After graduating from ICS, he went to college and is now opening a medical center in Bangkok. Since his graduation, we have kept in touch and shared what was happening in our lives. But, last week at lunch he shared something new with me. After finishing lunch, he said, “Jack, I have been many places and met many people, but nothing compares to my experience at ICS. The community and support that was shown to me at ICS has never been replicated anywhere else.”

            Christmas is always a difficult time for us because we must choose between staying here for the holidays, or going home. When we go home for Christmas it is always an exciting time of reconnecting with family, and enjoying the festivities. But, when we stay in Bangkok, we have the opportunity to reconnect with alumni that we have not seen in many years. Often spiritual issues that never manifested for these young men and women in high school, become front and center in our conversations with them as adults. I often tell Jana that I believe the relationships we continue with ICS students after graduation is far more significant than anything we do at ICS.

            On January 3rd, we have organized an alumni reunion basketball game at ICS. We are expecting over 25 alumni that played basketball at ICS over the past 15 years to attend. Some of these alumni I have not seen in several years, but we are all coming together for a night of fellowship. It amazes me that so many graduates of ICS come around during the holidays just to say hello to former teachers and friends. I believe it shows the uniqueness of a school that values community first. Please pray for us as we spend time playing a game we love and catching up with each other.

            Christmas is certainly not as festive in Thailand as it is in North Carolina. Just this week I was telling Jana how I felt guilty for not taking Marley to NC for Christmas. But, Jana reminded me of something that is far more important than Marley being home for Christmas. Marley being here as we eat, share stories, and reconnect with students that God gave us an opportunity to teach for several years. We will miss our family this holiday season, but we believe God will use this time for us to continue sharing His love with our former students that are now adults.