The following letter was written by Anastasis parent Amy Whitehouse. Amy has 4 students that attend Anastasis: a kindergartener, fourth grader, seventh grader and eighth grader. Amy generously agreed to allow us to post her letter here.
MY DAY AS AN 8TH GRADER……
I am completely blown away. I’m not sure what I expected, but any expectations I had, have been far exceeded. We started with Mr. Matt in devotions talking about Grace, and how God grants us grace day after day. His ability to engage the kids while teaching God’s lesson was impressive. I found myself wanting to come back to chapel each day and learn again as a child learns.
We then moved upstairs with Mr. Fink and the most amazing eight girls I’ve ever been around. We were shown three pictures and asked to use one word to describe the picture. Twice, I found myself with no word. Not the girls though, they pulled words from their vocabulary lists that fit the picture in such detail, and yet sometimes in obscure ways. Another mom and I kept looking at each other with bewilderment in our eyes. I kept thinking…these are not the same girls that I knew just two years ago. These girls carry themselves with such confidence. They are not afraid of failure, so they are empowered to speak. They throw out ideas and the depth of their conversations is actually something you can’t fathom until you witness it first hand. We were next shown two pictures and were told to write a paragraph setting up the scene. I had written a paragraph, but after listening to the girls, chose not to share mine. 🙂 These girls are further ahead than I am at 40! Mr. Fink is inspiring. The way he looks at the girls and validates what they say, is a gift given to these girls. He listens with his whole being, and looks them in the eyes.
With his words and actions, he tells these girls over and over again during the day that they matter. That they can be game changers. That they can go into the world and make a difference.
Before lunch, we took a math test, which I failed horribly (even with cheating), and we were challenged to a competition. Fink asked us questions off the Citizenship Test, and the kids won 27-8. We were annihilated. Enough said.
Next was our first Anastasis Communion. This was absolutely beautiful. It’s hard to describe in words what transpired. All the classes gave presentations on what they have learned from Mr. Matt’s teachings this week. Each class presentation was completely different and yet so true to who they are, and where they are in life.
Next, Mr. Matt, Mr. A, and the teachers gave each child bread and juice representing Jesus’ body and blood shed for us. They looked deep into each child’s eyes and spoke life into them. I about cried as I heard Mr. Matt say, “Tommy, you know that Jesus died just for you? Do you realize Tommy, Jesus loves you and did this for YOU??” Beautiful. We then separated into classes, and every teacher prayed a blessing over their own class. I was able to listen to three different prayers, and literally felt the power of God’s love prayed out over my kids.
Matthew then prayed over the entire school. The Holy Spirit was alive and active. Many of us actually felt “electricity” through our legs, myself included. My 10-year-old told me she physically felt the Holy Spirit enter her body. Her legs went numb, she started sweating, and her glasses fogged up. She knew it was the Spirit entering her body. Amazing.
Next….more school work to do. Mr. Fink had us watch a film called “Baraka.” I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it, as there is so much to this film. But my take-away is we all get so caught up with our own agendas, our stuff, our goals, etc. that we find ourselves in the middle of a wound up bundle of chaos. God has so much more in store for us, but do we take time to be quiet and listen to that still, small voice?
We ended with dodgeball. I’m telling you….those 8th grade girls are tough!!
I’m so thankful to Lance for extending the invitation for parents to come and be a part of our kids life at Anastasis. We as parents get so wrapped up with the details of math, grammar, spelling, etc. which are important, but at the end of the day, there is so much more to life and “education.” I saw kids who KNOW who they are. I saw kids understand that God loves them completely. I saw my own daughter FEEL the Holy Spirit enter her body. I saw my 8th grader standing tall with confidence which needed to be rebuilt. I saw time and time again teachers speaking truth and words of LIFE into our kids. I saw teachers faces light up when a child approached them. This speaks to our kids hearts. This is living for Jesus. This is what matters. This is what I witnessed today at Anastasis Academy. What our teachers teach, can’t be labeled with a grade, or put into a box. They are teaching outside of the box, and in turn, our kids will learn to live outside of the box. Jesus was never one to live inside a box, and He certainly didn’t request that we do so. I could not be more filled with thankfulness to God for giving Matthew and Kelly the vision for our school, and for hand-picking each and every teacher who spends 40 hours a week speaking life and truth into my children’s lives.
So full of thankfulness and joy!!