Jesus looked out at a crowd of helpless riffraff. They were poor. They were destitute, mistreated slaves of a conquering force from a faraway city called Rome. All traces of dignity had had been pulverized from their souls generations before. Jesus pondered the gaggle of men and women, snotty nosed boys and timid girls in the crowd. He himself was the light of the world, sent from heaven; the Son of the living God. And yet Jesus said something new to them. His words were astonishing.
“You are the light of the world.”
Jesus, of course, was not really speaking into the present reality. He was looking beyond the moment, into the possibilities. He was looking out with the eyes of God, seeing what those people were created to be and he was calling out leaders. Can we, who walk in Jesus’ footsteps and swear our allegiance to his example, learn to see people the same way? This question is foundational to what Mustard Seed is doing every day in Indonesia and India.
Our strategy all these years is really quite simple; to raise up a transformative model of education that is based on Christian discipleship and share it with the world. For a decade, we invested our energies into Phase One: Pioneering a new kind of Christian school for Indonesian children.
Charis National Academy was founded in 2001. Currently, Charis provides transformative Christian education to over 700 students and is located across the street from our home. Charis has become the top school in our city of 1.3 million while simultaneously providing scholarships for over 350 kids from low-income backgrounds.
Now we are three years into Phase Two, which is called TransformNation. The world can come and learn, experiencing the beauty and the power of an education that is shaped by the Gospel of Christ and immersed in a biblical worldview. Wave after wave of school leaders and teachers from around Indonesia are coming for one to four weeks of training. Our most intensive approach is a four year college level program. We call this our “elite special forces training program,” and this is really the heart and soul of TransformNation. Our graduates are trained not only to be great teachers. They become seasoned leaders, equipped to impact entire communities in multiple ways. The program is practical, relevant, built on practice and experience, and boldly announces hope in Jesus. Our students and graduates of this program are sponsored by generous donors in the U.S. and Canada through Mustard Seed International. Effective new schools are being created, bringing transformative change to villages all over Indonesia.
We covet your prayers, as we face new challenges and obstacles every single day, counting on the Spirit of God to help us navigate them.
Paul Andrew Richardson