Russell and Duenes

Feeling Nostalgic – Ten Years at Redwood Christian – 2006-07

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Tomorrow is my last day of instruction at Redwood, and I don’t know what I’m going to say yet. I’m already feeling the sadness coming on. I’ve never left anything I cared about this much, and I didn’t expect it to hit me so hard. I’m a teacher at heart, and so I won’t be surprised if God opens up continued opportunities for me to do some teaching, perhaps in the local church. It is a privilege and blessing beyond compare to be able to walk into a class full of kids every day and open up the Scriptures for them. Learning to live out the gospel in the law school setting will be quite a switch from my Bible classroom, but every bit as necessary. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Indeed.

I began the ’06-07 school year a newly married man, so that added a good bit of excitement. This was one of those years where I really hit it off with the freshman class. Such a cast of characters. Jeromie Scholten blowing his nose all over the place, Julia Craig ragging on my flower tie, Drew Dixon and his goofy haircuts, Snagglebert, Vika Dobbs raising her hand constantly, and the odd couple: Christian Randall and Kie Ehlers. I enjoyed watching the freshmen get all ginned up about who so-and-so was going to take to Homecoming. It was at all turns exhausting and endearing. It was my last year coaching junior high boys softball, and it was my first year coaching junior high boys volleyball.

The seniors provided their own sort of entertainment. Morgan Borne (BORNEO!) could never stop talking about the movie Nacho Libre, like it was the second making of Citizen Kane or something, and he routinely walked into class saying “Ricky Booby” from Talladega Nights. Then there was Josh Teyler, whose last name is pronounced like “Tyler”, but I had always called him, “TAYLOR!” with my usual emphasis. When the students had tried to correct me, Josh informed me that it was fine for me to continue mis-pronouncing his last name, which I still do to this day. I remember the day we started discussing whether it was a biblical notion to spank one’s child, and then descent into chaos ensued. The year had to be topped off by my doing my rendition of Rapper’s Delight at the Senior Banquet (which apparently is still floating around on youtube somewhere). On the whole it was a steady, even-keel year. There’s not a lot that stands out in my mind, which doesn’t necessarily say anything about my students.

Probably the biggest highlight was that we found out my wife was with child in January of 2007, which ultimately caused us to move to Oakland and live among Central Asian refugees that my wife was helping out. I remember praying a good bit with my 7th period freshmen about our move and just about many things in general, and I remember feeling a confidence in God’s willingness to answer our prayers. Prayers begat prayers, which is a nice thing to have happen. I was starting to feel a new energy and vitality for the teaching task, and it came to fuller flower in the ’07-08 year.

Lord, we have seasons of sowing and seasons of reaping; and you are in control of them both, and you determine when they come. Thank you that you sometimes allow us to sow, sometimes to reap, and sometimes both. I thank you for the changes I’ve seen in some of these students over the years, and I pray that you would continue to work your sovereign grace into their lives. Amen.


Written by Michael Duenes

June 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Duenes, Nostalgia

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