“Why did we get chocolate today?” one of my students asked me. “Were we good all week?”
I smiled at him. “I just felt like giving you candy today,” was my response.
“But what did we do?” He wasn’t giving up so easily.
“You didn’t do anything. Sometimes, I just like to be nice like that,” I told him.
I teach choir to about 26 high school students at the Black Forest Academy (BFA), a boarding school for missionary kids (MKs) in the southwest part of Germany. I love my job. I love my kids. And I wanted to show them just how much I loved them by getting up a little earlier and going to the grocery store down the street from the school to buy them a little treat.
They hadn’t done anything spectacular that week. I think I was probably just so relieved my first week had gone by without a catastrophe that I was glad it was Friday and the weekend was here.
But, much to my one student’s dismay, they had not done anything to deserve that chocolate bar.
They’d simply signed up for choir and were in my class and got to reap the benefits from it. And the benefit that day had been a Bounty chocolate bar. (Bounty is the equivalent to a Mounds or Almond Joy over here.)
I watched the students take their chocolate bar back to their seat. They were all grins. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first teacher to give them free candy. In fact, I know I’m not. But I guess that day it was unexpected and a nice addition to their Friday.
A year ago, I was a seminary student outside of Boston. I was nearly finished with my degree and while most of my friends wanted to become pastors or work in a church, I wanted to work with MKs. I had just applied to teach at BFA, not thinking that the job I wanted would even be open.
This isn’t my first time living abroad. Twice before I lived in this exact part of Europe as an Au Pair ten years ago and then again as a teacher. I’ve wanted to come back to this part of Europe since I left it 4 years ago.
I’ve had to wait a long time for the job that I have now. It’s my dream job—teaching MKs in a beautiful part of Europe, a part of the continent that I adore. Although there were lots of valleys I had to go through before I was able to take this position, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Don’t you sometimes think that’s kind of how God’s grace works with us?
We don’t deserve it. We don’t have to do anything to earn it. He gives it to us. Because, just like my choir kids, we’re the icing on the cake. We’re His children and He loves us. Oh, how He loves us!
And the gifts from which we benefit are unexpected.
I look at this time in my life as my Bounty Bar—a free gift I received because God loves me and loves to see His children thrive where they are.
Don’t lose hope, especially if you’re wondering, “What’s next?” I guarantee there is a Bounty Bar moment sometime soon in your future. That’s what I’ve deemed them—these unexpected surprises that God gives me—my Bounty Bar moments.
*Photo credit: Songkran