Monday, October 14, 2013

The Power Of Facebook And Mrs. McKenzie

In our AM service yesterday morning, our youth minister, Steve Lehman, spoke about the role of youth in our congregation. Steve, a fellow Nebraskan, did an awesome job! Afterwards, I was speaking with one of my favorite couples, Kevin and Deirdre, about staying in touch with their two children, one at Stanford and one at Texas A and M. We talked about what a blessing it would be to have older members of our church communicate with Mitchell and Elena while they are in college. I asked if their kids used FACEBOOK; they said yes but Mitchell isn't on much. I told them I would love to check in with their wonderful kids if they got me the info. On a hunch, I checked on FACEBOOK after worship. You guessed it- I'm already friends with Elena and Mitchell!

That's one of my problems; I'm not even sure who my Friends are on the social network! I always vowed never to sign up but I've said many things that I had to eat. But I've changed my mind on the value of FACEBOOK. I've found that I can tell people in the US instantly what I just did on my mission trips to Vietnam, complete with pictures, when you factor in the twelve hour difference to CST. I now also have a number of people in Asia reading my nightly devotionals, which I post through my FACEBOOK account, who might not have much chance to read anything about Jesus otherwise. That's never a bad thing.

Over the past 24 hours, I've come to believe even more strongly in the power of FACEBOOK. Marie McKenzie taught for more than fifty years in the Houston area, including close to twenty-five of those years at Westbury Christian. She did a little bit of everything; elementary, middle school, and high school classes. Her last year, she taught ESL for all eight periods with no breaks! A widow, she lived with her sister, Helen Wilcox, also a WCS employee and also a widow. So much of the work Mrs. McKenzie did was out of sight. There are students and even families who speak English fluently and are productive members of society because Marie McKenzie worked tirelessly to give them a chance for success. But aging happens to all of us and it got to the point where physically she just could not work anymore. Her sister's condition deteriorated and she passed away in July of 2012. Mrs. McKenzie fell several times and she had to give up independent life and moved into a facility. Recently, she moved again and this move was very difficult. Last Sunday morning, we prayed for her and Greg Glenn, our head of school, asked if my students would make cards for her, something we often do. Greg, accompanied by his son, Richard, who along with sister Amber and brother Cody were students of Mrs. McKenzie, delivered the cards yesterday afternoon. That's the picture above. (If you are observant, you notice her name is misspelled on the envelopes. I neglected to tell my teacher's aide, the lovely Megan Hill, how to spell it correctly!)

Here's where FACEBOOK comes in. I ran the picture on FACEBOOK last night along with a little bit of an update about Mrs. McKenzie. Here's what is awesome; in less than twenty-four hours, there are currently 124 likes on the picture and close to forty people have asked for her address so they can write/visit/call! She doesn't know it but she is about to be inundated with love, paying back in small measure for her passionate service for so many years. And it would not have been possible without FACEBOOK. Several of the messages I got are from folks who are out of the US at the moment. I thought this was neat. Last week, when I gave the cards to Greg, I pointed out the ones Mrs. McKenzie is holding. The pink one was made by Aya and the yellow one by Fair. Both are eighth graders from Asia and English is always a struggle. I told Greg I estimated the girls took hours to make the cards at home, considering the intricacy of the details they drew and the sincerity of their written messages. And that's just the kind of children Mrs. McKenzie always excelled with. You know, Mrs. McKenzie is still teaching- she just doesn't come to school anymore.

Applicable quote of the day:
“When you study great teachers... you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style.”
William Glasser

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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