"Everybody" knows Christian teachers are essential. After all, students become like their teachers, not their textbooks. However, when establishing something in a country with almost no native believers, you have to start with what is available.

Over the past 200 years, many Christian schools have been started by missionaries, but many of them no longer exist or have any kind of recognizable Christian identity other than their heritage. By choosing to use national teachers rather than expatriates, the school is attempting to build towards long-term sustainability, especially in light of the violence and uncertainty that surround it. By using Christian curriculum materials they are communicating that Christ is relevant to everything students learn. He is not an extra-curricular add-on that is unrelated to what happens within the school classrooms.

Embedded expatriate teachers are able to teach some critical worldview courses where students are exposed to the possibility and importance of a personal relationship with Christ as well as an understanding of what Christians believe. The interaction inside and outside their classrooms give a living vitality to the truth presented in the curriculum.

The embedded expatriate teachers are also able to make an impact on the national teachers. There are few other places that you can get a groups of the best teachers in the country together to discuss Biblical truth and its implications in education and all of life. Some of the teachers have come to know Jesus as God and Savior while others still revere Him only as prophet. However, all are being exposed to truth in an environment where the Holy Spirit can confirm it by the loving presence of Jesus' disciples.

missional Christian education looks different when you are establishing a beachhead in new territory. The three-strand cord of Christian family, church and school doesn't yet exist so creativity and prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. There are no tried-and-true models or external structures to give support so you have to trust the One who is not willing that any should perish. He is drawing people to Himself and invites our intentional involvement no matter how inadequate it may appear to be.

For more information about the Classical School of the Medes in northern Iraq, see their website.

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