Entering Grade 9 at FVCHS, I had the formula for Christianity down pat, I had been raised in a Christian home with loving parents that taught me, by both words and actions, the love of God.
During the year, I attend church regularly, went to at Christian summer camp, and on top of it all, my mother was the children’s ministry pastor. Basically I knew all there was to know about being a Christian; Jesus fit quite nicely into the box I had made Him.
So, when I experienced my first several Bible classes, only one emotion overtook me – shock.
The material we were covering was often stories I had never heard before, and it hit me that there was a lot still to learn. From that point of realization, slowly my formulated faith and boxed-in Jesus began to be altered, shifted, and ultimately deconstructed. The more I learned from experience and teaching, the more I realize that I was far from figuring out God. At first, the replacement of my old “safe” ideas really affected me; I felt confused and very lost, yet over these last four years I have come to love the mystery of God with His greatness that surpasses understanding.
For someone who constantly pursues to find answers for everything, gaining his peace has not come easily. I have been blessed with rich experiences, both good, such as a mission trip to Haiti, and challenging, like knee surgery, as well as great teaching of the Bible. It is through these occurrences that I have often encountered Christ and my heart slowly changed. Next year I will be studying international studies at Trinity Western University, in which I hope to either work abroad or with the government of Canada.
Although I now know that I can’t place God in a box, what I do know is how I’m called to live; to love God and share His love through serving others.
There is a reason why they call this a faith “journey” in that it is a dynamic and ongoing experience. I hope to only continue to know God and pour that love out on others.
Faith Journey by Kayla Ortlieb, grad 2010 last graduating class of Fraser Valley Christian High School
We would like to express our thanks to you and the teachers at the school. Our son graduates in a few days and we are very grateful that school has been a thoroughly positive experience for him from the time he entered Kindergarten at Surrey Christian School up until he finished his last exam a couple of days ago. We are extremely appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the teachers who have been a tremendous source of encouragement and inspiration to him.
Math has always been one of his favourite subjects. During Grade 9, his teacher fanned this spark into a flame. My son couldn’t wait to get to math class because it always started with a puzzle or riddle that they had to try and solve. His sr. math teacher also had a truly positive impact on him. She nurtured his enthusiasm and encouraged him through Math 12 and AP Calculus, which he has thoroughly enjoyed.
In grades 11 & 12 The science department head opened his eyes to the wonders of physics and chemistry. We often heard glowing accounts of what transpired in the science lab, which seemed to include all kinds of exciting experiments and even some explosions! This teacher challenged him to cultivate his full potential and their obvious passion for science has inspired our son to further studies in the field of Applied Science at SFU in the fall.
However, what has made the school so uniquely special for our son has been music; four years of concert band, one year of Friday Jazz and three years of Java Men & Swing Girl. The music director is a fantastic teacher and has managed to find that fine balance between being a fun teacher and still being highly respected by his students. He challenges and motivates them to a superior standard of performance and they feel a tremendous sense of achievement when they reach this goal. And, of course, the band trips are amazing!
High school has been clearly a place where our son has felt happy and secure and where he has realized some significant achievements. I think it is quite telling that when he finished his last exam on Wednesday at 11am, but it was 2 o’clock before he phoned and asked me to come pick him up. He had spent some quiet time in the library, remembering. We have watched him grow and mature and he is looking forward with excitement and anticipation to starting university. We are thankful for the strong foundation that has been laid during these last four years at the secondary campus and wanted so say “thank you” to those special teachers who have made his high school experience so memorable.
Dated June 25, 2010