Life's Problems

Ruth Kauffman Profile
Article by Ruth Kauffman
Teacher's Aide

I love the words of God’s promise in Isaiah 30:18, "And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him." It’s a good reminder to me of how God sees situations and people differently than I do at times, and how He is always rising up, ready to do good things for those whose hearts are open to receive from Him. At Gateway Woods, I found that hearts are not always as closed as they may appear at first glance.

Take Matty, for example. He was a student at Gateway Woods School who at first seemed very closed to receiving anything from me, either as an English teacher or as a spiritual counselor. I used to struggle to find ways to reach out to him and teach him in ways that he could receive. He frequently refused to cooperate with me at school, so I found myself lying awake some nights thinking about what I was going to do about him the next day.

Sometimes he would complain to me about how different Gateway Woods School was from his previous school experiences. He would make comments such as, “You guys are always watching me!”, and “I can’t believe this! I’ve never done my homework before in my life; you’re lucky I decided to do my homework today!” Sometimes when he was frustrated he would ask, “Why do you guys even care so much?!”, and he loved to complain about “Cons” (Gateway Woods consequences for behavior choices).

However, there were also some occasions that he expressed appreciation for Gateway Woods, and appreciation for his houseparents. As time went on, he made comments about how his houseparents really cared about him and that they were helping him with his "problems."

Conversations with students like Matty helped me to realize that God is using Gateway Woods to restore hope and bring positive change in the lives of children and families being served. God is doing a good work in their hearts and minds that may not be visible now, but one that I can trust has a lasting impact. My job as a Gateway Woods teacher was to simply be available, serve, plant the seeds, and allow God to do His work in each heart. It’s encouraging to know that He is working in ways we cannot see.

It was a privilege to teach at Gateway Woods School this spring. God used the experience to teach me about who He is and His heart for people. I was reminded of God’s love for me, a sinner who doesn’t deserve His grace. I was encouraged by experiencing some different ways that He chose to use me to reach out to youth at Gateway who He cares about and whose souls He desires to win.

Ruth served as a teacher's aide at the Gateway Woods School in the Spring of 2019.