Caring for Bingham students in mind, body and spirit
Posted on: 16th July 2018
Shane & Naomi Rubie, with Tom, Oliver, Lucy and Max, serve at Bingham Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Shane is athletics director and teaches PE, the Bible and science, and Naomi mentors teaching assistants and works in the elementary school. Naomi explains how Bingham supports ministry in Ethiopia and prepares students for a lifetime of bringing glory to God.
Ethiopia is a developing country with a sad and tragic history that still impacts its growth and functioning today. The people here are resilient, gracious and proud, however so many of them need to know the saving power of Jesus and the life-changing word of God. Simultaneously, many of them need help physically and emotionally, with over 30 per cent of people living under the poverty line of two dollars a day.
In this context, Bingham Academy is supporting the many families who serve in this country in both word and deed by meeting the needs of Ethiopians spiritually, but also physically, emotionally and intellectually. We are an international school for missionary children, who make up approximately 55 per cent of the student body, and also for children holding foreign passports whose parents are making a long-term impact in Ethiopia. By providing quality Christian education, we allow the parents and families of our students to remain in country long-term, knowing that their children will not be disadvantaged educationally. We support their ministries by allowing them to remain in their work, which includes everything from Bible translation to theological teaching, medical and humanitarian ministries to businesses.
Mind, body and spirit
At Bingham Academy, we seek to emulate this practice of holistic mission—word and deed together—in our service to the students as well. Primarily we are a school, therefore we seek to give our students a quality education that will equip them with the necessary skills to transition into any other institution around the world for further education. To enable this, we teach a Cambridge curriculum that is accepted all over the globe.
We also seek to meet the spiritual needs of our students by discipling those who are already committed to Christ, in order that when they leave Bingham, they will be able to change the world for God’s glory. However, although many of our students come from missionary or Christian families, it does not mean they are followers of Jesus. Many struggle to find their own faith, and want to work out their own beliefs and ideals rather than accepting what their parents believe and have made their life’s call. Many, especially the teenagers, go through periods of independence, questioning and resistance. Bingham teachers want to be there for them at these times. It is crucial for us to listen, encourage, pray and point them to the word of God, so that they can find and accept for themselves what God has to say. It is indeed a privilege to walk alongside our students and help them to navigate the waters of life spiritually as they develop and mature.
As the athletics director at Bingham, Shane also has the students’ physical wellbeing in mind. He loves to coach our sports teams and watch students develop skills and abilities as their bodies develop. He believes there is a close correlation between emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing. Often our kids learn how to be emotionally resilient, empathetic and have good self-esteem out on the sports field, court or in PE lessons. He teachers them to glorify God with their bodies, to keep their ‘temples’ healthy, and that they can be a light to the schools around us when they compete with honour and integrity in inter-school sports competitions. We hear time and time again from the schools we compete against that “your kids are different”, and we give testimony to the fact that Jesus is the reason for this.
So there we have Bingham Academy—seeking to minister to our community of multicultural students by providing a quality Christian education which will produce students of integrity, who will change the world for God’s glory. Now where do our own children fit in?
Family life in community
Currently we have Tom in Year 12, Oliver in Year 11, Lucy in Year 8 and Max in Year 6. They have spent the last six years at Bingham and we couldn’t have asked for a better place for them to grow up. We live on the school compound with all the other staff here. Sometimes community living is difficult—there are many rules to follow, little freedom to escape the two-acre walled ‘bubble’ of Bingham, and a blurred line of home and school that sometimes becomes confusing. However there are also enormous benefits to being a family at Bingham and they are almost all relational.
We have so many great teachers here who have become surrogate aunties and uncles to our children. These precious friends speak into the lives of our kids spiritually and emotionally. They speak deeply and richly into our kid’s souls at times when parents may not be their choice of person to go to! Shane and I similarly help the children of other staff, or mentor some of the young single staff who have come here. Together we live in community or koinonia, supporting and encouraging one another in the whole of life. It has given us a vision (on the really good days!) of what it may be like in heaven, when we will be in communion with one another as fellow Christians, and I think our children have seen and experienced glimpses of that as well.
We consider it a privilege to partner with families who are on the ‘front line’ of mission, bringing the word of God to Ethiopians. However, we are also about mission as staff at Bingham Academy. We believe we are raising up the next generation of Christian leaders, missionaries and faithful believers, who will be equipped holistically in mind, body and spirit to live in and change the world for God’s glory.
Without the work of Bingham Academy in providing for their children educationally, spiritually, emotionally and physically, many missionary families in Ethiopia would not be able to remain there long-term. Your faithful prayers and generous financial support enable missionaries like Shane and Naomi to continue ministering holistically to the students at Bingham. Please consider giving a one-off gift or setting up regular giving to support their work, as well as signing up for their prayer newsletters on their profile.