Teaching in Indonesia brings rewards for Corban alumni

Friday, August 15, 2014

Twenty Corban alumni serve as schoolteachers in Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation in the world. All reflect our motto, “Dedicating Heart and Mind to God,” and are teaching hundreds of children to do the same. During the past four years, nearly 30 alumni have taught in the network of the Pelita Harapan Foundation schools. Janelle Peyton, in her sixth year of teaching there, shares the following story about what draws her to invest her work in Indonesia, and the impact it has—even if it is sometimes one student at a time.

Why do I live halfway around the world? His name is Lutfi.

A few months ago Lutfi came in to my Grade 5 class with attitude and a witty sense of humor. My first impression? “This boy is going to be a handful!”

As I got to know Lutfi, I sensed his deep need to be known and loved. He was a strong class leader, sometimes in the wrong ways. So I knew I had to win him over, or the rest of the year would be a disaster.

After learning about Lutfi’s heartbreaking family situation, I made it my priority to find a way to reach out and love him. Academic studies were not his passion or strength, but drama was. What a gift! Each year I use a lot of drama as a way to harness my students’ creative energy, make literature come alive and help them develop confidence and a good sense of humor.

Not surprisingly, Lutfi excelled in the dramatic—so much that he and I ended up co-directing a school musical. He even helped me write the script for that production. When he got up on the stage for rehearsal, Lutfi’s whole face lit up. He led and directed the other students, and made the play so much better than I ever could have envisioned.

Playing to Lutfi’s strengths, I gave him the freedom to present his understanding of science and social studies concepts through drama. The changes I saw in him were incredible! He began to serve and love others, helping them whenever he could. As he received love, he willingly poured it out to others.

Lutfi changed from being a boy with an attitude to a boy excited about school, loving others and compassionately reaching out to those who are struggling.


Corban alumni currently teaching in Indonesia:

D. J. Brown ’13

Mike ’11 & Megan Cowan

Ben ’12 & Jenae Daniels ’12

Caitlin Doring ’12

Kimberly Ecker ’13

Danielle Friesen ’07

Karissa Griggs ’11

Jake Johnson ’13

Adam Knust ’11

Madison Lewis ’11

Kimberly Liu ’13

Mikayla Mueller ’14

Janelle Peyton ’09

Peter Randall ’09

Aaron Schilperoort ’11

Andrew Schmitt ’14

Sarah Seibert ’12

Hilary Steiner ’14

Taylor Tuepker ’14

  • Janelle Peyton and a colleague with Lutfi (center), an enthusiastic Grade 5 Indonesian student.

  • Corban alumna Kimberly Liu '13, top left, recently started her second year of teaching in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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