Living Upside Down But Always Pointing Up
May 14, 2010 | Orchards
By Bob Newman
BAICA’s girl’s high school soccer team includes girls from the U.S., Korea, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Psalm 24:1
Buenos Aires International Christian Academy is the southernmost school in the NICS family. If you look at a map, we are at about the same latitude as the Horn of Africa or the southernmost part of Australia. We have a very temperate climate and all of our seasons are reasonable mild and pleasant. Some may think that for the NICS schools on or near the equator, every day is pretty much the same. However, at BAICA, everything is reversed. In October I look forward to the changing seasons and the approach of cooler weather; in December to a cup of something warm and a bowl of chili; and by February I long for spring and warmer weather. As we approach December each year, the students get excited because summer is coming, and we prepare for our long break. Parties are outside barbecues and people are only looking longingly for a pool. The one constant is that everyone is excited about celebrating the coming of our Savior.
BAICA is unique in that it has been an established school for a little over 10 years but has only been with NICS for about 4 of those years. I was called to serve here with the other missionary teachers and staff months after 2 years of serving in Singapore and have been serving as the Administrator for the last 2 years. Our school is like the other NICS schools in that we are an international school with a Biblical worldview and Christian teachers, but we are also under the authority of the Argentine Ministry of Education as are all schools in Argentina. This means that we must teach courses in both English and Spanish. Our core classes are taught in English with native English speakers and our mandatory Spanish and Argentine Social Studies classes are taught in Spanish with native Spanish speakers. Our school has approximately 160 students from 14 different countries--half from Argentina and half from these other countries. We are in ourselves a small microcosm of the world and it is my hope that our school is a place where all can feel loved as they learn about His creation.
Job accepted the fact that all things come from God, that all things belong to God, and that all things return to God. God will choose how long we are to have something. Job 1:21
We use a traditional American style curriculum coupled with meeting the requirements of the Argentine curriculum. For the most part, I believe that we have been able to find a common ground that satisfies both requirements. Our biggest difficulty in this area is matching calendars because we have two different communities that use different calendars (Boreal calendar begins the year in August and the Austral begins in February). We are seeking special permission from the government to use just one calendar but we are still awaiting a final decision so we have to do our best to manage with both in place.
At BAICA we emphasize community service for all ages. We have each Pre K through Elementary grade take on community service projects, and we have service hour requirements for the Secondary. We also offer a Week without Walls for all of our Secondary students which is a week of community service projects such as mission trips and work with local agencies that provide a positive impact to the community around us but also on the hearts and minds of our students.
Like all of the NICS schools, we are a place where students can learn and come to know the Lord. Many go home and ask questions that cause their parents to come and ask to learn more about the Lord. This has happened twice in the last month with some young girls in the Elementary talking with their mother and in the High School with a student talking with her father. It is very helpful for us to have a “Moms in Touch” group (Dads can also come) that meets and shares a devotional while also offering chances for Bible studies for our parents.
We are prayerful and challenged with the requirements of teaching dual curriculum standards coupled with our high costs to rent space because we do not have our own school. We are only here today because of the prayerful obedience of the NICS leadership and the generosity of the other NICS schools. We are grateful and see the Lord working with us and for us and that is a tremendous comfort and affirmation for all of us at BAICA. Please join in prayer with us as we seek balance without mediocrity and peace with our community without sacrificing our calling.