My interactions with John Atsma, site superintendent for Fricia Construction, are usually two-fold: sometimes he stops by my office, or I give him a call. However, our conversations are rarely dull. Here are a few examples:

“John, did you guys turn the water off? None of the taps work in the school.”

“Mike, we need to run some tests of the fire alarm system. It shouldn’t be too disruptive.

“John, I can’t get the lights to turn on in upstairs the hallway; did someone cut a wire?”

“Sorry, Mike, the plumbers’ soldering set off the fire alarm.”

John almost feels like a staff member now that we have been “working together” for about a year and a half (I doubt he wants me on his staff as I barely know which end of the hammer to use…but he is always welcome at ACS!). He stops in my office a few times a week and last Friday afternoon was no exception.

“Mike, I have a favour to ask.”

Cleaning, Anyone?

John explained that he always gathers a team of volunteers to deep clean a new space before the inspections for occupancy. It is a significant cost savings instead of hiring a professional cleaning service. He (and the whole Fricia crew) care deeply about the school, and they want to be stewardly with the resources we have been given.

“Some of my volunteer cleaning crew can’t make it tomorrow. Can you ask the staff to help?”

So, I put out the call on Friday afternoon after school for staff to come and clean our new eight classroom wing the next morning.

We had no idea who would come.

They Came

When it was all said and done, 23 people showed up to deep clean the new secondary classroom wing! That morning I reflected on Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” In some ways, that Saturday morning was like going to church. Personally, I have not stepped foot in church for an in-person church service since the pandemic began. But that Saturday morning was an act of corporate worship.

Our “congregation” that morning consisted of:

  • 4 Fricia employees (all ACS alumni)
  • 2 Honorary members
  • 3 ACS students (the youngest is in grade 1)
  • 3 Parents with students at the secondary campus
  • 11 Secondary staff members (including a first-year staff member and a couple of 33-year staff members)

Still Here, Still Together

What I saw was the diversity of God’s people. I saw thankfulness for God’s provision and blessing. I saw the unity that shared faith and purpose brings to His people. I experienced God’s presence through fellowship with my brothers and sisters. God reveals himself in many ways; often, through His people.

Even though we are apart and feel disconnected from each other as a school and community, our community is still here and together. Our shared faith and love for ACS is very much alive and well. It’s just harder to see and experience right now. I hope you hold on to this little reminder that our community that once was (pre-pandemic) is still here and, Lord willing, will be even more so soon.