“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1 

When the 7th grade DI team decided to compete in this year’s technical challenge, which required them to build a functional pinball machine as well as create and act out a story, we were impressed with their versatility. In March, when they placed second at the State Tournament, we were impressed with their creativity. When packing to compete at the Global Tournament, they learned that they had to dismantle a majority of the pinball machine to get the 4’1” x 8’1” structure to fit in the back of a minivan. With only two pieces breaking in the process, we were very impressed with their ingenuity.  Furthermore, when they arrived in Kansas City and learned that their pinball machine was too big to fit through the door of the performance venue the night before they were scheduled to compete, once again, we were extremely impressed with their flexibility and tenacity! With much prayer and perseverance, they figured it out and made it work! And, by God’s grace, the pinball machine stood strong throughout the performance and waited to collapse once they concluded the challenge and removed it from the competition site. At the conclusion of this amazing experience, they gave God the glorify, leaving us impressed with their spirituality!  

This is just a small sampling of the list of blessings that this team experienced during the Global competition. In addition, this 7th grade team also volunteered to be a “buddy team” with a team from another country. A few weeks ago, everyone was absolutely thrilled to learn that this St. Matthew team would once again be buddied up with the same Ukrainian team that was buddies with last year’s St. Matthew 8th grade DI Global team! 

When the two teams met for the first time last Wednesday night, there was an instant reconnection. Each team had little gifts for each other. Our students received an Ukraine T-shirt, notebook, and some Ukrainian goodies. In return, our team gave each Ukrainian team member a St. Matthew backpack filled with candy, Oreos, and a Bible.  

Requesting “American Pizza” for a special joint dinner, the two teams enjoyed each other’s company for two hours as the Ukrainian team shared stories of how the war continues to affect their lives.  In fact, their Service Learning Challenge was showing the positive affect that therapy animals can have on students attending school in a war zone.   

Having children on both last year’s and this year’s DI Global teams, Mrs. Colby had the privilege to witness both “buddy” interactions with the Ukrainian team. As she reflected upon how God designed for this group of students to be a part of the St. Matthew family and the DI experience for the past two years, she stated, “The entire situation was just so cool that you can’t really put it into words.” 

This year, our school theme has been "We Are The Fingerprints Of God". Throughout this school year, not only have we found God's fingerprints all over everything in our lives, but we have also strived to be His fingerprints by leaving the imprint of His love with others. As we reflect on this DI experience, we rejoice for how God's fingerprints covered this entire experience. 

Have a wonderful week knowing that your life is covered with His fingerprints! 

In Jesus' Love, 

Mrs. Palka

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