A rare gospel opportunity: Teaching at Murree
Nick recounts what a priceless opportunity it was to teach at a high-quality Christian school in Pakistan.
By Tim Allan,
Nick Strachan with Murree students.
The priceless opportunity to teach at a high-quality Christian school in the foothills of the Himalayas should not be missed — as Nick Strachan can testify.
The science and geography teacher spent two-and-a-half years at Murree Christian School in Pakistan and experienced first-hand the joy of working in that refreshing environment.
He said: “I went to Murree in the winter of 2016 as an inexperienced teacher and came back in the summer of 2018 with two-and-a-half years of teaching and mission exposure under my belt. I learned a lot about myself in my teacher training year and I had the chance to put my training into practice in a safe, friendly and forgiving atmosphere. I had great opportunities to explore my own teaching practice without the weight of accountability which is commonplace in the UK teaching system.”
The school has a rich history of providing a solid Christian education for children up to the age of 18. It was founded more than 60 years ago and plays a vital role in enabling mission workers to stay in south Asia, knowing their children are being well-educated.
Murree follows the UK curriculum and offers GCSEs, IGCSEs and A Levels. Many students go on to study in the USA or Korea; some stay in Pakistan and others head to Europe.
With class sizes of between four and 12, there are great opportunities to build gospel relationships with students and so help them grow in their faith. And with a staff of around 20, teachers and house parents build strong friendships quickly.
But Nick also has no doubt that teaching at Murree helped his faith grow too, as he learned to work in an environment that was both loving and accountable.
He said: “My faith was tested but it definitely grew. I met many Christian brothers and sisters and I was forced to live a much more minimalist lifestyle and could not separate my visible life from my hidden life. So, within the community, my colleagues became my friends — and a big part of me really misses that now I’m back in the UK.”
The school is very well-equipped, with reasonable internet access, plenty of computers, lots of laboratory equipment, whiteboards and all the relevant textbooks. There is an indoor gym, with basketball hoops and small goals, as well as an outdoor court and pitch for badminton, basketball and football.
The gospel is firmly embedded in school life, with chapel every Friday and 10 minutes each day in which so-called home-room teachers usually facilitate a devotional with their students. And, of course, every teacher is completely free to share the gospel in normal lessons, in day-to-day conversations and during campouts or on the spiritual emphasis weekends.
Nick also had opportunities to witness beyond the school, as he built relationships with Pakistanis in the nearby village.
He said: “I’d like to think that I was a positive witness in the way I did things and how I came across to anyone I met and whose home I was invited into. I preached at the Sunday services at school and delivered chapels, which I believe God is using to work in the lives of these young Christians.
“I had many good conversations with the students about faith, especially when questions arose in science or about global issues in geography. I’d like to think my awe for God’s creation came across, especially in science! Of course, lots of opportunities come up naturally in the boarding context, and anyone going to serve at Murree will be invited to share a testimony at chapel and share at youth group too. So there were some really special moments when as a more mature Christian, I was able to speak into the lives of these young people.”
As you can tell, Suffolk-born Nick has very fond memories of his time at Murree – not least because that was where he met his wife Kate.
And he has no doubt that a spell at Murree would be invigorating for any teacher or aspiring teacher.
He said: “If you are thinking that teaching might be for you and you would be confident in delivering Key Stage 3-5 in your subject area then Murree is for you.
“If you have talents that you feel aren’t being used and want to involve more of these in the way that you serve day-to-day, then Murree is for you.
“If you want to hit the hard-reset button, and take a break from a consumerist, narcissistic culture and serve in a small Christian community with a different pace of life, then Murree is for you.
“If you want to work with impressionable, young Christians who are in need of good Christ-centred role models, then Murree is for you.
“If you want to enjoy the fresh mountain views and pine-infused air of the Himalayan foothills, then Murree is for you!”
Could you teach at Murree?
Murree is facing a severe shortage of teachers and house parents. It faces the real possibility of closure if the problem is not solved quickly.
That could have a profound effect on mission work across south Asia because there is one sure way to bring mission workers back home early — don’t give a good school for their children.
If you can help solve this pressing problem, then please contact SIM today.
Please pray for:
• God to raise up more teachers keen to serve at Murree Christian School.
• the future of the school, that it can remain a beacon of gospel hope.
• the pupils and their parents to trust God as he works out his purposes in Pakistan.
This article first appeared on SIM UK's website.