Have you ever wondered where the roots of your personal Christian faith originated? Hello, I am Jared’s Grandpa Peters, and it is an honor to be asked to be a guest writer this week.
For me, the roots of my Christian faith were planted by my mother and father. As a child, Mother was a Sunday school teacher, and Dad was the superintendent of Sunday school and had the best tenor voice in the church choir. Therefore, I was in church every Sunday from 9:00-12:00. Attending Sunday school and church was not optional. I can’t say I was always excited about going every week, but I was definitely there. If I wasn’t feeling well, there was an unwritten understanding that I wouldn’t be well enough to go out and play the rest of the day. By age 18, the roots were planted. Dad left little doubt that the place to be on Sunday morning was in church somewhere.
The roots grew during the next 4 years of my life while attending Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a Lutheran affiliated college. My interest in nature grew as I majored in biology education. As a Lutheran college, chapel was required every Tuesday and Thursday. I can’t remember ever missing one session over the 4 years there.
Upon starting my first teaching job, I shared an office with a fellow teacher, who invited me to attend St. John’s Lutheran where he was a member. The rest is history, as we have been there over the past 50+ years, my wife and I being active members during that time.
After teaching 8th grade science and freshman biology for about 30 years, I was asked on several occasions to teach an Elementary Science Methods class to first semester seniors at Illinois State University, right before they go out to student teach. The first two times I turned down the offer. On the third offer, I relented and agreed to give it a try provided the classes would be held a few blocks from campus in my regular classroom at the middle school where I was teaching. Although I had serious feelings of inadequacy, the class went very well, and I continued to teach this class about 90% of the time over the next 13 years. I never dreamed teaching college seniors would be easier than working with 8th and 9th graders!! I also supervised student teachers for the university, visiting and coaching them over the course of a semester.
As I finished each semester with the college seniors, they would fill out an evaluation of the course and of myself. After this was completed and turned in, I would finish the last class with suggestions that would make them successful teachers. Of the last couple suggestions, one was to always travel somewhere during spring break and recharge their battery so as to finish the year strong for their students. Secondly, I strongly recommended that they attend a church somewhere, not promoting any particular faith. I told them they will come across situations in their teaching where a child may lose a parent. I gave the example where I was greeted by a grandfather at 7:15 a.m. upon arriving at school to be informed that his son, the father of one of my students, was killed at 2:30 a.m. that morning in an auto accident. When confronted with situations like this, you will definitely need the “Rock of Christian Faith” on which to cling.
Backing up slightly, our family purchased a lot in northern Wisconsin in 1998, cleared it over the next 3 years, and had a small cabin built in 2001. This only increased my love for the beauty of God’s creation! About this time, my interest in nature photography really started to grow, especially with the advances of digital photography. About 5 years ago while trying to pull up the weather channel on Direct TV, I accidently put in channel 369 instead of 362 and stumbled into a very cool program called “Reflections”. Somehow this may not have been an accident?! It consisted of short video clips at National Parks put to quiet religious music with Bible verses superimposed over the scene. I had already been doing PowerPoints with my photos with Bible verses to senior citizen groups at church. I decided to take my best nature photos with verses and place them in a book entitled The Bible Alive Today. So far it has only been printed at Shutterfly and the new version will consist of 110 pages. I strongly recommend checking out the “Reflections” program on the DayStar channel with your TV provider. It is really hard to beat the beauty of God’s creation with a quiet kayak ride at sunrise or sunset along with the verse “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Thus, the roots of Christian faith continue to grow throughout the entire Peters family, first planted by my mother and father.
I appreciate my wife and entire family, and I appreciate Jared and all for which he stands.