Leaves is one of my most extraordinary students. He's opinionated and likes to share those opinions. He energetic and movie savy. He's taller than the average Asian and toothpick skinny.
At the beginning of the year, he openly rejected and criticized my belief and devotion to God. I wasn't surprised and tried my best to not take it personally. He thought the whole idea of a divine, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator was "stupid and unbelieveable." But when my students say something is unbelieveable, they don't mean awesome or amazing, but impossible or not realistic.
He challenged me in the Bible class I taught. He openly questioned me in Oral English class when talking about Christmas or Easter. But over the semester, his questions became more curious and softer. They were no longer threatening or trying to de-bunk my beliefs.
One eventful class, Leaves actually publicly humiliated me. He yelled at me and said that he nor the class needed me. Unfortunately, in my own anger and annoyance, I yelled back and told him not to come to class, if he didn't like the way I taught. A week later, I asked to talk to him outside for a moment. Before I could apologize for losing my temper, he asked if he could say something. He apologized for what he said and did. He then told me he lost his temper with me because of what his instructor did. I told him I forgave him and it was all okay. I told him I was sorry for losing my temper and yelling at him. I also reminded him I am more than willing to help him in any way and he can always talk to me.
The more time passed, the softer his heart got.
Some friends came to visit and I knew it would be a really good chance for him to hear some stuff from a guy's perspective. And he did. Some of my friends got to share with him a lot. The day before my friends left, he decided to believe in God. It was all quite beautiful.
Today, was his Oral English final. He was in a group with three girls. But before we started he asked if he could say something. He first was super grateful for being allowed to meet my friends. He then apologized for ridiculing me about my beliefs. He also he said he learned a lot about his lack of religious freedom.
I let him know I forgave him and was grateful that he could spend time with my friends.
I'm not sure I expressed the joy of my heart in all this. But it has been a beautiful journey of friendship and forgiveness along with a revelation of God the Creator.