The Tree of Life School

Diversity is something that never seems to happen naturally. Because of our fallen nature, we tend to gravitate to people, places, and things that are like us. That way, we remain comfortable and in control. Everything makes sense in our limited minds.

Diversity is something that is a work of the Holy Spirit. Diversity actually allows greater levels of freedom and views our differences as strength. In order to obtain diversity, we must work for it.

About ten years ago, the Holy Spirit laid a burden on me and my wife’s hearts to raise our kids in a more diverse environment. Somehow, we knew that we were missing out, because in every community where we were involved, everyone was very much like us. Something had to change. We knew we would move into a bigger house someday as our family increased and we said to God we would move anywhere he wanted us to.

Seven years ago, at a Christian Educators Association convention in Milwaukee, I attended a presentation called “Hallways of Grace.” I remember that it was exceptional. The presenter challenged us in many ways. At some point, the presentation somehow faded out and I heard God say, “I want a Christian school in the inner city of Kalamazoo … and I want it to be affordable to anyone.” Things came back into focus and I was simply awestruck at what had just happened. I wondered if anybody else heard what I had heard, since I really had not experienced anything like it before. I told two of my colleagues and my wife. After that, I didn’t tell anyone for about five years. I was excited and terrified at the same time, and I had no idea where to even start.

About six years ago, we moved into the Edison neighborhood of Kalamazoo. It’s the most diverse neighborhood in the region, ethnically, socio-economically, and religiously. God answered our prayer. We were scared at first when we moved there, but we have learned so much about ourselves, about people, and about other cultures and traditions.

About two years ago, the burden on my heart for the school was growing and I sensed that the Lord was dropping some big hints that I needed to do something. [This is only part of the article. Want to read more? Subscribe to the website by choosing "Register" from the menu above. It's free!]