Why Memphis? Why MTR?

Rebekah Kennedy’s residency placement classroom

As I take a step back to reflect on the past four months, I am reminded of why I made the move to Memphis, Tennessee to join MTR. In Acts 20:24 Paul states, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” As Paul believed the Lord’s course for his life was to testify to the gospel through word, I believe that Lord’s course for my life is to testify to the gospel through teaching. 

My desire to pursue equal education began a few years ago when my eyes were opened to the educational inequality that persists in our country today. As I saw the injustice embedded in our public education system, my heart was broken for the children who experience barriers to educational opportunities because of their zip code. This passion I have for teaching is rooted in my faith in Jesus Christ. My faith compels me to use my abilities and interests to help fight against the inequity in opportunities children experience simply because of their background, race, socioeconomic status or experiences.  

The Gospel of Jesus is my reason for pursuing this place of service, because it is ultimately the Gospel that provides hope for redemption and freedom from all oppression. Because I am broken, I am inadequate in my own strength to bring restoration to hard situations. Only by faith in Jesus Christ can I be used as a tool for the purpose of seeing lives redeemed, brokenness healed, and justice accomplished. I am called by God to take my passion for education and my love of children to a classroom and share the message that they are loved, valued, and full of dignity…image bearers of the God who created them.

There are children living in marginalized communities where there is a disparity in academic achievement and an unequal set of opportunities. This is our reality today, but it does not have to be our reality forever. In Reconciling All Things, Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice point to 2 Corinthians 5 to remind us that “before reconciliation is about us, it is about God. It is God’s mission to the world.” “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

– Rebekah Kennedy, Class of 2020