Meet Mrs. Janie Casad.
Mrs. Casad is a beloved first grade teacher at Grace Christian School. She has worked at Grace Christian since 1984, with the exception of two years (1996-1998) when she and her husband served with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Burkina Faso, West Africa. When she returned from Burkina Faso, there was not a current teaching position available for her at Grace, so she was employed as the elementary coordinator for two years.
Mrs. Casad shared that there were three Bible translations happening in Burkina Faso while they were there, and she and her husband dreamed of the day they could go back to celebrate at least one of the translations’ completions. Mrs. Casad is so excited to announce that this March she and her husband, Dan, will be headed to Burkino Faso to attend the dedication of a New Testament translation! She commented that there are 1,000 people expected to attend this event. Praise the Lord that He answered their desire to see His work completed on this project.
As many of us know, Mrs. Casad is soft spoken and has a warm, kind way of working with the students. In her classroom, kids are taught their memory verses each week to song, as Mrs. Casad pulls out her mandolin to accompany them. She is famous for her recurring appearances as the Queen Bee in previous school spring programs and the Cat in the Hat on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
An activity Mrs. Casad enjoys having her students be involved in is the making of Valentine cards (“Love Notes”) for the organization Joni and Friends (JAF) (see sidebar to learn more). This year her first grade students created animals using cut out hearts that were glued to the front of the cards. As a class, they picked out four Bible verses that talked about love. Each student picked one of the four verses to write in their card that they made. These card were then given to children with disabilities by the JAF organization. Below are pictures of some of the cards and two of the Bible verses they used:
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Mrs. Casad first learned about the “Love Notes” project from a former Grace Christian Parent, Mrs. Elizabeth White, who became involved with Joni and Friends in 2000 with her family. Her daughter, Laura, attended Grace and Cascade Christian Schools starting in pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and is an alumnus of the Class of 2007. Laura was also Mrs. Casad’s student in first grade. Mrs. Casad invites all the teachers at Grace and Cascade to participate in the “Love Notes” project, and many do.
Making the “Love Notes” for others is a way to instill the lessons of You Over Me in the classroom.
We are blessed to have teachers at Grace Christian like Mrs. Casad who have practiced living out our school theme, “You Over Me”- not just this year, but for several years of her life which have been spent serving in another country and locally!
Tell me about Joni and Friends.
Joni and Friends is an organization whose mission is to “communicate the Gospel and to equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities. Through ministry programs like Family Retreats and Wheels for the World, we serve the global disability community in Christ’s name.” (joniandfriends.org)
The local chapter of Joni and Friends (JAF) is the only chapter that does the “Love Notes” for children with disabilities. Several schools, churches, and individuals make the cards which are collected by JAF volunteers (like Elizabeth White) and mailed to 80+ children with disabilities in the Southern Oregon area. Some of the recipients live in group homes for young adults.
At Christmas time, the local chapter of JAF has an ADOPT-A-HOUSE program where local churches to go a Residential Home operated by Living Opportunities and bring gifts which are on the youths wish list.
Elizabeth White and her family became involved with JAF “through a co worker and through hearing Joni on the radio explaining Joni and Friends Family Retreats. My husband and daughter and I were short term missionaries to the Family Retreats in Mission Springs in 2000, 2002,and 2003. It was at one of these retreats that we found out about the local chapter created by Brent and Rachel Olstad here in Southern Oregon. I have also attended the Oregon Family Retreat in Twin Rocks in 2010. We have served on the board in the past and since 2008 are the Chair Corps for Wheels for the World (WFTW) in Southern Oregon. This means that we collect manual wheelchairs and other medical equuipment in our area. South Medford Self Storage has donated a year of storage to us. We store the equipment for about a year when we load a Fed Ex (charitable move) trailer which moves it to a correctional facility. The prisoners refurbish the wheel chairs before they are sent out to developing countries. Each chair is fitted to a person in that country by a seating specialist. A Bible is given in their own language and the Gospel is shared.”
Joni and Friends has many wonderful projects. Visit their calendar to learn more joniandfriends.org/southern-oregon/events/. They are always looking for volunteers and are also always in need of storage space for Wheels for the World.