Neither public speaking nor teaching were high on Ryan Baumgart’s (B.A. ’14) list of career interests. But God had other plans. Just two years after graduating with degrees in biblical studies and intercultural studies, Baumgart found himself on a plane headed toward Japan to do just that. Three years later, he sees how God worked in his life to prepare him for his role as biblical studies teacher to more than 70 high school students at Okinawa Christian School International.
For Baumgart, teaching is an avenue that has allowed him to build close relationships with his students, which he believes is a big part of sharing his faith. “My degree is not in teaching, nor is this even my first priority,” he reflects. “My priority is Christ.” Working in a classroom is simply the open door Ryan found to live out this priority and be a witness to the many students he interacts with daily.
In his own life and the lives of his students, he sees a story—cultures, experiences and situations—that shaped all their lives. The chance to walk day-to-day with his students and participate in life with them now gives him a unique opportunity to plant seeds for an abundant and hopeful future. Helping each student see their value and purpose in life is just one of the ways he has been participating in God’s story of redemption.
Baumgart’s priority is first and foremost living a life that reflects Christ as the author, creator and redeemer. Through teaching and authentic relationship-building, he is able to live this faith while also equipping students with knowledge, insight and experiences that influence their current and future lives. “The greatest changes that happen globally begin when we take the time to care for others,” he says. This caring and holistic approach, involving the educational, spiritual and emotional needs of his students, is where he believes true teaching and the greatest life-long impact occurs.
Ryan Baumgart (B.A. ’14) is a high school educator in Japan at Okinawa Christian School International, where he teaches courses in Old and New Testament, apologetics and biblical applications. Passionate about helping others grow in their faith, his mission is to work with his students to refine their beliefs, personalities, ideas and values through an understanding of biblical truth.