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Overby follows his faith overseas

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Barlow High graduate and former teacher Scott Overby landed a teaching job in Germany where he lives with his wife of nine years Heather, and the couples three children - Stanley, Holly and Stuart.  Three years ago Scott Overby saw his dream job falling apart. Little did he know something better was on the horizon an ocean away.

Overby was entrenched at his alma mater as a math teacher and assistant track coach at Barlow High. But five years into his career, rather than becoming entrenched in the fabric of the school, he started to see his classes getting cut. Another year in the system and he saw three more classes drop, and he was being forced to switch buildings throughout his week.

It was time for a change.

“Teaching abroad was something I had always thought about, so the Monday after school was out I looked into it,” Scott says.

Before the summer was over he had landed an offer at another school — in the center of Germany.

“We had four weeks to prepare to move to another country,” his wife Heather said. “It’s been a crazy, wonderful adventure.”

Landing at the new school had its obstacles.

The family had less than a month to sell their house. When the numbers came in, they still owed $8,000. Within days they had sold both of their cars, bringing in the exact amount of money needed to settle their house debt.

“That was one of those things where God is saying ‘Okay, I’m going to take care of it’,” Scott says. “It was a real faith-building exercise. We saw the door close on my dream job at Barlow. So we looked around, decided to touch another door and to see what God does, and everything just fell into place.”

Scott and Heather have been married nine years and have three children, ages 7 months to 5 years, Stanley, Holly and Stuart.

The family has settled in at the English-speaking Thuringia International School in Weimar, Germany, where Scott will be starting his third year as a math teacher at the K-12 private school. Class sizes allow him to focus on a dozen students at a time.

“I enjoy working with students and seeing those ‘aha’ moments,” Scott says.

He also directs the school’s running club.

Overby was a standout at Barlow High and went on to race at Willamette University where he placed seventh nationally in the steeplechase his junior season.

He gave himself a break from the sport after graduating, but started pounding the pavement again after his oldest son was born.

“Running is something God has gifted me with — something that I enjoy,” Scott says. “I took a break from it for two or three years and ended up gaining 20 pounds. I like being fit and the energy you get from it.”

Overby is a regular on the 5K/10K road racing circuit and had signed up for the Portland Marathon only to put that goal on hold when he left for his new job overseas.

“That’s the most expensive T-shirt I have in my collection,” Scott laughs.

While his focus in on fitness, Overby continues to sign up for road races. On a return visit to Gresham this summer, he won the Freedom half-marathon — his first attempt at that distance.

“He’s running better now than he was when we first met — I’m so proud of him,” Heather says.

Staying in shape overseas isn’t much of a challenge. Three years later, the Overbys haven’t found a need to replace their cars.

“You walk to the store, bike the kids to school. You’re always moving,” Scott says. “You go out your door and you can find a trails for miles.”

As a result, Overby only runs about 30 miles a week, but had no trouble putting in a six-minute clip for the half-marathon.

Although his oldest son is fluent in German, Scott admits to struggling a bit in picking up the language.

“I still miss pieces of conversations,” he says.

But building a life in Germany has also opened doors for the Overbys to share their faith. Scott leads a Bible study with his students and Heather leads a mom’s group.

“We see ourselves as missionaries, not just teachers,” Scott says. “It’s not a place where you’re going to make instant friends, but once you do, you have a friend for life.”




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