Tuesday, June 21, 2011

School - El Salvador style

The whole team piled into the 15 passenger van (picture standard size van with 15 seats, really!) and went about 5 minutes away to a Standard school. The children attend from kindergarten through 9th grade at this location.  We were met with broad smiles and a vigorous game of soccer inside the courtyard (think concrete slab in the middle of all of the classroom buildings with a tin roof overhead and 100 students all playing various games of soccer at once.)

This school houses 600 students. They are one of three in LaLibertad. The last grade they need to complete is 9th grade. The classrooms are open, 42 students were crowded into the classroom where three of us shared. The students had decorated the classroom walls with posters in English and Spanish, much like in Ohio. The students, all clad in navy blue bottoms and skirts with bleach white short sleeve shirts fanned themselves--it was probably 95 degrees in the classroom. They listened attentively, albeit with some wiggling and distractions. We spoke of many things that are themes in the US:  having short and long term goals, having a dream for your future, being part of a community, staying in school. The completion rate is very low because these students don´t have much hope in a tomorrow that is different that what they experience in their meager homes. 

Unlike in US classrooms, we were able to bring a message of hope through a relationship with Jesus. They all know that Jesus is a person in a history book, or in the Catholic church, someone they have heard of.  Tyler shared how with this Jesus person has been through many trials and situations that were very difficult and that He is real. He is a best friend and like Jeremiah says, He is here to give a hope and a future.

We left each of them with a pencil, which may seem like a very small token, but this is one of the things that they lacked as they were asked to write one of their goals out on paper. Something so simple and inexpensive in our country costs them a couple hours´wages. 

When we met with the school principal and asked her how we could possibly help in a more tangible way, she showed us the physical conditions of some of their buildings. They had rain damage in their library which destroyed books and other items. They supply a simple meal to their students only by the help of parents who get the supplies from the school, go home and cook for 600 students and return with the food. They are assigned by section...but what a challenge to make and deliver meals every day. They have a concrete structure built outside that is unfinished with a dirt and floor but with a small amount of money could meet this need. Would God help us do this? We will see what he says.

It is amazing to me the team that God put together and the perfect fit it has been for this trip.  Greg, a school administrator traveled between three classrooms to share with the students. Many were glued to him as he spoke. Was it the male influence with a strong presence, or the love and hope that flowed from him? We may never know, but what we do know is that God used the seven of us (and our faithful, amazing translators and drivers)  to give over a hundred and ten students a message of hope.

Please pray for this school as it is a place where the church here has an ├»nroad. By serving them through computer classes and English classes (like the ones we taught this week) Pastor Ivo and his staff will continue to have a future serving the young people of this community. This school really wants to partner with the church which is absolutely critical. This is the future of this country; we want to help bring Jesus to them at this young age so that they can make an impact in their community for God.

To Him be all glory for today´s great experience!
The Magnificent 7

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Open Door team for sharing the love of God in La Libertad. I read your blogs with fond memories of Pastor Ivo, Eddie, the church, pier, school and surroundings from my visit there 2 years ago. Thank you for giving of yourself and your time to these precious people for whom Christ died. I am so proud of you all.
    Love in Christ,
    Pastor Jim