Monday, November 9, 2015

The First Graduating Class

I have shared with some of you that we had our first graduating class of 9th graders this year at Fuente de Esperanza, Zapote. It was incredible to be able see the culmination of years of work and planning in this ceremony. We had not only 9th grade graduates but also Kindergarten and 6th grade graduates as well. We had mothers of children in the school come in the afternoons to be taught and they completed 6th grade and they too participated and received their certificates. We are starting to see how the school will have an impact on the community in the future as an illiterate population begins to read and write. The Gospel, coupled with education will have far reaching impact.

Zapote is a farm community and it developed to support the finca that the town is named after, Finca el Zapote. For a long time the village was supported by the wages earned working the sugar cane fields in Zapote and  the surrounding areas. The people were mostly poor and uneducated but there was work and that meant food and shelter. Several years ago the finca switched from sugar cane to cattle. This change left a lot of people unemployed but for the land owner was a big savings.  It takes many less people to raise cattle. Without education the men of the village began to travel long distances looking for field work. The children were living in single parent homes much of the time with little means of support. This cycle only deepens the poverty in the region as generation after generation follows the same track as their parents. Breaking this cycle takes education and also the knowledge that they are created in the image of God, with purpose and destiny. Hope comes to confront them at a time of despair.

The planning of this school began 15 years ago with the goal of reaching the children and  ultimately the community with the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and changing how the people viewed themselves. This began as the vision of  Pastor Merari Rodriguez and he began to share with a few of the leaders of Iglesia Galilea and with Jenny Herrera, the director of the Oasis, Kid's Alive home for girls in San Lucas. They partnered together for the last 15 years to develop this school and to see it grow to what it has become. About 7 years ago, Corbey Dukes took over as director of the Oasis and that partnership has continued to grow for the advancement of the school and the kids we serve. They receive meals twice a day, education in all the core subjects as well as Art, Music and Physical Education. The most important class they receive is Bible. They hear the Gospel and the call to repentance. By coming to be in a relationship with Jesus they become different people. They now have hope and purpose beyond being trapped in the unending cycle of poverty, abandonment and broken dreams.

Out of  this partnership, the school opened 9 years ago to our first group of students. The first year we only had first and second grade and they attended at Iglesia Galilea in Zapote. It was obvious that this was not a great long term solution and shortly after, construction began on the building that is now Fuente de Esperanza. When the first floor was complete, children began to attend classes there instead of at the Church. Each year a new grade was added. To meet the needs of the growth a second story was added to house the now 10 grade levels, from kindergarten to 9th grade.

I have put together this short video to share with you a little bit of the ceremony and the day that we celebrated the graduations. You can click the below link to follow.  The video quality is not always great. There was lots of jockeying for space so please forgive me.

The songs represent our prayer for these graduates at all levels that they would know the Father singing over them and that this security would launch them into the dance of life. Zeph 3:17 tells us that they Father has a song that He sings over each of us.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
mighty one who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by his love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.

If you are interested in helping with Zapote or the school in Membrillal you can follow the links at the top of this page to learn how to get involved. You can find Zapote is on the Kids Alive page and Membrillal on the Sourceof Hope and His Hands pages.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fuente de Esperanza Membrillal

Last week was a busy week for us. We had the year end program for the school in Membrillal and the graduation ceremony for our first graduating class in Zapote. Soon I will have more on about Zapote but I wanted to Share a video with you all about the work that has been going on at the school in Membrillal. God has been doing some amazing things there and I hope to give you a glimpse of the work that we have been doing there. Click the link below to see the video.

I will be writing much more in the future and hope that you will subscribe and share this with your family and friends.