I worked for one week at this small school of 80 students from preschool-5th grade. The students there showed me so much love and were so excited to have me there. I helped with English and PE activities and led a few devotionals. They wrote me a lot of goodbye letters and wanted me to stay and not go. I am thankful for my time there and know I brought a lot of joy. I know they appreciated me being there.
Murphy School – Barranquilla
I spent a week and a half in the city of Barranquilla teaching at a Christian school there. I loved my time at the school. I felt very fulfilled and was able to work in my areas of strength. Most of my time there was spent helping the PE teacher. We both learned from each other, and I was able to teach PE classes in English. I also got to lead several devotionals, talk with kids at lunch, and have fun. The staff and kids were great, and my time there was a blessing.
Carmen de Bolivar, Sincelejo, and Puerto Libertador
I had the opportunity to visit three small towns after leaving Barranquilla with a guy who used to work at ECA. He led sessions on Christian education, and I also led one session in Spanish in each town about my experience working in schools and also encouraging the teachers. I met some pretty great people with big hearts. I also did something I never thought I would do – lead a 45-minute session in Spanish. I learned that I can do it. God took control of my mouth and words. The teachers in these places were very thankful. In Carmen de Bolivar, I also got to lead short PE classes in Spanish/English to high school students. It was a new experience for them.
My week here was amazing! I worked at four different schools. One interesting and sad thing is that Montería’s Christian schools only go up to 5th or 6th grade. That means middle schoolers and high schoolers can’t have a Christian education experience in the city. One day I worked at Faro de Luz doing some English activities and games. One morning I went to a preschool to teach games, share the Evangecube, and talk to the teachers and encourage them in their work. Two afternoons I went to Vencedores Por La Fe, a very poor school, to teach games and a little English. The kids there were very excited. I am very thankful for the woman who provided all these opportunities through her ministry.
My favorite school was Centro Educativo Belen, a school in a poor neighborhood where I spent three days. The kids were amazing, and there was so much joy in the school. I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit upon me when I was there. I led some devotional/prayer times with the staff, helped with PE/Bible/English classes, and even got to pray for some students with sicknesses/conditions. I definitely would like to return to the school to spend a longer time there. They are praying for my return. One cool experience was getting to talk to several guys in a park in the city where there is a lot of drinking and drugs. I got to pray for one and talk to others. I think they were happy to just have someone to listen to them. I also prayed for a 15-year-old boy with kidney problems who was staying at the same house as me. I am confident that God healed Him, but I may never get to see it in person here on earth.
Learning and Looking to the Future
The month of September was a great month. Most of my time was spent on the coast again in the cities of Barranquilla, Carmen de Bolivar, Sincelejo, Puerto Libertador, Montería, and Santa Marta. I am amazed how God took care of me, how He surprised me, and all that He allowed me to experience. The Costeños are amazing, caring, and hospitable people. God is growing me in so many ways it feels overwhelming – emotionally, professionally, socially, and spiritually. Above all He is teaching me that He alone is in control of my life. I have been working through the process of how to wait AND take decisions at the same time. The biggest thing I am learning is resting in the truth that it’s not based on my ability, but on God’s power.
Things continue to go well in my relationship with Maria. We got to see each other for several days this past week and also got to see each other on two other weekends while I was on the coast. We are learning a lot about each other, about our cultural differences, and about our vision and desires for the future. We are trusting God to guide us and help us to wait upon Him with joy and thankfulness. We don’t know how God will continue bring everything together, but we believe He will surprise us. I have decided to move to Santa Marta in November if it be God’s will. I want to be closer to Maria and focus more on the schools on the coast in the next semester.
One thing I have seen in my time on the coast is the need for spiritual formation in the schools. I would love to choose a few schools and spend some time teaching students how to study the Bible, how to pray/be silent, how to evangelize, discovering their gifts, etc. I have many important decisions to make in the next few weeks that will affect many things in the future, and I asking God for much guidance. He has never failed me, so I need to trust Him.
“And I was with you in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words or wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” – 1 Cor. 2:3-5
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Cor. 5:7