As we move out of summer and into the fall, we are shifting our focus from summer teams to raising money for the leadership development center. As many of you know, in 2008, our first project was to help the church build a water filtration system in Cuesta Arena. The community had no access to clean water and the people were getting sick with Cholera and other water borne illnesses. Through missionaries help in Ohio, we received a grant through the international rotary to complete our water filtration system and educate the people on clean water. The system now continues to run as a self sustaining project with gutters to catch the rain water and the community members running the system. In fact, last fall when the roads to the community flooded, water trucks were not able to pass through to provide water to filter. Because of our filters, we were able to continue to distribute clean water.
In 2012, through years of missionaries coming from all over the US to work alongside the church members, we completed the preschool, adding a tutoring program in 2013. The community has seen a huge change since we have begun changing a generation through education and providing a safe place for the kids to learn and grow, sharing God’s love in every moment of the day. The school continues to run, starting its 6th year. We are so grateful for our amazing teacher Kendys who have been able to provide counseling alongside the education piece.
This summer, 2017, after 8 years of missionaries providing VBS curriculum and leadership, the church provided VBS in 4 different communities, completely on their own. Leadership was educated through missionaries and curriculum came from the bishop’s office. With the help of education from missionaries in the past, the church leadership was able to adapt the curriculum to meet their needs and provide 3 days of VBS in each of their communities. Education and leadership develop is critical to ensuring continued mission in each community by the church.
As we look toward the future, we desire to continue to focus on education and leadership development. The church has found land and desires to build a multifunctional facility to provide education and develop leaders in the communities they work in as well as provide an income to help maintain the facility by renting it to other churches in the community for the same purpose or even missionaries to sleep when they are serving with the church. For those of you that have been to Santiago, it would be our own La Islita that could be used for missionaries, leadership classes, and by other churches Sairy is connected with in the community. Outside of what is present with the Catholic church, there is nothing like this in the area. Over the years, we have found education to be such a powerful tool and desire to create more opportunities for the church to educate and build up new leadership.
The land that had been identified (see picture above) is located by the airport and costs approximately $35,000. We have already received donations from supporting churches and individuals for $18,000, leaving $17,000 left for us to raise to purchase the land. Once we have purchased the land, missionaries and church members will work along side each other to build the facilities and develop the educational pieces to develop leaders in the church and communities it works in. We have numerous teams scheduled to travel in the summer of 2018 and would love to have the land purchased in order to begin construction. Please prayerfully consider supporting this project through donations. Please talk with your churches about possible funding (many have endowment funds or grants that we may be able to apply for).
A huge thank you to everyone who has walked alongside Pastora Sairy and the people of Santiago (some of you before I was even part of the team). We are so grateful for your gifts of love, support, and prayers. Please let me know if you would like to have any more detailed conversations about this new project or if you need anymore resources to talk with your churches. The Renewed Hope Board will be meeting in September to discuss specific fundraising projects. We would love to know any opportunities or ideas to share this mission.