Yesterday we had our first meeting with the mothers of the children in the school. Though the meeting wasn’t until yesterday afternoon, members of the church drove out to Cuesta Arena to pray over the property. The moms arrived slowly, some with children in hand. They were very excited to see the school and find out more about what was in store for the future of their children. Estella opened the meeting with a prayer and Pastora Sairy introduced the teacher and myself, discussed our purpose and talked with them about the importance of the family’s participation in their children’s education. I then was able to talk and explain that though missionaries may have come provided the building, the school was their to take care of. Each family has an asset to give to the community and to the school. We encouraged them to step up and to take ownership of the building, the property, and the school as a whole. They were very receptive and excited to help in any way. We then passed out paper to enroll the children. By the end of the meeting, we had 14 children enrolled with 2 more interested. As we prepared to leave, the mothers stayed to help stack the chairs and close up the building.
The most exciting piece of this adventure for me is that I only recognized one or two of the families. The rest are all new to our ministry!! Many of the kids we have been ministering to are older where those in the school are 2.5 to 4 years old. A few have older siblings that have come to the ministry but many are new families we will be able to reach through the daily contact with their children.
Today, Kandis, the teacher, and I bought more things for the classroom then began going through all of the supplies we currently have. Thank to this summer’s missionaries, we have brand new scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, and construction paper. Thanks to missionaries over the past 4 years, we have a library of books, jump ropes, crayons, puzzles, sillybands, freesbies, puppets, and many other supplies. We have recently found some shipping companies that ship from Florida and New York if anyone would like to collect and ship to the school.
There is still lots of work ahead of us. We need to put protective bars on the windows and doors, build some shelving and some cabinets, and paint the inside of the classroom. Our plan is to go tomorrow afternoon and invite the mothers to come paint the classroom, go Friday to clean, set up the classroom, and visit the children in their homes, and on Monday have the first day of class! I am also in the process of compiling everything together for the child sponsorship program. We desperately need this support to buy uniforms, snacks, and anything else the children will need for school. We are also desperately needing people to sponsor the teacher for $325 for a single month in order to pay her a salary.
Yesterday I was asked for something specific that people can be praying for. Please pray for the students- Luz, Argel, Ashley, Jose, Arap, Anyelina, Yhoan, Yuleisi, Anjer, Luiz, Gilbert, Yordanis, Rosa, Eshmarlin and their families as we prepare and open the school. A huge thank you to all the teams that worked over the past 3 years to make this school year possible.