Well, in spite of lots of struggles and trials and barely making it financially at times — God is faithful and we always DO make it. As I told a friend, God has been faithful through the ages, and He will NOT stop in October 2006. I still struggle so much with my faith at times and am amazed that He called me to this faith ministry — but He is faithful when we are without faith, as it says in Timothy.
Thanks for praying for the school situation. We had asked God to confirm his plan about the director so firmly that we could not lean on our emotions either way, neither fire her in anger, or keep her out of sympathy. We had confronted her other times and when she began to tell us her problems or cry, we just melted and could not be firm. This time, though, God made it so clear that we were to let her go. We offered to have her resign to save her reputation and she did that last Monday. Amazingly, the school is going on now better than ever. Carolina, the 2nd grade teacher agreed to be sub-director while we look for another director, and she is doing a great job. We had a great teachers meeting last week and brainstormed a lot of ways to motivate the children. We had asked Sandra to start having re-enforcement (extra help) classes after school but she never did that. We suggested that on Friday and on the following Tuesday this week, the sub-director had the extra help classes for 16 kids. I was so grateful for her obedience to our wishes for the school. We also decided to use AWANA’s motivation and I made up some school dollars that the kids will earn for good behavior in the class. We also have decided to have the “leader of the month” voted on and their picture will hang on the wall at the school. The Bible teaches that to be a leader you have to be a servant — so really the “leader of the month” will be the best servant of the month. We will be able to teach servanthood to the children and demonstrate God’s idea of a leader to them. Thanks for praying for us as we seek God on His choice for our director. We are not in a big hurry and just want him to make it very clear. Also pray for protection from negative talking about Destino and especially Carlos. One of the ways God finally and firmly confirmed to me that it was time for Sandra to leave the school was that I found out that she had been gossipping and lying about him in the community for over a year — I confronted her on that in the meeting and she denied it and denied it and then decided that was why we were letting her go, although we assured her it was for the failures in her work. The next day she called Carlos to ask his forgiveness and admitted she had been talking bad about him for some time. I am so glad that at least she lets the Holy Spirit convict her heart. We have to pay her quite a bit of government-required bonuses, etc. (the 15-month pay that teachers get here) so pray for us to come up with that extra money too. We don’t have to pay it all at once though, so we can pay her off over the next 3 months. If we don’t have to hire another director right away, we can just use that money we would have been paying her monthly. God knows all our needs and we just ask that you pray for us in all of these struggles right now.
I am going to be honest with you that I have been quite discouraged lately. I am seeking the Lord and He is my comfort, but sometimes feel like we have been forgotten over here. Because of the money struggles and so few emails of encouragement, I have wondered if people are praying for us as they were before — I don’t want to sound pitiful or anything, but if in fact, you are one that has forgotten to pray for us as you have in the past — PLEASE start praying again for us fervently. There is so much going on here that is wonderful — many are coming to Christ, many are growing up in the Lord and we are training at least 120 leaders for the future, and we need much support in prayer from all of you.
The kids are all well, except Sammy. I feel so badly. We were so sure he had chicken pox but they lasted too long and now he is breaking out again and I think he had scabbies the whole time and I let it go on for too long. I will take him to the doctor tomorrow to confirm that, once we get some money in the bank to pay the doctor. Please pray for him to get well quickly — he doesn’t seem to be suffering but I feel SOOO guilty about not taking him in the beginning to the doctor. When we thought it was chicken pox, that very day someone told us that chicken pox was going around all over the villages so I took that as our confirmation and Martha said it was chicken pox and I just believed it was. Thanks for praying for Sammy’s health and my guilt trip. ha.
AWANAS continues to go so well. The kids are bringing new friends every week and many prayed to accept Jesus Christ as their savior this past Saturday. It is so exciting to see all God is doing here through these young people. Church was great on Monday night as well. Carlos preached a powerful message from Romans 8. He challenged the church about checking to see if they were truly Christians or just religious — if they continued in their sin and nothing had changed in their lives then it was probable that they truly had never committed their lives to Christ — because the Spirit in them does change them. About 8 people prayed to receive Christ that night and they had been attending for months — I praise God for how bold Carlos is in the Word. He does not back down on anything to make it more comfortable for people in the church, including getting on to them if they are talking during the message — but they know he loves them and they continue to come and the church is growing every week. Please continue to pray for protection over this ministry.
The neighbors are still at war and we need you to be praying for them as well. We don’t know how much to get involved but it is hard on all of us because they are all our friends and family in Christ — it is two families and they live side by side and the tension is great. The two fathers are not believers though and they drink too much at times and we are nervous about a real explosion at some point. Thanks for praying.
I won’t write a lot of detail about another big matter on my heart, but there was a group that came some months back. I honestly told the pastor in the USA that one of the members was a little hard on us and that maybe God would use the pastor to help the person see a need for some change. The result is that everyone has read my email and blown it out of proportion, and I have received about 5 emails blaming me for being critical, etc., when I never intended that anyone but the pastor would read my email. Please pray for God to bring peace to this situation. I had no bad motive in sharing with the pastor. Carlos thought we should be honest in response to the pastor’s petition for an honest report of the group and now it has really backfired on me. I am not answering any of the emails because I can’t defend myself and would probably just make things worse. But this has affected me so negatively and I keep going back to the Lord to just remind me that I am loved and I had no ulterior motives to hurt anyone and I need to rest in His judgment of me.
I cannot tell you how much I praise God for sending every one of you to me to support us in this ministry. It is because of your prayers that God has accomplished so much here and I know that He is going to continue the work He began and we will rest in His timing for each step of the way. I am sorry if I sound a little sad or discouraged in this email — as you know, I am pretty transparent and just want to be honest with you and know that you will pray for all of us here to continue in encouragement at Destino.
Love in His grace,