I can’t believe it is over 6 weeks since I updated you all. I hate when I am late sending updates out because that means it has been 6 weeks since you have known how to be praying for us and we DO need your prayers!!!
We had a great Christmas at Destino, celebrating Jesus’ birth and just relaxing without all the hurry and problems of running the school. I am so grateful for such a great school staff though because they generally take care of most things without involving me too much. One of our funniest memories forever will be Christmas night when we were celebrating Jesus’ birthday (we don’t do gifts at Christmas — it is all about Jesus and his celebration). We had had a big dinner and had a birthday cake for Jesus and then went outside in the night to shoot firecrackers to celebrate. We had bought some really huge ones that shoot lots of multiple fireworks into the sky and really a powerful display. I told the guys to light the biggest one first so we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus while it was lighting up the sky with all the colors and lights. We were very quiet waiting and just as they lit it and we started to sing, someone yells “IT IS UPSIDE DOWN” and at that moment, the fireworks started shooting at us in every direction – -we would run one way and another one would shoot towards us — it was CRAZY and scary — but when it was over, we could not stop laughing — we would have had a million hits on Facebook if anyone had taken a video of us!! Thankfully, God protected us and no one was hurt — I was running around with a baby in my arms so I am especially thankful for our safety.
The kids in the school celebrated Christmas on the 18th of December. Again, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday so I told the teachers to have the students be writing a love letter of thanksgiving and praise each day that they would seal up and burn in a fire in offering to Jesus on that day of celebration. No one would see their letters except them and God and they took them very seriously. During the day of celebration, the different classes would go to the bonfire area and Pastor Pablo would lead them in a prayer and a song of praise and then talk to them about how it is like incense burning on the altar when we are offering our praises and gratitude and adoration to the Lord. Then they would finish burning their letters and go on to play football. At the end of the day, Pastor Pablo came up to me and said he had goosebumps on his arms as he was telling me about what happened when 10th grade came to the bonfire (they are our oldest students this year). He said he led the time just as he had with the other classes and it lasted about 10 minutes. But he said when 10th grade finished with burning their letters, they did not want to leave and they just kept singing praise songs and then started verbally giving praise to God for things in their lives. When they finished up about 30 minutes of this, they decided to end with repeating “Who I am in Christ” (about 30 phrases directly from the Bible about their identity in Christ which they repeat every day in every class since they were in the first grade) — they were yelling out who they are with each phrase and then ended screaming out the ending “BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I AM WHO I AM”. It still makes me cry as I type this to you now — I am soooo very thankful that God is changing their lives and they are initiating praising God and loving Him more each year. These kids are going to be wonderful leaders for the Kingdom of Christ and I am thankful to see this fruit in their lives.
In contrast to the 10th grade though, I have a huge burden for the 9th grade class in general. I ask that you be praying for much wisdom as we are deciding who will move on up into our high school next year. I do not believe we are called to keep on educating these kids just for the sake of education and getting it for free — God called me to build up leaders and I believe that when they have been with us since kindergarten and we have seen no evidence of anything spiritually developing in their lives, that it is time to streamline the class and look for some real potential leaders for Christ to pour our time and energy into. There are a good group of the young men in 9th grade who truly are seeking God in their lives but there are about 5 or 6 girls who have the world in their mind and are not interested in anything about Jesus and His plans for their lives. We are having a 9th and 10th grade spiritual retreat on February 19th and I ask you to be praying for Matt Speer (my nephew-in-law) and Pastor Pablo as they present messages for these students — we need a real revival (and salvation) for these students.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to go to sleep at night and I had so many of the students and their horrible home situations and troubles on my mind. I finally just said, “Father, I feel like I have 300 children and I can’t bear the burden of so many hurts sometimes and I worry about if they will walk with You one day or not.” He reminded me of a verse that I have not ever thought of in context of a personal encouragement to me. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Jesus didn’t make any further comment in the passage and I always thought it just meant the kingdom of God is growing bigger, or something. But what He encouraged me to see in this verse is that I can plant the smallest tiny seed of truth into these kids’ lives and HE will cause it to grow into something that I could never imagine and they will bear fruit and minister to others. All I have to be is the “man who took the seed and planted it in his field (Destino del Reino). and watch God do the work that only HE can do. We know it is His work and we just need to be praying for these kids regularly and waiting on God to fulfill His promises in their lives. Thank you to all of those who have sponsorships of students and are praying for them regularly by name — this is so important. If you are not supporting a student and can’t, but would like to have a name of one of these teens to pray for by name, please write to me and I will gladly give you a name. I had written to Britt and Deveau Mishow late last school year about their sponsored student (Ruth) in 9th grade now and they assured me they would be praying even more for her. She was in a lot of trouble and I didn’t think we would probably be able to keep her at Destino if she continued down that track. This week, I was praying with Franklin (my boy who is also in the 9th grade) and I asked him who were the kids in his class who were obviously hungry for more of God in their lives — Ruth was one of the first names that he mentioned — so please please pray with us for these kids — -GOD can do miracles in their hearts!
We were given a lot of generous gifts at Christmas and are able to start on the kindergarten classroom — it is already up and we just lack the roof and the flooring (and of course, paint and tile, etc.), so please pray for the additional funds to come in to finish this off quickly and we can get the kids moved into their new classroom in the next few months. They are presently meeting in the living room of the extra house at Destino so it is a long way from the rest of the school. Thank you to all of you who gave extra “above and beyond” gifts to us during 2014. We are so blessed to have your support financially and in prayer and encouragement.
We have a dental clinic, as most of you know, at Destino. We were given a good machine that can do fillings and restoration work but we could use some more dentists to come and see the students. When Dr. Anderson came in November we were able to see all the kids who were unable to sleep for the pain in a tooth, and then we started with 10th grade and moved down the grades. We were only able to complete to the 8th grade as there are so many needs. We need several dentists to come for a week and help us get through the some more grades. We have housing here on our campus and we could use 2 dentists at a time. Let me know if you know anyone who might be interested in helping in this area.
I went to Dallas for 6 days in early January — it was one of the best, most encouraging trips that I have been on for some time. I had many reunions with old friends, kids (now in their 40s) who were in my youth group years ago, etc. I am so grateful for the family that God makes out of our spiritual relationships. I have had a lot of loneliness without my parents here in the earth any longer and it was so great to remember how many people that are there to support and love me even though they are not my blood relatives. Thank you to all of you (you know who you are) — you are all such a blessing.
My kids are all doing well. Santitos fell on his elbow and is in a cast for about 5 weeks but is in no pain. All of them are growing up so quickly and are becoming incredible young adults who I can just enjoy and not need to watch after so carefully any more. We are supposed to be receiving a newborn baby boy this week and are waiting to see when he will arrive. His mom is naming him Jose and that is so common here so we will call him the American name — “Joe” Pray that she will bring him quickly and we can get him healthy fast! He is the little brother of Dariana (2) and she is excited because she LOVES babies.
I have a post office box again for anyone that would like to send notes to me or if you want to write to your students — the address is: Rhonda Jackson, Destino del Reino, Apt. Postal #220, Siguatepeque, Comayagua, Honduras, CA
Also remember you cannot hit “reply” to this update — you can write me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, thank you for your prayers and for loving us here in Honduras — God is up to great things but the battles are great as well so please keep on holding up your arms in prayer for us to be faithful to His calling and fight the good fight of faith here. There are so many situations each day (dealing with hurting kids, deceitful parents, cheating government officials, etc. etc.) which require MUCH wisdom so we can use prayer to hear clearly the voice of the Spirit in each situation every day. Thank you for being there for us.
Love in His grace,