I realize it has been almost 3 months since I updated you all. So many are on Facebook and I do post there at times, but I tend to forget that many of you are only on my email account, so I apologize for not keeping you better informed.
We had a hectic last few weeks in school. We had two graduations this year — one for Kindergarten (as usual) and we had our first ever 9th grade graduation. In April, when I realized that we are not going to be bringing back almost half the class of 9th graders to begin high school at Destino next year, I wanted to make sure they felt celebrated for their achievements so we decided to throw together the graduation at the last minute. It was all very beautiful and everyone looked so handsome and beautiful. I just love those kids. Many of them were in our very first kindergarten class 10 years ago and it was especially emotional for me to see them graduating.
God was so clear in telling me to start sifting through the students in the 9th grade who were not interested in spiritual things though and that was a very tough decision-making process. I talked to them in February and told them that Destino was not a school to educate the poor (although it is included) but a training center for bringing up leaders and missionaries for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I explained that I loved them all and God certainly loved them all but if they were not interested in surrendering their lives to Jesus at this point, then there was nothing wrong with them, they were simply in the wrong school. After 10 years with us, if they showed no interest whatsoever, then I was not to continue providing education for them (as well as all the food, clothing, shoes, etc.). I did not make the decision alone. I asked at least 6 different teachers, pastor, etc. who were with the students regularly. Amazingly, every decision was unanimous. If anyone at all saw even an inkling of interest in one of the students, I was willing to keep working with them at Destino. I am so glad it was so clear because it was absolutely heart-breaking to have some of them leave us. God was so clear though and revealed HIS choices. Even the last day we saw them (at their graduation), there were two boys who were not on my list to return to 10th grade. During the ceremony, I just KNEW that I couldn’t let these two boys leave. Immediately after the ceremony, Pastor Pablo walked up to me and said the very same two names!!! God certainly can be trusted to reveal His plans to us and I am so grateful because I am making life-changing decisions for these kids and that is a lot to have on my own head.
About 10 days before school was out, I realized that the reason we lost a lot of the kids in the 9th grade is because we kept some of those rebellious ones in the class with them too many years. I began to pray what to do and I put the list of 7th and 8th graders before the same teachers and staff and again they were unanimous in those that needed to leave Destino and who were affecting negatively the other students. So on the day after graduation, the day when the parents come to get the report cards for the end of the year, I spoke to the parents in those two classes and explained what I had to do. I am not returning 5 girls from the 7th grade and 6 girls and one boy from the 8th grade. It was clear that our selections are correct, but, again, it was heart-breaking. I felt like I was at a funeral that day, telling very poor parents that their free bilingual education for their children was finished. Amazingly, several parents came up afterwards to talk to me. Instead of trying to convince me to change my mind or express anger at me, each of them told me how very grateful they are for all the years of support and teaching that we had provided to their children. It was TOUGH!!!
The good news is though that God is faithful and He is continuing to work in them. A few updates back I shared with you that God reminded me that His kingdom is like a mustard seed that is the smallest seed but when it is planted it grows and grows into something huge that bears fruit — that I just needed to plant the seed and that He would do the work in these kids. Well, several of the kids that have been kicked out of Destino are coming to church now regularly. One girl we had leave in the 6th grade, was pregnant the following year and now comes to church several years later with her child. We continue to see several that left even as much as 6 years ago, returning to church at Destino and beginning now to grow up spiritually. God is not finished with these kids and the seed has been planted in them deeply. I truly believe that when they face the real conflicts and troubles of life, they will remember two things: (1) where they were loved; and (2) where they got the Truth. They will come back to us and we can continue to invest in their lives.
I will be writing to about 25 sponsors this week to let them now their student will not be returning and re-assign a new student to them. But please do not quit praying for these former students. God will do His work in their lives in HIS timing. I have to trust Him in this as much as it hurts.
I hope you have been able to see the website lately. www.destinodelreino.org Jenna Murphy (with Serge’s teaching) has been able to work on the new website and it is being updated regularly. You will see sliders when you open the front page (teacher spotlight, children’s home, recent volunteers, and recent events) and just click on one of those slider pictures and you will find more pictures and more information about what has been happening here at Destino lately. If you want to get these updates regularly, at the bottom it says “subscribe” and you can receive our regular emails. Thanks for all your support and encouragement.
The summer time is a VERY hard time for us financially. Please pray that we will have the funds to pay the teachers their regular salaries (about $8,500 monthly) and also their August bonuses (required by law — about $11,000 total). I know God is faithful and this is His work and not mine and so he will provide for us each day. We are also praying for the funds to finish up the gym as soon as possible so please continue to pray for that.
Thanks to everyone who collected things for our container. It is in route and will be in Honduras on July 7th and probably at Destino by the 11th or 13th — please pray specifically that the men who inspect it and unload it in port will be honest. We always have things stolen (usually tools which we desperately need) — Pray for them to just not even see the tools and other easy-to-steal things on the container. Thanks for your prayers and all your generosity. We are so blessed and we really needed these things coming to us.
Pastor Pablo and his family have moved right down the road to rent a house near his wife’s family and so Erick and his little family moved into our apartment below the second house. I will be fixing up the little white house where Erick was before as a guest house so am so thankful for some of the furnishings coming on the container. Thanks for all you have done. Pastor Pablo wanted to take more vacation time off when the students are out of school so he moved off campus. We are so excited where he is renting a house though. It is right in the middle of the village where several of our most needy (emotionally) students are and he will have a great ministry just loving on those kids nearby. God is perfect in ALL His ways.
Pray for our new baby that we received from the DINAF (like Child Protection Services, etc.) in Honduras. We are now the new emergency transition house for all abandoned babies in the state of Comayagua. So far we just have Tania but she is very difficult to care for. We finally realized she must have been a drug-baby because she has all the symptoms — doesn’t sleep, screeching crying, eats a little bit at a time but more often, smaller head, jerky, nervous, etc. etc. Pray for her withdrawal to be over soon — she seems a little better this week. It has been tough on my lady that stays in the nights though – -she NEVER sleeps but maybe 10 or 15 minutes at a time in the nights. We also have our 4 month old baby (Christian) but he is permanent at Destino and he is a chunky little peaceful happy baby so he makes it easier in the night at least.
Continue to pray for church services. The parents continue to come faithfully and we are growing each week. Pray that some that are still just coming for their requirement and not because they love Jesus will come to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ and find true JOY in Him and know a personal relationship with the Savior. Every week a few more accept Christ but there are some who are holding out — thanks for your prayers for them. I don’t want them to miss out on the most extraordinary gift ever given to mankind — salvation and eternal life in Christ.
Also thanks for praying for me as I put together all the school schedules, calendars, etc. for the year. It is a lot of work. We also need one more teacher and one more assistant so pray that God will send us the ones that HE wants us to hire this summer. It is so difficult to find a true believer — most applicants say they are “Christians” but are just religious and go to church and have no idea that those good things will not save them. I need some teachers who know the Truth and can disciple our students. Also we would love to have one more American young woman to come and teach next year so pray for that as well.
One more request for prayer is for the book that is coming out. I will share more later sometime but God made me write a book in 3 days’ time a few months ago. Sally Helbert has edited it and some friends are putting some pictures together. We need the open door for the right publisher and to know what God wants to do with this book. It is not a book really just about Destino but more about how God can take ordinary people and do extraordinary things when we just say yes to him no matter what he asks of us. Please pray for direction and clarity and open doors for whatever God wants for that book. As is true of everything else at Destino: It is HIS responsibility and HE will do it!!
Thanks again for all the prayers. I depend so much on your faithful prayers, giving, encouragement and love. We are so excited about next year being our last year of high school and waiting to see what God does to open our university. He will completely prepare these students for HIS work and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. You are a HUGE part of it all because of your prayers. Thank you for remembering us.
In His grace,