Sorry it has been almost two months since I have updated you on all that is going on at Destino del Reino. Many of you follow me on Facebook so have been able to keep up, but I am sorry to not get these updates out more often.
It has been a very hectic but encouraging summer for us. We had our kindergarten and 9th grade graduations during the second week of June and then a week to finish off school records, etc. Our two weeks of sports camp and children’s day camp began and those weeks flew by. Tomball Bible Church always sends such amazing people to do this work and we were blessed again with their teaching and love for our students. We had teen girls’ camp going on at the same time as the children’s camp and that could have been chaos but they always come so well prepared and organized — it is amazing. The week following was the boys’ teen sports camp and that was an amazing group and a good turn out of teens. Thanks, Tomball Bible for all you do for us.
We had our first-ever high school graduation on July 12th in our NEW GYM — it was the most amazing night and I could not hold back the tears as we prayed over the 20 graduates that have become responsible young people with love for Christ and great integrity!! Absolutely amazing night of celebration and love!!
Four days later, we had our medical mission team from Trinity on the Hill in Augusta. These people are always so encouraging to me personally and I was so grateful for this group of believers who come to serve so humbly. We were in two villages the first three days and then they did a medical clinic for our families at Destino on the fourth day. The first village, Santa Rosita, has almost no evangelical work going on there and many people came to know Jesus Christ during the two-day clinic. Pastor Pablo is planning to start a discipleship up there for the new believers in the next few weeks so please be praying about that. Many men accepted Christ and that was especially a blessing! This was the first group we have had in about 5 years to go into the villages and this time my own kids were able to be translators — they loved being in the villages and working with the people alongside the Americans. They even were paid a salary for their work and they are thrilled with their first-ever earned money!!!! Of course, it has burned a hole in Sammy’s pocket and he has been buying everything he can find to buy, ha. The others are saving it for something special. I was always like Sammy growing up though so I get it! He is definitely our family Sanguine personality!
And then for even more encouragement to me, I left four days after the medical group to go to Colorado to my family reunion. Our family has land near Trinity, Colorado and every other year for a weekend, we have a reunion. I had not been for 10 years and so I wrote to the first cousins and asked them to make every effort to be there, even if their families or spouse could not come along. They did it!!! We had 21 first cousins there together and all of my remaining aunts and uncles as well. Our family is very unusual — our grandparents came to know Christ after most of their children were already married and out of the home. Their prayers brought all their children and children’s spouses to know Jesus after a few years and now I have a very strong Christian family!!! Several asked me how it was for me emotionally since it was my first time without my parents with me but I felt so loved and cherished by these people and it was not hard at all. There is nothing like spending a weekend with people who have loved you all your life!!!
The day after the reunion, I was invited to speak at a church in Syracuse, Kansas (my aunt’s church) and they had a great turnout and I was so blessed by all the encouragement from those precious people who attended.
The day before I left for the family reunion, we had to go before the city mayor and request the support of the city of Siguatepeque for our university. It was just a step in the process required by the government and I was dreading going — I was tired and needed to pack for my trip, etc. I reluctantly went with our director and was so amazed at what took place. We entered into the conference area and the whole city council was there as well in a big circle. Instead of asking me to tell about Destino del Reino, the mayor began telling all the council about all the things that Destino had done for the poor community. About 6 of the councilmen spoke about it as well and I could not believe that they all knew so much about Destino and that God had given us such a great reputation in the city. When the mayor asked me to share my request for support of the university, they all eagerly and unanimously voted their support and then the mayor told me that he would be willing to accompany me to any meetings with the government and education directors if I needed him to in order to ensure that we got the university approved. Wow, God is amazing and is going before us to prepare every step of the way. The man that is working on our accreditation told me that when this university is approved, it will be the only university for the poor in all of Central America — I’m not sure that is correct, but it sure has motivated him to get this done for us. Please be praying for him (Dr. Melvin) to continue working eagerly on this project so that we can get the university up and running as soon as possible.
As it stands right now, we are not planning to start the classes until September 2017 and so the graduates will have a year off. I don’t want them to be impatient and lose their motivation for a college education so we are going to do some technical classes for the boys during the next year. Our driver/mechanic is already on salary and so we will use him three mornings a week to teach some basic mechanics. Erick, my oldest son, is our electrician on staff and will take another 3-month period to teach them in the mornings. After that, we will look to hire a carpenter to teach them some classes in carpentry. During this time, they will gain some practical skills and we may discover that a few of them are more interested in a technical occupation than college work and we will move forward with those in that direction. I had wondered if God might want us to have a tech school but was thinking we would need to get it accredited but with these three areas, that won’t be necessary. Please be praying for guidance in this new endeavor as well. I am hiring a couple of the girls to assist in English classes since we did not get an additional American to come and teach English this year. We have offered to hire any of the other girl graduates who need some work while they are waiting for the university to open. Thanks for your prayers. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use these young adults in His Kingdom ministry.
Please pray as we are interviewing for three teacher positions next Monday (15th). We need a first grade teacher, a Spanish teacher for junior high and a science teacher for high school. Especially the science teacher will be difficult to find. We are not just looking for a good teachers but teachers who know and love Jesus Christ and are capable of discipling our young people. I always have a lot of opportunities to share Christ with people in the interviews so pray for me as well. Most of our interviewees say they are “Christian” but when I ask them, “If one of your students asks you ‘how can I have eternal life’, what will you tell them?” their responses are “be good, obey, go to church”, etc. They do not understand how to have a personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ himself and that is the only way to eternal life. So pray for the interviews please!
Pray also that we will get the container SOON! It was our plan to send it early this year (end of March) and here we are getting it later than any other year. But God is in charge and because of the delays, we are receiving a lot more needed items than we would have received if it had come earlier. God always does it right and I need patience to wait on His timing! It has still not shipped and so if anyone is planning to get anything to John, you still have a little time. Pray for it to clear customs easily and that the inspectors will not destroy or steal anything!! That is always a big concern.
All the kids are doing well. Our last baby that we had taken care of for over a year for the government was finally fostered and so we only have the 21 kids that will be here permanently. We are open to receiving two more abandoned babies though because my kids have decided that as painful as it is to see them go after loving them for so long, it is still the right thing to do. We also have an appointment with a young mama on Monday who wants to put her 9-month old baby girl with us permanently. Thanks for your prayers that God will continue to always provide the funds we need to feed so many. He is so faithful and we are continually amazed at His provision.
I know this is a long email — so sorry — but thanks for reading it and praying. One final prayer is for the funds we need this month. We have to finish paying the uniforms, shoes, and the required teachers’ bonuses as well as about $3,000 in books. So we need about $20,000 this month. That is huge to us but God can do it. Thanks for your prayers.
I cannot thank you enough for all your prayers. They are so important so please don’t ever stop! Only when we get to heaven will we truly understand the power and gift of prayer.
Remember you cannot hit “reply” to this email so if you want to respond you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know how to be praying for you and your family as well.
Love in His grace,