Generations

Smiling

I am sitting here at my computer looking at pictures of our most recent class of kids from our school in Leon, Nicaragua and I can’t help but be filled with hope! My smile is wide and my heart is rejoicing.

Why?

Because God is good and His mercies never end!

Where It All Started

It was a little over four years ago (what?!?! Four years?! Man how time has flown!!) when Walter first brought up the idea of starting a school in Leon in the very community he spent his early childhood. As someone from the community, he knew the struggles the kids faced.

He personally experienced many of the same difficulties: not always having enough food; having a home made out of scrap wood, plastic, and whatever else was available; and not knowing exactly how to break out of the poverty circle that proceeded and surrounded him.

He also knew the spiritual need that was present in the community. The IDEA of the gospel was there, but there was also a distinct lack of gospel truth and understanding perpetuated by limited resources, low literacy rates, and a general feeling of isolation from the rest of the world.

So when Walter told me about the plight these children face, I could see the understanding, heartbreak, and passion in his eyes. He helped me understand how these families need the truth of the gospel, and how education would help them receive it.

“How can they know the gospel if they don’t know their Bibles? And how can they know their Bibles if they don’t know how to read them? And how will they know how to read if they never go to school?”

Yes, we are an “education” organization. But an education is SO MUCH more than just learning how to read and write. It is about learning how to discover, explore, become self-empowered, and learn about the world around you.

And the Lord that created you.

The Role of Education

Some believe the end goal of education is knowledge that leads to a better life through a good job, cultural appreciation, and the ability to manage one’s life. While that is true, I believe that education ALSO provides something far more powerful: the ability to seek and better understand the Lord.

I have watched time and time again as children enter our schools. They come every day – sometimes even when we tell them we won’t be having class – and are usually accompanied by their older siblings or one of their parents.

Often, the older kids and adults never learned to read. Almost all of them never even made it to the 5th grade and many of them never attended school at all.

Can you imagine going through your entire life with a 3rd grade education? As an American the idea is as foreign as slavery. We can’t fully comprehend it. We can hear descriptions of it, we can see pictures of it, even talk to people that have lived through it, but the best most of us can do is sympathize.

We will never fully understand what life is like without knowing how to read or write, how to add and subtract, or without knowing what a world map looks like or what a piano sounds like.

But these families live that day-in and day-out. Many of them were born in the community, will spend their whole lives in the community, and will never venture further than 10 miles away from it. They will never know their place in the world or in history, or even that they are not alone in their suffering.

Maybe a better way to say that is this: HOW will they ever know if they are never taught? And how will they ever be taught if there is no one to teach them?

That is where we believe we have been called: to teach so that others may know. We believe that we are not just showing them how to read, add, subtract, and recite facts. But rather, we are giving them the skills that they may use to seek and glorify the Lord.

Adding Years

And so, as Walter told me about the community, I could see there was going to be no stopping him. This community was GOING to get a school. And it made my heart glad knowing they would have Walter fighting alongside them for the future of their children.

Now, four years in, we have helped them build a real school house and have seen INCREDIBLE fruit from the school! Starting from our first year, we have had 20-30 children every year! Given that there were only about 5 children receiving an education in the community previously, that means we have helped educate 15-25 more children every year!

In four years, we have added almost 85 years of education for children that never would have received any!

But it doesn’t stop there.

As I mentioned earlier, the kids are often accompanied by an older sibling or parent, many of whom are learning the same skills alongside their kids for the first time in their life. If we counted them, we will have added well over 100 years to the community.

Hope Changes Everything

As proud as we are of those numbers, I am more proud of the work that has gone alongside the education. Through the school Walter has cultivated relationships with the parents, children, and families. Walter has patiently nourished those connects and become an accepted member of the community, trusted by all.

In that trust he has planted seeds of hope and truth. Over time he has shared the gospel with families, prayed with them, helped carry their burdens, rejoiced with them, and lived life alongside them. And we have watched as whole families have truly understood the hope of the gospel for the first time.

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

So when I look at these pictures, I don’t JUST see kids in a school. I see seeds of truth sprouting in a fertile garden. I don’t JUST see mothers and fathers with their kids. I see the gospel penetrating into hard to reach places, transforming hearts and minds, giving peace, and growing hope.

I see Him who is faithful, faithfully at work in the hearts of His people.

And it makes me smile.

3 Comments

  1. Amy Morris says:

    Always a joy to hear about the work you are doing in Nicaragua. Even more so since I was in Leon in November. Keep up the great work…God is using y’all mightily to serve and grow his kingdom.

  2. chris says:

    Thanks, Amy! So glad you now have gotten to meet the sweet people we work with!

  3. Jaylynn Jeffers says:

    I can see why Kinsey loves this place!! You are doing amazing work!!!

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