Today we had a new record attendance, 34. That’s 10 more than our old record of 24 last week. Fourteen of these were under 12 years. Bruce led the singing and prayers and Gilberto preached and taught the adult class. Anna and I taught the niños class. We fixed chili with rice. Most had never had chili. For desert Anna brought a big banana cake and
34 just about maxed out our room. We started thinking about more room, more bibles, more glasses, more spoons and more chairs. This is a wonderful problem. Of course we were already thinking about what to do for next Winter, and that we needed a building that was not also our home, but today it really hit home that we NEED to be building. God is providing the increase, and we need to follow His lead!
Speaking of seed planting. We took a trip out to Caña Blanca last Friday. We had heard that the school had reopened and wanted to see for ourselves. We knew that it would be a small school – it had been closed last year because of the 10 student rule. If there are less than 10 students the government would not provide a teacher. Apparently, this year – as it is an election year – they changed the rules and said if there were 3 students they would provide a teacher. So, indeed, they have reopened the school with 7 students. A few of these children were traveling in to El Valle last year, but could no longer afford the long trek, so were staying home. Now, as of last week, they are back in school.
We were thrilled to see that they could again attend classes, but then appalled to find they had no books, no pencils, no colors, no notebooks, no….nothing. The teacher explained that when the school closed the supervisor took all the materials and gave them to other schools, so nothing was left. So, they have had classes going on 2 weeks, with nothing but 2 pair of scissors and some old newspapers. I asked when she expected to get supplies, and she said that she had been told there was no money for more than her pay. She is a young teacher who lives in Puerto Armuelles, 4 hours away. She has been given a room in the house of a widow in the village that she uses through the week, then goes home to her family on the weekends – when she can find a ride.
So, we are trusting that God will provide the funds for us to help out this tiny school. We bought pencils, colors, paper, notebooks, glue, pencil sharpeners, markers, playdough etc.. that we will take out to them tomorrow morning. We also bought 4 math books for the first graders, and a writing book for the other grades. That is all we could find here. All the stores have put away their school books, so we will have to search to find more. The teacher, as in Gariche’ asked specifically for Bibles and Bible story activities. We will put together these for them as well. We remain convinced that God is using these acts of kindness to plant seeds that will bear fruit.
The church contribution today was $22.15. We held our first business meeting two weeks ago, and decided as a congregation to save our offering until a need arose. Since that time, I believe that they are all giving more. In the past they had no idea what happened to the offering, and thus, did not give at all much of the time. Now everyone puts in something. It may only be a dime, but remember the widow’s mite!
The whole church is studying and growing in Christ. It is such a blessing to watch.
Salinda’s husband has returned from his ‘vacation’. We are thrilled and relieved! He has been gone for two weeks, and left the family with no money or food. We have been providing for them since he left, but did not want to ‘enable’ them by continuing indefinitely. He was with them today, and the whole family seemed happier. He had gone to visit his sister in his home village – quite a ways from here.
Richest blessings, dear ones!