My husband gave me a laptop makeover yesterday. I have been battling storage space and a non functioning iPhoto for about 2 years. He emptied all of the photos from my laptop and put them on some hard drives. Then I emptied the 2,000+ photos on my phone to be able to start fresh organizing them all on my laptop that now has over 300 GB of free space. I'm sooo thankful!
So... what do I catch up on first?! Let's talk about new students!
First, starting a new school year in January is fiscally nuts. We only usually get about half of our monthly support in December due to work days being off at churches, at our agency, and at banks because of the holidays, and don't get the rest of that regular support until the end of January. So paying for graduation, helping students move, our kids' Christmas, church Christmas outreaches, our kids starting school, and then new student housing and materials on the farm, seems overwhelming at times. And no one believes that the gringo could ever be short on funds... ever.
But, God provides, ALWAYS.
The number of students "coming" for the new school year is very fluid. This is for me personally one of my biggest struggles in the area of faith. We can work really hard, but only the Holy Spirit can call and compel men to prepare for ministry. During this time of year I find myself thinking, "What are we doing? Is this all for nothing?" There is lots of trust involved in this part.
Jimmy had spent a lot of time and resources on traveling to do recruitment this year. He had 20 applications. Some even paid their application fee (Q500). Still, of the 10 new students we had, only 4 were in that 20, lol! That's the way it works here. Jimmy will call them on the phone, if there is reception in their village, and they will say "Yes, I am coming", then the next day, "No... I'm not coming." Then they will show up at the farm 2 days later! How are control freaks supposed to plan?!!!
So here are the 8 men and 2 wives that took the step of faith, moved onto the farm, and started studying this year.
They have a beautiful little 3 month old named Jackson. From what I have heard, I think he sleeps as well as Titus at night;) I wish I could convey culturally what it means to move to an unknown place, several hours away from your family, with your first child, who is only 3 months old. I have so much respect for them and this testimony of faith.
Belén came seeking God. She put her faith in Christ at the end of the first week of classes. She gave birth to her son the next day... because we like to have as many life events as possible all at the same time!!! It really was a beautiful time for this family! She is doing very well, a lot better than I ever did after childbirth. Her mother AND her mother-in-law are staying in her house most days helping her. What man wouldn't want to live in that his first couple weeks at a new place?! Raul and Belén seem to have a close bond, I have seen Raul helping Belén around the farm since the birth. It is so sweet!
Here is baby Carlos with his dad:
I spend lots more time with the ladies so I can't speak much about these men, but I am so grateful for Mari and Belén's sweet spirit. They fit in great here. This is a gift! We have been around toxic situations before and I just see them thriving in ministry and setting a loving atmosphere for their churches. One gossiping lady can poison any group, a gracious one, creates a sense of community!
The others are single men.
He has started playing the keyboard in church with us!
He plays the drums!
He is kind of quiet. He gets up super early to go work before classes.
Erick did a couple of semesters last year, but he struggled because of his Spanish. Jimmy said it would be best for him to withdraw and go study Spanish a little more and then return. He did. Either he learned more, gained confidence, or is simply working harder, but he is doing so much better!
Gerson is a pastor's kid and brought his friend, Alfonso. Alfonso wasn't a Christian. At the end of the second week he put his faith in Christ! Both of these guys are super nice!
So if you are keeping track, 20% of our students weren't even Christians when they came! What a great first step to being discipled though! If there wasn't a need, and already mature Christians who sat in churches with pastors who knew their Bibles, where they had the opportunity to grow. Why would we be doing this?
Please pray for these students as they prepare for ministry!