February was a month of settling back into a more normal routine.
As I mentioned before, El Alfarero has launched a missionary school called Ayla that equips Latin Americans for the missions field. As a part of the students’ education, they are required to take English classes. I’m currently teaching six students who recently finished their first of five modules. I am pleased with their grammatical advancement, but I’m even more glad for their deepening spiritual formation. I asked the students to reflect upon how the biblical sections in the English curriculum have changed their walk with the Lord thus far. Here are a couple of responses:
“My relationship with God has diversified because now I try to understand his Word in another language, but I want to continue to feel in my heart the same sense that I have when I read it in my native language. Biblical texts have been key because I delight in reflecting on the message they present about Jesus and the attributes of Our Father.” (Cindy from Columbia)
“I thank God for this ministry that not only deals with the intellectual part, but is also reflective on the spiritual part, incorporating verses in its teaching. One of the passages that touched me the most is that of Psalm 1 because I want to continue to be a blessing for others, my family, and the pastors and missionaries that we support.” (Yvan from Bolivia)
The children at Talita Cumi are in full school mode. Most of their schooling is via Zoom and they work on their homework in the afternoon with on site educators. Their education spans from English and French to mathematics and natural science. Some of the girls are going to a nearby institute to learn the art of tailoring, like Ana in the photo below.
My time with the older boys has grown and intensified, not just through extracurricular activities like sports, work outs, and shared meals around the dinner table, but also through devotionals, mentorship, and other intentional one on one chats. I find that one of the greatest struggles the boys have is knowing how essential a relationship with Jesus is to their lives in the here and now. There are numerous frustrating moments, but also miraculous breakthroughs.
For example, a nine-year-old boy recently shared with me how sad he is about the death of his mother. He told me that when he’s sad, he prays to God. I prayed for him and reminded him of Jesus’ love. A 13-year-old boy recently insulted one of the younger boys in a most destructive way, but then of his own accord sought forgiveness not only from the boy he hurt, but also from others at the home. These unexpected heart inclinations of seeking help from God in prayer and seeking reconciliation through forgiveness remind me that the advancement of the kingdom of God is often invisible to our eyes and so often blessedly inexplicable: “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.” (Mark 4:26-27)
Please continue to pray for my English students’ language studies and that one day they would proclaim the gospel with all conviction and boldness in other areas of the world. Please pray for the salvation of the children and that all of the workers and I at the home would be given spiritual wisdom and boundless patience to love the children.