We were so blessed to have my church team come to help out the first week of April. Half of my family, and most of my friends made up the group so I had a great time, even though I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get all of the supplies for the projects where they needed to be when they needed to be there. They helped us paint the school buildings, pour multiple cement forms, assemble see-saws, and they ran a VBS after school Monday-Thursday. They all fell in love with our kids, and our kids fell in love with them. I can’t think of more to say than God is working here, and He blessed all of us with that time. We got to be together and I was so excited to show everyone where God has had me for these past 2 school years. God is using the time here to work in all of their lives and He is just so cool. They worked hard, never complained, and loved like they were called to. God is good.
The aquaponics has made a lot of progress this year but is not up and running. We have put in a fence and we had it going for 3 days, but then a child went into the system through a gap in the fence I thought was not big enough and messed with all of the valve positions, which wound up throwing the water balance off and causing the system to have to be shut off for a few days to wait for more water. This process allowed algae to grow in the tanks and the tubes. There were also tadpoles galore in all of the grow-beds and tanks when we had to shut the pump off and the water was stagnant. I believe that the aquaponics will work because “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23), but it is very possible that God’s plan was to use me to literally lay the foundation. I will be working with Sayra and getting advice from Mollie’s dad, who works in aquaponics, up until I leave, and God will give the increase. I usually want to do everything but that caused me to hit a period of burn out and God is teaching me to live in love with Him and His body, and do what I can while trusting Him to give the increase.
Angel, Aaron, Josue, Gabriel, and I have been having a bible study during lunch nearly every day. We started in Proverbs, but then they wanted to switch to a New Testament book, so we are currently in Mark. Originally, the bible study was just me trying to pour into Angel to help him grow up with a better attitude. When Gabriel got saved, I was sitting down with both individually but they wanted to do it together. After one day of that, they invited the other two to come and study with us. I was amazed because God saved a student, and then grew our bible study and used the students to invite others, and I hadn’t said or done anything. I try to do a lot, and go nuts doing it, but the great thing is that God does the work, and I am just responsible for obeying Him when He commands me or calls me whether it is through His word, Him showing me by His Spirit, or through prayer. God is working here, no matter what, and it is so great to be a part of.
I have an amazingly supportive church and an amazingly supportive Pastor who continues to pour into the work that God is doing here in El Doradito. In almost every way possible, he offers help to the school and church. Pastor Jamie came down a week before I renewed my visa, and bought materials for the week-long mission trip that came from Atlanta Street Baptist Church from March 31-April 7. He poured out his love for all of these kids in gifts to the school and in gifts to individual kids who had made an impact on him during his prior trips. If you know Pastor Jamie, you know that we are blessed as a church to have him as our pastor. Thank you to Atlanta Street, for all of the gifts you gave as a church, the kids love the playground equipment and stand in lines to play on all of it. The basketball goal has been a ton of fun for the students and for the volunteers, I even got to teach a good number of kids how to actually shoot a basketball with B.E.E.F. (Bend your knees, Elbow in line, Eyes on the goal, Follow through) the same way dad and Mr. David taught us.
God continues to work here no matter what state we are in. A few weeks ago, right before I came home to renew my visa, I was honestly yelling at my class and Gabriel came up to me and said “I don’t believe in God, can you explain Him to me,” and I told him we would talk in 20 minutes at lunch so we could focus on the conversation without the other students being in the room. We sat down and I walked him through who God is, who Jesus is, and how He made it possible for us to be reconciled to Him (all of this conversation was in Spanish to make sure he didn’t miss any part, and I used smaller words for reconciled). I asked him if he wanted to give his life to Christ and he said yes without hesitation. Since then we have been having a bible study with 3 other boys during lunch almost every day. God is so good. I had lost my patience with my kids and He saved one of them. He doesn’t need anyone here to work here. He just wants us to obey, and I am thankful that He used me and gave me such an amazing opportunity to share His love, and at the same time reminded me that I am here to share His love in action, and not just in words.
True love comes with wrath because true love for someone hates anything that threatens them whether that is an outside force or the person choosing a path or action that you can see is not the best for them. I love my kids, and I have really been frustrated with them recently, and I couldn’t figure out why and I thought I was failing them by being angry. I heard this idea in a bible study and realized while I am imperfect and I could definitely be better for my kids, my anger and frustration was caused by them protesting what I believe is good for them. I push my kids hard because they are far behind and I want them to be different for Christ. I don’t want them to think I am mean or always angry but I know I am pushing them to achieve better than they are on path to right now. I know my kids know the Gospel and will have it ingrained in them, and I am praying for patience, love, and wisdom so I can do my absolute best to disciple them. I can’t force them to grow or do what they should and I can’t change their circumstances, but I will push them in the love of Christ.
We started school this past Tuesday and all has been going pretty well. God has definitely been working because we can’t do what He has done with our school. He always provides and uses the school for His glory. I have loved how normal teaching feels this time back. I love how much scripture our kids are exposed to through the paces, bible lessons, and chapel at the end of the week.
This little guy may be a weed but he is proof that plants can grow and develop a root system in our Aquaponics. While this is evidence of how long we have had to wait to continue the work on the aquaponics, I am excited to see it produce something. Please be praying for this project, the work is underway and will hopefully provide a source of income for the school. He gives increase in His time.
It is truly amazing getting to sit back and see God working here. Thursday night we had bible study with 24 people, and we went through James 2. We studied how we are saved through Christ alone, how our actions are necessary evidence of our faith, and how nothing we can do or have the ability to do changes our need for Christ in order to be saved. The best part was looking at the people who had gathered to study God’s word together. Our group of 24 people was made up of 3 honduran teachers, 1 woman who had never come before but hopped in our bus when invited, a blind woman who is led to the church by hand, 2 Gringos, and a bunch of kids from all grades. And we were there together, not separated or divided but simply together in God’s Word. A fourth grader read the first half of the chapter while Sayra and another student helped him pronounce the words he didn’t know, and Roberto sat reading his bible in his lap looking conpletely at peace. We didn’t have a planned lesson just because that's how it worked out, but we still had a great time being in God’s word. Our work is evidence of our faith and salvation, but it is not what saves us. We are designed to simply live in a loving relationship with Christ. (My phone suggested “with Christ” when I typed relationship, It might be saved) I love the way God has worked around and in me and the growth He has given me and let me see. He is so good.
We have been trying to work on quite a few different projects but most of it has been held off because we had to wait for one thing or another because of rain. It rained every day or night for a month. Now, we have put up the fence for the aquaponics, so we can do work in the rain without the work being ruined by horses, goats, or thieves, and it feels so good. It has been insane and very muddy but we are all thankful for the colder weather.
Now, we did get a little bit of work done in the rain. Josh and John dug the holes for the fence and cut the posts to be the same size. All of that work was done in the rain, but when I sent them out there, it was only overcast and I told them they didn’t have to work in the rain and to take cover when it did rain. So if they got sick, I did my part. I love having them here because they are always willing to help, and they are crazy enough to work in the rain all day long.
Ethan Smith. I'm 19, I graduated from Roswell HS, I love Jesus, I love my friends and family, I love band. This is my second year teaching at Cornerstone Christian Academy.