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School in El Porvenir

Galen Miller and Zac Morgan worked with the Porvenir congregation to resurrect the church school that once functioned there. It was a tremendous investment of time, energy, and learning, but the result is a functioning school taught by local church youth.

We chose to name this school Emanuel, because God really was with us as we worked to get it started. We were blessed and amazed to see His hand at work.

The school year starts in January, so we are halfway through the year right now. This January was the first time in fifteen years that there has been an operating Christian school for the church in Porvenir.

Years ago the school had been in operation, but was closed because it was not legalized. Students were not able to continue their education beyond the six grades that it offered.

With six families in the church with school-aged children, and their only option the public school, there was a genuine concern about the need for a Christian school again.

Investigations were made, questions were asked, and most of all, prayers were made that God would open the doors so that this church could have a school.

This year God answered those prayers. The building was still there from years ago, but desks, materials, white boards, etc. all needed to be purchased.

Two young people from church, Ricardo Barahona and his niece Magdalena (who was just recently baptized) were asked to teach this year. Ricardo teaches second through sixth grades, and Magdalena teaches kindergarten and first grade. There are eleven students enrolled in the school.

There is much to learn in starting a school; many things can only be learned by experience. The first year is always the hardest, but that year’s experience makes the next year easier.

We are thankful for God’s direction in this work and trust it will be a blessing to the students, the families, and the work of the church.

~ GM

Are You Ashamed to be Part of a Large Family?

In today’s society, a large, legitimate, and loving family is very rare. When a family with six or more children is working or shopping together, people often look, talk among themselves, or even approach them to ask if they are all part of the same family.

How do I feel and respond when approached about the six children that God has blessed me with? Am I intimidated when society finds out that my wife and I both come from families of ten children?

I believe that if we are ashamed of being part of a large physical family, we will struggle with being part of the family of God.

John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Being born into a large family was not our choice to make, but being part of the God’s family certainly was. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . . and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but . . . we shall be like him” (1 John 3:1, 2).

About fourteen years ago, an ungodly, immoral mother was attending our church services. One Sunday after the service, she told my wife that she wanted to talk. She was done with her life of sin and wanted to get right with God. We informed her that, for her own spiritual good and strength, she should make a public acknowledgment the following Sunday at the church service. She said she was willing to do that.

Before the next Sunday we got a message from the new convert’s family, saying that we were to inform her that if she continues with her plan to be a Christian, she no longer has a mother or siblings!

So before she made an acknowledgment at church Sunday morning, we met with her during Sunday school. I read the verses in Luke 18:29, 30 where it states that no man has left family for the kingdom’s sake who will not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Then we informed her of the message we had received. She sat in silence and cried when I asked her if she was willing to continue with making a public acknowledgment.

She choose to be faithful and trust God with the results!

She made the right choice to be part of the larger family of God. She has continued to be faithful for fourteen years, even when her drinking husband made life difficult for her. Her sister, who disowned her fourteen years ago, made a decision in January of this year to join the family of God also.

In January our family returned to Guatemala for a few months’ stay. I was greatly encouraged to again see some of the family of God continuing to grow even in the difficulties they have gone through.

In March I was privileged to go to Costa Rica for a Latin American Leaders’ meeting. Over a hundred leaders from more than a dozen countries attended. I was blessed by the large group of faithful leaders, but in reality it was only a small representation of the size of the family of God in Latin America.

I am so glad to be part of the family of God!

Are you ashamed to be part of the family of God?

God’s desire is that we may be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

~ Lamar Hursh

Baptisms

A special service was held on Sunday morning, December 10, 2017, in Los Achiotes. Three young ladies, Aracely, Sofia, and Damaris were baptized. The small chapel was filled by the local congregation and visitors from other churches. Brother Isaías Muñoz preached the message, and Brother Victor Ovalle officiated the baptism. A lunch was served afterwards.

Aracely is a youth girl in her mid-teens. Her parents and several siblings are members of the church at Los Achiotes. Her father Mauricio was received back into the church the same day as the baptism.

Sofia is Aracely’s niece, but lives with the family as a sister and is only about a year and a half younger than Aracely.

Damaris is in her early twenties. At present, she is the only one in her family that is part of the Mennonite Church, although her mother was in years past. Her greatgrandfather is a member too. Her youngest sister attends church with her. Her mother has attended and was at the baptism. Damaris’s father is in the States.

Please pray for Aracely, Sofia, and Damaris, and also for Mauricio, that they would be faithful and grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Since the beginning of 2018, there have been two other baptismal services. Brother Isaías brought the morning message and officiated at both of these services, which were well attended by the local church and visitors.

One of these services was held on March 4 in Santa Rosita for Cleydy and Mariela. Cleydy is in her mid-teens. Her mother and sister are church members, but her father, who once was a member, presently is not.

Mariela, in her early teens, also has a mother and sister who are church members, although her father, twin sister, and other family members are not.

Although the girls’ fathers are not church members, both were present at the baptism. Please pray for Cleydy and Mariela and their families.

Another young lady, María Magdalena, was baptized on May 27 in Porvenir. Please pray for Magdalena. She is in her late teens. Both of her parents are in the church; her mother has been a member for years, and her father was baptized last year.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for these young Christians and for the churches in Guatemala!

~ TJM

Central America Teachers’ Institute

The first week in May, MAM hosted the Central American Teachers’ Institute. It was a four-day meeting designed to help inspire and better prepare the teachers of our church schools for their work in the classroom and the formation of young souls. The Central American Teachers’ Institute is held annually in the various Central American countries involved, rotating from one host country to the next by turns.

More than sixty teachers attended from four countries. They heard topics about the value of the Christian school, the influence of a teacher, working together as a team, and different methods of teaching and disciplining. There were also activities and group discussions.

The emphasis of the training was to impart the idea that the Christian school is a work of the church, instrumental in teaching academics from a perspective that will help children make life decisions according to God’s will for their lives.

The institute finished up with a “field trip” day to Antigua, Guatemala.

Matched Funding Opportunity

Mennonite Air Missions has been working with national brethren on a vision to establish a teaching clinic and school in Oratorio—a place for missionaries to serve, for national youth to learn, and for needy people to find medical care and education. We are moving ahead with the idea and estimate that we will need $150,000 – 200,000 to make this vision a reality.

Through Anabaptist Foundation, an anonymous donor has offered a matching grant to jump-start this project. Between now and August 31, the first $75,000 of funds contributed for this project will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Your regular support for MAM is appreciated and needed for monthly operations.

If you are able to help us with this special project above and beyond what you do to help with our regular expenses, your gift will be matched (doubled) if received by August 31. If more funds come in than are needed for this project, they will be used for other infrastructural development.

Send your check, payable to Mennonite Air Missions, to 140 Rothsville Station Rd., Lititz, PA 17543. Write “young people’s training program” on the memo line of the check so we know your gift is for this project.

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