Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Literacy Enhancement Project Off to a Great Start

This week marked the start of an exciting new project as we connected students in Guatemala and in the U.S. through a pen-pal literacy enhancement project. Matching students of similar grade level, the project focuses on encouraging interest in developing both reading and writing skills for students at both ends of the pencil... or keyboard, whichever the case may be. 

The village students were ready and waiting for us when we arrived, and it was so awesome to see smiles on the faces of some who have been a little beyond heart-reach up until now. I (De) passed out their pen-pal letters and then asked if anyone would like to read it for us, thinking one or two might volunteer. Instead, they all simultaneously looked down at their letters and began reading out loud. When they each finished they looked up, grinning so proudly, it just made my heart overflow to see their happiness. Imagine the treasures God has in store for them to discover as their reading and writing skills continue to develop?

The teacher surprised me with a stack of letters the kids had written ahead of time. Our Outreach Director said these could be the very first letters the students have ever written since letter-writing is not as valued in the more remote areas as other educational skills mastery. 

After the classroom time, we had some really good get-to-know-you conversations with parents and children as the community gathered for the kick-off of the 2015 nutrition supplement program and school supplies distribution. We gleaned insights into who is related to whom; whose house burned down in the village and who is being blamed; how the tree in the church yard deserved to be cut down because it was struck by lightning and might cause another bad thing to happen. We met new baby brothers named after grandpas who live far, far away. And we saw some smiles where before there had simply been sober walls of silent contemplation. This was a seriously great day.

Hearts are opening. God is truly at work in 'the lemon town,' and we ask you to continue to pray for favor and cross-cultural creativity to share the gospel effectively. Thank you for your faithfulness through prayer, financial support and spiritual partnership in the work God is doing in the hearts and lives of the people of Guatemala. It's such an honor to serve on your behalf.

Simply Serving,
De & Rod Ishmael

Partner support and special project donations may be sent to:
Crescent Lake Christian Center / 1250 St. Louis Ave. / Excelsior Springs, MO 64024