Like any school we start the school year finding out that some of our students won’t be returning. Working with families that don’t always place a high value on education can mean that kids leave our school simply because their parents have decided that its time they start earning money for the family. Sometimes parents have differences with our educational philosophy and vision that they can’t overcome. Whatever the reason, it is always difficult to see a student go when you have spent years pouring into him or her as a staff and its even more difficult when that child has a sponsor and we need to let them know that the student they have been faithfully praying for every day is no longer in our school for reasons beyond our control.
That was the case for my parents. When I first started working for Global Shore in the summer of 2011 they came down to visit and started sponsoring two students, Fabian and Darly. When my Mom came back in 2013 to visit the two kids ran to her and gave her hugs every morning during our school devotional. My parents prayed for their sponsor kids every morning and sent down lots of letters and hugs with me over the past four years so the news hit especially hard when I emailed them in December to let them know that neither child would be coming back for the new school year. It weighed especially on my mother who was coming on our January trip this year knowing that those two kids wouldn’t be there to greet her with joy-filled hugs.
A few days into the trip we started a little afternoon kids’ activity a ways up the dirt road past our school. It is one of our favorite little communities – a series of small houses clustered against a dirt road that meanders along a ridge covered in corn and bean fields. It’s a big dusty mess, but the kids come with such enthusiasm that we can’t help but have a good time. About half-an-hour into our first afternoon, two girls came walking down the road towards us carrying buckets full of laundry on their heads. As they grew closer we could see that it was Darly and her sister. She ran and gave my Mom a big hug. They came back every day we were there.
On her last full day in Guatemala my Mom and I were waiting at the bus stop to catch a chicken bus to Antigua. While we were standing in the sweltering heat watching cars zip around the corner, a man driving a motorbike with a young boy seated on the back drove past us and stopped at the intersection just long enough for the boy to wave enthusiastically in our direction. “Hey, that’s Fabian!” yelled my Mom and before we knew it they were off down the road again. A few moments later our bus pulled around the corner and we got on.
Sitting on that bus we both marveled at God’s incredible timing. He saw the disappointment and sadness that my mother felt at the thought of not seeing these two kids that she’d been praying for every day and He responded with His loving mercy. In one case it was a few afternoons together and in the other case it was a wild hand wave, a brief moment of recognition, but it was enough to affirm that God saw her heart towards these two children.
I bump into Darly and her siblings on their way to their new school as I climb up the hill to our school in the morning. Whenever we pass each other she runs and gives me a hug and often asks me how my Mom is doing. Even though we have to say goodbye to a number of students every year we know that God did not send them to us in the first place in vain. We pray in faith that the seed of His love that they received here will continue to bear fruit for the rest of their lives.