The Ministry of Reconciliation
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
“The ministry of reconciliation.” This phrase is at the heart of the vision of our school. Students become ‘new creations’ before our eyes as they encounter the love of the Father and then out of that new-found place of wholeness they reach out and affect their friends and family.
Take Pati, for example. Pati, who is in Grade 8, spent most of this year constantly at odds with her mom and dad: “I would talk back when they scolded me, I would raise my hand at them, I would not obey or do anything they asked me to do.” So when Pati excitedly showed up to the annual summer camp we run for our students, she was a little taken aback when the primary topic of the camp was about honouring one’s parents.
Numerous staff got up and shared with great vulnerability about their own relationships with their family. They shared about absent fathers and mothers, they shared about periods of rebellion in their lives, and ultimately, they shared about asking for forgiveness from their parents and offering forgiveness in return.
As Jervin, our school pastor, talked about how receiving love from our perfect heavenly Father enables us to love our imperfect earthly parents, conviction began rising in Pati’s heart and God spoke to her: “As we were worshipping, God spoke to me and He said, ‘Honour your parents. Hug them as if it is your last day with them. Ask for their forgiveness.’” She was so overcome with a sense of conviction that she spent the rest of the time at camp impatiently waiting to get back to her home.
“After we got home, I went to each member of my family and I asked them to forgive me for everything I had done to them all these years. I hugged them and I also forgave my siblings.”
Pati’s house is the last stop on the bus route home and as her friends got off one-by-one she kept thinking about her family. Finally she was the last person in the bus and it was her turn to get off: “When I got down, my grandparents, my aunt and my cousin were waiting for me. I hugged them and told them how much I missed them. After we got home, I went to each member of my family and I asked them to forgive me for everything I had done to them all these years. I hugged them and I also forgave my siblings. I declared a word of blessing over my brother and sister, and when I did it I instantly felt as if a heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders.” Pati came back from camp with a changed perspective and that shift is the start of a new way of relating to her family. Her story is far from over and we know that God will continue the work He has started in her heart.
We are always so encouraged by stories like Pati’s. They remind us that God really is at work in our midst, creating a school where children not only learn writing, reading, math, and science, but also learn how to embrace the ministry of reconciliation that God calls all of us to be an active part of.
Stepping Forward in Confidence
A letter from our Guatemalan Director, Julianna
For years we have strived to offer quality, Christian education for free. So far the parents, as long as their children maintain a certain grade level, have only had to pay for uniforms and some school supplies. This year we are re-thinking that policy and are making some changes. There’s no better person to share about the changes we are making, and the positive step forward that it is for the ministry, than our very own Guatemalan Director.
This year at the school here in Guatemala we have been asking ourselves two questions: how do we set up Global Shore to be sustainable long-term? And how do we get the parents of our students more involved in the process of their child’s education? With the school running for over a decade now, we know that education is undeniably about long-term investment. We want to guarantee to all the fresh-faced five year olds in Junior Kindergarten that we will be there for them throughout their entire educational journey until they find their callings and careers beyond our school’s walls. We also know that really effective change happens when parents come alongside the school’s vision and take ownership of their child’s education.
So in 2017 we are entering new territory in the school’s history as we will begin to charge a small monthly tuition. The fee, while being less than a sixth of what’s needed to cover the costs of each student’s education, will give us the ability to keep growing with our students as we expand our carrera (senior high) school with second year classes. We took a good hard look at the socioeconomic situation of the families in our school community and the reality is that many of them are able and willing to carry a small part of the financial burden of running the school. We have already seen a greater sense of ownership in our parent base since we announced the tuition changes at a parent meeting in late August and we look forward to advancing together in partership with them.
There are, however, a number of families who we know would struggle to pay the monthly tuition fee. We are committed as a school to never turn away any willing student for economic reasons. We will work on a case-by-case basis to make exceptions for a number of families to ensure that their children can continue in our school.
We currently run and will continue to run on a scholarship system. Students who maintain marks of 90% and above will not pay a monthly tuition fee. Those who get 70% and above will only pay half of the established tuition fee. And those who cannot make 70% will pay the full tuition amount, with exceptions being made for those who struggle academically. What a “full” tuition amount is will be established with each family that comes from a low-income situation. In this way, we will still be able to apply scholarship standards that encourage students to work hard in their schoolwork, yet provide an education for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
As a staff we feel confident that this is the right decision and time for this important step forward as a school and we know that God will continue to fulfill His vision for this ministry.
Julianna Konrad de Pelaez
Global Shore Opportunities
What do these changes mean if I am a sponsor or donor?
Great question. We will break it down into a few different concerns.
If parents are paying tuition, why do you still need sponsors
We are asking the parents to make a small contribution to the overall cost of the education of their child. It will amount to less than a sixth of the total cost. Sponsoring a child is about becoming a partner, along with the parents of that child, to invest in his or her future. Together you are making it possible for your sponsor student to receive a quality, Christian education. We really do need you.
What if the parents of my sponsor child can’t afford tuition?
We have invited all the parents who expect to have difficulties in making the tuition payments to schedule a meeting with our directors, who will then evaluate on a case-by-case basis. We trust our school leadership, who have walked with and built relationships with many of these families for multiple years, to make the right decision. We anticipate offering a number of exceptions.
Are these financial changes due to the fact that you are currently constructing more classrooms?
No. Our current construction project is fully funded by generous individuals who have specifically designated funds towards the carrera building project; we are not using sponsorship funds for construction costs.
What does this mean for Global Shore’s future and sustainability?
Charging a small tuition is only one of a series of new ventures involving the local community in the work of Global Shore to better establish a financial partnership between our countries. Another example of a new venture is the annual camp written about on the front page; the camp this year was entirely funded by in-country fundraisers run by teachers, students, and parents. It cannot be overstated how important this shift is to establish sources of funding from Guatemala itself where possible and appropriate. From a development perspective, the balancing of the scales is crucial to break down unhealthy mindsets and stereotypes that can result from foreign aid. Enabling and empowering the local people to contribute where possible secures an equality in relationship and prevents the perpetuating and crippling affects of “handouts.” We absolutely know that these changes are a healthy step towards the long-term development of the people within our ministry scope and in the long-term health of the organization.
If you have any more questions, we’d love to chat. Drop us a line at email@example.com
After surviving the long hours of the asparagus barn our Summer Team of eight young adults made it down to Guatemala for a little over six weeks of service and outreach. They lived with local families across Tizate, ran kids ministries with churches in nearby towns, got messy with cement on our construction site, and poured themselves out in love on our students.
It really was a summer of deep personal impact for them, as Amy, one of the team members, summarized: “The summer program was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. My perspectives were changed and God revealed so much more of His love, grace and power to me through Global Shore. I am so very thankful for the ministry and the impact that it had on my life.”
Carrera Classroom Construction Update
Check out that tile floor! Our carrera (high school) classrooms, that are being built behind the current school building, are getting close to being ready for use. Last spring we had to pause work on the site as funds were tight, but some really generous folks have stepped forward and this summer we were able to resume construction. As long as funds keep rolling in we expect to have the first storey of classrooms ready by the end of this month.
Come January, the completed building will house our three carrera streams, each of which will have a first and second year classroom, as well as some office and meeting space. Continued construction on a second storey will happen as finances become available, but we have enough space for the 2017 school year, which is incredible!
As most of you know by now Katrina Janzen, our Canadian Director, is moving on from her position at the end of this year. There are a few others who are moving on this year as well: Shelby, Ellis, Travis, and Micaiah are all wrapping up their time teaching English in our school this month. We’re so grateful to the four of them and their sacrificial service this year.
David and Anita (pictured to the left) are moving on from teaching in our school to focus full-time on pastoring their church plant in the nearby city of Chimaltenango. One would be hard pressed to find two people more caring and wise than they, and we are excited to see how God uses them to bless the people of Chimaltenango.
Meet Fred and Beth Brown! (pictured to the left). This incredible couple from Abbotsford, BC is coming on staff full-time and moving down to Guatemala. Fred will be coordinating and leading our short-term trips and Beth will be heading up our new crew of English teachers (we’ll introduce them to you soon).
Also joining our staff in Guatemala – Lexi Putman! Lexi, who was a member of our 2014 Summer Program, is taking over Pahola’s job as our Sponsor Liaison. Pahola has been an incredible liaison (as I’m sure many of you can attest to), but she is a teacher at heart and is excited to return to the classroom again in 2017.
Come join us in Guatemala, see what God is doing in our school first-hand, and get involved! We are running three trips next year that are open to anybody.
January Trip (Jan 9 – 20th): This is our annual trip open to anyone that wants to come and serve the work of God through Global Shore in Guatemala.
Family Trip (approx. July 10 – 21st): Come serve and grow together as a family!
Graduation Celebration Trip (approx. Oct 9 – 20th): Join us for two weeks of service and celebrating. We especially recommend joining us if your sponsor student is graduating from 3rd Basicos (Grade 9) in 2017.