The Abante team had the opportunity to join French Harbor Church of God during our time in Roatan. For about 50 years, two missionary women moved to the island in order to spread the Gospel. During their time here, they founded Kingdom Bilingual Educational Center (KBEC), a school for children ranging from kindergarten to senior year of high school, in this same church. The ministry of this school is crucial to the community due to the lack of educational programs on the island. It is completely funded by a small tuition required from each student, and although progress has been made, there are dire needs waiting to be fulfilled.
Most families are already living in poverty so attending school is a sacrifice that many have to make. It is common for children to stop attending because they cannot afford a uniform, books or school supplies. The island’s tropical weather can reach high temperatures year round, and students are left without air conditioning systems, all but 2 hours a day because of the high costs of electricity. Another challenge the school faces is a lack of educators. Teaching is not a high-paying job, and not many people have enough education of their own in order to teach others. As of now, a high school diploma is one of the few requirements listed to become a teacher in this school. Because of this, some teachers lack necessary training, and this affects their ability to manage a classroom. Current teachers are constantly rotating in and out of the system and this instability makes it difficult to create beneficial student-teacher rapport.
The director of KBEC invited us to help by filling in the classrooms of teachers who had left without giving notice. Colleagues Emily, Brittany, Katie Anna, and Franchesca had the opportunity to substitute. All four colleagues have had experience in leading classrooms ranging from several age groups. Their work entailed teaching math, science, reading, and bible lessons over the course of a couple of days.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Each of them had a unique experience that gave them the opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Read Franchesca’s experience on leading 60 children:
“My first few jobs were working in after school programs at several elementary schools and tutoring in middle schools. I thought I had my life all planned out, but I wasn’t entirely sure where life was taking me. Now I realize that those years of teaching served as preparation for these moments.
Teachers and staff warned me about how the students I was assigned tend to act unruly. At first, it was intimidating meeting such energetic students. Thankfully I was teaching alongside Brittany and I was not alone. Still, it had been a while since I led a classroom. On my way to the school I realized I had become insecure of my ability to teach students, and yet once I walked in I was reminded that I was once in the position of these children. At that age, all I wanted was someone to share their knowledge and love with me. As the Lord encouraged me with this thought, I did my best to present the curriculum to these young hearts, not just with my words but with love.
When I looked around the classroom as I was teaching, I saw their eyes light up and hunger for more. They were completely different than the students I was warned about. All I saw was a room full of children eager for love. On my last day, several students approached me saying this was the best time they’ve had in the classroom all year. I left with drawings and notes full of heartfelt words from students who said they had never experienced love from a teacher.
I left that school with a Spirit-taught lesson.
Everything you do can be beneficial to the Kingdom of God, if you allow it to be so. When I was 18, I didn’t even imagine that what I learned during my few years of teaching part-time would be skills I applied in a country 9,656 km (6,000 mi) away from home! But God used what little knowledge I have and filled in the gaps for me. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, work as unto the Lord and he will use it all for His glory. As our Director, Brian Schlottmann, says, “God wastes nothing.”
I don’t share this to brag on myself, but to exalt God and display just how far His love can reach when we are willing to share it with others. When we listen for His voice and allow our insecurities to be replaced by his love, we can change someone’s world. Love has nothing to do with our competency but has everything to do with fulfilling His purpose.”