San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandel
The statement is true, however, one could venture to say that Love surpasses education as the most powerful weapon to change a person, and as a result the world. For instance, the team had an opportunity to put that statement to the test through several visits and two camps specifically targeted to engage and enrich the wonderful students of one of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious private schools; Robinson School in El Condado, Puerto Rico. The school has been a staple of fine education as one of the top international college prep-schools in the island for the past one hundred and fifteen years. Their mission is, “Academic Excellence, Christian Values, Dignity and Respect for All.”
The faculty and staff of Robinson School feels a strong call to “prepare promising students to become responsible leaders and lifelong learners through an education that emphasizes intellectual engagement, independence, collaboration, creativity, spirituality and integrity.” With that in mind, Mrs. Elba Rodriguez, who is the Spiritual Life teacher at the school, asked Abante to lead their Senior High and Middle School camps back to back. Along with Mrs. Rodriguez, the school’s Chaplain, Rosangelica Acevedo, both expressed a desire to help their large student body become more open to conversations about Christianity (the school population consists of mostly atheists and agnostics, even though it is a Christian school).
The Abante team provided a positive atmosphere of acceptance and love by simply being genuinely friendly, and by organizing, planning, and executing several chapel services at the school and a successful program for both camps in the town of Jayuya. The response was positive and authentic! The time spent working hard to provide students with a fun, active, entertaining, and inspiring program was well worth all the hard work that went into the preparations. Meaningful connections were made, personal stories were exchanged, and countless salvations were raked into the Kingdom of God. The beauty of experiences like this one, is that both the colleagues and the Robinson staff and students will be digesting on all that took place for many months and perhaps years to come.
How was the team able to successfully pull this off with little preparation time, short staffed, scarce resources, and cultural challenges? By the grace of God, and the leadership of colleague, Quay Jennings, who worked tirelessly and selflessly, to make sure the team was ready to meet the challenge efficiently. Quay’s leadership skills shone through the strategizing meetings, communications with the school staff, and relations with the students, as well as the coordination of the program with the other colleagues. Congratulations, Quay Jennings on a job well done! For more on Quay’s experience, feel free to explore his blog here.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.