Forests and Trees

We all know the idiom.... "can't see the forest for the trees."   As we grow through different stages of life, the 'trees' and the 'forest' represent different things.

In this season of opening the school, I am actively trying to take a look at that forest of students.

Instituto Vida Abundante is an all-day study program providing 2 meals each day.   Students arrive at 6:45 and leave at 3:00.    Typical schools here are half-day and do not even meet everyday.    The majority of our students have adjusted beautifully to the longer school day and the higher expectations.


There have been a few.



Who did not adjust well or were forced to leave by their families.

It is these few that stay very close in my mind.   These few girls are driving me to look for out-of-the-box ideas about educating young girls in third-world settings.   Cultural expectations for 14, 15, 16 year old young ladies are to cook, clean and meet a man.   Truly, I never realized how much pressure this places on one young lady who might want to succeed in another area.

We lost 2 girls, sisters, because their mother wanted them to work for her around the house and go to school on the weekends.    I almost threw in the towel over this one.    These 2 and their siblings have been a huge part of our lives since we arrived in La Mosquitia.    I know how their lives go, the rhythms of their mother and the cycle of poverty that entangles them.    Their mother and I have had endless conversations about this prior to school starting.   I begged her to let them try this year...  and it just didn't work.

Maybe I tried to hard to persuade her?   Maybe.    Maybe I didn't fight hard enough for those two?  Maybe.

God used this family to plant the vision of the school in our hearts.   How could I let these 2 go?

On the other side,  I had 58 other students that were succeeding and adjusting.   At some point, I had to let go of these 2 and turn around to see the 'forest' that God had provided.  

It still hurts as I write this.    I haven't seen these 2 in about 6 weeks.   I miss them.  And, I wonder what I could have done differently.     My prayers surround them always.

Their older sister is still a big part of our lives and is studying on the other side of Honduras, thanks to generous sponsors in Texas.     When I talked to her recently on the phone about this, she said her heart was breaking in two pieces.     And, I thank God that he took her out of this and gave her a chance to just study.

There were 2 other girls who left in the first few weeks - unable to commit to the all-day program and unsure about their ability to succeed.   Both of these had experienced significant trauma in the last 6 months of their lives.

And, I wonder,  why only girls?

Why are the boys thriving?

What about the remaining girls?  How can we strengthen their confidence?

And, I pray... Lord, give us Your wisdom and Your heart.

Open our eyes!

Yes, we were able to accept 4 more students in those spots.   Yes, we are thankful for this.

We know we will likely lose more students this year.   Our Board of Directors has been very realistic about this, knowing what we are up against.    If we end up with 40 students at year end, that is 40 more students that have repeatedly heard the Gospel, that have been given an opportunity for academic excellence.   It really isn't even about the numbers at all, is it?  Each individual 'one' is important.

Pray with us.   Pray that we can see the beautiful forest that God has given while simultaneously loving those individual saplings that stand before us with their eyes full of uncertain hope.


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