So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground: And should sleep, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of itself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Mark 4:26-28
At the beginning of June, Joshua Miller – son of CICS Board member, Joseph – spent several days here. He helped Eliazar and his class to construct an enclosed box several feet off the ground that they filled with dirt. Roberto bought seeds, and then during the last week of June, Eliazar, Eduardo, and Joel planted cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and green peppers. With all the rain, the plants will hopefully sprout and grow quickly. The corn in the field next to us is also growing rapidly and is about to tassel. Darin replaced the trampoline fabric, and that location is once again a hot spot. Literally as well as figuratively, when the sun is out.
One day it rained very hard during the final recess, and the teachers and students who were playing a running game got completely soaked. Becky refused to let them in the house for lunch, so we set up tables out on the porch where their soggy clothes could drip onto the concrete. That was a fun and unusual diversion from our normal routine.
On the 20th we had visitors, four high school girls from Pennsylvania. Makayla Ressler and Alyssa Groff spent the day here, helping Veronica in the kitchen, and the other two girls, Kelsey and Marianna, spent the morning at the hearing school, helping the teachers grade papers. They arrived here at CICS during the devotions after lunch and later recounted their adventures. One of the teachers took them out to eat for lunch, asking if they were okay with eating a torta, which is pretty much a sub sandwich. Although they knew some Spanish, the poor girls could only remember the word tortuga, which is turtle, and thought they were being asked to eat turtle meat. Bravely, they consented, and ended up liking the sandwich. After we’d explained what torta means, we all had a good laugh.
On the 21st, Samuel Stoltzfus came for a visit. A former teacher, his arrival was greatly anticipated by all. He distributed Shutterfly picture books full of memories to each of the students and brought candy for the current staff. We played many games together and reminisced of happenings in past years.
The weekend of the 22nd through the 24th was the annual Youth Retreat here in El Salvador. This year it was held at San Ignacio, Chalatenango – a beautiful location with rustic log cabins and many flowers – and five of our deaf girls were able to go: Veronica, Zulma, Maria, Teresa, and Beatriz. It was extra work to interpret all the messages and activities for them, but they were super excited to be included, and they were able to learn many new things. Everyone’s favorite activity was volleyball, during the short breaks between the messages and in the evenings, and on Fri. evening some of the youth sang together for an hour. Some of the topics were Technology (How to use it Correctly), The Life of King David, How to Obtain a Crown of Glory, and the split classes taught by Nata and Becky Aguilar were How to Begin a Relationship, for the guys, and Developing Character and Waiting on God’s Will, for the girls.
Beatriz’s sewing frenzy lasted until she’d finished sewing her first dress, cut out, and sewed a second one. She had wanted to have new dresses for the Youth Retreat and was very happy to accomplish her goal. Now she is busy studying for the various math, science, and word tests at school.
On June 21st, thirteen-year-old Paola talked to Becky about what it means to be a Christian and prayed to give her heart to Jesus! We are all rejoicing at this step of faith she’s taken, and we covet your prayers for this young, new Christian. None of her family supports her decision – her father is a baker, and she says that her little brother, Stephen, steals the little bit of money she tries to save. But she has a sensitive heart and wants to do what is right. Pray for us as we encourage and teach her.
Miguel continues to struggle with his numbers. Ruth gives him sheets of paper that have mostly blank rows with only one or two numbers filled in, that he needs to finish filling out, and the repetition is helping him a little. Often at the supper table, he’ll gaze around intently, his brown little fingers moving as he counts up the people.
Roberto, Darin, and Miguel have been working to clean up the area where we kept a pig last year, and on Tuesday, July 4th, Roberto brought another little pig to stay in the pen. An energetic, snuffling little thing. Miguel helps clean the pen and give it food, and he likes to imitate how it eats. He is every bit as noisy as the pig itself.
On July 13th we all took a field trip with the students to La Palma, a campground sort of place with cabins. The teachers had each planned a game with prizes, including relay and sack races, and after eating sandwiches, veggies, and cupcakes for lunch, we walked ten minutes down the mountain to a river. There was also a waterfall, so the girls all posed for pictures with each other, and the little boys all rolled up their pant legs and had a blast throwing rocks into the water. It was a fun and memorable day.
Praise God for his continued provision and protection! We’ve had colds and other sicknesses, but God had given us wonderful bodies that eventually heal themselves with proper care. Thank you all for your prayers and support!