He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:6
The boys’ garden is doing well – they have harvested radishes and many cucumbers, and there are small green orbs dangling from the tomato plants. The papaya trees that Veronica started from seed are now quite large and beginning to flower, and the coconut palms are loaded. The corn in the field next to us was harvested as well, and the children all enjoyed watching the tractor and tiny combine chop the corn stalks into silage.
Like the verse from Psalms says, sometimes we have felt like shedding tears of frustration at Miguel’s disobedience, but he has actually been doing better this last month. It is so rewarding to see progress!
And speaking of progress… On July 28 we had our second spelling competition, and this time the students all came, and all did well. In Eliazar’s class, Eduardo scored higher than Joel, making him pretty happy, and in Myra’s class of girls, Beatriz actually won! That was super exciting for her, since either Paola or Teresa has won for several years running. But we think that Paola has been spending too much time on her new phone, which is why her grades are down and Beatriz was able to win. Please pray that she would understand how important school is and have the wisdom to use her phone and manage her time accordingly.
On August 8th, Darin Hershberger left for Haiti to continue his work with Open Hands ministry there. We will miss his diligent handy-work around the place, since he was constantly fixing or improving something or other. He was always good at interacting with Carlos, a former student who is still in the area, and he also enjoyed a good game of Skip-Bo with the rest of us staff.
Nata and Becky Aguilar, the director and his family, took a six-week vacation to visit family and friends in Mexico and the States, leaving July 17 and returning the end of August. They attended and helped teach at a weekend retreat for deaf adults while in Mexico and were joined by Becky’s sister, Maria Eva, for part of the trip. Roberto and Ruth Ramirez, Dorm Father and Teacher, did a great job of being in charge during their absence, and we all pitched in to help out when needed.
One Saturday, the 19th of August, we staff, along with Maria, Teresa, and Eduardo, our oldest students, and Elmer (former student/staff) drove to a coffee farm, recently purchased by the churches here in El Salvador, for a work day. The Committee hopes to build facilities in the near future and be able to host Retreats and Bible Schools, saving the expense and trouble of finding and renting some other place. So for the work day, some of the guys sprayed the coffee trees with bug and disease repellant, and we girls helped spread fertilizer around the base of the trunks. It was a lot of ups and downs, since they plant the steepest hillsides along with the flat of the valleys here. Since so many people had come to help, we finished by noon, and the group of ladies in charge of lunch had made big pots of rice and beans, along with cream, fresh cheese, and tortillas to satisfy our hungry bellies. We all sat around in the shade while we ate and then chatted for some time before packing up to head home.
On Monday, the 21st, our pig, George, died. Somehow he’d gotten a hold of and eaten the shells and seeds of a fruit called anona, which is apparently poisonous. We are all very sad and disappointed at his abrupt end, for he was growing quite big and fat.
That Saturday we staff, along with Teresa and Zulma, a former student, took a day trip. We swam and picnicked at a tall, beautiful waterfall in El Salto, saw the ocean from a winding road along the coast, driving through several tunnels where the road went through the mountain, and even stopped at a fishing pier in La Libertad. We walked the length of it, saw and smelled all the various fish for sale, and watched a fishing boat come in off the ocean as the sun was going down and get hoisted up to the pier by a winch. The fisherman started selling their fish right away, and people crowded around to pick out what kinds and what sizes they wanted. We all had a great time and were thoroughly tired when we finally arrived back at CICS.
As we look forward to the last two months of school, we are extremely grateful to God for his protection and many blessings up to this point. Thank you all for your support – whether through prayers or financial aid, both are very necessary and much appreciated!