School Schedule Revamped, Extracurricular ‘Clubs’ Instituted for Local Students
After having completed nearly six months of our new discipleship-based elementary and secondary schools at the Living Waters Ranch (13 students in secondary and 12 in primary), we’ve overhauled the weekly schedule to now include a variety of extracurricular ‘clubs’ that Darwin, our Christian laborers and I direct Monday-Friday in the afternoons once the students get out of their morning classes.
Students must participate in at least two ‘clubs’ (which could also be known as ‘electives’), but if they desire to participate in more (or all!), they are encouraged to do so. Available clubs include: sports, art, Christian leadership, cooking class, math, and recorder (music). Others participate in choir and private piano lessons with Darwin, although they are not counted as clubs.
This new way of directing our school has had the desired effect; the students are excited that they are able to choose what most interests them (the majority of schools here do not allow students to choose activities or classes; all is pre-chosen for them as all students — despite ability and interests — are grouped together constantly), and they are developing skills (team work, musical ability, spiritual leadership qualities, more ample mathematical understanding, healthy artistic expression, cooking skills, etc) that will aid them both now and in their future as adults.
Please pray with us that God would continue to guide us in the ongoing development of these clubs (and new clubs that we want to institute in the future!), and that all may be done for His glory.
Extreme Tick Infestation, Another Guard Dog Dies
For the past several months we have been engaged in an ongoing battle against the infestation of tens of thousands of ticks all over the fenced-in part of our yard in and around the little buildings where we live and teach.
We have sought professional advice and contracted different people to come out and fumigate the property, and all to no avail. Just this past week Dingo, our most aggressive guard dog, fell ill with a mysterious disease and died suddenly. All three of our guard dogs (now two that Dingo has passed) have struggled mightily against the tick infestation, as the little buggers are constantly attaching themselves onto our dogs in droves. We bathe them with anti-tick shampoo, give them anti parasitic pills that supposedly ward off ticks, but, despite our efforts, hundreds of little baby ticks and bigger, inflated ticks are constantly sucking the life out of our dogs, leaving them thin and weak. This was the case with Dingo, and we learned that the ticks can cause an infection in the dog’s system, which can lead to death.
We are very concerned about our remaining two dogs (who are currently in medical treatment to fight against the same tick-caused infection that led to our other dog’s death) and are taking every possible measure to try to rid our rural property of ticks, but it seems like nothing is working. Please pray with us that a solution might be found and that our remaining two dogs might recuperate strength and vitality after such a long-standing battle against these parasites.
Miss Isis’ Move to the Living Waters Ranch a Success
Isis, our sister in Christ who was shown on the previous blog post with Gaby and Josue, made her scheduled move to begin living at the Living Waters Ranch at the beginning of this month. Thus far we have enjoyed a very healthy and dynamic relationship with her, good communication, and mutual joy as we are all growing together in Christ, sharing a common kitchen, and deepening our relationships with one another for God’s glory.
Please continue to pray that God’s will would be done in and through us and in our relationship with Isis, and let us give thanks for the great work of transformation and healing that He is doing in her life (and ours!).
Gabriela (8) and Josselyn (12), Sisters, Celebrate Their 1-Year Anniversary in Our Home
After having been rescued out of two distinct situations of sexual abuse and extreme neglect last July, Gabriela and Josselyn continue living under our roof and have enjoyed one full year of healing and growth.
During this year with them Josselyn has completed first and second grade in an accelerated homeschool program (and entered third grade last week with Miss Isis as her teacher), and Gabriela has begun recuperating a sense of innocence and play in what was a very twisted childhood she had previously experienced with her biological family. Josselyn has accepted Christ as her Savior during this time and Gaby has begun to pray for others.
Let us give thanks to God for these precious sisters, and please pray with us that our Father may continue to transform and heal them according to His good will.
Three New Students Join Our Primary School Program
Marina (age 14, third grade), Bayron (age 14, second grade) and Michelle (age 8, first grade) have joined our primary school program this past week as a new academic period has begun.
Marina, one of our night watchman’s four children who are in our program, decided to return to our school after having dropped out at the end of last year. The majority of our students, especially those in primary, are not accustomed to any kind of daily schedule or long-term commitments as they were used to generally roaming the streets, sleeping all day and wasting their lives away prior to having entered our school. Last year Marina had struggled mightily with our school’s behavioral expectations and academic load, resigned to spend her life in front of the television and doing simple errands around our neighborhood on her bicycle (as countless youth in our rural neighborhood do). We are very excited that she became bored with that lifestyle and by God’s grace has returned to study alongside of her younger siblings.
Please pray with us for her perseverance, perspective and emotional health as she and her siblings are blazing a trail (that of attending school) that almost no one in their family has taken.
Jason (9) Begins Learning Piano, Sandra (16) Violin
Jason, who has been living under our roof almost three years, this month began taking piano lessons from his older sister, Dayana (15). We now have four of our kids in weekly piano lessons while Sandra (16), who has lived with us six months, has begun taking violin classes.
Please pray with us that all of the skills our kids are developing (musical or otherwise) would be put to joyful use in God’s service as they become increasingly useful instruments in His hands.
Young Dairy Cow Gives Birth, Provides Fresh Milk Daily
One of our two young adult dairy cows just gave birth to her second calf, a healthy male. Darwin milks her every morning at 5:00am before the daily buzz of activities begins, and we are so thankful that we now have several liters of fresh, organic milk for our growing kids to drink each day. This helps alleviate grocery costs and obviously helps fortify our kids physically. Our other adult cow, who is very far along in her second pregnancy, is due to give birth within the next few weeks.
Twice-Weekly Bible Study, Worship, and Prayer Groups Continue
We continue to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays with our students, live-ins, and Christian laborers in our large dining room to study God’s Word together, sing His praises, and then break up into small groups to pray. We are seeing much fruit from these activities as our students are growing in the knowledge and love of God and are in the beginning stages of being transformed in a very real way for God’s glory.
Please pray with us that the many seeds of Truth that are being planted in our students’ lives both in group settings and one-on-one situations may bear fruit in their due time.