“Training for life” is ECA’s motto and infiltrates every aspect of our teaching, discipling, and mentoring. One big focus at the school is service and training our students to serve others as well. Every class from Pre-Kinder to 12th grade is given a local ministry to partner with and serve several times a year.
In early November my pre-kinder students went and visited the 110 residents at a nursing home. During this special time they sang songs in English and Spanish, joined the elderly for the exercises and colored a picture with them. They also brought with them a variety of fruits and parent volunteers were able to
For many of my students this was a scary event. They were frightened of the wheel chairs and didn’t understand what many of the adults were saying. That being said they persevered and were very brave (the word of the week). They hugged and shook hands with the residents, sat next to them and shared their crayons, and smiled while they sang. I was so proud of my kiddos and their maturity to love others.
One boy is usually very active and has a hard time sitting still or sharing. He sat next to a lady and for 25 minutes shared his crayons and did not try to leave. I was overjoyed by his patience and giving spirit. At the end of the time he went out of his way to say goodbye to many of the residents that the other students had overlooked. He was sharing God’s love in the best way he knew how.
Another child exclaimed as he walked in “I’m scared”. With only a little prompting, however, he went to several of the residents and shook their hands. He smiled at them and said kind words. I was so proud!
Over all our 2 hours at the nursing home were delightful. The children were cute and the elderly really seemed to enjoy the visit. I look forward to our second visit later this year.
Twelfth grade partners with a very dynamic ministry in one of the roughest parts of Bogota. YWAM runs a youth center for children two Saturdays a month called ‘The Jungle’. In the location there are a variety of toys, games, and even a rock wall. This has been created as a safe place to local children to escape from the stress of normal life and hear about Jesus.
On Halloween they host a very special Halloween party. For Colombians, Halloween is the darkest night of the year. It is the highest night of kidnappings, attacks, and even murder. For many Colombians they stay safe at home and don’t venture out.
God’s servants at the Jungle see this night as an opportunity to provide a light in the darkness. They opened their doors around 6pm and over 150 children entered, as well as some parents. Churches around the city send a troupe of volunteers to play with the kids, supervise activities and provide the needed security.
This year ECA was asked to join the efforts and about 10 staff (including myself) and 6 seniors headed in for an intense night of service.
For the first hour and a half there was free play- or mayhem- where the volunteers spread out and focused on the kiddos. After that there was a time of worship and dancing. IT WAS CRAZY. Kids were running all over, dancing, singing, and having a lot of fun. After the worship was a gospel message- telling kids that the only way to heaven is through Jesus. A few local churches had sent teams to lead worship and present the message.
I was so blessed to be a part of the craziness. So many workers from all over the city gathered and worked together to create a loving, safe, and caring environment. By the time the door closed at 9:30 all 65 of the volunteers were dirty, exhausted, and confident that God had planted many seeds that night.
I look forward to visiting the jungle again and loving on the kids that call it home. What an amazing place to serve, worship and love.