September 25, 2017

Mud Helps Us See

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This blog was written by Walking Together Learning Leader Roy van Eerden who is working with co-leader Diane Stronks and key Guatemalan educators as part of the Vision for Christ-Centred Education - Guatemala Walking Together project.

Why did Jesus use mud and saliva to help the blind man see? That was one of the points to ponder following devotions with the AMG staff this morning. As I listened to each staff member tell their role and also share their prayer requests (as much as I could understand with my limited Spanish) I thought perhaps one way to answer the question is that we see through the stuff of life, the mud of our existence. I am sure there are better, more well-informed explanations. Still, the rest of the day reinforced my thought.

As we heard about the various areas in which AMG is working to bring dignity and a better life to some of the poorest of the poor in Guatemala, it became clear that their approach is very holistic. The gospel is seen in providing protection from abuse, health and dental care, family preservation, and of course, education, the area Diane and I are here to explore.

Ruth Rodriguez is the Educational Director at AMG and the rest of our day was spent getting a glimpse of the work that she does. She discovered her passion for education after successfully pursuing other career options and it is obvious she has found her calling. She began teaching at an AMG school but soon took on her current role. The leadership and change that she has brought about in the six or seven years is really quite impressive. She has found ways to bring teachers along in integrating faith into the daily, weekly and monthly planning expected of teachers in AMG schools. We are looking forward to seeing more of that tomorrow.

Ruth has also implemented an effective professional development program for AMG educators. Since it is possible to get a teaching degree upon graduation from high school, there is much for these young teachers still to learn. AMG provides and supports significant opportunity for this, and so much is in place for facilitating the Walking Together program.

Positive as hearing about all that is, and enlightening as it is to see how God is working through AMG and Ruth in particular, what I most enjoy is seeing the students in the classrooms, as I have said in my previous posts. And what a joy it was! I am always amazed at how quickly students in Central American countries will greet you with a smile and give you a hug. Diane and I were enveloped in a group hug as soon as we walked into a classroom. We also saw students taking responsibility for the school, cleaning the classroom floors and walkways, and expectation of the school.

Most importantly, we were able to see that with the stuff of life that these students deal with, school is a safe and nurturing place. From starting the day with a hot and nutritious drink, onto a hot lunch, which are likely the only hot meals many of them ever get, to leading fellow students in a line dance, the school we saw today was a place of flourishing.

Today was a great day, and we can’t wait for tomorrow (and I promise to do a better job of getting info for the pictures).

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