Francisco Avidan, principal at El Lirio de los Valles Christian School in León city, and his wife Consuelo, who is vice-principal, shared with us how the school collaborates with the community, teaching literacy to the people haven't had the opportunity to learn write and read as well as get a  better education.

At the age of fourteen, Francisco learned how to read and write through a literacy teaching program.  At this time, his family was living in a remote village within the province of León

“We were very poor - there was a little primary school in that village, but my family, as was common in the country, didn't have any interest in education, so I didn’t enter school until I was 14.”

In 1980 a literacy campaign started the area - a team of teachers from Cuba arrived in the country and opened the doors for education, “They included me in their literacy program as well as others that had never been in school. They made tests that placed me in grade 5, since then I was bedazzled with education”.

In 1997, while in college, Francisco met Pastor Migdalio López from the Apostolic Church “Faith in Jesus Christ” in León.  Pastor Migdalio was studying in the same faculty Francisco was, in his second year while Francisco was in his fifth of Pedagogy. Later Pastor Migdalio proposed to him to become the director of a preschool and primary school he had opened in his church the previous year with a student enrollment of 22.   Francisco didn't want to be principal just for preschool and primary, so he told Pastor Migdalio to open high school as well and then he would work with him. Pastor Migdalio responded saying “How are we going to do that if we didn't have the economic resources to offer high school?” Francisco proposed to him to bring students from the education faculty with scholarships to volunteer for  the community and do their teaching internship in his school.  That is how high school opened in 1998 in the Lirio de los Valles Christian School.

In 2006 Francisco and his wife started a free literacy program to serve their community, remembering Francisco’s educational beginnings.  It became very obvious to them what a great human resource the students of the school were – by using these students’ abilities they were able to provide literacy classes for many in the community. Since then the students of Lirio de los Valles School have taught over a hundred members of the community aged 13 and older, as a service to our community. Some of those who have graduated from their literacy program have even moved on to college.

It has been a wonderful experience for Francisco and Consuela, realizing they are serving people that do not have the resources nor conditions to grow in their lives.  It fills them with joy to see their regular school students experiencing service to the community by teaching literacy.  The students serve with a lot of love and have the support from their parents that allow them to carry out this wonderful deed.

“We see there the love of God reflected in our lives fulfilling the purpose for which God created us, as the Bible says “… we are not to be served, but to serve others ...” and this fills us with great satisfaction and happiness which we can't buy with all the money from the world.”

There have been times when Francisco and Consuelo faced challenges in their mission - when they have felt powerless and without resources, but they believe in the importance of education and want to leave a legacy for future generations of this community. When they remember how good God has been to them throughout this journey, they feel they have advanced so much. Lirio de los Valles is the community school and they see their important role in the community which is why they also prioritize working in coordination with the police department on campaigns against drugs and other safety education and also support the vaccination campaigns from the city Ministry of Health.

Francisco and Consuelo are very grateful to God for the support of teachers, parents, families and students because without their contribution would not be possible to make such a beautiful work.  They are also thankful to ACECEN. 

“Before being part of ACECEN we were just another arm from the Nicaragua educational system faithfully filling the government requirements and had forgotten the importance of Christian education. When ACECEN came, we learned about Biblical worldview . This has encouraged us and taught us to serve people, providing a service to the community through the values and principles of the kingdom of God.”

 

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