Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Update

Family Update—Marlayna’s mom, Irene, came to visit for the last 2 weeks of the school year. With all the yearend activities going on, we were very thankful to have her support us in caring for Elleazah. Irene and Elleazah had a great time together while we finished final exams, helped lead Senior Trip, Senior Banquet, and attend graduation. We will be heading back to Colombia at the beginning of July to: 1. Take 4 weeks of intensive Spanish training and 2. Begin the process of adopting a Colombian child. Please pray that the Spanish training will be fruitful and that the Lord will guide our steps in the adoption process.
Roles at ECA—By working with the class of 2013 for the past 2 years, we were given opportunity to have leadership roles in the yearend activities for the graduating senior class. We spent much time working through fundraising problems for the Senior trip, logistics of the trip, and other final preparations for the graduating class. The Senior trip was a success with the Seniors keeping a positive attitude during their day of service at a YWAM facility, sharing their appreciation of one another, having closure with relationships, and enjoying various activities as a group in Cartegena. Steve ended the year having evaluation meetings for students who have struggled socially & academically and having a number of planning meetings for next year with parents and administration. Marlayna enjoyed enhancing the Health and Biology curriculum while building relationships with the underclassman. Please pray that the graduating seniors will live out their faith as salt and light to the world and that they will be responsive to God’s will as they continue taking steps in major life decisions.

Looking ahead
Discipleship—The last weeks of school provided opportunities to have heart- to- heart conversations and discussed issues of forgiveness, consistency in quiet times, fruit of the spirit, and giving your life to Christ. Marlayna was able to share the gospel several times with students from the US Embassy that had joined her small group. Steve was given the opportunity to explicitly share the gospel with a middle school boy from the US embassy he had been counseling for depression. A boy in Steve’s middle school small group was receptive to heart conversations about his desire to please people and yearned to change and live out Luke 9: 23-26. God has grown two of the high school students Steve was discipling in their integrity, fulfilling commitments, being more open to accountability. It is such an encouragement to see God’s grace in the lives of students and to be a part of their process of becoming more like Jesus. Please pray that we will make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Eph 5). We have 180 days of school with the students, and so it is critical that we take advantage of each opportunity to speak into their lives. Pray also that we will continue to navigate the cultural intricacies and live a gospel that is culturally attractive, one that does not require a person to adopt the USA culture before accepting Christ.
Looking ahead-
·The Lord has brought new staff to fulfill roles of Bible, English, Science, Electives, and Chaplain. The needs at ECA next school year are still for Middle School Computers and Middle & High School Math.
·         There will be a few newly married couples coming to ECA this fall. God has placed it on our hearts to facilitate a book study with them using Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller as they begin their new life together on the mission field.
·         Steve and another married couple who teach at ECA will focus on creating a support system for new students, with special emphasis on MKs and their challenges with transition to a new culture.
·         Marlayna’s role might be similar to this year, teaching both Health & Biology, or she will teach only one class, depending on our options for childcare. Since all the students she was discipling have left ECA, she hopes to begin new relationships with 1-2 students this next fall. She is also praying about the possibility of mentoring new teachers, since she is considered a veteran teacher.
·         Steve will be advising the 7th grade class (Steve has done a small group with the boys in that grade for the past two years). We are prayerfully considering if we are going to do a high school small group and be a high school adviser.
Please pray that we will connect with the new teachers coming and build unity amongst the staff. For the mission that God has given us and the school to succeed, we need to be unified as a team so that the students are all receiving the same messages. Pray also that we will make Spirit-led decisions about our involvement at the school and effectively balance ministry at home and at school.