61 School Anniversary

There were three special events during the week of the school 61 anniversary:

  • March 6: A special Chapel time of Thanksgiving for all students, teachers, parents, alumni, some local authorities and the local press. All grades shared a cake in their classrooms.
  • March 7: A Marathon in four categories. Any student who participated had to invite an adult to run with. It was a fun time, but also an opportunity to inculcate perseverance and good attitude in the race.
  • March 10: The traditional and classic Bolivian program with poems (some written by our students) dedicated to the school, folklore dances, instrumental and singing ensembles.

I spoke during Chapel and told the audience about two events ( of the many which could be told) where God’s hand has been clearly seen in the school history. The first one I heard from Mr. Train and not many knew why the school anniversary is in March and all classes in the southern hemisphere always start in February. It was December of 1955 the Lord had provided the property and in less than two months classrooms had to be built.  There have been very few times when the government postponed the opening of the school year until March and 1956 was one of them. The Lord gave Mr. Train more time to complete the construction he himself was working on. That adobe classroom and wooden beans are still there after 61 years.

The other memoir I shared and many students had not even been born yet, but I was already living in Camiri. It happened back in the late 90s when many people had pointed out the School’s poor-looking classrooms with  their leaky roofs and out-of-date decor. There was a military TNT storage a few miles away from town. The cause is unknown, but in the middle of the night, it exploded. The blast awakened all and some were afraid the raptured had taken place. Glass windows were shattered and houses as well as buildings got wall cracks, except the OLD Christian School!

All what it’s remained to say is: TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

 

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Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 7:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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CANADAteam part (1/2)

We recently, at the Christian School, had the privilege to have the visit of a mission team from Oakridge Bible Chapel in CANADA composed by 19 members from five different churches and one representative from USA and Scotland each.

They came with their own funding for the projects and travel expenses. We spent a week of sweet fellowship and intense hard work in different areas.

canteam

 

They arrived to Camiri Saturday night in time to be part of the young people’s meeting where there was a small welcome program with refreshments of typical Bolivian snacks.

On Sunday they all came to church where in spite of language barrier we could remember our Lord’s death and resurrection together. After the service, the team leaders and I walked around the school (like Nehemiah did before building the wall in Jerusalem) and it was there when I realized the magnitude of the task to accomplished in five days!

This team was an example of humble, loving, concentrated, hard service to the people of the community. The investment that they did, financially, physically and emotionally has impacted us all. I will repeat he words of a brother in a short farewell speech: “The repaired walls one day will be old again and the bright colors of the painted walls will little by little fade away, but the fond memories of the moments of that week will remain in our minds and hearts for the rest of our lives.”

May each one of the participants, local or foreign, be encouraged to know that the work in the Lord is not in vain (I Cor. 15:58). It has been an eternal investment.before-after

If you want to see more pictures of the projects and how much the infrastructure of the school improved, check my Facebook Album (here).

 

 

Published in: on February 23, 2017 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Celebrating Anniversaries

This year I got to celebrate two anniversaries of two very special and respected academic institutions:

75-ebcEmmaus Bible College started in 1941 in Toronto, Canada under the leadership of three men: R.E. Harlow, John Smart and C. Earnest Tatham. In 1947 growing enrollment lead to the establishment of a campus in Chicago and 1953 the school acquired the YMCA building. In 1984 moved to a 17-acre campus in Dubuque, Iowa and received accreditation to grant bachelor degrees. Today is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

60-eccEscuela Cristiana Camireña was founded in 1956 in Camiri, Bolivia by educators and missionaries Eugene and Loraine Train. Some of the same old adobe-brick classrooms are still there, but by God’s providence there is also a new building with air-conditioned classrooms.

It has been a wonderful experience for me to be in the celebrations of the many years of service and to hear old and new stories of many people through the decades whose lives’ purpose, direction and meaning have been given, marked and taught by the teaching, influence and counsel of Godly men and women.

The topic of GOD’S FAITHFULNESS has been repeatedly brought up in the two celebrations. Dr Daniel Smith pointed out three ingredients of faithfulness:

1.- Character: There has to be integrity, honesty and rectitude.

2.- Commitment: Able to keep his word, a promise, a guarantee.

3.- Capability: The ability, the power to carry out.

In conclusion, God’s faithfulness is something:

He DOES and He IS.

Published in: on November 10, 2016 at 5:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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School Tradition (1)

bloomingEvery September 21st there is a festivity for Student’s Day and it is also the day Bolivia officially welcomes Spring time. It is a fun school day of games, music, balloons, food, candy and cake; like a big birthday party for every student. This is our School tradition; other schools have dances and/or Princess contests. We also make a special dinner for our Senior class since this is their last year as “our students”. In this dinner they are our special guests. This dinner is unique of the Christian School; it is one of our traditions.

Traditions give us a sense of connection, belonging, affinity and stability in an ever-changing world. It might be and seem simple, trivial, casual or insignificant, but the flavor of a dish, the smell of a person or place, the sound of a voice and laughter or silence and quietness for that matter; all play an essential part in the making of a memory.

Someone has said “tradition is the illusion of permanance” so let’s start new ones or continue old ones, but let us give the new generations something to remember.

Maestros y Bachilleres

More Student’s Day pictures in Facebook here.

 

Published in: on September 22, 2016 at 5:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Future of Christian Education

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The future arrives one day at a time. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and in matter of hours; Today will turn into yesterday. Nobody can tell with certainty what the future, near or far, will bring. We all “live in the question” about the future and can only take moments one by one and no more, without exceptions.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15).

Christian Education today faces many challenges and these bring questions and doubts about tomorrow. All we can do, really,  is live today, take the unique opportunity and enjoy the moment. For the way I choose to live today, will have an effect on tomorrow.

 

 

Published in: on October 1, 2015 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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What’s the impact of a Christian School?

When Jesus asked his disciples “Who do men say I am?” we can see no one nailed it in the answer as Peter (Matthew 16:13-20), BUT on the other hand; people were not all that “off track” when they identify him with past men of God, the prophets. I find a similarity with what people think of a Christian School for I often have to explain that our school is not a reformatory and there is no guarantee that a troublemaker will be straightened out, but many parents do bring their kids because they know they will be taught Christian values and hope that their child’s bad behavior will change.

The Bible and prayer have influence into people’s hearts and I see with my own eyes that even though not all our students profess to be Christians, they do drink less, smoke less  and have better conduct and morals.

lighthouseThe degree to which the Bible, the written Word of God, is central in a school is in proportion to the impact it will have in the lives of staff and student body; for the Bible is the only life-changing book with a living and powerful message. The impact of a Christian school is light in the darkness that cannot be hidden.

Published in: on September 24, 2015 at 9:12 am  Comments (1)  
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The Role of a Principal

snoopy directorA school principal is the primary leader in a school building. The job of the principal covers many different areas and is hard work. Founder and director of the Camiri Christian School, the late missionary Eugene Train, left me with an example to follow as he is remembered as Pastor,  father-figure, mentor, and as a compassionate person with high standards.

desk The most important job of the principal, in my opinion, is not done behind a desk. As a leader, the principal must find time for the most time-consuming work: people. He must be available to teachers, staff members, parents, students and community members. The work with people is an ever ongoing work; for we as persons, regardless age, are never completed; we will always have areas for improvement, change and growth.

Although the principal must take decisions, he is not the boss. Decisions are to be made with a servant attitude for the well-being of the people in his care at school. The Principal is responsible of the work and people of the school. A fundamental and vital part of a job well done is people and people do and give their best when motivated, inspired, infused and encouraged by a good leader.

“The true measure of leadership is influence –           Nothing more, Nothing less.”

Published in: on September 17, 2015 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Keeping up with technology in a Christian School

I do think that technology is helping societies interact in ways that were never possible before; Internet, multiple social networks and specially cellphones have had a great impact on society, human relationships and the way we communicate with each other. I am not writing today about the positive and negative aspects; the fact is that Cellphones have swarmed over our lives in the home, workplace, school and churches; they are the source for communication, interaction, entertainment, information, business, etc. Facebook, YouTube and Whatssap are the most commonly used by young and adult people alike.

human-interaction-schoolA Christian School cannot afford to fall behind technology, but integrate it in ways that teach the students the prudent, judicious and wise use of cellphones and social networks. To answer “how” is more than writing a certain-of-number-steps formula. A Christian teacher must come up with principles that will govern his life in the good use of technology and teach by example. I must find the balance and demonstrate what a life is with and without a cellphone.

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Published in: on September 10, 2015 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Christian School Finances

There is a difference between business and ministry. Business is mostly meant for profit; it is invested money to make more money or it would be considered poor management with bankruptcy as a result. In ministry, money is also invested, but there is not or should not be personal gain. Money for business can come from personal savings, family and friends or banks and credit unions which lend money to be returned in the future with some interest rate. Ministry also requires money; where does it come from? In the Bible is clear that money for ministry comes through the generous, unselfish giving of God’s people, the church.

a1There are ministries that give free literature, tracks, bibles, etc. It is supported by gifts designated to keep up the cost of publishing and distribution. At times, recipients are given the chance to send a donation, but it is totally voluntary. The Camiri Christian School is an outreach ministry through education.  All these years, there has been a fee for tuition, but it does not cover the real cost of expenses for salaries, maintenance, taxes, scholarships and bonuses to workers required by the government. Even though the Apostle Paul was at times self-supported; there is no command in the Bible that ministry and its ministers should at some point become also self-supporters.

Ministry is a life of faith, dependence on God and of miracles. It is not always easy; but this is how the Camiri Christian School was founded and, in the will of the Lord, will continue to exist, operate, press on and stick to its mission of sower of knowledge and lives for Christ in partnership with the Church.

Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Non-discrimination policy and Christian Education

hh_international day_toleranceSchools become a place to learn not just numbers and grammar but also community building and social interaction. Non-discrimination policy is not anymore about skin color, ethnic origin or social status. It now also involves issues like disabilities, marital status (teen pregnancy), sexual orientation and of course religion; so it has to affect a Christian School. The word of these days is “Tolerance”.

It is time we, Christians, accept the intolerant part of Christianity without feeling insulted and recognize that the message we proclaim has an offensive part. In a Christian School we have the challenge to stand firm to our creed, maintain our values and hold unswervingly to the faith we profess in love, following the example of the Lord Jesus that could call hypocrites to religious leaders and say to an adulterous woman “neither do I condemn you”. What a beatiful balance of truth and grace!

Published in: on August 27, 2015 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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