Thank you for praying for me last month as I took my first trip as a Regional Coordinator for Education. I traveled to Mexico City where I was able to spend time learning about two different ministry partners as well as close our (Peter’s & my) time as Global Servants with Seminario Bautista de Mexico (SBM). It was truly a bittersweet time spent with the leadership of the seminary. It was a joy and a blessing to spend time with each of them, share a meal or two together, hear about what God is doing in and through the various ministries of SBM and thank them for the opportunity to have worked with them.
The above picture is from my visit to a women’s and children’s ministry center that is in the outskirts of the city. During free play time these two little ones were drawn to me, and we played cars, cooking, fire rescue, and read a book together.
This center is called EduK. It is in an impoverished area on the outskirts of Mexico City. Eduk was opened in the middle of the pandemic and has become a pillar of hope for the moms of the children who attend. Many of the families of this community live not knowing what or if they will eat the next day. Many live in one or two room homes that do not have running water nor electricity. Others live in tents.
EduK is a place of hope for the moms of the community. A place of hope that their children will, through the ministries of the center, have a chance for a better life when they are grown. The moms hope their children will get a high school education, go on to college, get a good job, and be bilingual!
Currently, the center has programs for children ages 18 months through 8 years of age. There are hopes and plans to grow and expand the center to offer programs from pregnancy to age 20. Once the children age out of the current program, the hope is that they go to public school (which for most of them this is a 45-minute walk one way). Recently, the program heard from one of the moms that their child’s Kindergarten teacher was amazed at what her child already knew! Her child knew their colors, numbers, letters, shapes and had exceptional social skills. These simple academic and social skills are not the norm in this community.
In this community, many of the young children are left at home under the care of an older sibling (who typically doesn’t know how to read and write) while mom (most of the families are single mom families) works a 12-14-hour day in the city center. They get up at 4 or 5 in the morning, walk to the bus station, take the bus into the city, and sell simple items (snacks, cigarettes, trinkets) on a street corner, in front of a big box store, or by simply walking the sidewalks. Then, they take the bus back home hoping to get home before dark.
In these community’s abuse is very common. These young children grow up experiencing abuse and they know no different way of life. One of the moms at the center, asked one of the teachers, “Why is my child not hitting me anymore?” The teacher was given the opportunity to share about abuse and why it is wrong. And how, at the center, the kids are taught to use their words not their hands. A lot of time is spent helping the kids grow in their emotional intelligence. Helping them learn how to identify their emotions and proper expression of their emotions.
Join me in praying for EduK. They need to find a new physical building by the end of this calendar year. Currently, they are renting the building they are in and the owner is not willing to renew the lease. He will let the EduK purchase the building however that would not be ideal for them as they would need to completely gut the building and remodel it so that it would be up to code for educational accreditation standards. Which would mean the program would have to stop OR find a new temporary location.
One more story from my visit to EduK.
At the end of my visit, the director invited me to join her on a home visit. A visit to the home of one of the moms who has been with the center from its start. The visit was brief yet very informative for me. It gave me a greater understanding of what the living conditions are like for the moms and children within this community. This mom has four children ranging from 3 months to 12 years of age. Her oldest boy doesn’t attend school and wanders around the community most days. Her two middle boys attend EDUK five days a week. And she stays home with her baby when she isn’t working. She works a couple days a week selling snacks on a street corner. While we were there, she had dinner cooking: black beans.
The families mostly eat beans, rice and corn tortillas. This young mom, who is in her late 20’s looks like she is in her 50s. Life is hard on the moms and the children. They age at a much faster rate. This family lives in a simple two room house. It probably measures twelve feet by fifteen feet. No running water and no electricity. All food is prepared on a simple one burner propane stove.
She rents her home and most months EDUK helps her pay the rent. She shared with me how EDUK has helped her and her children. Her boys will come home and will use new vocabulary words and some of them are in English. Even though her boys only know a few basic words in English, she is excited that they are learning English. One of her boys didn’t speak when he first started attending EduK, three years ago. Now, he talks nonstop!
Knowing a few basic words in English may seem simple or even insignificant to us yet to them it is huge! If their children know basic English, it opens new doors of opportunity to further better their life. A long-term goal of EDUK is to offer a fully bilingual PK -12 school program in this community and have a fully bilingual staff. As well as offer English as a second language class to the community.
I have been asked to walk alongside this ministry. They have many needs but that also means there are multiple opportunities for me. Being that my ministry is with multiple partners throughout Latin America I need to prayerfully seek God as to where He specifically wants me to work with EduK. Join me in this prayer.
I spoke at length with the director just last week and we are hopeful about my involvement.
Thank you for partnering with me in prayer and financial support. God has great plans!
Regional Coordinator for Education in Iberoamerica and the Caribbean