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Fall 2018 Newsletter – Loforna News

Your Will Be Done!

In January 2017, I had my first opportunity to meet with the newly formed IHF Belize Board. After sharing the ministry’s vision that it be run by Belizeans for Belizeans, one of the members responded that he was skeptical when hearing that.

“In my experience, I have found that when international ministries say that, the minute things go wrong, they charge right back in and take over again.”

Having served one for many years, he knew this too well. Question: Do I trust another enough to let go of my agenda giving space for others to run with it? I am learning that the only way this can be done is if I surrender my will and ways to the One whom the ministry belongs to. To know His plan, His Word commands me to be still and know Him and His ways. Once given, my next challenge is surrendering in obedience to following Him. Let me give an example of what that might look like:

A missionary upon her arrival in India saw many things that needed correction. Frustratingly, the harder she tried nothing changed. One day a pastor came and invited all who had a need to come join him in the community hall.  Only the most notorious village drunk, gambler and adulterer showed up. The pastor suggested that they both be very still to listen to God who knows all things. Soon after, the man tearfully confessed his deepest sins and begged God for forgiveness and His power to change. And change he did to the marvel of all who knew him resulting in many more surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ.  Confused, the missionary asked the pastor what he had done to cause such a revival. He told her that the key was to be still, listen to God and be obedient to His promptings. He knows all things and wants to show us His way.

We at IHF covet your prayers for a unified passion to be still, hear His voice, and be obedient to His promptings.  Having faith in knowing that He is seated upon the throne as the Lord of all creation, may we humbly submit to His plan unfolding on earth as it is in heaven. Be blessed! Wil Kamphuis

Trade Skills Program Gets a Belizean Tune Up!

With the completion of the summer session of the IHF trades program, we are blessed to see another group of young people graduate with special job skills. Over the past four years, nearly forty have benefited from this outreach. Besides giving opportunity for finding better jobs, some have even started their own businesses.

In a thorough review of the existing program, the Belize board implemented the following changes to ensure a quality experience for teachers and students alike.

They include:

1.All students must be graduates of the local grade school. 

The rationale is that since the vice principal is the chairman of the board, he would have extensive knowledge of the students’aptitude and behavior.

2. Open enrollment would be replaced by applications and student interviews.

Even though this will reduce enrollment, it would determine the level of commitment and maintain a reasonable teacher/student ratio fostering quality teaching and Christian mentorship.

3. Students are required to pay a minimal admission fee.

By doing so, the ownership stake on behalf of the students increases since they partially paid for the cost of supplies. It also improves the self sustainability of the programs.

4. A new job skill will be added each session. 

This past session included the addition of a welding apprenticeship and hair cutting. Future considerations include small engines, retail, and electrical.

These changes were implemented for the summer session producing an excellent time of learning and fellowship among students and with their teachers.

IHF Canada wishes to thank Lazarus (Carpentry) and Alicia Pop (baking and decorating), Quinn Emmanuel (welding) and Jose Morales (hair cutting) for teaching this next generation skills needed to improve their economic well being. More importantly, we also thank you for doing so in the richness of Christ-like  mentorship.  We also pray a blessing of success on Darren Cartagena, Osbin Diaz, Kenny Hernandez, Beverlin Morales, Breanie Teul, Susana Morales, Rony Medrano, Michael Delcid, and Carlos Tot. May you realize the empowering love of Jesus Christ in shaping your dreams into the realities in service to Him and others.

Seemingly Impossible Dreams Become A Reality!

The United Nations literacy index is measured by a grade eight level of reading and comprehension. In first world countries, it’s just the beginning of learning with high school and university to follow. Even with significant costs, higher education is readily accessible to most.

Not so in third world countries like Belize.

Even though its government provides full funding for elementary education, not so for high school. Parents are required to not only pay tuition (averaging $600 CDN per child per year) but also the additional costs of uniforms, school supplies, busing and extra curricular fees. Due to meager household incomes, too many young people marry far too early, trying to feed their families through subsistence farming or seasonal fruit picking. The tragedy is systemic generational poverty in which the career ambitions of the youth are rarely realized.

Through the IHF trade skills programs, our teachers have witnessed an eagerness to learn employable skills. By successfully learning them, some have found good employment and others have started their own businesses. We thank our donors for helping make this happen.

To open up the possibility of high school, IHF Belize decided to use the trades program as a screening process for receiving high school scholarships. Through a rigorous application process, parent/student interviews, and information meetings, five were selected to receive this precious opportunity to go.

Through a special donor appeal, we are grateful to announce that enough funding has come to cover the costs for their first year. As a result, we are thrilled to announce that all are presently enrolled in high school in nearby Belmopan.

Positive Strings Attached

A foundational aspect of the high school sponsorship program was to establish clear expectations and obligations for students and parents to fulfill. The following is an exert from the contract that they were asked to agree to and sign:

Parents

  1. agree to pay for busing, food and any other expense as required by high school during school for September 2018 to June 2019.

  2. oversee that student attends high school daily.

  3. encourage student to study daily and to complete assignments

  4. agree to allow student to participate in community service projects as required, and assist on the IHF LOFORNA Base

Students

  1. agree to attend classes daily

  2. complete assignments as required

  3. maintain a GPA of 2.5 and over

  4. through being an active member of the Armenia Youth Group, each student must complete 100 hours of community service per school year.

  5. assist in fundraising activities to raise enough money to sponsor another youth to attend high school for next school year.

  6. to maintain monthly correspondence with sponsors

Failure to comply with the terms and condition set here may result in sponsorship being stopped immediately.

As you can see, being part of this program is not a free ride because the board knows it is important that donor support never be taken for granted.

Besides the community service commitment, to ensure longevity, present students need to raise sufficient funds to sponsor a future student. What an ongoing blessing it is when youth work together to bless those who will follow them.

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