A New School Year – Sneak Peak

I love how every year in teaching has a new feel to it. It was the same in the states, and it is definitely multiplied here. And each class has their own personality. I have yet to put my finger on a word that would describe the new classes that we have taken into the school this year. But we have begun our new year and we have much hope for what lies ahead. Here are some pictures of how things have started.



Our new class of auxiliary nursing students receiving a tour of the school.


The courtyard


Our Quinto class receiving rules on the first day of class.


Our 4to Bachi room ready for students.


We prayed over every inch of the school before classes opened.


Our new students in the high school program on the first day of school.


Teachers diligently preparing for the first day of class.



Students serving the community at our weekly worship night gathering…. learning to bake.



Working together during laboratory.


Studying together and building friendships in the afternoon.

Thank you for your prayers as we start this new year.  We trust that God’s hand continues to lie on this place and that his presence is in every room for all that will enter in the upcoming year.

The Final Test



I can remember that feeling each June…. The last day of school. It was busy, busy, activity, keeping kids occupied and focused, grading papers, testing, calculating…. and then silence. It was sort of like that here although I am not sure I feel that relief that I felt in the states when the students left for the summer. Here there is always the thought of the preparation for the next year. And life just transitions to the next thing.

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I will say that my last exam here did give me a feeling of being pushed over the edge – and having the reminder that I was teaching in a third world country. We didn’t have power that day. It was supposed to come on before the exam and never did. We rigged up the generator and hooked up flood lights from the construction site. And then the generator ran out of gas. Twice. The lights went off three times. The students could be heard cheating. I found words for the exam written on a few hands. We switched classrooms in the middle of the exam. And exam that was supposed to start of 4:45 and be done at 6:15 got over at 9:30….. and I walked out of there thinking… It sure would be nice to be teaching in the states right now, with the guarantee of things being slightly more smooth. But that is what I have traded here. I have traded the right to have electricity. The right to be able to discipline in English. The right to have a time schedule. And the right to set my own parameters. No matter how much I try to be prepared for something, God can always throw a quirk into the system to keep me flexible.


This was our first year for our University Program – although to me it feels as if it was a very long year. Probably because it was taught in semesters. As always, there are many things that you learn along the way. I believe that as teachers, there is always something else that we want to do for our students. There is always something that we know we can do better. The greatest challenge in the university was keeping the standard high. It is the first program of its kind here, and there are many people who would like employment. And so, the students came in with differing levels of education, and the Department of Health requires the students to score 71% in each of their classes. This is a very high level that most of the students were not used to. And so…. The challenge lies in getting these students to this level. Unfortunately they won’t all make it. But my hope is that through the challenge, they learned more about themselves. They saw a little of what it takes to be successful. And they gained motivation along the way. This first class of students still has two more years…. But for now, we take a break until January.


First Graduation

Two years sounds like a long time, but when I really reflect on time, I realize how short two years is, and how fast it is gone. We had the honor of graduating our first class and I will admit that I was proud, very proud of them when they walked off of that stage.

Graduation is done here much like graduation in the states. It is a ceremony. The students wore graduation gowns. We tried to make it as special as possible. Yet there were also a few contrasting differences. I will try to highlight what this ceremony looks like.



Putting on the togas and caps.


Carrying in the flag.




Signing of the Acta – the students all sign this document that they have completed all of the governmental requirements.


Comments from the students

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This part was very touching… the parents each come to the stage and give their children a ring.  This showed how proud the family members were of their students.


The audience


Saluting the flag.


Parent’s speech.

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Lighting of the candles and accepting the graduates by the families.


Passing on of the flag to the next class.

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Family Time

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Proud of these girls!


So where does that leave us? Well, just another year in. We are prepping for next year and have offered two different careers in nursing – a three year program, and a one year program. And this year’s class will be promoted as well in our high school program and we will accept a new class. Where does that leave us – relying on God’s grace and wisdom …. That’s right where it leaves us.  Winding down and winding up and giving thanks for the opportunity to see our first class graduate.


The students had a contest this month to see who could spice up their classroom the best.  Here are a few of their ideas that will show you the taste of Guatemala.



Guatemalan flags all over the room.




Guatemalan flag on the ceiling made from tissue paper with the lights covered with plastic balls and cups to give it a disco club feel.


The Quinto class (5to) which is the last level of high school, made a mat as you come in their room from plastic pop caps that spelled out their class.




A pond that the 4to kids constructed in the corner of their class complete with a boat and floating flowers.


The school’s values sewn into fans (to flame fires)



Two of the physics projects on circuits.




Dr. Harold Caballeros is the founder and president of San Pablo University.  We know and are convinced that God has called us to partner with him for the educational piece of Adonai.  His heart is in transforming the country through education and most importantly with the love of Christ.  And so, he came to Canilla to sign the official papers with Duane as we agreed to go forward together as one.



The San Pablo students did a great job in welcoming him and preparing the room for him to speak.





The official program was delayed a week due to rain the not being able to travel in the plane, but he finally had the opportunity to address the people with his message of transformation… challenging the churches and the people to grasp this vision.  He believes that we are all in this together and that the church plays a big part in growing up young people.  Fortunately, there is a growing group of young people in town that is catching the vision and pressing into what God has for them.



This is the official meeting place called the “salon” in town.  Here are some of the people who came to hear what Harold said.


He came for a brief meet and greet at the school before going to town.  At this time he challenged the students to set a high standard as they will be the first nursing class to graduate from San Pablo.  They offer other career courses, but we are paving the way for them to add nursing to the careers that students can study through San Pablo.


I am always impressed with what can be made from Styrofoam and tissue paper.  These decorations are impressive for this area!  And we were proud of how well the students did.









Seminario is a class that the students have all year.  In a summary, the students set personal goals, class goals and community goals… research were the greatest need is… access the situation… create a proposal for a project…. collect funds for the project… work on the project… present it to the community… and then present a 126 page document of their work in which they are judged and graded by judges from outside the school in front of the general public.  Honestly, the students have probably put in close to 400 hours in on this project as well as much of their own money.  We are very proud of what they have done and how they carried themselves and represented the school.

Here is the project in pictures…

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Preparing food for everyone at the dedication.


The students before the dedication

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The director of the school accepting the resolution.


Cesar speaking to the community members that attended the dedication


The project that the students decided on was building a bathroom at a school that had only been in existence for two years.  The students had been using an above ground system and the students dug and dug and laid the foundation and built this bathroom from the bottom up with their own funds.


The bathroom that the students built – from the 8 foot deep hole for ventilation to the structure you see standing. (the students spent their Saturdays working on this project)

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Activities for the students at the school



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Presentation in front of the judges and the community

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This project was definitely a stretch for these students academically, of their time, of their money and of their hearts…. but as I watched during the dedication service, I could see that the students had built a relationship with the community.  They had done more than just give some money and food and walk away.  They had left something of worth and served as role models for the students in this small aldea.





Luchando      – this is one word that I use often.  There are some words that don’t smoothly translate to English.  This is one of those words.  It means to fight, even when the fight is against yourself or more than you bargained for.



Our San Pablo students have begun their practicals on the weekends.  This means that most of our students are working 8 hours a day at a job to pay for school, attending classes from 5:30-8:30  Monday through Friday and then leaving on Friday after class for a normally 2.5 hour bus ride to Quiche where they are working for their clinical – two 12 hour shifts.  That means for five weeks straight they have continued this pattern without one day of rest.  This is a lucha!  Add to that the road conditions.  This last week the students left the school at approximately 3:00 and encountered a road of mud along the way.  Each time the bus got stuck, they unloaded the bus, the girls walked up the slippery slope on foot, and the guys put rocks and wood in the road to make is strong enough for the bus to pass.  And then they pushed the bus through the mud.  Needless to say, everyone needed a bath when they arrived 6 hours later.  If the students did not have a lucha within them, I am sure they would not have boarded that bus!


The bus they boarded in the afternoon.


The road they encountered in the first part of their trip.


Surprisingly though, the clinics have rejuvenated the students as they get to experience first hand what it will be like to be a nurse.  They have come back with stories about their patients – from crying over a patient that had lost so much weight they were about to die.  Pushing old people in wheelchairs and bathing patients.  And even greater stories of praying with patients and relying on God as they learn medicine.  This of course is our greatest desire for these students… that they understand and trust God as the ultimate healer.  One student told me a story this week about her patient – a mentally ill woman who is/ was married to a doctor – and now cannot even feed or bathe herself.  On her charts, the diagnosis was “abandoned”.  I wonder how many more stories there are of the same level.  Our student told us that all she could do is to pray for her and hope that she can place her hope in Jesus.


We are mid-semester with these students and praying about a future.  Do we open registration for a new class to enter?  To we wait a year?  Do we open a new type of class?  Do we continue with what we have and grow it?  We have begun to have students coming by from surrounding villages to begin the registration process – each wanting to continue their own lucha for hope for a future.  And so we continue to lay it before God.  We continue to watch what God is doing.  And we continue on with our own lucha here, as servants towards what only God can do.





Another Semester

The idea of having a university here in Canilla had been just talk for many years.  And often it seemed an overwhelming thought…. but as we pursued other options for nursing programs.  As we realized the difficulty that it would be for those from this area.  As different doors continued to close – and other doors opened – we were led to begin this nursing program here.  It is government approved, Ministry of Health approved, and all of the hundreds of hoops that we had to jump through have been completed.  Maybe.  These are unchartered waters.


Last semester I taught the math course – focusing on skills they would need within the nursing profession and critical thinking skills.  This semester I am teaching biology.

The format here is like those working on their master’s program in the states.  Most of the students here work during the day and then take courses at night.  It is dark.  The students are tired.  And honestly I really am teaching them how to study and retain information, just as much as I am teaching biology.  We believing in raising the level of education.  We believe in teaching values and challenging students to do more than they thought they could.  And so we continue to forge on.  We continue to lay foundations.  And we continue to pray for the hearts of each of these students.


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Study break


This week is exam week here and I caught Cesar studying his physics in on of his favorite places – the wheelbarrow.  Exam week is one of the weeks that is unlike what we do in the states.  The students take their exams for the quarter all together – starting off with four exams on the first day.  It is an exhausting and stressful week for the students and they could surely use your prayers.  This week marks the end of the third marking period with only 8 weeks of school left.  This year has sure gone fast!

Let God Come





When we began our Spanish worship night, it was to provide an opportunity for our workers and families to seek the presence of God.  And as we have continued, God has been faithful to bring this group back week after week.  It is the young people that are hungry for something…. something that they cannot put into words.  Something that keeps them coming back.  And it is just what God has purposed for them here – to know God and to seek His truth.  So many of them have been broken – by their families, by the church, by broken promises.

It is something different – something different for them to experience.  And as I have learned, different many times teaches us more of who God is.  More of what God wants for us.  It has been my hope that these students can learn how to encounter God and hear His voice.  To know His truth.  And so we seek opportunities to open the door.  Opportunities for His truth to shine through.

These opportunities have brought about conversations that show how God is working in their hearts – how God is working in the hearts of all of us.  They are seeking acceptance.  They are seeking to know who this God is and what he has for them.  They are seeking to choose the right path.  And we want to encourage all of this.  I have seen change.  I have seen hope.  And this encourages me to press on.  Please pray for them.



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Currently my favorite Spanish worship song

Dame Tus Ojos

Dame tus ojos, quiero ver
Dame tus palabras, quiero hablar
Dame tu parecer

Dame tus pies, yo quiero ir
Dame tus deseos para sentir
Dame tu parecer

Dame lo que necesito
Para ser como tu

Dame tu voz, dame tu aliento
Toma mi tiempo es para ti
Dame el camino que debo seguir
Dame tus sueños, tus anhelos
Tus pensamientos, tu sentir
Dame tu vida para vivir

Déjame ver lo que tu ves
Dame de tu gracia, tu poder
Dame tu corazón

Déjame ver en tu interior
Para ser cambiado por tu amor
Dame tu corazón


Give Me Your Eyes

Give me your eyes, I want to see
Give me your words, I want to speak
Give me your likeness

Give me your feet, I want to go
Give me your desires to feel
Give me your likeness

Give me what I need
To be like you

Give me your voice, give me your breath
Take my time; it’s for you
Give me the way I should follow
Give me your dreams, your desires
Your thoughts, your way to feel
Give me your life to live

Let me see what you see
Give me your grace, your power
Give me your heart

Let me see inside you
To be changed by your love
Give me your heart