It has been awhile since I have sat before this blog. And as I sit here now, getting ready to write about the crazy, beautiful, overwhelming, amazing, difficult, exhausting, freeing, and over all abundant ride that has encompassed the passed year (and will continue in all its abundant glory for the next year and into eternity I am sure), the thing that I pray you all see more than anything is who God is and has been in all this. Because above all, it is a story of how He takes weak, broken vessels and still uses us to bring about His will and His glory… and if there is any human element that is worth emphasizing, it is the fact that I have leared so incredibly profoundly that the more we pour ourselves out, the more we get on our faces and confess our own inability to carry out the greatness of that which He has called us to do, and the more we wrap our arms around Him and lose ourselves in His heart, the glorious way that God will move, lining pieces up that we are not even aware of the need for to bring about that which He has called us to carry out.
In Febrary of last year, we were put in touch with a university here in Guatemala about hosting their professional nursing program. The pro to this situation was that the people of our area would have an opportunity to study nursing with out the massive expense of travel costs. The cons were: 1. we would have no control over curriculum or teachers; 2. if the number of students dropped below 25 students, then they would all have to travel to Quiche (2 1/2 hours away) which was the very problem we were hoping to rectify by hosting the program here; 3. this school could pull out at any time leaving us and our student stranded in the middle of a three year program; and 4. there was little room for the encouragement of character development and the transformation of the students in their studies, especially to thins is school did not have this as part of their vision.
So in March, we got in touch with San Pablo Univeristy in Guatemala City that we had randomly become connected to through different members of El Shaddai church, whose pastor is also the university’s rector. This university, under the direction of Harold Caballeros (a Harvard graduate), seeks to not only educate people, but to see Guatemala and Gutemalans’ lives transformed through the love of Jesus and the tool of education; already woven into their educational programs are classes that encourage leadership development, ethical development, and higher level thinking while still maintaining a heart of service to Guatemala… In short, we fell in love with this university’s heart as well as their high educational reputation and standards. So, we set up an appointment with them to discuss the possibility of hosting a nursing program extension at our campus… and were blown away by the response we received.
San Pablo first let us know that they actually didn’t have a nursing program in place that they could offer us as an extension program, but they wanted to open this nursing program with us as their pioneers – giving us complete freedom to create the curriculum and use the teachers that we choose! Furthermore, they had decided that instead of working in extension programs, they want to work in satellite campuses – giving us complete liberty to open any programs we want in the future… all the way to a medical school (!!) which perfectly bridged the university to the hospital, which will now function as a teaching hospital and bring all learning/teaching full circle as students learn theory from the very nurses and doctors that are also training them in them practical site… again being given an amazing gift to go beyond simply filling heads with knowledge, but also investing in the transformation of these students’ lives.
God is SO amazing, and once again provided and lined up pieces that we didn’t even think or dream of asking for! And once again, the dream grew… as well as the challenge before us.
So, we got to work on the curriculum and teachers… and were not too far into it before we learned that the Ministry of Health would have to approve our curriculum, our teachers, and every little detail they wanted to. And we were very disheartened, feeling as if we were back at step one, working with the same corruption and control that had ended our auxiliary nursing program experience.
So, we got on our faces and fasted and prayed, walked and stood in the promise of God, and praised His name for 7 days. We prayed for the people of the ministy of health – for their salvation, peace, lives, redemption; for the country of Guatemela and its prosperity; for favor as we sought approval once again; for provision as the requirements seemed vast. And then we met with them. It was supposed to be an all day meeting from 8-3 in which we would discuss all the requirements on the table… and I was dreading it. We met the night before as a community and worshipped God and reminded ourselves that “He who has called us is faithful to carry it out,” and I remember flying into the City that morning with the “power of Jesus” song still floating through my head. (Okay, more accurately, I was totally belting it out in the back seat of the plane, taking full advantage of the fact that no one could hear anything over the loud hum of the engine :))
And what was supposed to be a 7 hour meeting was 1 1/2 hours… And they approved EVERY SINGLE ONE of our requests – and even threw stuff at us to help us get this school up and running and allow it to be a place that functions differently than the normal school here in this country…
People, as I have said before in this blog in relation to the other programs under this education project, this is a COMPLETE MIRACLE!!!
There are so many details I could write in here, but for the sake of how lengthy this blog already has become, I will sum up with the amazing ability to say that tomorrow night we open doors at 5:30pm for the inauguration of the opening San Pablo Univeristy satellite campus in conjunction with Adonai Education Project! This program will function at the level of a Stateside registered nursing program (a couple levels higher than the original auxiliary nursing program we originally set out to open) and already has 30-40 students signed up! We are so excited and humbled by this amazing opportunity for the people of this area to not only study and have an opportunity for a job upon graduation, but to become transformed and be drawn into the great love and redemption that their Creator has for all of us.
Thank you for your prayers and support continuously in all of this! We know that none of this would be possible if you all were not also faithful to that which God has called you to! If your are interested in shorter more often updates and pictures, you can find me on Facebook at Katie Eleiott Ficker.