Thursday, July 19, 2012

Good News for the poor

The majority of the children we work with here in Jaco are not native to Costa Rica.  Many of them are immigrants from Nicaragua who came to Costa Rica in search of a better life.  There are some who do find a better life- they find work, and they work hard.  There living conditions (although they live in slums here) are much higher than their living conditions back home.  But because they have no roots here in Costa Rica, because many do not have passports or ids, because they are the lowest class here in this country, they face many hardships.

One family came here years ago, but without their children.  The mom and the dad paved the way so that when their children came they would be able to have a good life, instead of struggling with the parents for years.  The children are now here- a 16 year old girl, 14 year old boy and 12 year old boy.  But the kids are not experiencing the better life.  They missed getting enrolled in school by a week, and therefore cannot enroll until next year.  They are already a few grades behind, and to not be in school for a year would be hard for any child- or even an adult!  The girl enrolled, but it has been a struggle.
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Meeting the family
The school system runs from February to November.  I met the family on Tuesday, and set it up so I will be “homeschooling” the boys 2 times a week and tutoring the girl.  If I can get them caught up to their grade level, and even a little further, they will be able to start strong in February and successfully enter into the Costa Rican school system.
“So we get to start learning again?” 
“You’re going to teach us everything- even math?  Even reading?  Even ENGLISH?”
These boys want to learn- I could tell as they were thrilled at the idea of doing school with me.   I believe that every child wants to learn and am so excited to see all the opportunities God is giving me to help these kids. 
What if these kids couldn’t enroll?  What if they started school next February and it was too tough, so they dropped out?  What would become of them then?
Would they start working on the streets? 
Would they join a gang? 
Would they enter into the trafficking circle and start helping traffickers get girls? 
The Gospel in action is not just about preaching about what Jesus did when he died on the cross for our sins.  It’s not just about repenting and choosing to live for him- although that is a HUGE part of the Good News of Jesus.  But the Gospel is also about bringing good news to the poor.  And for this family, good news means going to school.  It means free tutoring.  It means being given a chance to make it.  

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