This past summer, from July 9-19th, a group of Christian school educators traveled together to Guatemala. They learned about World Renew’s ministry of changing the story of people who live with poverty and experience hunger and injustice.
Through this hands-on journey of learning and sharing, these educators grew in their knowledge of World Renew’s approach to development. They experienced the strength of community, and witnessed the incredible God-given resilience of the human spirit as manifested in churches, community groups and individual believers.
While on the tour, the group visited five villages, three schools, and a community center. As they shared meals and conversations with World Renew’s partners and community members, they also explored the rich history and culture of Guatemala. They spent time at Lake Atitlan, in Antigua (an incredible old World Heritage site), in large and small markets; they saw gorgeous flowers, ate the freshest fruit and visited cathedrals.
Community School in Guatemala City
Through the tour, educators gained an even deeper appreciation for and understanding of asset based community development (ABCD) and of the similarities between the seven dimensions of transformational community development (*) and education. These seven dimensions are not only foundational to World Renew’s work, they also inform the goals of Christian education. As the educators spent time talking and gathering for devotions together on the tour, they were inspired to apply these dimensions of transformational community development to their work both with individuals in their classrooms and with the whole classroom communities.
“The opportunity to learn from other people was immensely valuable and I will use much of what I saw in my classroom,” said Scott, one of the educators.
This Educator’s Tour was facilitated by World Renew’s local, Christian partner (Vine and Branches), World Renew staff, and community members. World Renew Country Consultant Sadoc Aguilar played a key role in walking alongside the participants. He answered their questions--engaging in deep dialogue with them—and helped them to contextualize their experiences in another culture.
The educators are very grateful to all those who helped to planned and organize the tour, and supported them in prayer on this unforgettable and edifying journey.
“The tour was well beyond my expectations,” said Lisa, one of educators. “Guatemala and its people are beautiful and inspiring. It was 10 days of intense learning and growth, professionally and personally.”
“The Guatemala Educators Tour was a life-changing experience. It was thought -provoking, inspiring, and challenging,” said Janet, another educator on the tour. “I highly recommend this adventure to any Christian educators who desire to broaden their global perspective.”
May God continue to bless and guide these educators as they use all that they have learned in the classroom and continue to educate their students in a way that acknowledges the lordship of Jesus Christ in all subject areas.
Do you think a World Renew educator’s tour could be a good fit for you, or someone you know?
World Renew will be offering another Educator’s Tour in July 2018. Interested educators can contact Iona Buisman (firstname.lastname@example.org, Mary Dykstra (email@example.com, or Peter Bulthuis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*The Seven Dimensions of Transformation:
1. Sharing the Vision
2. Sense of Community
3. Ownership of their own development
4. Leadership from within
5. Recognizing their own assets, knowledge and skills
6. Ongoing Learning
7. Knowing they’re part of the Kingdom.