There is a back story to our work in Prabis. It is a beautiful story of God raising up a little boy turning 7 years old. A little boy, our (Grace and Clint’s) oldest son, who obeyed when God said He had something so much greater than hot wheels and ice cream for his birthday. That obedience birthed Hope Remembered. That story has been documented at www.gracenotwasted.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/laying-down-golden-pins/ .
In the Lord’s amazing timing, we were asked to visit the Prabis school on our son’s 9th birthday. Exactly two years since the Lord started something really big with little hands.
I was really nervous about visiting the school. I didn’t want the time to be a celebration of “rich Americans” who felt sorry for poor Africa and built them a school. I knew there was a lot of hype around the visit as the village had asked for us to send pictures of JB earlier in the year. I also wasn’t sure who would show up since we were there over Carnival. Carnival is a major holiday in GB and the schools were shut down all week. Travis and I had many conversations about how (with a translator) to steer the conversations to the Lord’s provision and away from us. I was excited for the opportunity to show that we did nothing really. The Lord stirred hearts, many friends and strangers said yes and opened their hands to give, and nothing was given that didn’t already come from the Provider of all!
Our time in the village was great. It was a moment of sheer joy to see the school. To meet students who have something their parents never had. To hug parents who can’t believe their children have a safe, clean environment to learn and dream.
The village of Prabis is Papel. The people hold animist beliefs and there are very few faithful believers in the village. They are economically a very poor people who live in constant fear of demons and the power of darkness. The village Chief keeps his witch doctor, who also happens to be his son, with him at all times. Meeting them and sharing a conversation with them was humbling and surreal.
There are 210 students in the school which runs from pre-k to 6th grade. The school has two shifts to accomodate all the students. The students pay $1/month to attend. Their classes include math, science, history, english, french, portuguese, and p.e.
The school is used on the weekends by the church to provide Sunday school classes for the first time. My heart is so full thinking of those precious families hearing the Gospel each week after seeing the Gospel in action as the Lord heard their faithful prayers and responded through the hands of a boy whose heart was changed to love a Savior he met at 7 years old.
The children in the pictures above sang a beautiful version of the GB national anthem in Papel and then in Creole. It was just beautiful to see their little faces so proud in their school.
We came prepared with suckers and balloons to have a party for the students. The adults were just as excited as the children since most of the adults had never seen such luxuries as well. When I handed out suckers they didn’t understand it was candy. I showed a few of the students how to unwrap the sucker and handed it back to them. Each student promptly stuck the wrapper in their mouths and held the sucker in the other hand. It is just hard for our minds to comprehend such a small pleasure is so foreign to them. Convicting to say the least for the simple details of my day that I take for granted. Or the things I think of as rights when others go without.
I will end with the comments made to us by the village Chief. They ring in my ears often. Beauty to my soul.
” We are so grateful. They (the children) dream of a future. Before we had nothing to dream. Our children could be the next doctor, scientist, or president of Guinea Bissau. This gift will last for many generations. Generations yet born will be blessed.”
Pray with us that as these lives are changed the Lord would move to change hearts. That they would meet a Father from whom all blessings flow.