Preparing for the road ahead, Grade 6 Retreat: The Road to Success, provided insights on obtaining success, times of personal reflection, recommitments, comradery, and games—all playing a part in rewarding our 61 graduating Grade 6 students this month with some fun and personal growth as they prepare to enter high school. One Grade 6 student shared that he is glad that God gives success to everyone, regardless of background, physical appearance or deficiencies in achievements. Students learned that success is a process, not something gained overnight. It is developed as we set our hearts to obey God’s Word and rely on His power to work in us. (Joshua 1:8 and Galatians 5:22-23) Telling of the parents’ overwhelming support, Grade 6 teacher Joy Panes said, “They did the marketing, cooked and assisted the teachers with chores, but most importantly they have been with us praying for their children to allow God to work marvelously in the lives of these children and that they will not go home without really understanding the essence of success from a Christian perspective.” Please be praying for these students as they attend a month-long summer school session to prepare them for the rigors of high school. Grades 9-10 Retreat: Stand Firm With our Grade 10 students preparing to cross-over into senior high and moving beyond CCS and our Grade 9 students advancing into upperclassman leadership, the message of the retreat was to stand firm in your faith. The students had a time of reflection, prayer and repentance, during which some of the students came to the school’s pastor and their teachers for prayer. As part of a team building time with cross-over life coaching, the students gathered into four groups. Two of the groups wrote down problems that they were experiencing. The other two groups were then asked to think of advice or solutions for those problems. The problems shared revolved around relational issues, financial issues and personal issues. Teacher and guidance counselor Kim Bragas expressed that the teachers were amazed at how the students resolved each problem. “We can say that they are wise for their age,” she said. Having an unforgiving heart was one of the problems shared. Ms. Kim relayed the following advice given by the students: “One student shared that whenever he feels that he does not want to forgive, he would always remember God’s forgiveness and love to him. That compels him to forgive. Another one said that she is forgiven by God for the many sins she has done and to think that she will withhold forgiveness to others is wrong. Another shared that the effect of unforgiveness in her heart led her to do more wrong things and made her heart very heavy. She said that she was reminded to check her heart and decided to choose the process of forgiveness.” Another problem expressed, said Ms. Kim, was the feeling of not being appreciated at home; no matter what they do, they feel that they are not enough. In response, one student advised that “whenever they do things at home, they should not just do them for their parents but for the Lord, knowing that He sees everything.” Jealousy about family life was another problem shared. Ms. Kim said that one student advised that they should not get jealous, because having a complete family is not an assurance of being happy. The group of students agreed, and one added that you just have to accept and be satisfied. Another summarized it by saying, “We just have to accept, be satisfied, then let go and let God.” Besides the serious times, students had plenty of fun games and team building activities. Here students used their shoes to build the highest tower. They had great fun as they struggled with thinking of different strategies while fighting the bad smell of their shoes! The team building coaches asked the students to gather materials to help them survive if stranded on an island. The coach was impressed that all groups had a Bible with them, showing that our students valued the Word of God. The students also had a fun night of swimming at the next door Kids International Ministry Center. One teacher shared how she was able to talk with a Grade 10 student whom she had known since 1st grade. She said that through the years they would discuss how he should not punch his classmates or why he should stay to clean the room or why it is rude to answer back. But that night he talked about heart issues that the Lord had revealed to him. “That night, I was no longer talking to a young boy, but a man in the making,” she said. “Indeed, it is bittersweet to see them go, but I trust the Lord. CCS will always be their home.” To close the time, at a 5:00 a.m. morning devotion, the students’ parents surprised the students by joining them. It was a heart-warming time with tears and hugs and a hearty breakfast. After the retreat, the students wrote their reflections from the time. Here is one student’s response: “ I committed myself to God that I will continually serve Him even though I am no longer in CCS. I am thankful that the Lord brought me here because the school molded me into who I am today because I came to know God here. I am just amazed with God. I do not know where I am now if it wasn’t for God bringing me here.” - Jerus Mallavo High school building update : While we are making exciting progress, it currently appears that our new building and senior high program will not be ready for the start of the new school year in June. If you would like to help our 36 Grade 10 Completers continue their schooling through our Beyond CCS program, which helps meet transportation and other school needs, please contact missionary Dewey Bland at email@example.com to learn more. Please keep our efforts to build a high school building and senior high program in your prayers.