Is is a question I have been asking quite a bit lately. God has been working overtime on my heart these past weeks. We are about to build a High School for CCS. What if, instead of building a school, we built a statement? A statement to the community about how much God cares for them. A statement to the poor families in Cuatro that they are valued and loved by God in ways that are unimaginable. What if the statement we made when building the school is an extravagant statement? God loves us in extravagant ways, so, if we want to show God's love to poor, shouldn't it be extravagant as well?
Imagine this with me. As you walk into Cuatro you are immediately struck with a dramatic contrast. On one side of the street you see shacks made of plywood and tin, you smell the garbage and smoke as it fills the air. A stray dog catches your eye and you hear all the roosters crowing. Kids begin to fill the busy streets that have sewage running right down the middle of them. If you have been to KIDS you have experienced this firsthand.
What if when you turn around you see something completely different. This isn't a typical school that you would find in a squatters community. Instead, you see a school with large classrooms, laptops for each student, an amazing science lab, a music class room with every instrument imaginable, an art studio where kids can express themselves freely. On the top floor of the school is a full sized arena used not only for sports but also for school assemblies, graduation ceremonies, and many outreach events for the community. Next to the school is a soccer field with lush green grass. Imagine the kids of Cuatro Christian School having PE class on this field. Kids in this neighborhood almost never get to play on nice grass.
Think about it... What if?
Such a contrast from one side of the street to the other. God uses contrast when He wants to draw our attention to something. To me, the best example in the Bible of God using contrast to draw attention to His extravagant love for us, happened in Bethlehem. The God of the universe, who chose to take off His heavenly robe, and come down to be born in the backwoods town of Bethlehem (what good could come from Bethlehem?). Not only that, but born in a manger where cattle ate their food! Imagine the contrast... God in the form of a baby, born in Bethlehem in a manger. What an amazing contrast and a beautiful picture of His extravagant love for us! The question I feel God is impressing on me is "When we love the poor community couldn’t it be done in an extravagant way as well? When we build the school why can’t we make a statement about God amazing love for this community?"
At least 3 times a week I take my morning coffee and go walk the community. I always walk through the land, pray, and talk to some of the people who live on the edge of the land. It is now a joke as I walk through with my coffee in hand. I once asked them what the Tagalog word was for Coffee… ‘Kafe’ the exclaimed. Now, as I walk by, they hold up their coffee cup in the air and exclaim 'Kafe'. I hold my cup in the air and say ‘Kafe!’ as well. By now, they know I need my morning coffee! They are excited about starting construction on the school. They are excited because they have kids that go to Cuatro Christian School and they know what this will mean for their kids future. Most of them have been or are being drawn to Christ because of the impact the school has had on their kids.
None of these families expects us to build a high quality, modern school. They expect us to build an 'adequate' school (adequate by their standards... not ours). What would be the impact on them, and the entire community around them, if we skipped building the 'adequate' school and instead built something unexpected? In addition, when they ask why, we can tell them that God loves them in extravagant ways!
These are the questions I ask when I walk and pray on the land that will soon be CUATRO CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL!
There is only one small problem. Building an adequate school costs money and building large modern school costs a LOT more money. However, for some reason (and I really don’t understand why), I am confident it will happen. A year and a half ago when I started running Kids International Ministry that would not have been the case. I was concerned all the time if God would provide. Every month I would do an exercise and calculate when we would run out of money. I would say to others ‘Pray God provides - we will run out of money in 2 months’. The next month I would say ‘we will run out of money in 3 months’. Each month he provided. In fact, we ended the year being able to get out of debt and pay what is called the ‘13th month bonus’ to employees (a government required bonus). It was amazing. Reed more about last year and how God consistently provided to meet our needs - https://www.kidsim.org/forum/kids-updates/god-is-good-all-the-time
God is able to provide for what He is directing us to do. In less than 2 months, God miraculously provided $340,000 for the purchase of the land, $50,000 more than was needed, and a commitment for $240,000 over 3 years to help in construction. It really blows my mind. Although this is not nearly enough to build the school I have faith that He will provide more than I could dare ask or imagine…. He already has! Read more about how this all happened - https://www.kidsim.org/forum/kids-updates/a-new-chapter-begins
The groundbreaking for Cuatro Christian High School is scheduled for Sept 12th! We are praying to be able to start 11th grade next year and 12th the following year! Please pray for wisdom as we finalize the plans for the high school and for us as we trust that God will provide what is needed.