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mglori20160520-Update from Morning Glory Christian Academy in Guatemala and Lori Nij.



Prayers! Pray for continued wisdom as Lori makes some hard decisions regarding students who need more help than we can offer at the moment. Pray for plans for a boy’s retreat to help the young men at school learn God’s expectations for them. And as mentioned before, pray that our partners will give generously to keep Morning Glory running smoothly.


Praises! We thank God for an awesome World Race team in May. We thank God for the successful programs we were able to provide, such as the Mother’s Day dinner and a seminar on social media for the parents of Morning Glory.


















This Love is not for Cowards
By Lori Nij
Director of Morning Glory Christian Academy, Guatemala

     Beyond a place to learn to read and write, Morning Glory is all about life lessons and learning to live. Many of our children come to us broken by life and circumstance with hurting hearts that long for the healing touch of God´s love.  Relationship is one of our core values because we believe deeply that Christian values and principles are taught more through example than by actual lessons. As a leadership whole, I ask my teachers and leaders to integrate and teach our core values in every class and with every lesson.  Experience has given us the ability to recognize that when a child acts out or misbehaves, many times it is really a cry for help. With almost seven hundred students, it is impossible for me to personally observe each child so the teachers become my eyes in the classroom looking for warning signs of abuse and abandonment.

A few weeks ago the secondary social studies teacher brought me a notebook from one of our relatively new students. This young girl in particular is in seventh grade this year.  Last year was her first year at Morning Glory and she barely passed sixth grade.  The assignment in question was a life journal that each student was asked to write.  As I began to read, anger and hurt spilled out on page after page.  Red flags flew and warning bells began to ring.  The classic signs of abuse, mental and physical, poured out of a broken heart. The young girl is the daughter of a local preacher that we all know well.  Her father ministers to one of the most successful evangelical churches in San Raymundo and yet here was an bitter child spitting out anger and rejection of everything that her father teaches and holds dear.  She ended her journal with these words. “I don´t know why I am alive, nobody cares or listens to me. I wish my name were Church and then maybe my daddy would have time for me.”

My heart broke. This was Friday and it was almost time for school to be out. I went home with Maria (not her real name) on my mind and heart. I prayed all weekend for wisdom and for God to give me the words and hands to heal. I shared with Tabi and we prayed together.  On Monday I called María into my office.  Some times especially with adolescents it is very hard to get them to open up and trust.  We had spoken about different ways to reach out and we had both agreed that Tabi would share with her as one preacher´s daughter to another.  Even though I too am a PK my age makes it harder for the kids to relate to me.  As Tabi shared her story the tears began to roll down María´s face.  Abused by a trusted church member as a child, no one would listen or believe her.  How could it be?  “Brother So and So” was a prominent elder in the church, he was the model of correctness and always ready to point out sin in others.  Her father and mother, like so many pastors that I know, were so involved in the work of the ministry and doing the Lord´s work that Maria´s needs and wants were constantly placed on the back burner.  Required to be the model of perfection and good behavior by all those around her, Maria had retreated into her secret world of rock music and rebellion. On the outside the perfect preacher´s daughter but her heart was full of anger, hate and rejection of the church, religion and even God and all it stood for. Guilt raged because she knew she was doing wrong.  Forced to face her abuser almost every day of the week, forced to tolerate his lustful hugs Sunday after Sunday, this poor child had built a wall around her heart and pushed God out.

Her small adolescent body shook with sobs as she cried into my arms and poured out years and years of hurt and abandonment.  She had tried over and over to talk to her mom and dad but they never had time. There was always something else more important. Just a few short months ago, she had finally gathered all her courage and asked her dad if she could talk to him.  She began to talk and his cell phone rang.  Brother whoever´s wife was sick and they needed him to come pray for her right now.  Preacher daddy left his wounded, hurting daughter and rushed out to attend to the “church.”  Again and again she would try to find the words to tell mommy or daddy each time to be interrupted by the pressing needs of the “church.”  Finally, she stopped trying and built a fortress to protect her hurting heart.  But God knew and His heart broke for his little girl. The Holy Spirit stepped in and put a crack in that wall and the pain and hurt oozed out onto the pages of her homework.  Christ whispered in the heart of the teacher, “this child needs help.”  God used the words of Tabi as she talked about her hurt and anger at a church that rejected her father and the wall came tumbling down.  This time the trumpets of Jericho did not resound but I know that the angels sang as Maria knelt on my office floor and gave her heart to God, asking Him to heal her hurt and help her forgive. The next week I had a heart to heart conference with Preacher Daddy, something I like to call a “come to Jesus talk.”  Daddy had no idea, like so many he was so busy doing ministry, doing the Lord´s work, attending to his flock that he did not realize that his most precious possession, the child he would give his life for was reaching out and he was not there. Thank God in this case it was not too late, hopefully we were in time to mend the wrong and to bring one more lost lamb into the fold.

So many people ask me, “Why a school, what makes a school a mission?”  Isn´t it the government´s job to educate? Isn´t it the churches job to take Christ to the lost?  I mean you are not openly evangelizing, you are not preaching, the economy is hard, shouldn´t I be giving the few extra dollars that I have to my church and to missions that are building churches? You are just fine, your students are well dressed. They are clean, and they are articulate and just about accomplish everything they put their hands to do.  We came to visit you and we saw the children out on the streets that live in poverty. They need the help more than you do.  Why, we just knew God was telling us to go to the market and buy all the food, clothes, and shoes that we could and just go hand them out to those poor kids on the street.”  I smile and say that is so good, yet on the inside I am screaming: “You can´t fix poverty with a basket of food! That food which you probably paid double price for, will run out in a day or so and then what?  Who will feed that child tomorrow, what lesson are we teaching, what is the message that we portray?  Or should we spend what precious resources that we have teaching that same family to fish, to plant, to produce?  What has the longest benefit?  I long to cry, “Do you not realize that the students at Morning Glory come from homes as poor as those street kids you saw, from needs many times even greater, that there but for the grace of God would walk the almost seven hundred children that learn, laugh and love at Morning Glory?”

If it were not for our faithful supporters children like Maria would never know that God cares, children like Alex would never know that God answers prayer and can remove his brain tumor; Children like Gladys would never know that she holds promise to be a teacher; Children like Suzelit would never know that it is okay to say no. All those children who have learned to call Jesus Lord and God our Father would perhaps walk and beg in the streets of Guatemala or adventure north to the “promised land,” risking life and limb in exchange for a dollar here or a dollar there.

Each month as I anxiously wait, because God is still teaching me to trust, for budget to be met. I pray and battle with God. Where do I cut?  What child do I turn away?  What program should I stop? Which teacher do I lay off?  What bills do I pay? And who can wait one more month?  Can I make that penny squeak a bit more?  How can I be more faithful? What doors to I knock on? what words do I write?  How can I put into words what holding a child hurting and broken by life and sin feels like?  How can I write or take a picture that portrays the sublime joy of looking on the face of hundreds of children lifting their voices and hands in worship?  What value can I place on the soul of a child?  Is it worth more than a cup of Starbucks, more than that vacation, or  more than a kitchen remodel?

As North America comes into this season of uncertainty, I invite you to remember with me that God is still God and He is in control; of our lives, our finances and our church.  He is even in charge of the Morning Glory budget deficit. He calls us to step out on faith, beyond the security of our bank accounts and salaries.  He asks us to throw our bread upon the waters and trust that He will bring it back pressed down and overflowing. The seven hundred children at Morning Glory need you, and your mission dollars. I don´t have a backup plan. There is no bank account to cover the bills next month.  I can´t wait until the elections are over to decide whether to pay the teacher who depends on his salary to feed his children.  I can´t wait until America decides Hilary or Trump, to pay the electric bill or even to feed my own children and put gas in the buses.  God is calling us to be the church, to seek the lost, to heal the hurting, bind up the wounds of the injured.  We are called to step out on faith and trust God. We are not called to build monuments or mansions, we are not called to live in security, we are called to love and as the Casas tee shirt says. “THIS LOVE IS NOT FOR COWARDS.”  What will you answer?