If you’ve been around Inca Link long enough, you know we love to ask the famous question “If money wasn’t an issue, what would you like to see happen in your community?” Of course anyone has the liberty to ask this question, but not everyone takes advantage of it. It’s been a privilege to see how God moves, provides, and stretches our faith when we ask this questions to those we are ministering with.
A few months ago, when Violeta, Executive Director of Inca Link Peru, was visiting the states for Thanksgiving, I remember discussing the different needs she noticed in Peru. She started sharing some stories from some of the kids in the Day Care Center and how they weren’t in school. She expressed that these children had a desire to attend school, but lacked the resources to do so, leaving the kids to roam the streets. We all know what can happen when we aren’t supervised and roaming the streets, but I feel as though there is a different degree for these kids in the Day Care that we aren’t used to.
A degree that allows kids…
- to think education isn’t important
- to give up their dreams of pursuing a professional career
- to think they are less valuable in society
- to engage in sexual activity prematurely or take advantage of other kids
- to only feel accepted by the gangs in the community
- to lose hope of a future.
We have all heard the verse, Jeremiah 29:11, where the Lord “…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is our hope for these kids.
Former intern, Dan Kasnick, along with the Inca Link Peru staff, set out to do some research. They hosted interviews with each of the kids not in school and asked them why they weren’t attending. While interviewing these precious kids, we heard a hope in their sweet voices as they said “I do want to be in school.” Disregarding their current situation, they shared their dreams of what they wanted to be “when they grow up.”
This is where Inca Link’s favorite question comes into play. We started brainstorming of ways to give all of the children the opportunity to go to school! How will God provide the resources to do this? We added up the costs for school supplies, uniforms and tuition for a year, and decided to ask the sponsors if they would be willing to give to this to make this happen. Only God would be able to work in each one of our Sponsors lives for them ALL to say “YES, we will give!”
Jumping through all the hoops of applying for birth certificats, getting parental support, purchasing school supplies and uniforms, and getting each child registered for the appropriate grade in the local school went relatively quickly. This was a HUGE blessing!!! As of March 2013, we now have 10 children who have never attended school before, attending for the first time in their lives!!! Praise the Lord for His provision for these children.
A couple week ago, I had the privilege of being down in Peru, and seeing some of these kids dressed up in their uniforms. I’ve never seen an 11 year old boy more proud to be in the 1st grade. After walking home 13 blocks, Sebastian and his sister Yerli (age 8), rounded the street corner and saw me waiting for them at their house. They both ran to greet me with a big hug. The expressions on their face were ones I haven’t seen before. They seemed to be so much more mature than I remembered them being just a few months prior, but perhaps it was just the uniforms. 😉 While we were still standing in the middle of the sandy street, they immediately grabbed their notebooks out of their backpacks, and with great pride showed me their work. They were learning how to write.
Seeing these hopes and dreams come to fruition, has brought tears to my eyes several times. I wish I could conclude this post by saying “and they lived happily ever after,” as it seems to be the perfect ending to our favorite question, but realistically, this isn’t the case. This is just the beginning of a long journey. Starting school was the easy part, but staying in school is the hard part. As God has already answered so many prayers to get these kids to this point, we still need prayer support. We can’t do anything without it! Pray these kids find value in going to school. Pray they continue to have the desire to go and learn. Pray they can understand the process of achieving their dreams. Pray for the parents to be supportive of them getting an education rather than dropping out and helping with the family business. And pray for whatever else the Lord brings to mind!
As you’re praying, we will keep you updated on how the Lord continues to answer prayers!