I never fully realized the magnitude of what would be required of me when we set out to build a school in the Dominican Republic. It has been a HUGE learning experience and a humbling one at that.
Last week we realized that the vision we had for the school through the Hope Academy program would have to be set aside for now—or maybe forever.
Much thought and planning went into developing the Hope Academy program. It will take five times as much training and organizational structure to implement it successfully. Every effort was made but we ultimately came up against a mountain that we couldn’t climb. I used to think the budget would be the biggest mountain we would have to climb. When the spreadsheets were all calculated I won’t deny I was filled with joy to know that we had the necessary funding.
How many times have we each thought we would do this or that, if only we had the money?
Sometimes money isn’t the biggest obstacle when fighting poverty.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 NIV
I’m learning that you have to look at your limitations (including the limitations of those around you) and be willing to set aside your pride and change your plans–even if you put a lot of time and effort into making them. That’s where we are now and although it isn’t a failure, I won’t lie and pretend that it doesn’t feel like one to me.
The plan was to create a bilingual education program with learning centers that would rival the best private schools in the Dominican. Instead, we are starting more humbly with 6 classrooms, a playground and a library with 350 books.
I’m choosing to practice gratitude and celebrate life amidst the unknowns and the changed plans.
I am believing that what currently looks like defeat (to me) will ultimately be success—in His perfect timing.
The New Plan for Hope in Barrio George
The school will officially open on August 15, 2014. It will welcome 130 students who had no other options for an education. In addition to the six classrooms there will be a bilingual library (the only one within 45 minutes of the town) and an incredible playground that has been shipped across the ocean to give the children in the community a safe place to play. There will even be a chicken coop with 29 chickens and Rooster to help provide eggs and chickens for the school meal program as well as additional learning opportunities for the students.
The school will further serve the community by employing community members as teachers.
This wasn’t the original plan, but it is the current plan that we embrace with gratitude.
Our family hopes to be there for the building of the playground later this month, the opening of the school next month and the library dedication shortly after that. When the school, library and playground open we will join the community in celebrating and showing gratitude for what they have, instead of mourning what was only planned.
I cannot think of a better lesson to learn and share with my children.