BY MELISSA KECK, CTK JAMAICA PLAIN/ROXBURY
Today was our second day at the orphanage, The Ark, and the school here in Constanza (Centro de Cuidados). As we continued painting the front gate of the school, Meda and I had the opportunity to meet Aracelis. She is one of the teachers here at the school and shared her story of how God called her here. All of the staff are Christians, and part of the school curriculum is teaching biblical Christianity. Aracelis is from Puerto Rico but has lived in several parts of the USA. In her own words, she is a missionary here. After ministry with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and visiting the school since 2011, Aracelis responded one year ago to God calling her here to work with the kids in Constanza. She describes Constanza as religious, with the people having the fear of God, but they are influenced negatively by legalism in the local churches. She wanted to obey God because she believes God's plan is better than hers. What a good word, right? Constanza is a small, poor agricultural town seated in a valley surrounded by mountains. Driving here from Santiago on Saturday, I noticed kids the same age as my own, but they weren't playing with toys or at the playgrounds. They were playing with rocks, dirt, or anything they could find. After 8 years of no involvement in world missions due to having having three children and planting a church, I had forgotten how the majority of the world experiences and lives life. I've grown accustomed to the privileges and opportunities for me and my kids growing up in Boston. Aracelis, though born in Puerto Rico, lived in the U.S. and also experienced this. However, she chose to follow God's call here in order to help unprivileged children have better opportunities. I'm grateful to have met Aracelis, and I told her we would pray for her as she follows Jesus living out the Gospel here as a mature Christian woman and teacher. Please join me in praying for her and the other teachers who have an amazing opportunity to shape the lives of these children they teach. Later this week we'll have an opportunity to have lunch with all the teachers, as well as the house parents at the orphanage. Please pray for this time and for our team to be an encouragement to them. Thank you for your prayers and support.