|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
A Great Miracle in Guatemala
By Josefina Machado
When someone asks me how it was possible to develop a complete homeschooling curriculum in Guatemala from kindergarten through the 12th-grade in such a short period of time, the only thing I can tell them is that it has been a great miracle from the Lord. We began with nothing and now we have a complete homeschooling system with excellent quality in both presentation and content.
Before my conversion, and for a time afterwards, I was a professor in two of the most prestigious universities in Guatemala. I taught several classes that were principally related to constitutional and international law. However, when the Lord began to touch my heart in a deeper way, I decided to attend Hebron Ministerial Institute. It was then that I renounced these things that had been so important to me and so highly esteemed in the world’s eyes. I was offered the position of principal of the small grade school and high school of 300 students that was part of Hebron Ministries. I thought it could be an excellent opportunity to serve the Lord by contributing to the formation of those students, and so I accepted the position with great joy.
I soon realized that I had been given an impossible task, because in any school, Christian or otherwise, there are always some bad apples who inevitably spoil the good apples around them. Our senior pastor, Marvin Byers, understood this also, and he decided to close the school. However, he said that he wanted to help the parents who were willing to homeschool their children. Initially, we discussed finding good textbooks for each course, and then developing daily guides to help them in their studies.
But we soon discovered that it is practically impossible to find texts in Spanish that reflect Christian values. Therefore, we began to think about the possibility of writing some texts ourselves. By doing so, we felt we could provide material that would be Bible-based and that would be a tool for the parents to lead their children to Christ. In addition, we would be providing texts that would form Christian values in the children and a lifestyle that would be pleasing to God.
After some time, our pastor felt the urgency of beginning a complete homeschooling program in Spanish so that Latin American parents would have access to material that would provide a systematic course of studies based on biblical principles. At the end of 1999, we began to work with the same teachers that had taught in the school we had just closed.
From the beginning, we experienced God’s mighty hand and His amazing miracles, something we desperately needed. Even though they were all good teachers, they had little knowledge in the use of the computer. Not one had ever written anything significant before, much less an entire book! The only exception was a book I had written during my years at the university entitled The Introduction to the Study of Law. On top of all this, we had only two small printers that could barely print four pages per minute.
We began the legal work with the Guatemalan educational authorities to obtain permission to operate a homeschooling system. It is important to emphasize that nowhere in Latin America is there a complete homeschooling system except for this one that Hebron Ministries has developed. Therefore, for the authorities, this was something new and unheard of in Guatemala or anywhere else in Latin America.
The fact that those authorities gave us their approval can only be explained by recognizing that there is a God in heaven who reveals His power for the sake of His children when He decides to do so. Our students receive their yearly certificates from the Guatemalan government just like the students enrolled in any secular school, and the education authorities are amazed at the excellent results in our students.
For the first year, we had only 100 students enrolled. At the beginning of every month, we gave them their study material for each grade and subject. It was material that had been newly written the month before, and it was printed on unbound sheets of paper. Miraculously, the material was provided on time and was never late.
Since those beginnings, the material has been corrected and revised several times, and now we have 100 textbooks available that cover every subject for each grade. Along with those texts, we have study guides, exams, answer keys for each exam, and work sheets with exercises and practice.
Now, six years after that uncertain beginning, we can see how the Lord is glorifying Himself by opening a fountain of blessing in such a small nation as Guatemala for the children and youth of Latin America. Presently, there are more than 1,000 students enrolled from 11 different countries, including Latin America, the United States, and Dakar, Senegal, an African nation where our material is being used by children of Spanish-speaking missionaries.
Our old printers have been replaced by modern equipment, each printing 55 pages per minute with top quality color and resolution. The unbound sheets we used to give the students at the beginning are now in book form that we bind ourselves with modern machinery. Also, we now have audio-visual material to teach math and chemistry, and audio aids to teach English.
The Lord always glorifies Himself in His works, and we are witnesses that this work sprang from His heart, and that He has made it possible. All the rest of us have been nothing more than instruments in His hand whom He has chosen to use in His mercy. Maybe the greatest blessing of all is to hear from parents who tell us with tears of thankfulness about what God has done in their children. They have been transformed since they have been saved from the many wrong influences they were submitted to for many hours each day in their schools. Blessed be His name!