Greetings from Mexico
We thank God for our partnership with the Centro Cristiano Church in Mexico. Through our partnership, approximately 50 children at the Maranatha School are registered in the CCI child sponsorship program. We are also so grateful for our partner, Sergio, who has been involved with Maranatha School since 2012.
Sergio is the school headmaster and he has a background of various work experiences, such as excelling in the field of Business Administration, being a University Professor, and pastoring a church. Sergio and his wife have two children- an 8 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. This past summer, our Executive Director, Jose, had the opportunity to visit Sergio and the school. We are excited to share with you the following interview on what God is doing in Mexico!
Sergio, how did your involvement in the school begin?
In 2012 there was a change in my ministerial life. I had been pastoring a church for the last few years, but after having some dreams about going back to University, despite finishing school 15 years ago, I asked the Lord what the next step should be in my life. While I was looking, searching and praying, there were some changes occurring in the school. An opportunity opened at the school and with God’s guidance and the support of my pastor, I accepted the job as an Administrator of the school. When I started, the school was not doing well. Both the quality of the education and the financial state of the school was in bad shape. As a result of this, my first project at the school was to make important changes to prevent the school from closing. At that point, the school had 115 students and it did not include High School.
Our partner Sergio with children of Maranatha School
Does the school play a ministerial role?
Yes, we do as we have many families that are not believers. As of today, 30% of the students do not come from Christian families. At the beginning of each year we have a gathering where we share the gospel with the students. In addition, every day we have a 15 minute devotional time where we can also pray with the children. We have heard many stories from children that didn’t even pray before meals but learned how to at school, and now pray with their own families at home. The children are the ones that share their faith with their families. We have seen families that started coming to the school because it was a better option for their children’s education, and after being part of the school they received Jesus in their lives and became part of the church as well.
Tell us a bit about the teachers.
The best financial option for teachers is to work in the public schools because of the salary and benefits that they can offer, and as a private school, we cannot compete with what the government offers to the teachers. Despite this, many teachers decide to come teach with us as they see it as a calling from God.
What challenges do you encounter in the school and in the community?
One of the main challenges I encounter in the school is keeping up with a good administration of the finances, to be able to keep up with the yearly expenses. Another personal challenge that I find for me in this job is not being able to know where the students go and what they do after they graduate from school. We can probably only track 20% of the students after graduation.
With the children in the community of Cuernavaca, I will say there are two main challenges. First, there is a lack of interaction and engagement from the parents with their children’s education. The students find themselves alone and with gaps they are trying to fulfill. As a school, we are trying to fill these gaps for them. Second, many families struggle with marital problems, domestic violence, and financial difficulties.
What are the three main needs or challenges of Cuernavaca?
Number one is the violence and insecurity. The violence has escalated and has affected the city, and the insecurity has diminished the economy and has decreased the opening of new business.
Number two is the unemployment rate. It has increased and it is very high with fewer job opportunities. We have many unemployed people and few job openings, so the salaries are very low and the competition is high.
Number three is the subculture that has been created in the new generations. The youth find it difficult to finish school or go to university as they need to step up and help their families that are struggling financially. Many youths are dropping out of school and are doing manual labor for very low salaries, resulting in less educated people.
What future plans do you have for the school?
Next year, with all our teachers being believers, we are starting a new curriculum. This curriculum will integrate the Christian beliefs with the government’s academic curriculum. The Bible is going to be the main textbook for next year and the students are going to learn that God’s Word is true, and that science supports what the Bible says; science corroborates what God says. We want the students to not only believe or not believe things, but to know why. We want to be a Christian school where God is exalted in all the aspects and subjects we teach the students. To accomplish this, I was sent to Colombia for training on how to integrate the Christian beliefs with modern teaching practices.
A future dream, in the next three years, is to start a Christian University and offer different programs that will impact the businesses and industries in our region.
A third dream is that every level can be self-sustained and run at full capacity. We would like to have 400 students. As of right now, we are at 70% capacity. We would like to teach and bless as many children as we can in the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.
What is the most satisfying thing you have experienced in the school?
One of the most satisfying things is to see the students succeed. Either by being able to play an instrument during a concert, getting good results in an important test, or presenting a project and having the confidence to share all they have learned and researched, and of course seeing them put their faith in action by helping and praying for others.
What would you say to the sponsors?
Investing in the education of this generation is very important, it is not in vain and it will bring reward. Your support not only benefits the child, but also the school and the church. You are helping the students, our future leaders to grow spiritually and academically. We have many students that have graduated from the school and they continue their university studies living the values they learned in school. They persevere in their faith and some of them have become pastors. We want to thank you for your direct support to the children throughout their school years. This support will bring a change in our society. Mexico needs leaders with Christian convictions: leaders that can bring others to Christ and become better citizens.
About The Culture
What characterizes Mexican families? Mexican families like to be all together: parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, everyone! We tend to laugh a lot, even in hard situations. We always see the positive side of any situation.
Typical of Mexican food: We add chili peppers to everything, even candies, desserts and ice cream. I know of at least 20 types of chilis.
Favourite game for children: They love to play tag!
National sport: Soccer. Everyone plays soccer. Boys, girls, kids, adults. At the school we have soccer games between teachers. The best ones are the ones between female teachers.
How many children do families usually have? Usually 2-3 children per family, as people aren’t having big families anymore.