Welcome to the blog of Jim and Julie Marsh. We are doing Business as Missions by managing the operations of the bracelet livelihood project here in the Philippines and providing support for Threads of Hope accounting and operations in the US. We moved to the Philippines on March 8, 2014.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Aninuan Christian Training School (ACTS)
A few years ago Threads of Hope had been praying about building a school in the community. Our initial thought was to build an elementary school. But after visiting the schools in the area it became clear that we were to build a high school instead. There were elementary schools in the area, but the real need was a high school. The nearest high school is 8 kilometers from Aninuan. Many families can't afford the cost of transportation to the existing high school so the children drop out of school, which destroys the chance of ever going to college.
With our focus now clear, we went to work designing the building to be attached to the end of the already existing ministry center.
The specs were approved and construction of a 10 room school, complete with a stage overlooking the preexisting basketball court, was completed in June of 2013.
Of course, the next thing to pray about was for someone to run the school. We are good at getting buildings constructed, but operating a school is an entirely different challenge. What we didn’t know is that God already had the man chosen who would take on the task. He and his wife had come here on a mission trip in 2013. The man had even climbed up the old mango tree up on the hill to admire the beauty of the area. After returning home, they felt God tugging on their heart strings to go back to Aninuan to serve the community there.
He was, if you can imagine, a teacher and a school administrator. He has taught at junior high level and at a tech college. He was an elementary principal for 3 years and most recently was director of the program at the tech college.
As this letter is being written, Ben Coltrane, his wife Sara, and their four children, Clara (10), Noah (8), Elliott (4) and Samantha (1) are already in Manila waiting for the weather to clear to come over to Mindoro and get settled in. It looks like we will see them right after the Christmas.
God really had and even better plan than we thought. Not only did we get one teacher and administrator, but we got a music teacher as well. Sarah is certified to teach K-12. She has been very involved in the kids Sunday school worship time, as well as vacation bible school. She has also coordinated a music and drama camp for years. She plays flute, piano and is learning guitar. She has only been in the Philippines for a couple of weeks and has already taken the time to teach a class of children some songs in English.
We welcome them to the Philippines and to Aninuan where they will help us launch the opening of the high school. They will continue to home school their children as well. We think the plan will be to launch one grade the first year, then add on a grade every year until all grades are covered. As you can imagine, there is MUCH planning and organizing to do to get the school open. When the Coltranes actually get to Aninuan, we will find out the targeted school year for beginning classes and let you know later.