Just over a week ago, I returned from visiting Jubilee. The school’s theme verse for this year is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” In the spirit of that verse, the grounds of Jubilee have been filled with expressions of gratitude this school year and the effect that has had on the Jubilee community is undeniable.
By the end of the week, the gratitude I felt all around me at Jubilee had fully rubbed off on me and I wanted to share with all of you a few of the things that left me feeling grateful since returning home.
1. Seeing the third graders’ love of the Word.
Each year, the third-grade class receives their very own Bible that they will use at school over the years until they graduate and are able to bring it home with them. I was honored to be there when this year’s class of third graders received their Bibles. Each student was presented with their Bible one by one. I noticed that as each child sat down, they immediately began flipping through their Bibles and reading, as if they couldn’t wait another second to spend time in the Word.
Furthermore, if you received our latest newsletter, you know that many Hondurans have very limited access to books so you can imagine what a big deal it is to receive a copy of the Bible that will go home with them one day.
Knowing that these students will always have access to the Bible is such a blessing. I pray that their love for scripture continues to grow and that they continue to turn to their Bibles for guidance throughout their lives.
2. Graduates staying connected to Jubilee.
Many of you have been interested in hearing about how the middle schoolers who have graduated are doing. I was able to spend time with that group on two occasions while I was there because of Jubilee’s middle school support program. That program provides Jubilee graduates transportation to a public middle school that has higher rates of academic success than the more local middle school, and the participants also spend time at Jubilee twice a week.
One morning each week, the group of eighteen students meets with David Romero for a time of discipleship. The students discuss normal adolescent issues and things that are happening in their lives in a loving, Christian context. They spend another morning each week doing homework and research in the computer lab, a great opportunity for these students.
3. A warm welcome.
Every time I go to Jubilee, I’m struck by how welcomed I feel. In addition to being hugged by nearly every one of the 220 students each day, the staff is incredibly warm and loving. They model Christ’s love every day by the way they interact with their students and each other. I can only imagine the impact that has over time as the children learn from these positive Christian role models.
4. A supportive community.
God calls us into community with each other and to walk alongside each other. It’s apparent that Jubilee is surrounded by people who are invested in the students’ lives. I saw this over the week in a variety of ways. One major way that highlighted this was the Father’s Day celebration that took place on my last morning there. The multipurpose room was literally overflowing into the hallway with fathers who had taken time off work to be there, actively involved in their children’s lives.
As I headed to the airport, I was chatting with the man who was taking me, a member of the church and husband to one of the teachers. I asked him why he had been in the fourth-grade classroom for the celebration since he doesn’t have any children at the school. He told me that he had been there to represent a father who wasn’t able to be there. I was moved that he took the time out of his day to make sure that that student had someone there supporting her and to support his friend in that way. That is how community is created, when people show up for each other, and a great example of what makes Jubilee such a special place.
I am so grateful for all of those things and especially that the children of Jubilee get to grow up going to a school in a community full of these beautiful moments where they are loved, supported, and encouraged.
While not everyone can visit Jubilee, there are plenty of ways to get involved from afar. One thing we are very excited about is the upcoming Amistad Event on Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in Grand Rapids. We hope that you’ll join us to connect on a more personal level with the U.S. Jubilee team, hear about our work, get an update on the school, and build friendship amongst our supporters. We also want to encourage you to invite new friends along so we can share the Jubilee story more widely, we’ll even have a special gift for anyone who is coming to a Jubilee event for the first time.
This is a free event but we ask that you reserve tickets in advance, which you can do at bit.ly/amistadevent.
As always, we are so grateful for all of you, you each are an important part of what makes Jubilee’s international community so special!
Grace and peace,
U.S. Executive Director