By Mike Tenbusch | June 19, 2020

One of my favorite scriptures is when Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I’ve come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I can’t help but think of this image when I hear stories about how our scholars and their families are doing during the strict shelter in place rules that have been implemented across the globe.  

Listen to the voice of just one scholar from each nation to get a sense of what I mean.

Tariku in Ethiopia

Tariku is a 9th grader in Ethiopia whose mother was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, but he has not been able to tend to his mother’s needs because he has been going to work and to school every day.

“Now this happened, schools shut down, our jobs were halted for some time and it was fear and confusion at first. Time passed and we get used to the new way slowly, all that looked grave and unbearable was actually doable. 

 “I cook for my mom every day. Now I pay more attention. I look at my mom so closely observing her tone, her hand movement, her eyes and share her stories and excitement when I cook for her.  Her favorite food is lentil stew and I prepare the food just as she likes it.  She says no one makes lentil stew like I do.  When she sees me cook and feed her, this smile on her face is how I want to remember my mother.”

Kenest in Guatemala

Kenest in Guatemala is cooking for his family.  

“During our time at home, I have learned how to make tortillas. With the pandemic, we can’t go out and buy tortillas from another maker, so we started to make them ourselves. School has been a little tough lately, but thankfully I have discovered there is a solution for everything. The pandemic has caused complications, but I’m learning each day what to do and how to do it better.”

Olvin in Honduras

Olvin is a 5th grader who plays the drums at his church and wants to be a music teacher one day.  He has a visual impairment, which has not slowed him down.  Wanting to get more practice on the drums during Honduras’s strict stay at home orders, Olvin created an improvised drum set out of refrigerator racks, a seat of a chair, and two sticks to practice with.  

“Estoy lleno de alegría!” he says about playing at home—“I’m filled with joy.” 

Raquel in Jamaica

In Jamaica, Raquel has been sewing masks for people in her community.  

“Sewing takes me out of this world for a moment, allowing me to feel relaxed and calm. I also enjoy the smiles on the faces of those who are satisfied with whatever I create.”

Marlon in Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, Marlon, 13, has been praying the Rosary with his grandma, Julia, for all the people who have passed away from the virus.  

“I thank God for allowing me to be with my abuelita. After I finish doing my work online, I help her prepare a meal as she tells me about how Managua was in the 50’s. I love hearing her stories. I am grateful for my abuelita for making my days joyful.”

When the pandemic hit, we asked you to support our scholars and their families to avoid both the virus and the very real threat of starvation.  Success to us was simply ensuring that no one died.  We had no clue how they would shelter in place for lengthy periods in such tight living conditions.  I’m so grateful to God and excited to share with you that they are not just surviving, but even living abundant lives, despite the dangers and challenges that lurk around them.  

Thank you for your role in making that happen.  Whether it was years or weeks ago, you have helped to give life to others.

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