Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hope part 2

Contrary to the Bible, and in addition to presenting my prayers and petitions to God, I have been anxious for everything, at least to know the results for these three students.

Additionally, shortly after their round of interviews, I learned that one of the staff was also applying for this scholarship. Lila is a Bilingual receptionist at Potter’s House. Her parents are both full time in the ministry and their only source of income in addition to Lila’s is tithes from their home church.

Guatemala is one of the few remaining places in Central America where the Indegineous culture remains separate from the Spanish influence to a significant degree. In addition to Spanish some 22 languages are still spoken today by people living in the rural parts of Guatemala. Most are descendants of the Mayans. Yet remaining separate comes at a price. The indigeneous people are often descriminated against and for the most part remain very poor. Unable to receive education in their native tongue. Lila is currently learening Quetzekel in hopes of one day becoming an effective educator to those speaking a language from antiquity.

One of the women who work at Potter’s House also happens to be a past recipient of the Walton Scholarship and additionally serves on the first round interview selection committee. So I at least had some idea of how the students did after round one.

Everyone was impressed by Farley, his confidence and gunuinely heartfelt answers had brought something out in the judges and he had received a perfect 60 out of 60. Eulolia did quite well, however, most of the students applying for the scholarship had received significantly higher grades in highschool and she received a 2 out of 10 in this category making it questionable whether she would pass to the next round. Alfredo and Lila both were very nervous in the first round, Alfredo giving mostly yes or no answers, and failing to prove both his English and to adequately describe who he was to the judges.

Saturday took an eternity to arrive, 28 of the original 68 would pass to the second round and 10 of those would receive the scholarship. Saturday morning I called Gabi to learn the results. Unbelievably, all 4 had passed, Lila receiving the 28th spot and Farley the first. I was thrilled. However, first round interview scores were taken into account in the second round.

The next round interviews fell on Thursday and Friday of the following week, however the kids were gone at an English school which had been provided with free tuition for 2 weeks. They had to leave early, and arrived home Tuesday night. We practiced 8 hours on Wednesday, allowing them to practice answers for most of the likely questions. Eulolia went first of all applicants Thursday morning, Farley and Alfredo wanted to continue practicing so they came with me on a work assignment and we practiced interview questions in the car. At around 10 we received a call from the Walton committee saying they wanted to come visit Potter’s House and specifically the houses of the three applicants. I was blown away!..until I talked with Gabi and found out that the first round committee generally visits the houses of those who don’t make it to give them some assistence buying books or something to attend classes in Guatemala. Still good, but I really wanted and continued praying for them to make it all the way. We had also learned some other dissettling news. Of the 10 original scholarships 5 had already been taken from Guatemala and given to other countries because the applicant pool was so strong in those countries. After the first round Gabi was out of the decision making process and we were free to talk, hope and pray to our hearts content. At this point we realized that rationally only 1 or 2 could possibly make it.

Friday arrived, and we learned that it had been the directors who called, not people from the first round, this had to be a good sign right? However, Eulolia and Farley had both scored in the 60’s on a grammer exam taken immediately after their interviews, 80 was the minimum allowable in order to receive the scholarship.

When Gabi spoke with the directors, she learned that there were many good applicants and the decision was a hard one. Probably not going to be made until February of 2006, until after they had seen the applicants from all the countries to decide who would actually make it. I felt like I was going to die, I hadn’t been able to sleep in anticipation.

Just try to think for a minute what this would mean. Your whole life lived within a single zone in a single city. A few hundred meeters from one of the worst places on earth. Your streets are lined with trash, drugs, and signs of death. Amazingly you’ve just finished high school, but it’s time to start contributing to the family. This opportunity is beyond ones wildest dreams, I’ve had conversations with people who dream of escaping to the states in the tire wells of airplanes, and even should they get there they don’t have money or much of a chance. To live in a different country, to get a first rate education, to have the opportunity to tell your family, “That’s it, you don’t have to live here anymore.” To be able to actually start living and saving beyond the next meal.

These were the thoughts running through my head as Gabi and I went to pick up the directors. I sat waiting for the interviews to end on a beautiful leather couch in an extremely nice hotel. I couldn’t get over the contrast.

We finally got the chance to meet the three directors who held the future of our kids in their hands. They told us the decision they had arrived at and I was finally able to breathe again. We got in the car to drive to Potter’s House where all 3 of the kids whose houses would be visited had been waiting since 2 (and Alfredo when he returned from his Interview). When they got to Potter’s House after a brief presentation by the staff. The directors told the kids the results. Contigent on receiving an 80 on the English exams which they will take in April. All 3 will have the chance to begin classes in the fall. Farley at Harding University, Eulolia at John Brown and Alfredo at Ozarks University. Additionally, should they do well in their studies, this will open the doors for Potter’s House and future students of Potter’s House will have the opportunity to study in the states.

God is good, beyond our wildest expectations. 3 of our 4 applicants were able to receive a chance to do something they could never dream of or provide for themselves. They were told immediately, the only three in Guatemala to know before February. Plus, should they do well, the way will be opened for future students.

Pray for

  • PRAISE for the opportunity these 3 kids have and Diligence in studying for Alfredo, Eulolia and Farley
  • That they would receive at least an 80 on their English exam in April
  • A woman in zone three is a single mother and she must pay off her house by the end of this month. She had the money saved, but then she hurt her leg and now she doesn’t have a penny of it left. She is a widow and after the fire in February her kids are no longer allowed to help her scavenge and she is unable to walk to the dump. Should she be unable to pay she will be evicted. She needs just Q5000 to pay for her house. (between 600-700 dollars)
  • Many children are unable to go to school because they have to work all day. This week I leanred about a 5 year old who sits in a room cleaning out plastic bottles all day long. She works in the dark because her parents don’t want to use the money for electricity and she is not allowed outside to play unaccompanied because they fear for her safety.
  • My grandpa’s salvation and continued health

Thank you so much for your prayers and emails

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