School and a Future
William bicycled off to school this morning in his new gray dress pants, white shirt, and gray tie. His new black shoes gleamed in the sunlight as they pushed the pedals toward his future. Today is his first day of vocational school.
Like most hill tribes kids, William started too late to graduate at 18. In April he finished the ninth grade. Even that is a milestone most of the tribal peoples don’t have the privilege of reaching. After much prayer for direction, William chose to continue his education at the local vocational school. After a three-year stint there, he has the option of going on to the university.
William is interested in languages and works hard on his English. Already he helps us out by translating when Lek is not available. He usually helps me in Sunday School. Some days we get stuck on words he doesn’t know — particularly when I get carried away telling the Bible story — but he does a good job. The program he chose at the vocational school focuses on language. He will learn Japanese as well as English as he works toward a certificate in hotel management and tourism. He is bright and a hard worker. We don’t doubt that he will do well. We also see how the things he learns in school will be a help if the Lord calls him into a ministry among his people.
Education is a huge problem for the hill tribes people. Parents want opportunities for their kids, but in many villages there are no schools at all. Kids must travel miles to another village. They spend the week there, living with relatives or on their own and managing the best they can. It’s not a good situation, and the schools are unusually not good ones. Often there are school buildings, but no teachers, or teachers who are not qualified. The school uniforms and fees are often more than parents can scrape up out of their meager earnings, so many cannot go to school at all.
People continually beg us to take their children — not because they don’t love them, but because they want something better for them. We can’t do it. We are not approved for a legal children’s home, and getting that approval will be tough. Besides, we have come to see that raising kids in an institution rather than a family brings about another crop of problems. The five we have (plus our cook’s son who we are helping to raise) are our family, and all we can manage right now. But we long to help these mountain kids to have a future. Please pray with us about this need.
And thank you for your support which enables us to invest in these kids. William rode off to school today instead of trudging to a rice field, because of your gifts. May the Lord reward you for that!