02/07/2009: God’s Redemptive Grace
“And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15
God’s inspired Word, the Holy Scriptures, is the fountain of wisdom and the foundation of all true education. For almost a year and a half, the Lord has given me the opportunity to collaborate with the educational work at Maranatha Institute of Christian Education (M.I.C.E) in La Zona, Santa Barbara, Honduras. What is this educational work all about? Why is it important? What is its objective? The Lord’s servant expresses it this way: “In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one…” “To restore in man the image of his Mak
er, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized-this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education.” Education, 30, 15, 16.
I feel privileged to be able to cooperate with the Lord in this sacred work. I want to share with you some of what the Lord has done; how He has led us and also how I have seen His hand working this transforming of character, this development of the mental and spiritual faculties in the lives of my students, particularly, in the life of Javier.
When I first came here, in the middle of last year, I found a group of undisciplined youth; youth with bad dispositions and difficult behaviors. Most of them needed much help, especially concerning the development of a Christian character. In Javier’s case, helping him was not an easy task. When I invited him to come in for morning worship, he would simply answer, “I’m not coming in.” And I knew there was no use in discussing it with him. With a furrow on his forehead, he would stay outside and only come in when he wanted to or when the director told him to do so. When I invited him to have a conversation with me, he would simply say, “What are we going to talk about? We have nothing to talk about.” That hurt.
The most difficult days were the first days of the week, especially the first hours. On Monday, when he came to school, he brought with him a bitter temper, a bad attitude toward the teacher and he showed indifference to every subject in class. As the hours went by and we continued with the school program: the Spanish classes in which we studied The Great Controversy and prayers were made in class, I started to see a change in him. At noon, when we finished with the study of the Bible and more prayer, I could see an even bigger change in his personality, so that in the afternoon hours his dis-position was significantly different from what he had manifested when we started classes. This would happen day after day, although each day it was a little bit easier, and when the last day of classes came, the change was even more evident. But although at the end of the week of classes he left refreshed by the grace of God, full of joy and with a different attitude, when the next week came and I received him in class again, it was like starting from zero again. This would happen day after day and week after week and although the things accomplished during the week seemed lost at the start of the new week and again I received that cold treatment, so indifferent and lacking Christian courtesy, I didn’t give up doing the work to which God called me when He brought me from my country.
As we started school this year, new subjects were introduced to give more emphasis to true education. One of them was the Christian Education class, in which the students came to understand that when God’s people through the ages have had God’s Word as the foundation of their education they have triumphed in the battle against evil and have had success in the fulfillment of the work of carrying the knowledge of God and His truth to the world. Upon finishing the first semester this year the students had come to an awakening. They were gaining understanding of the plan God has for His people today and the personal call to do His work in such a time as this. We finished the first semester with a camp meeting emphasizing True Education and the Sanctuary in the experience of God’s people, especially in these last days. The Spirit of God brought conviction of this truth to the hearts of those participating in these meetings. Javier was not left without blessing.
Step by step the Lord had been leading us to a better understanding of His educational blueprint and as His will and His methods became clear and evident to us, we strived to follow in all things, the way He was showing us. In the second semester, the youth must be taken to a deeper experience in the work of God relating to true education. The knowledge they had obtained must be put into practice. Now the youth must join us in mission work more frequently and actively participate so that they can experience for themselves the joy of serving in the ministry.
Currently Javier gets up early in the morning to pray and study God’s Word. This communion with the Lord has worked big changes in his heart, so that he has become a testimony to his family. His parents are happy to see the change that has been worked in him, and now his parents have opened their hearts to the Lord and are receiving Bible studies. As classes start every week, Javier comes with a smile on his face, a handshake for his teachers and good manners for everyone. In class, he cooperates with his classmates, helping them when some of the tasks are difficult for them. In the agriculture class he is always ready to volunteer for any task that needs to be done and to promptly obey the instructions of his teachers. He enjoys his time in the institute, humbly and joyfully receiving everything the Lord offers him.
I greatly rejoice in the Lord, praising His mercy, kindness and patience toward every human being in giving us His redemptive grace. The change we have seen in this student, Javier, is the same work He wants to do in each one of us. As we deal with one another we must work as the Lord does with us, with patience, kindness and mercy to those ungrateful and indifferent to the Heavenly calling. This work is not ours; neither can it be accomplished with human wisdom and methods. God is the fountain of wisdom, the Giver of true education, and “success in education depends on fidelity in carrying out the Creator’s plan.” Education, 50.
And now here are some reports from some of the other students themselves:
“Hello my name is Angelica and I study at M.I.C.E. (Maranatha Institute of Christian Education). I want to tell you that I have learned so many things that are important to the youth. One of my favorite classes this year was mathematics, because I really was able to understand numbers this time.”
When Dinora first came to MICE, she was very shy and withdrawn. She would hardly ever smile and you couldn’t get more than two words out of her. Today, Dinora is a different person. She’s very personable, and appears to be happier. Here is her testimony: “M.I.C.E. has been a blessing to me. I am very thankful to the Lord for being one of the students at Maranatha Institute. It has helped me very much because I have learned a lot, and our teachers treat us with love and patience. The most important thing is that I have learned much about our Lord Jesus. My desire is to continue learning that I too may one day work for the Lord.”
This one is from one of the young men here: “Hi. My name is Roger. Although this is my first year at Maranatha Institute, I already know this is exactly where God wants me to be. Before coming here my life was meaningless, and I had nothing to look forward to except hard work and poverty. Now I have a bright future ahead of me if I continue with this education God has blessed me with. I love hard work, but I want to use all of my energies for the cause of the Lord. I am so very thankful and fortunate to be here at this school. So many of my friends in the village may make fun of us here, but they too know that this is a special school; one that will prepare us for the Lord’s soon return. Please pray for me, and for all of my fellow students here at M.I.C.E.”
By Hernando Cuesta, Maranatha Institute of Christian Education, Honduras.