Working at Briarcrest has provided me many opportunities to serve the Lord using the gifts and talents He has given me, as well as to pour into the lives of students at the school. I was thrilled when I was asked to travel with one of the groups of students that Briarcrest was sending to Ecuador this summer.
The trip to Misahualli, Ecuador was filled with site-seeing as we stopped along the way at beautiful waterfalls and the tourist town of Baños. We also stopped at the “Saint House”. This served as Nate Saint’s family home as well as the main base for pilots as they witnessed to the tribal groups of Ecuador back in the 50’s. We arrived in Misahualli late one night, ready to serve the Lord through VBS to the children at Antioch Christian Academy the next day.
One of my favorite things about the trip was being able to witness firsthand how the Lord brought out the unique talents and abilities of the Briarcrest students. By the end of the week, when an issue arose, the group was able to pinpoint the person best equipped to deal with each situation. It was also incredible to see the Lord work to match the personality of a Briarcest student with an Antioch student to build relationships. Students who returned to Ecuador this year saw Antioch students that they had built relationships with the previous year, and were able to pick up right where they left off. It was powerful to observe.
The students at Antioch speak Spanish, but are taught English at school. Classes are taught primarily in English with the goal of promoting fluency after they leave school. This skill allows students to interact more efficiently with a variety of different people as well as to be able to share the gospel with a wider audience. The hope is that the students will learn the truths of the gospel at school so they will be able to take them home and beyond. Antioch desires to be a place that equips and sends out disciples of Jesus Christ.
Antioch is not what one would expect of a school in the middle of the jungle. The classrooms are advanced, there is a nice playground, and a new school building is in the midst of construction. Antioch, like many private schools in the United States, is payed for by tuition, but only 50% of the school’s operating costs are covered by this tuition. This means that things like new school construction, textbooks, uniforms, and computer labs must be paid for by donors.
When I was reviewing the footage from the trip, I couldn’t help but notice the blue uniform shirts each Antioch student was wearing. In the States, students often complain about having to wear uniforms, but these students were glowing with pride in the fact that they had a nice shirt and pair of pants to wear to school each day. When they go home they may not have as nice of things to wear, but there is a confidence that each day at school, they will be dressed to learn academically and Spiritually. Agape North supports Antioch with the help of Briarcrest. Briarcrest purchases custom shirts for their “House Groups” each year and, in return, Agape North donates uniforms to Antioch with the proceeds of the House Groups shirt orders.
It was amazing to see how God is working through Antioch to equip students to be lighthouses for His kingdom. Briarcrest and Agape North play a small but important role in that process, and I am thankful the Lord is using individuals’ specific talents and abilities to further His kingdom.