Class of 2017!

Hey you guys!  Here in Honduras, the schools have been out for about several weeks now.  The public schools normally finish in November.  We had three graduates this year: Aron, Cristel, and Eduardo.  I am so proud of them!

I will take a minute and talk about each one, starting with Aron.  Aron has a sister named Francis who lived with us for 7 years.  She is like another sister to me.  Several of you have met her.  So technically, because of Francis, we feel like Aron is our brother, too.  When we came to La Ceiba back in 2004, Aron’s mom and her sister-in-law were the first to come to church, and so we grew up around him.  His dad doesn’t serve God, but his mom has come faithfully every weekend, even though she has to walk two hours just to get a bus.  He was the only Pentecostal in the school that he went to, and he had to withstand a lot of pressure and temptation.  It was a hard few years for him, but he survived!  God has given him wisdom in moments when he’s counseling somebody else, and it is exciting to see the Lord using him!  God has used him greatly in Sunday School  ministries, as well.  I had the privilege to work in the same classroom as him for about a year, and it was so much fun working with him.

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The siblings! 😀

After that picture, I told him, “In case you didn’t know, you and Francis were adopted”.  I said, “I thought you’d want to know that you’ve been lied to all your life.”  Lol 😀 😀 😀 😀 We call Aron our “hermanito” (little brother), and he is basically a part of the family.

Cristel came to church on December 28th, three years ago.  We were very excited when she came because up to that point there hadn’t been very many young ladies in our church.  From the very beginning, we became attached to her for her genuine and humble spirit.  We could see steady changes in her, as she grew closer and closer to God. She has been a good friend of mine pretty much from the start.  I really value her friendship because she’s one of those people who doesn’t just talk about being your friend, but they show it with their actions.  She is always there for me, no matter what time it is, or why I need to see or talk to her.  She has been the pillar in her family…the one who has determined to serve God no matter what.  I know sometimes she gets tired, and feels like she can’t go on, but God gives her strength, and she holds on.  She has her mind made up, and nothing the devil will do can stop her!  I admire her greatly, and I know God is going to use her for great things!  I love you, Tel!

 

 

Eduardo started coming to church about a month before Cristel did.  When he first came, he wouldn’t really respond in church services, he kinda just observed.  Then he received the Holy Ghost, and God started to change him.  He surprised us all, and he surprised his family as well.  He was one of the main reasons his mom (Sis. Maria) came to church. Through his testimony, she was convinced that he had the “real deal”.  He also has  a testimony here in Roma, because of how drastically he’s changed from what he used to be.  He has a passion for Sunday School, and the kids he works with hold a large place in his heart.  God has used him in many ways, despite the temptations and things he has had to face at school.  He has come out victorious!  I know God has big plans for his life, as well.

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On Wednesday morning, November 29th, Aron was the first to graduate.  My parents and Allana went, along with Aron’s cousin, Entni, and Aron’s parents.  I don’t have many details about how the ceremony went, but I do have a few pictures from his special day.

 

 

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It’s official!

 

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Felicidades, Aron!

And that was Aron’s graduation, folks.  I gave you the short version, the real ceremony took about 2 hours!  We are so proud of him, and I can’t wait to see where God is going to take him in the future.

On Wednesday night, we had a party for all three graduates.  I got to do Sis. Maria’s hair before the celebration and for the actual graduation, too. That was a lot of fun!  She said she felt like we (Cristel and I) were punishing her, because she had to kneel. 😀 😀 😛 😛

 

Before we started, the graduates seemed hyped!  Well, Cristel mostly. 😀 😀  It seemed as if the guys didn’t really know what to do with her!  Lol.

 

 

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Are we excited, guys? 😀 😛 😉

My dad started it off with directing a few comments to the graduates, and ended up preaching!  Lol, no not really… 😀 😉  After my dad finished, we all prayed for them, asking that God would give them wisdom, and understanding for the times ahead, and that he would put his blessing on them and their lives.  It was a powerful prayer meeting! 😉

 

After prayer, we ate nachos and chili.  I didn’t get any pictures during this time, since I was helping serve.  After this, we sat around and talked for a while, and then some people went to fill out notes for each of the students.

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The gift table (above) also had a box for each of the graduates for the notes that those in attendance had written.

Cristel, Aron and Eduardo gave their thank-you speeches.  It was really special hearing them giving their testimonies about all that God had helped them through, time and time again.  Each of them made a very sweet tribute to their moms that almost made me cry.

They were talking about the good friends that God has blessed them with, and then they were thanking each of us for putting up with them, and helping them along.  I leaned over to Nathaniel and said, “They’re thanking us for putting up with their hardheadedness…I’m going to remind them about this next time they’re being obstinate!” 😀 😀  Their testimonies are really something that has reached the lives of those around them.

 

We hung around for a while, taking pictures.

 

Now, we were excited because Aron was graduated, and Cristel and Eduardo were graduating the next day.  We were looking forward to going to their graduation; the first graduation I’d been to aside from my siblings’.  No offense, guys, but it ain’t the same! 😉 😛

Well, we woke up the next day excited about the ceremony that would take place that afternoon.  However, as Allana was headed to work, she came upon a huelga (protest) that was blocking the highway into La Ceiba.  There was a large tree across the road and the protesters were burning tires.  Upon further investigation, we found out that there were several roadblocks all around us. The roadblocks were placed there by people protesting the presidential election results.

The school ended up postponing the graduation until the following Monday morning.  It was disappointing to all of us, because they had already changed the graduation 4 times!

On Sunday, we had church here at our house, because of the roadblocks, and Eduardo preached.  It was a very encouraging message.

Matthew 18:20 King James Version (KJV)

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.       

He preached that there only has to be a couple of people gathered together to have a big result. Even though the whole church wasn’t together, we had an army, just with those of us here.  He reminded us that not only do we have the authority of the name of Jesus, which is what the disciples had back then, but we now also have the Holy Ghost in us, and that gives us power!  It was a good reminder to all of us, and we had a really good alter call afterwards.  Thank God for His presence, no matter where we are, or what’s going on around us.

The electricity went off early Monday morning, leaving some without warm showers and ironed clothes!

Sis. Maria, Eduardo, and Nicolas came to our house for prayer.  We left shortly thereafter, and we got to the building where the graduation was going to take place before it started filling up.  We were able to get good seats, since Nathaniel and I wanted to be on the outside seats, where we could see everything clearly.

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Eduardo, Nathaniel, and I.

 

Cristel and Eduardo were able to get another picture with their moms before the ceremony.

The graduation was set to start at ten o’clock.  At around 10:30 a.m., they started by bringing in the flag, and the school shield.  The students started walked in, a section at a time, following the principle and teachers.

 

After they were all in their places, they asked one of the teachers to come up and pray.  Me and Nathaniel were cracking up, because the man who prayed said, “Now Lord, we know that these young people are really angels from Heaven, who come to show us Your glory.”  I was like, “Well, I know at least four of them, and they certainly aren’t angels…maybe fallen angels”.  Lol.

The students sang the Honduran national anthem “Tu Bandera” (“Your Flag”), which is really long and has I don’t know how many verses.  So like good Honduran residents, Nathaniel and I put our hand on our heart, and stood straight and tall.  Well, he was tall, and I was short, but it’s the thought that counts. 😀 😉 😛  It is really sad to see the lack of patriotism here in Honduras…there were a lot of people who didn’t seem to care that we were singing the national anthem.

The principle gave a speech, and directed a few comments to the students.  What was funny, is that there was a local television channel covering the event, and as soon as she stepped away from the podium, they started interviewing her, right there on the platform…Nathaniel and I were like, “No way! They aren’t actually interviewing her there. Right now!!” Here’s the picture for your enjoyment. 😀

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After the different speeches, they started handing out the special awards.  There was this one kid who got called up basically every single award, they also interviewed him right on the stairs where the next kids were supposed to come up to receive their awards, so others had to walk around him.  He had just sat back down when they called him back up, so everybody else started cheering and clapping.  All his fellow graduates started hooting for him.  Lol.

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This kid is going places! He looked like he was 15 years old.

After the special awards, they called everybody up for their diplomas, about 8 at a time. They let people go up and take pictures of those there.

 

Yay! They look real excited, eh? 😉 😛  On the way back to their seats, my dad got another picture of them both.

 

They definitely look a whole lot more excited, because they started to feel it and believe it! 😀

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It’s official! Smile!

They then called all the students up to sing a song that they had rehearsed together about friends.  So we were able to get some pictures of that.  Because of the fact to Cristel is so short, it was a little hard to see her. 😛 😉

 

The students came back down, and then they were all presented, and started throwing their hats up in the air, so Nathaniel and I started hooting really loud, and yelling.  I didn’t even care if Cristel and Eduardo were embarrassed.  You only live once, as the cliche goes. 😀

They walked back out and then Cristel and Eduardo hurried over to where we were. When I hugged Cristel, I told her, “I’m so happy for you, I want to scream!”  She told me, “I want to scream, too!”  So we both went, “Woooo” really loud, and everybody around looked at us like we were crazy.  We both started laughing, and it seemed like the tension eased for both of us.  The deed was done, they were graduated! 😀

I was able to get a picture with 3 of the 4 graduates that I knew there.  There’s a girl named Catherine, who has come to our children’s church, as a result of Cristel and Eduardo’s invitation.

 

I will say this: Cristel was the only graduate without make-up on, and she was by far the most beautiful.  Go get em’, girl! 😀  It was so much fun, and I enjoyed the whole thing.  It was also about 2 hours long.

I am so proud of them, and of what they’ve done, and what they are going to do.  I can’t wait to see where God is going to take them.

I’ve had the privilege to grow with them, and see them being used by God.  There is nothing that excites me than to see them taking this step in their life.  As long as they keep Him at the center of their lives, they will have great success!  I’m so excited for what the future holds for them.

Congrats, you guys!

 

~Sarah~

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