(Stories from the Field: Maracaibo, Venezuela)
In spite of the hardships and challenges that Venezuela is currently going through, God is still moving and God is still faithful. The world around us may be dying, but HE NEVER CHANGES! This month we wanted to share with you a story about how one person’s faithfulness can impact the lives of many. This is the story of Maria.
Maria Luisa Chacon, is a Christian school teacher who has her doctorate in Education. Maria works with one of our local church groups in Venezuela, coordinating a literacy program with children who live and work around the biggest outdoor market in Maracaibo.
It has been a blessing to have someone with her experience. Maria has graciously donated her time training and equipping the teachers involved with this literacy program. They started this February by assessing each student individually, to see what they needed to learn. This isn’t lecture style learning. Maria is passionate and dedicated to seeing that each child actually learns how to read and write.
They meet on Wednesdays and have about 70 students who come each week. Maria’s education and years of experience have shown her that education is a science. The best way to teach literacy is to first understand how a child learns. Maria applies a method that relies on activating the neocortex of the brain that awakens a person’s memory and makes learning more accessible. They have created their own program using pictures and symbols to help students learn letters and sounds, the first steps of reading.
One afternoon, a child’s mother, was paying particularly close attention to her son’s notebook. She picked up a pencil and began to write her name, amazed she told Maria that it was the first time in her life that she had ever written her name. She didn’t understand letters.
As a goal these teachers hope to teach all 70 of these students how to read and write by June. But this is not just for their current future, but their eternal one as well. All of our literacy groups end by teaching each student how to read God’s Word. They recently received a copy of the New Testament. These teachers hope that these students will believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior and multiply the work He started in them to those around them.
Would you like to help? Maria is asking for colorful books or notebooks that can be used to teach letters and sounds.