I feel certain that everyone has their list of words to describe the year 2020 and if we were to compare lists many of our words would be the same. Of my long list I would like to illustrate just the following two: different and illuminating, as they relate to me and to Colegio Bethel.
Describing 2020 in Colegio Bethel as different is an understatement. The school year started as “normal”, the middle of January and we even hosted our first Proyecto Fe mission team in February, but 44 days later, a mere 9 weeks, on March 13th, the doors of the school were closed! The teachers no longer rushed to get inside the school before being noted as tardy…the hustle and bustle of the teachers was silenced. The kids no longer gathered outside the front door waiting for the teachers to finish their devotional time with the Lord; thus, the chatter of the kids was no longer. One thousand two hundred and fifty gallons of purified water was no longer produced daily; overflowing water tanks came to a halt as did that telltale sound of water rushing from the third floor hitting the concrete below…now there was uninterrupted time to pay attention to the filling! One thousand six hundred snacks were not prepared weekly for the children and staff…no smiling kids oohing and awing, anxious to eat their snack. The dishwashing personnel were no longer found standing in front of the sink with the sun blazing through the window, sweat pouring off their foreheads, washing a minimum of one thousand “dishes” the kids just used, while singing praises to the Lord. There was no longer laughter of the kids on the playground, bathroom faucets left open, lights left on in the classrooms and hallways or the noise of the bell signaling the end of classes. For the one living on the school property it was the overbearing sound of silence. By the grace of God, the overbearing silence became an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” as well as to prepare for what was to come. Although the longing to see the kids never left my heart, I heard the birds chirping, singing and fighting. I heard and watched the squirrels racing each other as they jumped from branch to branch in the trees. I even heard and finally found the frogs and toads croaking in the grassy area, I imagine they were taking advantage of not being stepped on by the racing feet of the kids during recess! My attention was even brought to the nasty insects that were trying to overpower and destroy a few of the beautiful trees on the school grounds.
We, at Colegio Bethel, were able to “celebrate” graduation with the Kindergarten, sixth and ninth grade classes. Although each graduation was simply the act of graduation attended only by the student and his or her parents; it was a special time with more attention given to each student! At last I was given an opportunity to see, listen to, but not hug, the kids. The day was full of joy and with moments of tears…one that still brings tears was a little kindergarten boy, who, as I was removing his graduation gown and cap, looked me in the eye and asked: “Pamela, now can I come back to school?”
This past Wednesday we had our Christmas celebration, very different from past years, but exciting and very special. We celebrated Christmas one class at a time. We briefly shared about the joy this season brings to our hearts because of Jesus’ birth despite the Pandemic. It was sad to not be able to hear them sing, because of their masks; but exciting to have them here at the school. For many, social distancing is becoming a way of life, but for others as they came to take their picture with their gift, they automatically got on my lap and gave me a hug; I could not resist!
Thank you, Proyecto Fe sponsors, for providing this special Christmas time for the students of Colegio Bethel and for me.
Last, but not least, I want to say a special thank you to all of you who make up the “Proyecto Fe family”. This worldwide pandemic made life difficult, many people lost jobs…thus incomes. Others lost family members, dear friends and or loved ones. We all experienced many different emotions, some stronger more intense than others. Many could have justified “bailing out” … thank you Proyecto Fe family for continuing to support us here at Colegio Bethel. Your love and support and the love and grace of God allowed us to finish out this year!
We love you and we thank you. Merry Christmas! Pamela Chevalier