Bolivia (MNN) — The next school year is starting, but 9% of elementary and secondary teachers in the United States are unemployed.
“We still are lacking a few teachers for the coming school year and that’s always a prayer concern that the Lord will be bringing in the right teachers we need for this year,” says Len Phillips with The Mission Society.
Whether you’re at the entry level or just retired, volunteers can come for a year or longer. Phillips says Spanish isn’t required. “Because we are an English speaking school, many volunteers can jump right in without any problem. People who do speak Spanish, that’s all the better because for many of our students Spanish is their first language.”
Len Phillips and his wife, Betsy, transferred to Bolivia from Honduras 7 years ago. Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center is an English-speaking international school serving grades kindergarten through 12th grade.
“We really see that as a real strategic ministry of bridging into the Bolivian culture and society to reach the children, and not only the children but the families of the children,” says Phillips.
The school offers English education and high academic curriculum from the United States. This especially attracts parents who’d like their kids to go on to college.
Bolivia is 95% Roman Catholic with just a small percentage of Evangelical Christians, according to the CIA World Factbook. But the school’s surrounding community experiences a mixture of spirituality.
“We see kind of the whole gambit of…the indigenous people who are still steeped in tradition religious practices, and then we see the very modern and very secular people that we encounter in Santa Cruz and some of the larger cities,” Phillips says.
The Gospel message is central to the mission at Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center. Phillips says they focus on “teaching Christian world view, teaching Christian values and principles and it’s interesting that we even see at times that families that are not Christian families…find that aspect of our school very attractive as they see many other normal schools where kids at an early age get involved in everything from smoking, drinking, drugs, sexual activity and things like that.”
Because they are a private school, they tend to attract families in the middle to upper class category. These families don’t really experience material needs, says Phillips, “But there are a lot of relational needs and just a lot of family needs so it’s been a real joy for us to see kids and their families come to know the Lord as their Savior and just to see lives transformed through the ministry of the school.”
A small group of students from Ohio Christian University went down to the school in March for a spring break missions trip. The students mostly did practical work. Some education students even got in the classrooms, shadowed teachers and tutored. They also helped with Spiritual Emphasis Week at the school and shared in special chapels each day.
Phillips asks for prayer, “For the spiritual atmosphere on our campus. That’s just a real key that the Lord would be at work and that He would continue to be opening up hearts and lives and just giving that spiritual vitality even to our teachers and staff as they minister to our students.”