A Pavilion for Vietnan

In 2007 we started The Cercadillo Project with the thought of serving the community of Cercadillo. Through the years many people from the neighboring village of Vietnan have joined in activities ranging from our sewing co-op and health initiatives to summer camps. Although we haven’t officially changed our name, for several years now we have been involved in both communities.

In June of this year we hired locals to make a very simple pavilion for us in front of Marcelina’s house in Vietnan. It isn’t as well-made as those that TIME has helped us construct in Cercadillo, but it is certainly been well-used these past few months.

We are still being asked to mask and to be socially distant, therefore this new meeting area has come at just the right time. During pre-COVID days the kids from Vietnan walked over to participate with Cercadillo kids in activities, and eventually so many were coming that we started hiring a bus to bring them. We were maxing out our space in Cercadillo. Now we have three, age-based Wednesday afternoon Kids’ Clubs in Vietnan and a Kids’ Club on Sunday afternoons in Cercadillo.

The pavilion will also serve as a gathering place for other community initiatives and for the soon-to-begin women’s Bible study that will be lead by Marcelina.

We MAY have recently found the property between the two communities that we have been searching for for years! Our dream is to purchase property that will allow us to construct a permanent school building/church/community center. Although we are very thankful for all the four pavilions and the basketball court in Cercadillo and now the pavilion in Vietnan, we look forward to the day when we don’t have to cancel activities due to the rain coming in at an angle. Will you pray with us about this new land possibility?

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Valentina: Our First Dominican Student Intern

Our sweet 10 year-old Valentina on an afternoon in August of 2012.

What a privilege it has been to watch Valentina Ferrand grow up in our various programs! A few years ago she told me that she wanted to be an elementary teacher, and thus began the dream that is starting to unfold.

Valentina recently graduated from the local public high school. She attended classes regularly and earned high grades, but it was common knowledge that she was not prepared to enter a quality university due to her level of reading, writing and math skills. After a great deal of research we discovered a four-month college prep program in the city that Valentina is currently attending.

A generous donation is providing for her official prep program, transportation and also individualized tutoring in reading, writing, computer skills and English. We are doing everything we can to set her up to be successful. Will you please pray specifically for Valentina during these four months of intensive classes?

Valentina has become one of my right hand helpers and now we are officially calling her our student intern. (Our first Dominican intern! How exciting is that?!!!) Really we are just formalizing what she is already doing and plans to continue doing throughout her university career.

Can I just confess that I am trying hard to not be a “helicopter mom?” It’s probably a really good thing that we were wearing masks when Valentina and I met with the university’s administrator. He may have thought there was something wrong with me because I was smiling so much that my face hurt and also working hard to fight back tears of joy. It was one of those times that hope seemed tangible. Hope for Valentina to have a career of her choosing. Hope that many others will follow in her footsteps. Hope that someday soon we will have a quality school where graduates won’t have to play catch-up.

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