The full faculty & staff of Morning Glory 2021
     We are winding down the school year. Next week students will be turning in their last assignments. We believe we will have more in-person class time next year, but there are still a lot of unknowns. But right now we are focused on finishing this year strong. September is always a busy time with Independence Day celebrations. We've had several new experiences and today we'd like to share the highs, lows, and our efforts to fulfill our mission to encourage the community. 
Some of our Honor Roll students 
Ups:   A drastic change in 6th grade

     The continued state of pandemic in Guatemala continues to take its toll. Death and sickness are the most obvious effects, but there are other, more subtle consequences that are dragging Guatemala down. We’ve noticed that many of our students want to give up towards the end of the year. Whether it’s because of conflict at home, boredom in the same routine, or even negligence from parents who leave kids alone all day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to motivate the students to finish strong.

     This problem is especially evident to Miss Areli, a 6th grade teacher, pictured below. Her students are so close to graduation, but since August, a third of them have expressed desires to simply stop studying. The reasons vary but these students are discouraged and demoralized. Their changing bodies and perspectives are difficult to manage under normal circumstances. Working through this phase during a pandemic is worse. One student even expressed “I am happier outside of my home.” Miss Areli is a very positive and encouraging person. She is a great example of a teacher who wants the very best for her students. She constantly speaks word of Life to the kids. But she could tell that her encouragement just wasn’t doing enough. The frustration wasn’t just within the students. Parents were appalled and equally exasperated with their children who didn’t want to study.  But God gave Areli an idea: something that wasn’t in the study guides, but may be able to alleviate the tension and get the students back on track.

     The idea was simple enough. Each student had to interview their parents on their childhood. Each student had to know what their parents went through to get where they are. Areli sat with a lump in her throat as she watched video after video of parents pouring out their story with their children. Many shed tears as students realized the sacrifices their parents made. Parents became vulnerable to their children, possibly for the first time ever. These interview videos created a moment for families to connect and reflect. Areli would be a firsthand witness to some important changes soon.

     Since that day, there has been a marked change in the students in Areli’s class. First of all, the students developed a trust with Areli, as if they believed more in what Areli said all along about their potential and her love for them. Areli gets many more messages now asking about the assignments. The questions are also different. Before, the students wanted a step-by-step guide on exactly what they had to answer. Areli works hard to get the students to change their thinking in preparation for Secondary School. She knows critical thinking is important and she can’t “hold their hand” in everything. After the interview assignments, she’s seen a burst of students taking initiative for themselves. The nature of the questions have changed as the student begin to explore what they are truly capable of.

     But more importantly, Areli noticed the parents with a renewed energy to support their students. Maybe the interview process helped parents reconnect with what’s more important. Maybe the vulnerability softened their hearts to have more patience and comprehension for education during a pandemic. Either way, the families in Areli’s class are more united and the students, for the most part, are back on track.

     Distance learning has obvious limitations. But Morning Glory works for a God who doesn’t. With a faithful servant like Areli and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we’ve seen that restoration has no restraints. We hope that we will have more students in classrooms next year so our ministry can be more effective. Meanwhile, we rejoice that God is still at work in our staff and families. We keep watching and listening for the next opportunity to impact students and make more Morning Glory Stories a reality.

"I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul."
- Psalm 31:7
Down:   The loss of a friend, servant, and leader

     Dean Pinney was Lori's brother and the CEO of NIMA, Morning Glory's support organization in the US. Dean passed away in late September due to COVID. We lift up the family in prayer and we miss our dear friend. Dean had been associated with Morning Glory since the very beginning. He was a critical part in establishing a strong NIMA board and after Lori's passing was a constant source of support for the local Morning Glory leaders as well. Dean loved to love people and he invested all his best efforts into his own family. We know Dean has earned his eternal reward. Louie Murillo has accepted the position of CEO of NIMA until the full Board of trustees can meet and decide on next steps. Your prayers for the family are appreciated.

Dean helping the local Junta organize
All -around: Our efforts to encourage our students from a distance

     September is normally full of all kinds of events. We have class events, school events, and community events that last for about two weeks. Suffice it to say we keep very busy in September for Independence Day festivities. Last year almost nothing happened as we were still figuring out how to educate through a pandemic. This year we wanted to do something more, knowing that the same routine of study guides and working at home was wearing on the students. So Morning Glory decided to take the lead and plan almost all the same events under different circumstances. We did several live videos (that you can see on social media here.) We divided up the students and made videos of their dances, poems, and songs. Those are on our Youtube Channel here. We even paraded through the streets in our cars to see our students. But the marching band made up of our teachers was possibly the biggest hit. Our teachers out in the extra hours of rehearsing in the sun and it paid off in the response we got from our families who loved seeing their teacher play music. Another community event even requested we repeat the presentation to use in their event as well. Literally going all over our community, Morning Glory was able to fulfill our mission to encourage the community in September thanks to some creativity, your support, a dedicated team of teachers, and  God who accomplishes much more than we can imagine. 

Below, we share some of the patriotic presentations of our students and teachers.
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With all the changes we have, we have much to praise and petition to God. 
We ask you to pray:

     - That COVID will be controlled in Guatemala so we can bring students                 back on a regular basis

     - That God will make the accreditation and expansion projects smooth and           easy for us

     - For endurance and patience for students, parents, and staff while we                 continue distance learning

     - For Dean Pinney's family as they mourn 

     - That Morning Glory leaders will make wise and brave decisions for the               program

      - That God will provide our needs as we expand our budget

We praise God for:

     - His continued provision

     - We have the budget and contacts to make improvements, such as                    expanding internet on campus for all the teachers

     - Each and every student that has stuck with us through the hard                          circumstances

     - The positive feedback and participation we have gotten from our                         Independence Day events

How can we pray for you?
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