Seminarian Idjon Fritz, being installed as school Chaplain for Escuela Luterana la Concordia
By Pastor Ted Krey
Our school opening was celebrated Sunday evening, September 9th, in a special service in which the children of the school sang hymns and recited Bible verses. In this service Idjon Fritz, who has studies theology for four years, was installed as chaplain of our school. Idjon has taught music, French and sports for two years. He has continued to grow in his knowledge of Scriptures and we are thrilled to have him work with the pastors and vicar in pointing our parents, teachers, and students to Christ in all things. Thus far, our school has grown from 115 children last year to 138 students this year, along with one new teacher.
By Pastor Ted Krey
On Wednesday, June 6th, a Divine Service for the end of the school year for Concordia Lutheran was held. For the first time ever we worshipped outside in the school yard, thanks to a new lighting system recently installed outdoors. It was a beautiful setting with the mountains as the backdrop, and the lights of the stars also shining brightly overhead. The children came forward, class by class to recite Bible verses, and to sing hymns they had memorized, taking us through the church year, from Advent to Pentecost. It was with thankful hearts that we witnessed hearing about the faith and hope that we have in Christ Jesus our Savior, shared with us by 3 year olds, children with disabilities, the rowdy 7th graders, and their teachers too! What a joy to have a Christian school where we can talk freely about our Lord, forgiveness, new life and salvation that we find only in Him.
By Pastor Ted Krey
Our school children continue to receive the Word of God daily in morning exercises, reciting the 10 commandments, Creed and Lord’s Prayer by memory. They have also memorized different Bible texts throughout the year such as the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-7) and Isaiah 63:1-7, a Lenten passage which talks about Christ our suffering servant. they also know by heart many other Bible verses, songs and Christian hymns. A particular favorite of theirs is “Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted” to which they sing verses by memory.
We also rejoice with the fact that apparently our school children are giving witness of Christ in their homes, as in a new confirmation class that began this week, 5 of the 8 adults present were the parents of children from our school! In addition, two of our teachers are currently beginning catechism studies, one with her husband as well! We are grateful to God for out of “the mouth of babes, he has ordained praise.”
By Pastor Walter Ries, Jr.
We are grateful for the presence of a new team member, Katie Lane, who comes to us from Peru. Katie served almost two years with our Peruvian mission team, and now, for two months, will be finishing her service with us, working in particular at our school. Katie, who hails originally from Minnesota, speaks Spanish well and has aided us immensely in implementing new curriculum in the school, and with organizing groups that want to visit in June. She has also helped establish an English conversation class in Santiago to meet people and introduce them to our mission in Santiago as well. we are also grateful for her translation skills and in particular her attention to some of our school children who have needed more one on one time. We are grateful to our Lord for her cheerful willingness to serve and her Christ-centered approach to all!
Francis, who attended the Santiago Deaf School, is learning more and more signs every day. we are trying to keep up with him so we learn to communicate with him in signs as well! Estefani, who was included into first grade this past year at Concordia Lutheran School, has learned how to read and write. Junior has made progress in his fine-motor skills in writing, and is improving his cognitive processes. Moises was included into the pre-school class in January for 3 hours a day and had a successful socialization semester.
The teachers, school children, parents, and community members have fully supported the inclusion of the children into the school. We know that in the future the children of Concordia Lutheran School will help make a more inclusive society and help better the lives of people with developmental disabilities. We thank the Lord for using school inclusion to show us how we are all important members of the Body of Christ.
By Pastor Ted Krey
At the beginning of March, a volunteer group of 14 people from 5 congregations in the South Wisconsin District joined us to aid in the building of the playground of our Concordia School. On Sunday, they treated us to some good old-fashioned fun as they invited the whole community of Palmar Arriba to join them for an afternoon of square dancing. Yep, square dancing in Spanish!! Then, Monday to Wednesday saw the group build and install four teeter totters and a huge concrete slab for volleyball and basketball. How they worked and how delighted our school children are words cannot tell, but sore bodies did and yet and the delighted smiles of the children made up for it all! On Thursday, Pastor Walter Ries, Jr. led the school and group in a dedication of the new play area.
Already plans are underway to use the playground for opportunities to have joint catechism classes and volleyball leagues for youth and men.
At the end of March, a volunteer group from Spokane, WA, came. Their work focused on painting the entire school and repairing the roof. Needless to say, the school looks absolutely amazing! We were very pleased to have several members of this team back as they were here last year as well. We give thanks to our Lord for the love of the volunteers, the Kellers, and many back home who have made this possible.
If you or your church would like to find a way to support this mission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Pastor Ted Krey
One of our very dear leaders is our school principal at Concordia Lutheran School – Miss Kissayris Gebhard (pictured here with the teachers at Concordia Lutheran School). Kissayris was confirmed in the Lutheran faith three years ago this coming July. She was introduced to Pastor Ries, Jr. through a friend who was studying Romans with him while she was concluding her university studies. While the friend is no longer in church, Kissayris studied the catechism, and later Basic Christian Doctrine, and became the first Lutheran confirmed in our Santiago mission. Today, Kissayris is the principal of 120 children at our Lutheran school in the village of Palmar Arriba. This is our second year of operations, and her second year as principal. Every morning, she leads the teachers in devotions, using Portals of Prayer, and prays for the teachers, their families, and for their vocation as teachers. Pastor Ries, Jr. leads a catechism class in her mother’s home every Tuesday night with her mother, sister, one of our teachers and neighbors in attendance, and now they are also attending church as well. We give thanks to God for Kissayris and the love that the Lord has given to her in living out her life in Christ for the well-being of others! Please pray for Kissayris, her family, and the school!