From their earliest days, missions have valued education in the countries in which they work. In addition to their evangelistic work they started schools – 57,000 around the world by 1935, plus “the first modern universities in India, China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, and Africa. In many countries, missionaries were the first to insist on the education of girls, despite public opposition.” 1
True to form, our partner missions in the north of Brazil have emphasized education from the beginning of almost every new outreach. The planting of independent, locally-led churches required leaders and disciples who could access the Bible and so many other written resources on their own. We have felt enormously privileged to uphold these efforts logistically, with our aircraft and dedicated pilots and support staff.
Adapted from the blog of one of Asas de Socorro’s ministry partners.
Helena* is the staff person responsible for one of our partner’s education efforts. One of our Asas pilots had the privilege of flying Helena and Miriam*, a top official from the state education department, to visit the schools started by this mission. The state government had decided it should assume responsibility for these schools, including responsibility for paying the indigenous teachers’ salaries. But first these teachers would have to pass proficiency tests. Test Day was flying in!
Helena, at her request, had been authorized to rework the test questions to adapt them to the indigenous culture, while still holding their evaluative capabilities. The government program is developed in Portuguese, so Helena helped the teachers prepare material for the eight required subject areas (one of those eight being Portuguese), giving classes, explaining the material in the native language where they live and producing alternative materials to help their understanding.
Since the teachers were still working on their Portuguese and the tests would be in Portuguese, it was a challenge to teach them simple things so that they could understand enough to answer the questions correctly so she even wrote tests as a form of training for the proficiency tests.
Miriam saw for the first time the reality of running a school within an indigenous culture and language. Seeing and interacting with the indigenous teachers firsthand, she gained a whole new appreciation for the challenges they face in order to meet government requirements, and she expressed her admiration for all who were involved. Miriam was impressed by the dedication and determination of the teachers, as well as that of Helena and the other mission staff living in the communities supporting these schools.
This is one of the many reasons why Asas de Socorro continues to fly. With your help to provide fuel we can GIVE WINGS TO THOSE WHO GIVE THEIR LIVES so that the message of salvation and God’s all-encompassing lovingkindness can touch the lives of those living in remote areas of the Amazon jungle.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of those cited.
1 From “Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion”, by Dana Roberts
-Article used with permission.