December 18, 2006
Update from Francis Wilson December 18, 2006
Can it possibly be Christmas?!? Seems like only yesterday we were frantically trying to complete three classrooms for the September 4th opening of school in San Pedro. Now 118 students have finished the first term of the 2006-07 Holy Cross Anglican School year and have happily embarked on Christmas vacation…wow…truly a miracle!
And, speaking of miracles (which we do often at Holy Cross!), I’d like to share just a few Belizean-style ones that your prayers and donations have helped bring about…….
* After days of drenching rains, the sun shone brightly on Wednesday, December 6th as Bishop Philip Wright ‘Blessed and Dedicated’ two new classrooms at Holy Cross!! The paint wasn’t dry on the walls but the entire community - parents, students, friends and local officials - joined in celebrating the first (and only!) Special Education Center on the Island and one of only seven Special Ed centers nationwide. Fourteen special needs children have joined the Holy Cross family and a new era in the education of the handicapped has begun…wow…truly a miracle!
The other classroom quickly became home to our second class of Infant I students. With 63 students in Infant I, little bodies were packed into the original 20’by 25’ classroom like sardines and effective teaching had become an impossibility. Now Miss Sharon, Miss Laura and their students have room to grow and learn and flourish in two separate classrooms…wow…truly a miracle!
* On Thursday the 7th, one of our students came to school with what appeared to be a terribly infected hand the result of a recent cat scratch. Off we went to the PolyClinic (don’t try this in the States!) where he was diagnosed and treated for a parasitic worm - ugh! A few pills and just a week later, his hand was as good as new…wow…truly a miracle!
* Later that day at our weekly staff meeting local resident, school volunteer and psychologist Marilyn Marx was leading our group in team building exercises. Of course we got off the topic and soon were discussing all the needs we have at the school. Marilyn suggested we consider a community-wide fundraiser …a 2007 calendar with pictures of our beautiful students might be just the right thing!
I must admit we looked at her like she was crazy but 8 days later off we went to the printer and the Holy Cross ‘Faces of the Future” 2007 calendar will make it into the local stores before the new year. Now that’s a miracle that ranks right up there with the parting of the Red Sea! Special thanks go to Marilyn, Cullen Walker, Richard Jacobs and Marie of Gecko Graphics who all generously donated hours of their time!
* Sunday the 10th - another day of pouring rain and prospects were dim for a good turn out for the first Holy Cross Christmas Pageant. Roads were a sea of mud and since most of our families walk everywhere, we were worried! But once again, God was at work. Bishop Wright arrived a little late (remember those roads!) as did most of our families but by 2:30 our borrowed Church was filled to overflowing. Shepherds and angles once again joined in the joy of that first Nativity, carols were sung, the Eucharist celebrated and the official Holy Cross School crosses were blessed and given to the children…wow…truly a miracle!
And those crosses are a miracle story in and of themselves! Vernon (my husband and a retired goldsmith) teaches jewelry design and manufacturing at the National Prison. Since the teachers wanted a special cross for the school, Vernon held a design competition in his class. All his students submitted drawings for a potential cross and the teachers at the school selected the winner. The three men who created the best designs were allowed out of prison for the day, under Vernon’s supervision, to attend our Christmas Pageant (don’t try this in the States either!). As they shared their stories of the transforming power of God’s love and the value of learning, the children were hanging on every word. Somehow, I think the entire day made Jesus smile!
* Wednesday evening December 13, I was privileged to hand out certificates of completion to twelve adults in our ‘English as a Second Language’ class. Teacher Laura’s eyes shown with pride as her students shared - in English! - what the class had meant to them. Your contributions enable us to offer this much needed class as well as the Saturday morning English class for our school children. Belize is an English speaking country and folks who don’t speak the language are discriminated against in all areas of life - especially in the employment sector. Learning English is the first and most critical step in the climb out of poverty and you are an important part of that process for our families at Holy Cross…wow…truly a miracle!
* And then our incredible Christmas Party and Celebration was held on Friday afternoon, December 15! Organized and coordinated by local residents, Laurie Ann and Paul, our children received Christmas stockings overflowing with goodies donated by local merchants, feasted on delicious cakes given by Casa Pan Dulce Bakery, received hand made school bags filled with school supplies sent by St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Glenview, IL, and got to sit in Santa’s lap - unbelievable! One little girl, with tears in her eyes, told me she had never received more than one present for Christmas, ever. How blessed we are to share in these miracles!!
* Saturday December 16th found us embarking on a three week ‘clean-up, fix-up, finish-up all the projects we hadn’t had time to complete’ campaign as we prepare for the resumption of classes on January 8, 2007. And best of all we began construction on the new school kitchen/canteen/temporary Church building…WOW…TRULY A MIRACLE!!!
Please continue to support the students and staff of Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in your Christmas prayers and in your Holiday giving. Miracles happen a lot more often when we join together to do the work God has given us to do!
And, our Holiday prayer for each of you is best reflected in the words of Fr. Potter of Peckham…
"May the babe of Bethlehem bring you PEACE;
May the child of Nazareth bring you JOY;
May the man of Galilee bring you STRENGTH;
May the Christ of Calvary bring you COURAGE;
May the Risen Jesus bring you HOPE;
May the Ascended Christ bring you a fore taste of GLORY.”
Much love and blessings, Francis
Donations to Holy Cross can be made by check payable to “Holy Cross Anglican School” and sent to:
Anglican Diocese of Belize
PO Box 535
Belize City, Belize
See links to San Pedro Sun archives for more information and photographs of Christmas Festivities at the school.
Dedication of Special Ed class
Holy Cross Christmas party
Kids loved getting presents
Many people's donations helped make this a success
Destiny checking out her loot
Boys enjoying the party