Once upon a time, an old man was walking on the beach after a storm has passed. He saw a young boy bending and picking up something from the sand. He asked the young boy, “What are you doing?” The young boy paused then threw a starfish into the ocean.
“The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high they will die unless I throw them back into the water,” the boy said. The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another fish, and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. He turned to the old man, smiled and said, “It made a difference on that one!”
This is the story that Partners in Ministry (PIM) Director Shelley Meritt shared during the PIM celebration on March 19, 2018. As I was looking around the room, I was thinking that these students are like starfish washed onto the shore of IGSL to be trained. And after two to four years we will throw them back to their ocean where they belong. It made me think, “Is this worth it? Are we really making a difference?”
One graduating lady from Vietnam said that PIM made her a better partner to her husband, a godly mother to her children, and a faithful servant to God. Her storm when she came to IGSL is her difficulty in speaking in English. She felt so lonely then as she cannot talk to people in IGSL. She had a hard time living in a new environment. Through the English class in PIM, she became more confident to speak and was able to attend the program. This enabled her to undertake her role as a mother and a wife, as well as increase her capacity to impact her country.
Another lady from Sri Lanka faced her storms here in IGSL when her family went through one medical crisis after another. Imagine yourself in her shoes: you cannot understand nor communicate in English; you are in a new environment; and you have to take care of your husband who had chicken pox on your first day in the Philippines, for your daughter who had a bone operation in her arms due to an accident, for another major operation of your husband after two years of severe pain in the stomach. But this lady saw how God provided a second family for them here in IGSL: people who were willing to help, people who left groceries on their doorstep, and people who prayed for them.
Highlights of the PIM Closing Ceremony
The last lady who shared her story is from the Philippines. Her storm while in IGSL is not her studies nor cultural adjustments but on raising a special child. Through PIM, she learned how to be a loving mom to this child and be able to journey with her daughter as she first struggled with the disabilities. Because of her patience, as well as love and encouragement from the IGSL community, her daughter was able to be part of the homeschooling group here in campus. She is very confident and able to socialize well with playmates and people here in the community.
These are just three stories from the 32 Partners in Ministry ladies who graduated this school year. We are throwing them back to their countries and ministries. Looking back to the two to three years of journey, was it worth it? Yes! The things that they learned inside and outside of the classroom made a difference and will make a difference where God has called them to be.
(This article was written by Shelby Zaragosa, PIM Faculty)
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