Since 2007, Threads of Hope has been praying about building a school for the Aninuan Village community. Our initial thought was to begin with an elementary school. After some investigation, we determined the greater need was for a secondary school. The nearest high school is 8 kilometers from Aninuan. Many families can't afford the cost of transportation to the existing high school, so the children drop out of school.
When the necessary funds were available, we felt the Lord was directing us that this was the time to start building. We planned to make the school as an addition to the already existing Minisitry Center.
The specs were approved and construction of an 8 classroom school, complete with a stage overlooking the pre-existing basketball court, was completed in June of 2013.
We knew the timing was right, when Ben and Sara Coltrane contacted us about joining us in our efforts of starting an education program in our village. He and his wife had come here on a mission trip in 2013. While ministering to the children here, others on their short term mission team immediately saw that this was a great fit for Ben and Sara. After returning home, they felt God tugging on their heart strings to go back to Aninuan to serve the community there, and contacted Alex about that desire. What they discovered was that the timing was perfect, and it appeared the Lord was answering both of our prayers.
Ben had experience as both a teacher and a school administrator. He has taught at junior high level and at a technical college. He was an elementary principal for 3 years and most recently was director of the program at the technical college. He even has had experience in staff development. It seems God had been preparing him long before either of us knew he would be serving in the Philippines.
Ben Coltrane, his wife Sara, and their four children, Clara (10), Noah (8), Elliott (5) and Samantha (1) are already in Aninuan getting settled in to their apartment next to the Marshes. The kids are enjoying living seaside.
Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." Not only did we get one teacher and administrator, but He provided a music teacher as well. Sara is certified to teach K-12. She has been very involved in the kids' Sunday school worship time, as well as vacation bible school. She has also coordinated a music and drama camp for years. She plays flute, piano and is learning guitar. She has only been in the Philippines for a couple of weeks and has already taken the time to teach the children songs in English. Ben has already begun interviewing people in the community as well as others involved in education in the Philippines, to help determine the greatest needs for education in our village.
We welcome them to the Philippines, and to Aninuan, where they, Lord willing, will help us launch a new Christian education program.