Leonda George

The Fourteen

Enthusiasm ran high for several weeks. Fourteen students were invited to lead song service, give testimonies, provide special music, and do whatever else the congregation could think of while the students remained with them. Special meetings were held, potlucks were shared, and speeches were given about how the students should conduct themselves once they begin attending the boarding academy. They even received special t-shirts reminding them of their journey:

Palawan Aid International – Kabatangan View Schools, Inc.
‘Here I Am, Send Me.’

Due to a lack of teachers and facilities at our school, 14 of our 9-12th grade Kemantian students were to be relocated to an Adventist boarding academy (high school) catering to the missionary training of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao. This school graciously accepted our students.

Our students were excited to see a new place, experience a different school and meet new friends. They were also concerned about homesickness and taking classes in a new language. Their parents pondered what their children should take with them, worried whether they would have enough rice to eat, and were sorry they would miss out on the upcoming harvest season, a highlight of Palawano culture.

The day to hike out arrived. Then the hour came to leave. Usually, hiking is a time of constant chatter and laughter, but today, parents and students were subdued, somber and thoughtful. When the transport vehicle arrived, tears started to flow. Mothers clung to their children. Teary-eyed fathers shouted last instructions to be safe and behave. Some children tried to look stoic; others sobbed. They understood it might be two long years before there would be enough money to return home for a visit. I wondered if some would change their minds about going. Still, they kept their eyes on the goal — continuing their education — with the expectation that they would return upon graduation from high school or college and serve their people as teachers, nurses and pastors.

The students have left a void in our school, churches and hearts. Their antics and jokes, their earnest questions, their growing and maturing into Christian men and women — this we have prayerfully entrusted to others.

Now, they are happy and adjusting, though at times hungry for rice. But we are all sacrificing to raise this next generation of indigenous workers.

With God’s help and your continued support, 14 attend the boarding academy (we pay room and board, but the students work for their tuition), three are in college, and 165 attend five K-8 schools. By the grace of God, little becomes much, so we pray for His sustaining power each month.

Two Palawano college graduates, Helen and Delio, have recently joined our Kemantian staff. We are hopeful of the contribution these fine young adults will make towards developing the school and students. Thank you for believing in Adventist education and investing in the future of these children and teens. The advantages of attending these indigenous Adventist mission schools and colleges are priceless.

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