It’s All About the Boys
By NMC - April 6, 2017
Posted in Partnerships, Global Impact, Stories from NMC
Their hearts were broken; their spirits were burdened. The condition of kids who lived thousands of miles away kept them up at night. Day after day, they dreamed about a place that could provide hope. When they couldn’t stand their burdens any longer, Donald and Twana Hawk sold their farm in Ohio and moved to Catacamas, Honduras, the place where their dreams and visions would become a reality.
In 1954, their family relocated to this piece of land in the middle of corn fields and pastures of grazing cattle. They opened a boarding school for the forgotten and neglected boys of Honduras, giving them a formal education in the classroom and teaching them hands-on skills that could help them get a job.
They called their school El Sembrador, The Sower, because they saw their role as seed planters. They planted seeds of education and vocational skills, and they planted seeds of the Gospel. They were simply sowers; God was the grower.
El Sembrador’s first graduating class included twelve boys, and since this class, over 7,000 boys and girls have graduated. These students have gone on to careers in a variety of fields including farming and woodworking. Some have continued their education at the university level. Some have become pastors or have planted churches. Still others have opened boarding schools similar to El Sembrador in other parts of the country.
Donald and Twana’s hearts beat for the least, the lost and the forgotten. As farmers, they simply wanted to use the gifts and talents God had given them to impact a whole generation of Hondurans. For them, it was always about the boys. Everything they did and didn’t do, every decision they made, every initiative they started, every lesson they taught, it was all about the boys.
After 63 years, this is still the mantra of El Sembrador. This isn’t to say that the girls of El Sembrador do not matter. This battle cry simply sets the focus on the students, both boys and girls. It’s not about the staff or administration. It’s not about the donors and sponsors. It’s not about the government. It’s about the students; it’s about the future generations of Hondurans.
Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America; it is the fifteenth poorest country in the entire world. About 60% of the population lives below the poverty line. About 70,000 kids live on the streets. For the lucky few who receive a good education, the opportunity to break out of this cycle is finally present.*
Students like Cecilia, an eighth grade student, don’t have to worry about travelling far from home to get a good education. She only has to travel from the nearby city of Catacamas. Because of the education she is receiving, she has the opportunity to dream big. In the future, she wants to be a doctor.
Ozny, an eleventh grade student, lives at El Sembrador thanks to the help of a sponsor. Because of the opportunities provided at the school, he has not only learned subjects like Spanish, science and math, but he also has learned how to play an instrument. He enjoys playing in the El Sembrador band, always pushing himself to do better with each practice and performance. Beyond his studies, though, El Sembrador has deeply impacted his walk with the Lord. Before coming, he knew about God. He knew about the Gospel and about the sacrifice Jesus made for him. Now, after being discipled over the years, he has a relationship with the God he had only known about before.
Dara, a tenth grade student, has had a similar experience at El Sembrador. Although she does not live on campus, she has seen the transformational power of this school. She has seen students’ lives changed and has seen her own life impacted by the Gospel because of the love and care of the faculty and staff.
6“In this place, we are not here to be farmers. We are not here to be students. We are here to complete the Great Commission and to disciple the students,” said El Sembrador Director Enoch Ulloa.
El Sembrador’s work and mission is seen clearly in the lives of their students. Even the families notice a difference in the students’ lives after they have been at the school for a while. Porfirio, an eighth grade student, has grown tremendously since coming to El Sembrador. Recently, his mom commented on his behavior. Before he went to El Sembrador, he caused a great deal of trouble for her. Now, she doesn’t have to discipline him in the same ways, because he has learned better behavior.
This life transformation is what guides the faculty and staff of El Sembrador. Stories like Dara’s, Porfirio’s, Cecilia’s and Ozny’s inspire them to carry on day after day. These stories are why Donald and Twana first started El Sembrador over 60 years ago. This place exists to provide opportunities. It exists to transform lives.
It’s all about the boys.
Here are three ways you can join El Sembrador in their work of transforming lives:
- Come to the El Sembrador Banquet: Join us April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at NMC. You will eat delicious Honduran food, hear from a student and learn more about this school. Tickets are $10 each or a whole table for $80. You can purchase your ticket by April 9 at the Ministry Center or by calling the Church Office at 574.773.7773.
- Sponsor a student: Almost all of El Sembrador’s students rely on sponsorships to keep them enrolled in classes and living on campus. This is a direct way for you to impact a student’s life! Be on the lookout for sponsorship packets in the Grand Hall April 23 and 30.
- Give toward the school: You can always give to El Sembrador either online or in service. Just mark your gift for El Sembrador.
*Statistics taken from the following website: http://afehonduras.org/about-us/our-story