Well it's finally open! After many months of theorizing and speculating, looking and listening, cleaning and preparing, we finally opened the wood-shop in Los Guido!! Many of you saw the pictures of the shop that we rented on February first, and the amazing transformation that was started with the JMU (James Madison University) and Jupiter Christian groups in March. Since they left I have been frantically working to build sturdy shop tables, stools, and lots of other things to prepare the shop. Normally it wouldn't have taken me a month and a half to build, but I had to build everything out of pallet wood.
We have a company that throws them away and has agreed to call us whenever they have enough for us to take. It's been quite the experience trying to utilize this scrap wood and turn it into something usable. This is also the wood that we use for all of our class projects! I have really enjoyed the process of experimenting knowing that I will be able to teach these boys to use "trash" to make something beautiful and possibly make money with it.
On May 17th our first group of the summer arrived and while they were in orientation on the 18th, we officially opened for our first day! I had approximately 25 people come and ask about the classes the previous 3 days and so I had no idea how many kids to prepare for. I only have tools and space for 12 kids per class session and right now we have two classes per day. In the very first class we had four boys which was absolutely perfect. The class in the afternoon had four more. The next day it expanded to 14 over all and by thursday I had to turn kids away. I believe that after two weeks we have had 38 kids come and finnish at least one project! Our first project was a very simple shelf that required the boys to use hand saws, screwdrivers, hammers and a lot of sand paper. They also got a crash course in staining. Over all it was a big hit! Check out some of the pictures below.
These boys all returned to do project #2 which was a very small step stool. For this one they had to cut some curves and learn to use the coping saw. The younger boys just want to get on with the projects so they don't look all that great, but the older boys really excel and make some really nice projects! It's amazing already to see the boys opening up to me. I have already been able to share with a few of them the reason that we're here doing what we're doing. I shared with some of them, just this last Thursday, about how God has been faithful to me and loves us all so much. I know that in the future we will be able to get so much more in depth and really be able to share the love of Christ in different ways. Please pray that God will continue opening doors for me to speak into their lives. Pray also that God would bring those that really need to be there in and the rest would fall away. With only 12 spots in the class we really need God to be choosing who is there. It is always so hard to turn them away, especially when I can see the disappointment on their faces. Pray also for wisdom about how and when to expand. There are so many kids and so many more adults that would like to come and learn that I could literally have full classes 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This could get really draining on me and the family. Pray for me that God would show me exactly what my responsibility is and how to guard my time with my family.
Thank you to everyone who has come to help and all of you that support us financially. This is really an extension of your gifts! I pray that God would bless you all as you live your life and give so that we can see Him work through us here. Finances are a big thing for us but we know that God is bigger. If you'd like to give towards our need here or towards the shop you can contact Students International through the "contact us" button at www Stint.com. As a family we are still about %15 short of our goal and we are also needing to find people who'd like to support the shop in the future. Right now the shop is funded through August, but has a monthly expense of $700 for rent, utilities and supplies. Again thank you for your support of what God is doing!