Ruth Cutting bread
What is life like for students at the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana? I thought you might like to get a brief sketch. For many, it is the most severe challenge they have ever faced. Only their deep love for God and their desire to gain skills to better serve their church and community keep them going. For others, it is a dream fulfilled and the most rewarding experience of their life.
Most of our students live in the coed dorm on campus, which provides them with a tiny private room with a window, a single bed, a desk and chair, a closet, and a sink. They share a common bathroom and kitchen. Students are responsible for keeping the kitchen clean; a housekeeper cleans the bathrooms. The scholarship covers housing and they receive $150 a month for food and other living expenses, which is enough to scrape by on if they know how to budget. One student discovered that it does not cover five Cokes a day if he still wants to eat at the end of the month. Others have discovered that it doesn’t cover eating out every day and have been forced to learn to cook. One student invited me to a dinner of spaghetti noodles with ketchup and miniature pieces of chopped up sandwich ham. (The warmth of the hospitality more than compensated for the meal.)
All students on scholarship are required to take a full load of 3 classes per bimestre (8 weeks). This represents 21 class hours a week, with the assumption of 42 study hours. In addition, they must fulfill their responsibilities for 150 hours of community service, which they usually do on Wednesdays, since there are no classes that day. That adds up to a 70 hour work week. Many of them are involved with local churches in a variety of ways which fill up their Sundays. This schedule works if you cut your sleeping down to four hours a night, don’t spend a lot of time cooking, and drastically reduce your social life. Many students spend an hour or two a day talking with their families by Skype, since most have left parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, and siblings at home, and are seriously homesick.
But even so, students find time to socialize and have fun. On Friday, they planned a barbecue, with everyone chipping in to provide something. I was invited to join them, and it was a wonderful event, with students representing an amazing diversity of ages, nationalities, and denominations. We feasted on wonderfully seasoned beef and sausage, Chilean bread, Honduran tortillas, Chilean tomato-cucumber salad, Peruvian rice, Bolivian potato salad, and Panamanian cake. The campus reverberated with conversation and laughter.
With warm greetings from
Matching Fund Drive During May and June!
Dates: May 1 – June 30
Who: Any individual (not churches)
What: All gifts given toward my support during these 2 months over and above any regular giving will be doubled.
How: Gifts can be given:
· Online at www.internationalministries.org, where a special page has been established for the Matching Gifts.
· By check, made out to “International Ministries,” with a note on the memo line: “Matching gift for Ruth Mooney.” It should be sent to the Development Office, International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.
· By phone, calling the Development Office at 1-800-222-3872, ext. 2323.