Jorge Graduation

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For the last 7 years, I have known Jorge Alberto Fernandez Campos and been able to watch him grow, mature, lead and develop as a young man. On October 19, I got to watch him stroll across his university stage and receive his college diploma. What a blessing!

When I first met Jorge (2006),he had just returned from a mission trip (alone), as a 18 year old serving with other missionaries in Romania and Spain. After discussing many things about his future, family and ministry, we decided to invite him to the USA and do an internship with V2H.

Me and Jorge

Jorge and I at a church event in Miami, 2007

Sure enough, Jorge came and traveled with me and Casey Jones for several months in 2007. He arrived in Atlanta and basically lived with me from January until July. He helped with learning some spanish songs in sign language but he also learned some english songs and performed along with us on our many travels throughout the east coast. He shared his testimony at schools, churches, and youth groups, impacting them with his heart and lessons like the “Pencil”. He attended his first George Camp in Miami that year before heading back to El Salvador.

Since that time, he brought a team of 13 to the USA with a project we called ToGetHer(e). The students who came were able to share performances at the Atlanta School For The Deaf, do work in Chattanooga, TN, Kings Mountain, NC as well as challenge and encourage our local WAVE teams. Jorge has worked tirelessly in ES, helping not only our USA teams in the summer with trips but a vast array of teams coming from the USA all year long.

Because of his well-spoken english, he is often given the chance to interpret for americans on mission trips to El Salvador but he also leads Bible studies and assists at his church in various ways, teaching students on Sundays, leading mission expeditions to places like Nicaragua, among many other short-term projects. One of the mission projects that has become a mainstay is in Suchitoto.

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Jorge and I at his graduation 2013

For over 2  years now, Jorge has been taking small groups of people out to a village called Suchitoto. It’s a small farming community that some missionaries from Washington state have helped develop. Jorge has been working diligently there teaching them english, mentoring and discipling the children, helping establish an acting and photography ministry, and seeking to help them with sustainable living conditions and food.

SAM_3865Over the course of the few years, Jorge has been immersed in much schoolwork as well. You can imagine the enormity of college life and trying to get school fees paid, plus running a ministry that is being started from scratch. Yet, he has thrived and done very well. Not only has he accomplished obtaining a degree in Psychology but the ministry there is well underway to getting their NGO (Non-Government Organization status). Needless to say, he’s been busy! And God has been blessing.

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It was with great joy and pride that I was able to attend his graduation and share this wonderful experience with Jorge and his family. They are my family too. I not only attended the graduation but was invited to say a few words at his graduation lunch. I prepared some words and signed the song “Words I would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets for him. Many were in tears by the end, myself included.

Over the years we have grown very close and shared many wonderful times together in El Salvador and the USA. On behalf of Jorge, let me say a huge “THANK YOU” to all of you have contributed to V2H over the last 6 years and helped us give to him to pay his school fees, buy his clothes, sponsor his trips, and helped provide for him to obtain this degree. Thank you for making such a meaningful investment in his future and eternity! GRACIOUS!SAM_3968

V2H Celebrates Grads

This year Vision 2 Hear is happy to see several students who have long been part of our ministry graduate and prepare for the next steps in their faith journey with God. It has been such a joy to serve alongside these young men and women in various ways over the course many years and some for as long as 6 years! We praise God for His blessing in your lives and we are so very thankful for your years of service and faithfulness. May God continue to use you even more as you go. We love you all: AJ, Alicia, Buddy, Emily, Kaylee, Olivia, Rachel, Porschia, and Tristan!

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Finishing Well

As my thoughts have been on the class of 2012 the last couple of days, I have been thinking about what sentiments to give them in their last few weeks before moving on into the great unknown. I’d like to add a few more thoughts that can hopefully be helpful and challenging.

Paul finishes up his letter to Timothy in the book of 2 Timothy by saying:

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

What would it take to be able to say those words on graduation day? What would you have to do in these last few weeks before Pomp and Circumstance is echoing through your ears as you walk across that stage?

1) Remember this is a fight to endure! The last few weeks of school will no doubt be filled with many celebrations, parties and memorable moments but don’t let your guard down! Satan will not hesitate to take a shot if he can even in the final round.

8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9

Even though you are near the end and have endured much, there are still ways for you to lose in the end. Don’t allow compromise, pride or peer pressure to seep in and steal the joy of finishing well. You may have had a difficult year or years and the finish line is in sight…don’t lose sight now! Fight!

2) Remember this is a race to finish! It’s not about being the fastest but the finisher. Far too many Christians get focused on the wrong things. Image and sin control, behavioral modification and sin management become normal for many teens going through middle and high school. What tends to happen is that many students become overwhelmed with the fact that perfection is unattainable and therefore dropout of the race altogether. They feel that if they can’t “win”, then why “run”? Paul is clear here that the emphasis is on finishing not winning!

On graduation day there will only be one Valedictorian and yet everyone will get a diploma…those who meet the requirements that is. In these last few weeks of school don’t focus on being perfect, focus on finishing well. Focus on making sure you have made things right with people. Make sure that you express forgiveness and demonstrate peace. When you fail a test, study more and prepare better…surely you will graduate even if you fail a test! It’s not the test that fails you…it’s the teacher. In this spiritual case, Christ has already promoted you and all you have to do is cross the finish line. Run to the end. If you fall down, get back up and start running again. It doesn’t matter if you come in last place…just finish and make every effort to finish well.

Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.Proverbs 24:16

3) Remember this is a faith to keep. In the end, when all is said and done, what will matter most to you is how you depart the school. Paul was nearing the end of his life when he was penning the words “I have kept the faith” to young Timothy. He was able to say with great joy that he had kept the faith and had no regrets. Keeping the faith is really about what you leave behind. What kind of legacy will you leave? As Paul had invested in Timothy, so you too should be looking to impart your words of life, wisdom and knowledge to those around you. There are certainly younger eyes watching you from somewhere in your life. Impart to them your love, faith and hope. Make an impression upon them as you make your exit. Allow their hearts to be warmed by seeing you finish well. This will give them reason to continue the faith knowing that you kept your faith all the way to the end!

Graduation Day or Commencement is really a spring board into your future but don’t jump quite yet. Make the most of these last few weeks and share your life, stories, and memories with those you love. Live up and live out your faith. Take your life more seriously than ever but don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t laugh and have fun! You get one shot at finishing this race well, so run well and fight hard all the way to the end. And as you walk across that stage on graduation day you will not only be proud but many others will be too because they will know you finished well and didn’t compromise your faith!

 

George Lockhart