Powerful MIssion Trip Experiences at Jubilee:


Written by Mark Van Zanten (Jubilee Board member and Co-Founder of The Potter’s House)
As our Mission team landed on Saturday, July 23rd to spend a week with the Romeros in their home and serving at Jubilee,  we learned that a 37 year-old niece of two of the teachers, and mother of one of Jubilee’s 5th graders was dying of kidney failure. A prayer vigil had been held the night before and as that small gathering of family and friends prayed and listened to David’s message, eight of them gave their life to Jesus. On Sunday, she passed away. On Tuesday, we heard that the twenty year-old daughter-in-law of Miss Vicki, Jubilee’s Kindergarden Teacher Aide, was attacked and brutally murdered as she walked a block down the street to purchase diapers. Thursday, David’s doctor drained his arthritic knee and told him he needed to be off his feet for the next three days. We became well aware that Jubilee was in the midst of spiritual warfare. This wave of suffering and violence could cripple a school’s morale and bring it to its knees in a state of hopelessness. But this is not the way of Jubilee. Jubilee is committed to following Jesus, through obstacles and hardships, and believing his promises of hope and restoration. We follow a God who knows his way out of the grave and out of pain, suffering, and death comes resurrection power and new life. It is evident that Jubilee relies on its supporters and donors for funds to keep operating, but just as important is time lifted up in prayer on the school’s behalf. The staff and teachers covet your prayers.
Monday morning we witnessed the Jubilee students and staff worship God with unbridled freedom and joy. Through the musical expertise of Tim and Paola Essery, students are being trained to be praise band members and liturgical dancers. Classes are held on Wednesday afternoon with the aid of Jubilee’s Music Academy teachers who are professional musicians as they give lessons on guitar, keyboard, bass, percussion, voice, and trumpet to a wide range of students.  Jubilee’s music program is flourishing at a high level and yet the focus remains constant: honoring Jesus with their gifts and talents and worshipping Him from a well of gratitude. Beginning the week with three separate worship services (lower el, upper el, and MS) was an invigorating way to launch into our week of service. Our goal with our team of eleven ranging in age from 8- 70 was to give the teachers a break and introduce some lessons/ material into their classrooms that they could build on. The Middle School students were recipients of an interactive two-day workshop on the art of leadership that emphasizes the importance of listening.  There was also an introduction to problem-solving in Math that comprised learning strategies that would assist in solving a multi-layered problem in steps and then learning to listen to each other in a small group format. A number of the Elementary classes had the opportunity to act out various Bible stories, replete with costumes and props, and then summarize the meaning as it applied to their lives, i.e. the importance of keeping a promise in the story of David and Mephibosheth and Jesus’s deep compassion in the story of the raising of Lazarus. There were lessons on the art of origami, playing the ukelele, and assorted card games which keyed in on Math strategy, word building, and memory; i.e. Rat-a-Tat Cat, Uno, Bananagrams, and more which we left with the school.
  Three significant highlights were the handing out of 60 Adventure Bibles in Spanish to the 4th and 5th grade classes. Many of the students held the Bibles close to their hearts and gingerly looked through the pages as though they had discovered a treasure. We prayed over the students with one teacher pointing out that the Bible is not a relic that you store in a museum but it’s God’s gift to us to guide our hearts and minds and feed us with spiritual food.  We also had the opportunity to pair up and pray over each teacher and staff member. We were struck by the openness and vulnerability of the staff as they opened up their lives to us. They deeply welcomed and appreciated our prayers of blessing and assurance. Lastly, the image that will remain for all of us is the sheer joy on so many of the students’ faces as we greeted them in the morning. We were reminded again, that despite the crime, poverty, and despair often felt in their neighborhood of La Era, Jubilee is a sanctuary where their hopes and dreams can be nurtured as they grow into well-rounded, mature followers of Jesus.