Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's Small, Kind and Loves to Bond?

Carbon, the foundation of biology, is awesome because it is small (so it can bond and create beautiful shapes); it is kind (not greedy about electrons), and because it loves to bond.
I always thought that scientists trying to find life on other planets look for water because life as we know it requires water. Honestly I haven’t thought about it much at all, but I was still quite surprised to hear that finding water is important because it indicates the presence of carbon.

What, you may wonder, does carbon have to do with providing resources and training for youth leaders in Latin America? Besides the obvious that they’re all carbon based life forms, my recent forays into learning about biology give me a way to see what God is doing in the Youth Leadership Institute this year.

The school is in its fifth scholastic year and although the results in the lives and ministries of the students are sufficient for us to be pleased, another part of the reality is that the school isn’t economically self-sufficient as we have all along desired it to become. The student’s tuitions make up only half of the annual budget. The other half comes from a local argentine donor who has provided a sort of economic life support system, while the school has tried a variety of ventures to increase the cash flow. We’re like a carbon molecule in need of a few more electrons to have a full shield.

In 2014 the Youth Leadership Institute is forming new shapes, bonding in more ways with more partners. The directors have created extension programs in cities around the country so people who cannot move to Buenos Aires for a year can receive eight of the courses.

We taught our first extension course last weekend to 40 students in Santa Fe, Argentina, which is about six hours north of Buenos Aires. They came from a three state area with some travelling hours to be at the event at 8 AM on a Saturday morning. At another extension site 1300 miles/2250 km south in the Patagonia had a hundred and fifty participants. Two more extension partnerships will begin later this year, one of them in Uruguay.

Understanding the strengths of the carbon molecule encourages me because the Youth Leadership Institute has always been small, kind and eager to bond.

It’s fun to see new shapes emerging from new kinds of bonds. We hope these new shapes will help the school move towards economic sustainability, but meanwhile we know that it is spreading tools and encouragement to people who desperately need them both.


Cesloq said...
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Cesloq said...

We are a lot of carbon atoms spreading life all over Latin América.
And you (Tim and Annette) are the catalysts that provide the initial spark for an incredible large chemical reaction. Thank you.

God bless you.
César (former student IEJ Argentina)