Twenty-Five Years of Colegio Rio Colorado (Bolivia)
by John and Suzanne Funk
Colegio Rio Colorado, a mission-founded school near Yucumo, Bolivia, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The institution, which focuses on agricultural, technical, and general studies for middle and high school students, was started as a partnership between the Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia and the General Board of Global Ministries. Four missionary families have served Rio Colorado. Below is an account of the anniversary from John and Suzanne Funk, the current missionaries. It is from "The Vine," the Funk family's newsletter.
Twenty-five years is a long time. When something has been around for 25 years, the general consensus is that it is probably here to stay. People have faith in something that can boast 25 years. Twenty-fifth wedding anniversaries are highly celebrated. A person who has worked for a company for 25 years often retires with accolades. A business that has been around for 25 years is considered to be stable.
We are happy to share with you that the last week of May was set aside to commemorate Colegio Rio Colorado's 25 years of service to one of the poorest communities in Latin America. What a testimony to the community about the commitment of Christians worldwide.
Whenever we mention that we are with the Methodist Church, the people here always have something good to say. It is a known fact that the Methodist Church came to Bolivia and set up schools and hospitals in many communities. Many times those who benefited the most were the poor lower class, often the indigenous people. They've heard that the church was educating the indigenous people when it was illegal to do so.
Bob and Rosa Caufield decided to answer a call to be instruments for God to bring education to those who would otherwise not receive any. The Rio Colorado school came about through an international effort. All of the initial buildings were built by work teams sent by United Methodist churches, mainly from Alabama and Tennessee. The Caufields had a dream and were blessed to see it come to fruition. On May 28, 1984, the Colegio Técnico Agropecuario Rio Colorado was officially inaugurated.
Jack and Flora Warner followed the Caufields. Flora has said on numerous occasions that Rio Colorado was both the most rewarding and the most challenging place that they served. With all the buildings and infrastructure finished under the Caufields, the Warners emphasized changes in curriculum and administration. Under their watch, the school started its first computer class.
The Hudy family followed next. Peter's experience in agriculture was a natural fit. Because Estela was from Guatemala, she was able instantly to connect with the local people. Under the Hudy's watch, a science lab, a new girls' dorm, and a teacher activity room was built. The new construction was vital in meeting the needs of increased enrollment.
We are the fourth family to serve at Rio Colorado. With John's experience in administration and Suzanne's experience in education, we felt that it was a perfect match. During our short time here, we have had buildings repaired, expanded, and better utilized. Some new construction supports current programs.
We think our strength is in classroom management. We have focused on quality instruction, more discipline in the classroom, and workshops to help our teachers teach better. As with previous families, we have also spent numerous hours mentoring young people in the name of Jesus Christ.
For 25 years, churches in several states have been an integral part in the birth and the life of the Rio Colorado school. From mission teams to financial support, donations of machinery and other needed items to correspondence, for the last 25 years you have been the hands and feet of Christ to the poorest of the poor.
Read more about the work at Colegio Rio Colorado on the Funks' website at www.funk4.com.
Date posted: Jun 18, 2009