Of All Nations: The Growth of Calvary’s International Schools

By: Joe Wilson | Head of Lower Schools
As a ministry of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (CCFL), CCA has been presented with unique opportunities to make disciples of all nations. Joe Wilson – CCA’s Head of Lower Schools and CCFL Mission Advisory Board Member – shares an update on how CCA students and staff are getting into the global story God is writing by partnering with CCFL missionaries who are running flourishing Christian schools in Central and South America.

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In Matthew 28:19, the verse that inspired Calvary Christian Academy’s (CCA) mission, Jesus commands his followers to “make disciples of all nations”.

While CCA has been making disciples for the past 23 years in the melting pot that is South Florida, it has also been presented with the unique opportunity to reach the nations as a ministry of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale (CCFL). This symbiosis has in turn afforded students and staff with opportunities to develop a global, Gospel-centered mindset.
This symbiosis has in turn afforded students and staff with opportunities to develop a global, Gospel-centered mindset.
CCFL’s missionary partners have planted churches globally, and some have even opened Christian schools through these churches. This week, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Elementary students got to meet a few of these missionaries in their classrooms and learn what it means to share the gospel abroad. And during today’s International Day Chapel, all Lower School students heard from former CCA administrator Robert Aguayo – a Calvary missionary who planted a church and Christian school in Mexico.

Click here to learn how The Aguayo Family has partnered with CCA for over 15 years to give 11th grade students the opportunity to go on an annual mission trip to Mexico.

Myself along with other CCA administrators and faculty have traveled to these Christian schools in Central and South America that were founded by CCFL missionaries. It has been a blessing to pour into these schools’ leaders and teachers who are eager to reach their communities with the love of Jesus. We have been able to help these partner schools launch and operate successfully by providing guidance, encouragement, as well as academic/branding resources.
It has been a blessing to pour into these schools’ leaders and teachers who are eager to reach their communities with the love of Jesus.
The success these schools have experienced over the past several years is truly remarkable. This past year, enrollment has reached an all-time high at several schools. On top of the enrollment growth, two schools moved into larger, upgraded buildings, which I got to witness firsthand.

Guatemala’s Growth

 
After planting Calvary La Esperanza in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Jeff and Nicole Stone launched Calvary Christian School (CCS) in 2015. With humble beginnings, the school started in the living room of a house that CCS rented. This school year, which starts in January in Guatemala, CCS moved into a new campus location – the fourth in just eight years, reaching a total of 410 enrolled students.

CCS is meeting a genuine need in their community. The desire for an authentic Christian school is undeniable in Quetzaltenango, as families have come in droves. Growing by one grade level each year, CCS now serves students through eighth grade.

Since the inception of Calvary Christian School, many grades have reached a wait pool status, meaning that students have been turned away. The new school location is almost triple in size compared to the previous school, which means interested families can enroll their children without space constraints.

 
Earlier this month, myself and Pastor Reuben Ramsaran – a CCFL Family Ministry Pastor and CCA dad – traveled to Guatemala to celebrate the opening of this new campus. It is located in the center of town and used to be a Catholic college for many decades. This new building will allow for enrollment growth of up to 700 students and the ability to host after-school sports – a luxury and rarity in Guatemala.

By offering Calvary’s Passing on the Legacy of Faith parenting classes, daddy-daughter dances, and family retreats, Calvary La Esperanza has been able to draw in parents to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Many students and their parents have come to faith – praise God!

“We desire to reach families with the gospel. It’s why we opened CCS. The best way to reach parents is through their children,” said Pastor Jeff.

 
In an effort to continue equipping CCS’s teachers with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively minister to their families, CCA Fort Lauderdale was able to send Ms. Menya Jefferson – a High School French teacher who has experience teaching in other countries – to CCS this past summer to train and encourage these fellow teacher-ministers. She looks forward to returning back this summer to continue the work she started!

God’s Provision in Colombia

CCA Cartagena opened its doors in 2021 as a result of Santiago and Paula Amin planting Calvary Cartagena in 2013. Shortly after, they helped plant a church and school on the neighboring impoverished island of Tierra Bomba (2021) in partnership with CCFL missionaries Alex and Carolina Diaz. Since opening, they have seen incredible academic and developmental growth in the students, and many have come to a saving faith in Christ!

 
Over the past three years, donors have financed the school in the form of financially supporting all of its students. This past year, CCA Tierra Bomba reached 18 sponsored students, maxing out the building’s capacity (two bedrooms in a residential home).
It only took one donor to respond to this need and fully fund a new building for the school.
The need was clear. They needed a new building to properly serve their students and continue to grow the school. It only took one donor to respond to this need and fully fund a new building for the school, which is in the final stages of construction! Now, with the new, two-classroom building outfitted with restrooms, CCA Tierra Bomba can serve 32 students.

 
The ministry opportunity on the island is rich, with many parents vying for their children to be part of the work the Lord is accomplishing through the school. The desire is for donors to step up and support this work, with the opportunity for an additional 14 students to be sponsored at $150 per month. The Lord has shown up time after time, and we know he will continue to do so on the island.

How to Get In the Global Story

If you have a burden for sharing the love of Jesus in other countries, I highly encourage you to check out the opportunities listed below to get involved in the work God is doing globally. You can also email me at JosephW@CCAEagles.org, and I’d be happy to connect you to a fitting ministry opportunity.

  1. Attend Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Global Weekend services (January 27-28, 2024).

  2. Sponsor a student for $150 per month at CCA Tierra Bomba. If you’re interested and would like more information, please reach out to me at JosephW@CCAEagles.org.

  3. Consider going on a mission trip through Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.

  4. Inform others about CCA’s International Student Program that makes it possible for students from around the world to receive a Christian education on CCA’s Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood campuses.

  5. Pre-K/Kindergarten Parents – consider enrolling your child in CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Spanish Immersion program that currently matriculates through the seventh grade. We are one of the few schools in the state of Florida to offer this unique program. Becoming fluent in Spanish will equip your child to use their gifts and talents to serve a global community.

  6. Pray for CCA’s 8th-grade student missionaries as they prepare to travel to the Bahamas and minister to the people on the island of Eleuthera.

“For God so loved the world . . .” –John 3:16

 
 
Joe Wilson joined the CCA family on staff in 2008 and currently serves as the Head of Lower Schools and Director of Finance and on CCFL’s Mission Advisory Board. He holds a master’s degree from FAU in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s in Finance from Flagler College. Joe and his wife Erika attend Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and have two boys who attend CCA: Caleb (3rd) and Benjamin (1st). Joe has had the opportunity to serve as a consultant and encouragement to the schools mentioned in this article.

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