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Our project has entered phase 3 (of 6)! The training phase!  Zap and Linda Martin are in Paraguay finalizing preparations for the Special Education training that will begin March 7th!  The rest of the team will arrive in Paraguay on March 4th. 

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The number of states in Paraguay… each state will be bringing at least 2 leaders (técnicos) from their education department to attend our special education training. 


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The expected number of attendees that will be present during the Special Education Training March 7-11th. The attendees will include the ‘técnicos’ from each state as well as directors and teachers from area schools. Thanks to your generous donations, we will able to provide 100                         resource manuals with all of our presentation materials so that
                          attendees can share the information with others from their state!   


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 The number of presentation slides prepared by our trainers specifically for this project! Countless hours of thought, insight and preparation went into these slides to make them exceptional! 


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The number of translators it took to get all of this great information into Spanish!  A HUGE thank you to all of our translators – especially Ruthie Sammons, who bravely took on nearly two days’ worth of the translations herself… and to Arami Silva, for diligently reviewing the                                     translations for accuracy. A huge THANK YOU to Char Mishler, Gisel                                      Barrett, Edgar Flores and Iliana Garcia for jumping in to help us in our                                 final hour of need!  And, our awesome translators from Paraguay, Mume                              Correa and Alex Santander for their consistent and ongoing support!
                          We appreciate you ALL tremendously! 


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The number of ‘pilot schools’ who will be trained next week on how to implement individualized plans for children with special needs! Our prayer is that this helps provide long-term sustainability and consistency of supports for children with special needs! 


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The number of training hours we will spend providing special education awareness, theory and strategies!  While that's not many considering all that there is to know, we pray it's just the beginning of continued information sharing! Please pray for open minds and hearts next week; that                          this training would make an eternal impact!


 
 
Not a day goes by that I don't think about how thankful I am that God has called us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves... andhow thankful I am for your support through this Paraguay Inclusion Project journey!  I can't say it enough... thank you, thank you, thank you!! 

Our team is hard at work here in the States, preparing for the training we will provide in Paraguay in March. It's not an easy task figuring out how to teach 75-100 people (with no previous special education experience) how to implement effective inclusive education in just one week!!  Each one of our team members (see pic below) has studied at the university level for at least 7 years in this field! Condensing the 'most important pieces' into one week seems impossible at times, but thank God we have an incredibly capable and diligent team! 

Along with the training development, our team is busy raising awareness and support for this next phase of our project. It costs $2,500 per team member to travel to Paraguay for 10 days to implement the training phase of this project.  We anticipate sending 6-8 team members, which means we need to raise $15,000-$20,000 dollars in the next 3 months! Again, this seems impossible- but we serve a God who specializes in 'the impossible'.  

Here's how you can help!!

1) Please add us to your daily prayer list!  
  • We need prayer for our team members, as we all have busy lives and the time involved in planning this training is enormous! Please pray for our clarity, wisdom and time management! 
  • Please pray that those receiving the training in Paraguay would come eager to learn and implement what we teach.
  • Please pray for the finances of this trip so that we can bring the best possible team with us to Paraguay!!
  • Please pray that all of the 'logistics' would come together smoothly. 

2) Please consider 'Sponsoring a Specialist'. Your giving is impacting an entire country!! 

3) Please share this project with anyone you feel may have a heart to see children with special needs in Paraguay have access to education. We'd love to share with them all that we're doing and help them get involved! 

AGRADECIMIENTO y desarrollo de la CAPACITACIÓN 

No pasa un día que yo no pienso en lo agradecida que estoy de que Dios nos ha llamado a ser parte de algo más grande que nosotros mismos … y como estoy agradecido por tu apoyo con el Proyecto de Inclusión Paraguay. No puedo decir lo suficiente ... gracias, gracias, y gracias!!

Nuestro equipo está trabajando duro aquí en los Estados Unidos, preparándonos para la capacitación que proporcionará en Paraguay en marzo. No es una tarea fácil encontrar la manera de enseñar a 75-100 personas (sin experiencia previa de educación especial) la manera de implementar la educación inclusiva eficaz en tan sólo una semana! Cada uno de nuestros miembros del equipo (ver foto abajo) han estudiado a nivel universitario durante al menos 7 años en este ámbito! Condensar el 'mayoría de las piezas importantes' en una semana parece imposible a veces, pero Gracias a Dios tenemos un equipo muy capaz y diligente!

Junto con la capacitación para el desarrollo, nuestro equipo es ocupado creyendo la conciencia y apoyo de nuestro proyecto. El precio para viajar a Paraguay es $2,500 por cada miembro del equipo durante 10 días. Anticipamos el envío de 6-8 miembros del equipo, lo que significa que tenemos que recaudar $15,000 - $20,000 dólares en los próximos 3 meses! Una vez más, esto parece imposible, pero servimos a un Dios que se especializa en 'lo imposible’. Aquí es cómo usted puede ayudar!


1) Por favor, nos añade a su lista de oración diaria!
  • Necesitamos orar por nuestros miembros del equipo, ya que todos tenemos vidas ocupadas y el tiempo involucrado en el entrenamiento de la planificación es enorme! Por favor oren por nuestra claridad, sabiduría y la gestión del tiempo!
  • Oremos para que los que recibieron la capacitación en Paraguay sería llegar con ganas de aprender y aplicar lo que enseñamos.
  • Por favor oremos por las finanzas de ese viaje para que podamos llevar el mejor equipo posible a Paraguay con nosotros!
  • Oremos para que todos los 'logística' vendrían juntos sin problemas.
2) Por favor Considere 'El patrocinio de un especialista'. Su entrega está impactando Todo el País de Paraguay!

3) Por favor comparta este Proyecto con cualquier persona que siente puede tener un corazón para ver Los niños con necesidades especiales en Paraguay tienen acceso a la educación. Nos encantaría compartir con ellos todo lo que estamos haciendo y ayudarles a participar!
 
 
We are so pleased by how the Paraguay Inclusion Project has progressed over the past 10 weeks.  Now that we are back on US soil (yay!) we start possibly the most challenging part of the project… training development. Since the needs are so vast, and Paraguay is really starting at ground zero when it comes to including children with special needs, there is much for our team to consider as we prepare for our March 2016 training.

In addition, our project took an unexpected turn while in Paraguay… as we were thinking and praying about how to best ensure sustainability of the training we provide, it became clear that without some kind of a system in place, children would never have access to a consistent, thoughtful and individualized education.  So, when our Miracle 139 team travels to Paraguay in March, we will be providing a training AND helping implement the first ever special education system in 4 pilot schools! We will walk them through putting together an individualized education plan (IEP) for each child with special needs, setting up the child’s IEP team, teaching how to write and monitor goals, etc. It’s a HUGE undertaking, but one we feel is necessary to make a lasting impact in the lives of children with special needs in Paraguay.

More than ever, we need your prayers, support and involvement in our project! If you’d like to get involved, we would love to use your gifts and talents through these next phases of the project. In addition, we will be sending between 5-8 team members to Paraguay to help make this training a reality. To make this happen, we need financial support.  THANK YOU in advance! 

UN GIRO INESPERADO

Estamos muy contentos por la forma en que el Proyecto de Inclusión Paraguay ha progresado en los últimos 10 semanas. Ahora que estamos de vuelta en suelo estadounidense (¡dale!) Empezamos posiblemente la parte más difícil del proyecto – desarrollo de la formación. Dado que las necesidades son tan grandes, y Paraguay está empezando nueva cuando se trata de incluir a niños con necesidades especiales, nuestro equipo tengamos a tener en cuenta mientras nos preparamos para nuestro capacitación en marzo del año 2016.

Además, nuestro proyecto dio un giro inesperado, mientras que en Paraguay ... como estábamos pensando y orando acerca de cómo garantizar mejor la sostenibilidad de la formación que ofrecemos, se hizo evidente que sin algún tipo de sistema en el lugar, los niños nunca tendrían acceso a una educación coherente, reflexivo e individualizada. Así que, cuando nuestro equipo Milagro 139 viaja a Paraguay en marzo, estaremos proporcionando una formación y ayudar a implementar el primer sistema de la educación jamás especial en 4 escuelas pilotos! Les vamos a ayudar con la elaboración de un plan individualizado para cada estudiante con necesidades especiales, la creación de equipo del plan individualizado del estudiante, enseñando cómo escribir y monitorear metas. Es una desafío enorme, pero que sentimos que es necesario hacer un impacto duradero en las vidas de los niños con necesidades especiales en Paraguay.

Más que nunca, necesitamos sus oraciones, apoyo y participación en nuestro proyecto! Si desea participar, nos encantaría usar sus habilidades y talentos a través de estas próximas fases del proyecto. Además, estaremos enviando entre 5-8 miembros del equipo a Paraguay para ayudar a que esta formación sea una realidad. Para tener éxito con eso proyecto, necesitáramos apoyo financiero. ¡Gracias de antemano!

 
 
We’ve been incredibly blessed by the relationships that have formed between Miracle 139 and the church, schools and government here in Paraguay. This week, through a ‘divine appointment’ involving a taxi cab ride, we also had the opportunity connect with the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion (UNA), which is the largest and ‘best’ university in Paraguay. We met with Profesora Vicky, who heads the department that provides accommodations for college students with disabilities (her program is the only one of its kind in Paraguay). Vicky received her Masters degree in the US, so she has the unique perspective of both a Paraguayan woman who herself has vision impairment, as well as someone who experienced what ‘can be’ in terms of disability inclusion in education during her time in the States. It was a great meeting full of exciting ideas for how Profe Vicky and her department can help with long-term carry over of training and sustainability!  Increíble!  

Speaking of incredible and unexpected blessings… In one state we visited, Cordillera, the ‘Supervisora’ (head of education for the state) asked if we would be willing to provide a full-day training for their ‘resource teachers’, school ‘principals’ and several primary grade teachers. While it was not an easy feat preparing a full-day workshop IN SPANISH, we were honored by the invitation. Charlotte Mishler from Su Refugio and I presented an interactive workshop to 60 attendees on strategies to support learning.  And… can you believe I presented in Spanish the whole day!? (me neither!)

God continues to amaze us by all of the open doors, connections with the ‘right’ people and the outpouring of love and support from all of you!! THANK YOU for making an important impact on special education in Paraguay!! 

 
 
God is working miracles here! THANK YOU for your continued love, prayers and support!  You are such an important part of this project, and we daily thank God for you!!  

BIG NEWS for the project- our meeting with the Directors of Inclusive Education at the Ministerio de Educación y Cultura went exceptionally well, and we expect our proposal for training and implementation of a sustainable program will pass through the final stages soon!  God has opened huge doors here, and while the next step is even bigger than we anticipated, we walk in faith and pray for this opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of children with special needs here!! 

A special privilege for us was to be able to attend the Special Olympics in Paraguay!  I’m SO thankful that this event highlights the abilities of children who often otherwise face a lot of challenges. I’m even more thankful that this event exists in Paraguay, where understanding and acceptance of ‘disability’ is still emerging. While it was sad for me to see that the spectator stands were empty, the children didn’t care. They got to experience the same nervous excitement that any athlete feels before a big competition, the thrill of the game, and the feeling of accomplishment as they stood on the wooden podium and received their medal.  What a blessing to be able to attend! 


 
 
God continues to open up incredible doors here in Paraguay! Check out our video update! 
 
 
Today marks one month of our incredible journey here in Paraguay! 

One of the big questions our team is always considering is ‘how can we ensure a lasting impact?’ Our projects consider very purposefully how we will provide follow-up support after our trainings.  We understand the ‘real’ questions will arise after our trainees return to their classrooms or therapy sessions.  Follow-up support, consultation and case studies are an important component to ensuring our trainings have a lasting impact.

For me, one of the most inspiring parts of the Paraguay Inclusion Project has been the team of women from Iglesia Florida (our first international group: “Miracle 139 Florida”!) As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Lord had been preparing their hearts long before our arrival.  They are a committed group of women who desire to make a lasting impact in the lives of children with special needs and their families in their city.  Through our weekly meetings, they have now begun plans to host a one-day special education conference here in San Lorenzo, Paraguay!  I can only imagine what God will do through this group of women, even after we have returned to the States. THAT is lasting impact… THAT is what is important... THAT is the mighty hand of God moving as He continues to demonstrate His love for us and the children that we serve. 

 
 
We are thankful for continued progress here in Paraguay! We don’t take for granted all of the doors that continue to open for us to visit, observe and ask questions. In fact, there are more open doors than we will likely have time to explore. What an unexpected blessing, considering things don’t typically move as quickly in Latin America!

We had some interesting school visits last week, including one where we showed up to the school to observe, only to find out that the area ‘supervisora’ had scheduled a meeting with us and the parents of a struggling student (18 yr old with ADHD)! They wanted me to give them ideas on how to help this student, even though I had never met him! This paints a picture of how thirsty for help the teachers and administration here are. In the midst of this awkward situation, however, we ended up learning a lot more about school/parent relationships and their ‘team meetings’ (I use this term loosely J).

In one of our other school observations, we met a cute little girl with Down Syndrome. She is included with same age peers; however, there is no adapted curriculum and no purposeful learning taking place. She sits in the back row of students in the far left corner, looking at books, scribbling in a notebook or just looks around. The teacher desperately needs and wants ideas on how she can work with her.

We have a lot of work to do, but I know God has brought us here because we can make a difference!  If you’re already partnering with us, THANK YOU! If you’d like to join us, please click on our 'get involved' or 'donate' link below!

 

    linda martin

    I'm so thankful to be on this journey.. to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs... in my city, in my country and in the world. Thank you for coming along for the ride.. and hopefully jumping on board!

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