The School Van
April, 2017

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." Matt. 25:40

Published by the Society of the Good Shepherd, P. O. Box 122, Amberson, PA 17210. (717) 349-7033

When I was growing up, I never rode a school bus to school. I either walked or rode my bicycle. This was normal for my generation, although there were school buses available. In Honduras, the public schools operate no school buses. And so like so many past generations of Americans, students walk to and from school.

Beginning At the same time, during the last 15 years in Honduras there has been a surge of private schools. But these are not schools for the rich and elite. In Siguatepeque, about a quarter of the population are evangelical Christians, and such parents prefer to send their children to evangelical Christian schools. (However, unlike in the U.S., the public schools in Honduras are not anti-Christian. Students are required to pray in school.) There are also Catholic schools, 7th Day Adventist schools, and schools for special-needs children (operated by various ministries and charities).

The private schools that have the biggest draw are bilingual schools, where students are taught in both Spanish and English. These students are normally fluent in English by the time they graduate. This opens up enormous job opportunities for such graduates, compared to persons who speak only Spanish. Most (but not all) of these bilingual schools are Christian schools, and many of the teachers are young missionaries.

Wall The parents who send their children to these bilingual schools are often poor themselves. From what I’ve observed, many parents will deny themselves a higher standard of living in order to send their children to these schools so they can provide a better future for their children.

So how do students get to these private schools? Like other students, if the school is within walking distance, they usually walk. But often the school is across town, and none of these schools operate school buses. This is where Ivis Leiva and his wife Tania saw a business opportunity. Eight years ago, they started a private school transportation service, utilizing a used Toyota van. Ivis and Tania work with various private schools, who recommend them to parents who need transportation for their children.

In the U. S., most K-12 schools all operate at the same hours—usually 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, schools in Honduras are open at all different hours. So Ivis begins his rounds at 5:00 in the morning, picking up students. When it comes time to take students home, he doesn’t finish until 10 p.m. at night. The business keeps him busy, but he has some time off during the day.

The students pay only 25 cents each way, so the business isn’t a huge money-maker. Nevertheless, it does provide Ivis with a net profit of about $500 a month. With this income, he supports his wife Tania and two sons: Ivis Daniel (13) and David Alejandro (12).

Crew However, this past year, the van’s engine finally wore out. The cost of a rebuilt engine was over $1500.00, far more than Ivis had in savings. So he approached the Society about an interest-free loan to cover the cost of the repair, which we were glad to furnish. Ivis was able to get his van repaired right away, and it is back in service.

When Ivis isn’t working or spending time with his family, he is active in serving Christ through several ministries. He is a deacon in his church, and he also leads a Bible study for men. He also helps in the organization and administration of other prayer groups in his church. His wife Tania is also very active in their church.

Ivis and Tania asked me to pass this on to our donors and prayer supporters: “We pray that everyone who is part of the Society of the Good Shepherd is greatly blessed for their willingness to help those who need this kind of assistance to start a business or to continue operating the business they have.”

The Society of the Good Shepherd, P. O. Box 122, Amberson, PA 17210 • (717) 349-7033

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