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How education brings beauty from ashes



  • August 30, 2019
Kelsey Campbell
Kelsey Campbell

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“Who would ever come to school out here?” Teresa thought as she stood on a dusty patch of field in South Asia.

But throughout her week-long mission trip, Teresa Pregnall slowly began catching the vision the local partners were painting for her: An elementary school where one of society’s lowest castes — the “untouchables” — could receive an education and finally be able to escape poverty.

Teresa could imagine the colorful building and the beautiful grounds. She could hear the lilt of laughing children floating on the hot breeze. She imagined young girls walking through the doors of the school rather than being forced into the sex industry because they had to no education and no job prospects.

Teresa pictured how this new school would change lives. But, right now, it was still a wasteland.

In that desert, Teresa and the World Help partners prayed over the land and what could be there one day.

“As we prayed … I was just believing in my heart, ‘Lord, this is the project you have for us next,’” Teresa said.

But one question still nagged at Teresa: Who would ever come to school out here in the desert? She remembered, though, that if this was God’s will, it would happen.

So, she and her husband, Herb, stepped out in faith and donated the money to build the school.

Fast forward two years, and the elementary school is overflowing with children. Because of Teresa and Herb’s generosity, these low-caste children are now able to attend school and receive an education. But Teresa hopes for something even more radical. She wants this school to change a generation and its culture.

In this community, the oldest daughters are traditionally expected to enter the sex industry — often as young as 12 years old — to help pay for their brothers’ marriage dowries.

“So, you’re thinking, if that’s all they know, how will they ever be raised up out of that?” Teresa said. “And education with Christ at the center is the only way to do that. … The bottom line is, in order for them to have a more fruitful life, they need to be employed. There’s no way they’re going to be employed without an education.”

This centuries-old tradition, known as nari mata, was especially devastating to Teresa as she thought about her own daughter. In her mind, each of these girls in the community was like her own — and she treated them as such.

“What do you do for your daughters? You teach them the Word,” Teresa said. “You love on them. You touch them. You’re not afraid to hug them because they’re really dirty. … You show the love of Jesus.”

And you make sure your daughter has access to the best life possible — which starts with an education.

But the Pregnalls haven’t stopped with the elementary school. The community also needed a Christian high school, so Herb and Teresa stepped out in faith again.

“It was the next logical step,” Teresa explained.

On Aug. 16, 2019, the new high school opened. Teresa and Herb are excited to go back and see the completed building in person. And they’re looking forward to seeing some 400 students go to class — listening and learning about the world while they also hear about the love of Jesus Christ.

You, too, can help transform a life by providing an education for a girl whose choices have been taken away by poverty. Through sponsorship, you can rescue her from a future in the sex industry and open up a world of possibilities as she receives an education, a safe place to stay, healthy food, and medical care.

Teresa and Herb Pregnall pray that each student who enters the elementary school and high school will have the freedom to choose a successful career while also pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Will you help provide the same opportunity for a girl in need by rescuing her through sponsorship?

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