Hillcrest has a nearly 10 year partnershp with the Santa Fe school. When the group first visited the school there was garbage everywhere on the grounds. Trees were overgrown and weeds were knee high in some places. 5 year old boys played stickball in the corner with a bottlecap and crooked branch from one of the trees. The girls wore skirts two sizes too big, some with no shoes, stepping over bottles and wrappers to run to our students.
When the students took us into the classrooms we saw desks with a shred of wood, splintered at all ends, for a writing platform. Some of the seats didn't have wood on them at all, causing the students to sit on a metal bar for the duration of class.
Some Hillcrest students set out to raise funds to purchase desks for the new school. Principal Isaac and Gregg Preston visited with the administration to guide the school to Christian curriculum that promotes a grace-based, Biblically-centered view of the world. The following years, as Hillcrest ventured down, they saw dramatic changes. Most notably the changes happened in the buildings. But as we visited with the leaders we saw that changes were happening to the teachers and leaders, who were also impacting the students, through the friendship God is forming.
Two years ago the administration pulled aside our group leaders. Sitting in the living room of the school administrator, who lives on the Santa Fe campus, Hillcrest's leaders heard a story and started to weep. The admnistrator said that the teachers wanted to do an outreach project after one of Hillcrest's visits. Their motivation was that Hillcrest's friendship showed them that faith in God is an action and they should be out in their community.
The school setout with a Christmas project. They traveled to a home for elderly people who can no longer care for themselves. Santa Fe's administrators prepared their students with a short program and directed the students to eat a Christmas meal with the elderly men and women that surrounded their group. Following the songs the school's boys stepped into line. They grabbed bowls of porridge and fearless walked to men sitting in wheel chairs. Spoonful after spoonful the little boys led the way for other students, who followed suit and sat in unison to serve a forgotten part of the Dominican society. Santa Fe's administrators were floored. They told Mr. Preston that they huddled in a corner. They prayed. They cried. They said, "This is how Hillcrest's teachers must feel when they come down and serve our country."
As Mr. Preston and Mr. Isaac left the room that day they realized that what they were giving to the Dominican school was more than resources. They gave friendship and encouragement for a small Christian school to be faithful with the Gospel. This is the relationship God has generated for us with the Santa Fe School. This is where our students held a party yesterday. It is a community holiday with Hillcrest visits. They are our friends, and the reunion is sweet every year.