December - January 2023
Lighting the Darkness
Light in the Darkness
By Suhey Correa
Christ’s earthly ministry was one of service. As Jesus carried His message of salvation everywhere, He also extended His hands to the needy, the sick, the poor, and the helpless along the way. When He returned to Heaven, He made it clear it was our job to follow His example and bring the Good News while serving our fellow men (Luke 22:27).
Genesis Academy is a ministry of the Free Will Baptist Church of Puerto Rico. It began seven years ago with a deep desire to reach children and young people by bringing them the message of God and by serving them. Unfortunately, in Puerto Rico, private Christian education is only available for the financial upper class. Yet those with fewer economic resources also need to hear the message of our Lord while receiving a good education.
Genesis Academy began by helping children and young people in their studies, assisting them, and giving them a place to feel comfortable learning. After several years of seeking permits, searching in general, and above all praying, we understood Genesis Academy would be the first private Christian school offered free to students in Puerto Rico. Social class or academic level do not matter. Here you find a refuge of love and learning, and all students are welcome. God has added mothers, teachers, and students to make this ministry a reality. Brothers in the faith and private companies have also joined in supporting this effort.
The school tests our faith every day—believe me, it is tested! We must pray and trust God to bring both workers and supporters. In recent years, dozens of schools have closed because catastrophic events hurt the economy. In September 2017, a hurricane hit the island, destroying homes, and leaving the island without electricity and drinking water for more than six months. During this time, children did not attend classes, losing almost a full school year of learning. In January 2020, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake damaged many structures around the island, including schools.
Children were again without schooling. In March 2020, COVID-19 arrived in Puerto Rico, once again paralyzing education. These events created the economic deficit currently facing the island.
Many schools have closed, and many teachers have relocated to the United States looking for better job opportunities. After the pandemic, many young people simply dropped out of school, increasing the already high percentage of dropouts. This situation is even worse in poor communities, with a current rate of 46.1% of those under 25 without a diploma.
During these years, we received students with learning difficulties or with problems in their homes. We have seen these children and young people make school a place of learning and well-being. They know it is a place the Lord has provided them. Because many children do not have the financial resources to pay for necessities, Genesis has provided uniforms, books, and school supplies to help them complete their studies, without singling them out from others who can afford it. Every morning students learn the Bible. Their days begin with prayer and a quick devotion or reflection. In addition to their main classes, they take music classes. They are taught to love and respect fellowmen, to strive to achieve their goals, and to trust a powerful God.
For many, this ministry sounds crazy—to think of supporting a school only with donations! But two years ago, we had three students; today, we have 29. We started with one teacher and a dining room employee; today, we have seven teachers, two dining room employees, a secretary, and a maintenance person. Two years ago, we taught at a dining table, and today, we have six classrooms, a chapel, a dining room, and a kitchen. But we still need much help. We desperately need missionary teachers willing to give themselves up for His cause in Puerto Rico. We welcome anyone who wants to experience the mission field as a teacher.
We also proudly announce our first Genesis Academy fourth-year graduate: Dayana Correa. Dayana is the daughter of Pastor Jose and Suhey Correa (school principal). God used this ministry to guide Dayana in her calling to missions. She is now enrolled at Randall University, pursing a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies.
Another milestone for the school is the construction of a new school building in four phases. The first phase consists of having a new building with four more classrooms (12 students per room) and two bathrooms. The other phases consist of expanding the building to include more classrooms. We are still in the planning phase and hope to begin construction of the new building in 2023.
Regarding the Free Will Baptist Church in Puerto Rico:
We are growing as families slowly join us. We are thankful some students and their families are looking for God. We have weekly worship gatherings and a prayer service on Wednesday. Also, we have regular Sunday Bible School for children.
We have learned when God calls, we must persevere in His call, no matter what we face—no matter what our eyes can see. It is our Lord who gives us the strength and security that everything will work according to His will. We are sure this ministry is part of God’s purpose. The Church of Christ is called to work as a body, to work together for the same purpose, and to carry the message of the Good News to each creature.
Over the years, we have learned great things happen when the church comes together. When the church demonstrates the love of Christ, He oversees and adds to His work. This ministry is impacting both believers and non-believers, not only with words but with deeds. It is our duty as Christians to teach this generation about the great God full of love and forgiveness; it is our duty to teach another way to live this life, a life in holiness apart from sin.
Young people are being bombarded without mercy, and it is the duty of the church to stand in defense of children and young people, not only with words but with works. We invite you to be part of Genesis Academy, bringing light to the darkness by sponsoring this beautiful ministry.
We want to thank everyone who prays for us, those who have visited the island and contributed so much to this work. Also, we want to thank all those who contribute economically from a distance.
Please help us continue providing children with a refuge in chaos and light in the darkness.
About the Author: Suhey Correa and her husband José lead the Free Will Baptist church in Puerto Rico. Learn more: