The Bolick Report, Temuco, Chile

September 2017

 

Barb just walked in on cloud nine from a meeting. She met with Dr. Carolina Hidalgo, a professor of educational psychology at the local university, who earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. Carolina asked Barb to speak in her class about how the Girls’ Clubs are using the discoveries of Positive Psychology to complement the biblical resources she uses to create this program of mentoring and spiritual/character formation for girls.

Barb and Carolina met in a triathlon training program at the YMCA. (Yes, Barb is preparing to swim in a lake, but that’s another story!) I’m not sure who asked or who invited whom first, but Carolina came on board to help Barb design and carry out the second part of the process program evaluation of the Girls’ Clubs.

This is just one indication of the way things are coming together for the development and growth of the Girls’ Clubs program. You will recall that Fuller Seminary’s Thrive Center for Human Development is partnering with the Girls’ Clubs to provide evaluations and advice on measuring its effectiveness. The process program evaluation began a few months ago. This consists of a review of all components of the program, along with observation and interviews of participants. Then, constructive feedback and recommendations are provided.

Since the last feedback session, Barb has focused on fine-tuning the mentor training program by incorporating their recommendations. Last week, Barb completed another mentor training for a new group of mentors. We anticipate four new clubs being created by the end of this month. New elements of the mentor training include many “how to’s,” a review of legal responsibilities, and the development of a new student manual.

This month, the Fuller Thrive Center-trained psychologist from Santiago will interview the girls in the clubs. Dr. Hidalgo will help design and sponsor the second part of the process program evaluation, and help Barb begin to study the progress of the girls on developmental scales.

Since any testing of this nature, according to Chilean laws, must be under the supervision of a university, Dr. Hidalgo is securing the university’s sponsorship of this design project.

This all began years ago one evening with Barb sharing the vision and dream with Lee and Lynn Riggs around their kitchen table. Barb then found a fount of wisdom and a path of transformation and spiritual formation in the study of the seven classical virtues, along with the seven deadly sins. She wrote lesson after lesson, prepared activities for the mentors, integrating the virtue tradition with studies in the life of Jesus, until she realized she had a book in progress. She also realized that she needed mentoring and guidance herself for the maturing of this program.

I remember the day she came out of the study, exclaiming, “I found the people who are doing what I’ve been doing!” That was when she discovered Fuller’s Thrive Center and the field of Positive Psychology and Positive Youth Development which seek to help young people become thriving adults. By integrating these tools with our Christian tradition of spiritual formation, we can equip our churches for this good work.

To sign up for the Bolicks’ e-mail newsletter please write them at: dwight.bolick@internationalministries.org. Or visit their page on the International Ministries website: http://internationalministries.org/teams/49-bolick.“Helping people become oaks of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:1-4)

 

 

 

The Beautiful Truth

This month’s Girls’ Clubs’ lesson in on the virtue of hope. So how do you explain what hope means to young girls, many of whom live in situations that are hopeless? We started by making snow globes. Snow globes are fun even when you live in a country where Christmas comes in the middle of summer. There is something beautiful about looking into a peaceful world where light is shining in from all sides. And that is where we began talking about light shining in and bringing us hope.

We talked about hope guiding us through the dark times. We talked about focusing on the light we see, never taking our eyes off of it and never stopping, never giving up, always moving toward the light. That is what hope means for us this year in the Girls’ Clubs, finding the light and moving forward in spite of the darkness that seeks to surround us.

I spent yesterday with my friend, Ruth, who is helping me with the editing of our Girls’ Clubs’ materials. We talked about the lesson on hope. Ruth is a doctor. So every abstract conversation always comes down to some scientific principle. That’s how she makes sense of the world and I love to see it through her eyes. She talked about how one point of light no matter how small it is, overcomes a seemingly infinite darkness. “I am the light of the world, the light has come into the world and the darkness cannot consume it.”

In November light came as a special gift to us in the visit of our friends from the Rocky Mountain and Nebraska regions. Twelve new friends came to travel with us, see with us, and support us. For those days we heard one harmonized message from them all: “You are not alone.”

A special guest in the group was our friend, Tomi Stock, a sheep rancher from Wyoming. Tomi is not a pen-light in a dark world. She is a full-blown floodlight of love. She came to visit the yarn and weaving groups she has partnered with. But not stopping there, she decided to come and do five soap-making workshops to help our women develop products for local sale. Tomi took the time to come shine her light into the lives of our women.

So this is the beautiful truth that we want to write on the hearts of our girls. Hope has come into the world in Jesus, God-with-us, the Son of God. Hope has come into the darkness and the darkness can never put it out. No matter where we find ourselves this Christmas season, let’s look to the light together, never despairing, reflecting it in our own lives.

“A great door for effective work has opened…” (1 Corinthians 16:9)

Thank you for your strong support, which along with your prayers, makes these good things possible. Pray for open doors towards opportunities we cannot yet imagine, that will help us share Christ and see lives changed.

May God bless you, and equip you, also, with every good thing for doing His will, and may He complete in all of us what pleases him.

Grace and peace, Dwight and Barbara

 

 

AUGUST 2016

Not too long ago, I had coffee with my friend, Nancy Duarte. I love to have coffee with friends on a Saturday morning, but this coffee was special. Special because we had it in Wheaton, IL!

Nancy is a dear Chilean friend of ours from Temuco. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in family systems and is now the Program Director for Family Bridges, a faith-based national organization helping Spanish-speaking immigrant families transition well into life in the United States.

And why were we having coffee? Because Nancy is on the Consulting Team of a new endeavor sponsored by One Great Hour of Sharing. Many of you have asked if it would be possible to expand the Talita Cumi Girls’ Clubs Project to other communities, even to the United States. We have heard you and felt God’s leading last year as we approached International Ministries about doing just that. But taking a local project to an international scale is a momentous undertaking.

So, with funding from One Great Hour of Sharing, we have formed a consulting team made up of psychologists from the Thrive Center for Human Development at Fuller Theological Seminary and our friend, Nancy. We have begun the process of formalizing the Talita Cumi Girl’s Club program so it can be replicated in other communities and even other countries.

What does this entail? It means a formal review of all the materials we have developed, developing a structured mentor training program, interviewing participants and leaders of our current program, making adjustments, measuring the progress of participants on developmental scales over a year, and finally verifying our results. God has brought qualified, wonderful, generous friends to accompany Dwight and me as we pursue this vision that many of you have shared for years.

So Nancy and I got to work and mapped out a plan to develop our mentor training. We reviewed some curriculum, shared notes, and hashed out a work plan for the next few months. There is so much to be done, but for the first time I can see that it really is a possibility. I can’t do it alone, but God has provided the help I need to make it possible. Just like He brought you. Thank you, dear friends, for being the voice that has called this ministry into existence. Please pray for us more fervently than ever as we climb this steep road. Rejoice with us, too, as we welcome our new friends from Fuller Seminary and Family Bridges to walk alongside us. We thank God for you daily and covet your thoughts, prayers and participation in this new adventure. I f you get a chance, check out the website for the Thrive Center for Human Development at Fuller Seminary, www.thethrivecenter.org. They are amazing!

——Barbara Bolick