Answering a higher call

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Teaching is more than just a job. It’s a calling. And for Mary Colmenares of Maracaibo, Venezuala, she has proven just that.

Colmenares, a third grade teacher, has been the guest of Harry and Penny Driggers of Brantley for the last few weeks. The Driggers met the Christian educator on a mission trip. During her stay in Brantley, she has visited and participated in many community and school events. Last week, she was a special guest at Brantley School where she spoke to the students about her school back home in Venezuala.

“I have around 35 or 40 students in my classroom, and we go to school 200 days a year,” she said. “Our classroom is not air conditioned—the principal’s office is the only one with air conditioning—and the temperature stays around 100 degrees year-round in Maracaibo.”

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She received her education from Cecilio Acosta University, stating that, at times, things were difficult for her because she came from a broken home.

“My aunt, uncle and cousins helped me to believe in myself and to believe in God, and to know that with Him, all things are possible,” she said.

Colmenares stressed to the students the importance of continuing their education, showing respect for God, their parents, and their teachers.

When it comes to comparing teachers’ salaries in America to those in Venezuala, there is a huge difference.

“The salary of a teacher in Venezuala is not good,” she said. “It’s around $15 a day—about $300 a month—but my dream as a Christian and as a teacher is that my students will continue their education, and more importantly, come to believe in God.”

Driggers said that it has been a very special time having Colmenares staying with his family in Brantley.

“She’s been a blessing to us and a shining example of faith,” he said. “We have thoroughly enjoyed having her here with us.”

Colmenares shared the sentiments.

“It has been a blessing to be here in the United States, and especially in Brantley,” she said.