Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ministering in the Mountains of Constanza

Yesterday we drove up to the town of Tireo (2 1/2 hours from La Vega), bearing 150+ Christmas gifts for children.  We have been blessed to work alongside Pastor Felix Rivera for a number of years. He has a growing ministry in this area.  He had invited us to help in their annual Christmas program. These gifts were sent by a generous church from Wills Valley in Alabama that supports Pastor Felix and his ministry.  He has six After School programs he is developing in nearby communities. This is a program to augment what children are learning in the public schools. The purpose is to help children catch up where they are weak in their studies. He also provides a meal for these children on a daily basis. He has planted one church and is working on another in a community called Villa Hortalizas.

It is truly a beautiful drive.  Each curve on the road of the ascent reveals

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Power of Long Term Relationships

The blessing started Saturday when Faelo called me to say that his dad and mom wanted to come to church this Sunday. I had told him last week that I was willing to pick up his dad and take him to church if he wanted to come.  Faelo is a multi-talented individual (he just finished the rough-in plumbing on the addition to the Rieles church, and is helping us to hunt for a good deal for a van for the children's program, he has also traveled to Japan to bring in vehicles and parts).  He has been coming to the church for three weeks.  That makes him a church veteran, since this church started only three months ago.  You can read about it in our Fall newsletter posted at our website  The blessing for me wasn't so much that Faelo was reaching out to his family (which was great), but rather that his dad was willing to accompany

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When Your Beggar Meter Needs Re-calibration

One of the difficult things that a missionary has to deal with is how do you respond to street beggars.  I am conscious that what follows may offend some, but please be patient with me, God is still at work in my heart.

 My Dominican pastor friend keeps a jar at his desk filled with 5 peso coins (equivalent to 12 US cents).  Depending on the look of the person who arrives begging at his church door, he decides how many coins to give. Interruptions are minimal as he gets one or two visitors an hour (this is heavier traffic than in a residential area, because his church is downtown).  Until I saw this, I pretty much avoided beggars as I didn't know how

All In a Days Work

I tried to write briefly last time and it stretched into two pages.  I am going to try numbering to see if it helps. Not!

1. Up at 6:30 am to make pancakes and coffee for  Pastor/Counselor D.F., who needed my help to make a 3-minute TV script for his ministry (he arrived at 7 a.m. sharp).  Debbie spent the night in the hospital taking care of one of our volunteers who was terribly dehydrated from stomach problems, and she wasn't here.  I knew that I would have a busy day and so I had him come by after dropping his daughter off at school.  Usually I am a night owl and am not up this early.  It is exciting to hear about the counseling center he is