“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
It was a great blessing to have a number of teams come to help with the children/youth and seniors over the summer months. Thank you to Calvary Chapel from Chattanooga, TN, who visited in June, and to Malvern Christian Assembly from Scarborough, ON, who visited in August.
At La Vigia
Throughout the spring and summer months, the small rural community of La Vigia was hard hit with the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus that swept through much of the Caribbean. Many of the people suffered with fever, headaches and muscle aches that lasted for weeks. However, we continued to work there, taking teams during the summer to do VBS and outreach with the children & youth. The Calvary Chapel team hosted a kids’ program, bought hot dogs to serve to the community, as well as a truck load of bottled water to hand out. The Malvern Christian Assembly team did another kids’ program in August..
Since early September Tony & Rosaury are back to offering basic literacy classes 4X a week, and Rosaury is encouraged by the progress she is seeing with the children. Most of the children that come, even the older ones who are 10-12 yrs old, cannot read or write. It seems like 8 yr old Farandie has dyslexia. He comes out to the centre faithfully, happy that we are able to spend time with him to help him learn. Another little girl who is deaf is also a regular and loves to just be with us. When we do go up to La Vigia, we usually load up the truck early in order to spend as much time as possible. After about 3:00 p.m., it gets too hot under the metal roof of the building to continue any activities. Some really good news is that with the recent purchase of a small two-burner stove, we can now take supplies to occasionally make lunch for some of the children. Please pray that all the children that come to the centre will be able to learn, not only how to read & write, but also about the great love their heavenly Father has for them.
Since coming alongside Pastor Franklin in his work with the seniors at Esperanza y Paz (Hope & Peace) Seniors’ Home in Puerto Plata, I have taken a number of groups to visit. These men, abandoned by their families and whom Pastor Frank found begging on the streets, are all quite frail and some have dementia. Most people/teams I take to visit and help at the home are initially shocked at the conditions, which are not up to North American standards. Through God’s grace and your support, we continue to regularly visit, take supplies such as medicines, food items, disinfectant and detergent, as well as assist with improvements to the building. The Calvary Chapel team from Tennessee painted three bedrooms. Other teams/people from Canada and the US have painted & fixed things, brought new linens and mattresses, as well as encouragement to Pastor Frank and the seniors. What continues to be most welcome by the seniors is Margo’s monthly meal that she cooks for them.
Aaron Dyck, a young man from London, ON is currently here at the Centre to help us for two months. With a love for the people of the DR and a heart for missions, we are grateful that Aaron is volunteering his time to be with us and help wherever needed. Aaron saw God wonderfully supply the funding needed to come and is such a great help here. Pray that Aaron’s time with us would be fruitful and that He would also be a great blessing and receive God’s direction for his life.
Nelson is one of many Haitians who came to the DR looking for work. He was working as a farm helper in La Vigia when we met. It was difficult for Nelson to be away from his wife and two children and he thought about them a lot. In getting to know Nelson, we decided to help him to return to his family in the border town of Ouanamenthe. We bought him a wheelbarrow, which will allow him to find work transporting goods back and forth across the border on market days and set up a little business selling roasted peanuts. As a fellow Christian, Nelson is excited to work with us at the border in distributing Christian tracts (provided by Malvern Christian Assembly) and evangelizing.
Praise God, the new president is taking a much greater interest in education. Over the past couple of years literally hundreds of new schools have been built, like the photo shown to the right. The government is extending the school day from half a day to a full day, providing free school uniforms and lunches for all children, and paying the teachers a good wage. (Everybody wants to become a teacher now!) Many private schools, including our own at the Centre, have seen our enrolment decline.
In consultation with the ministry’s DR & Canadian board, and strongly feeling the Lord’s leading, this will be the last year that LLNM will operate a Christian school at the Centre. In the meantime, our very capable school director Provedencia, received a call from the government to teach in a state school during the afternoons. Provedencia has blessed us so much and we do not want to hold her back. Please pray that God will truly bless Provedencia and cause her to be a great blessing in the public school system.
We will return to what we were doing previously, and with what fits with the mandate of the ministry – to provide basic literacy for any in need, extra-school help, after school and weekend child/youth programs, and community outreach. We’ll keep two teachers to assist us, and it will give them good experience and help them to eventually get jobs with the government schools. For us, we will have so much more time to focus on outreach. As God closes one door, we already see Him opening others as funds currently directed towards the school will now be available for other projects. The Centre itself will also be able to be used to host visiting mission teams. Please pray with us as we make this transition after June 2015. Pray for all the children, that the things they learnt here about the Lord will stay with them.
And Child Sponsorship?
Please know that we will still be offering outreach to children and families at the Centre in Puerto Plata, and that there are many children in need of a sponsor at the Centre in La Vigia. Your monthly support is valued and greatly assists us in outreach and ministry of compassion to the children/youth and families here.
Thank you to all who joined us at the Luz a Las Naciones’ Fall fundraising banquet in Belle River this past October 18th. Thank you to Pastor McPhail for his encouraging words and to everyone who helped us with the meal and co-ordination of this event. Funds raised get stretched and used to bless many.
Thinking About Christmas
As in past years, we invite you to participate in helping us to provide small gifts for children and food bags for the families and seniors we work with. It is a wonderful opportunity to show the love of Christ. A small toy can be bought for only $5 and some staple food items put together for approximately $10/bag. Working together, we can show the love of Christ at Christmas and make a big difference for a child, youth, senior, and families in need.
May your Christmas and new year be truly blessed!
Yours in His service,
The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”