I’m thankful for each one of you that works with me to bring the good news of the gospel to the people of the DR and Haiti. I Cor. 3:8-9 speaks of one person sowing, while others plant, water or reap the harvest. God rarely asks us to walk alone in the tasks He calls us to do. Each one of us has special giftings and abilities, and God wants us to work together for His glory.
I thank God for the various summer mission teams that work together with me, faithfully giving of their time and talents to work with the children/youth. The summer months are an especially vulnerable time for youth to get bored and into mischief, so I am really grateful for each team that comes to interact with them. This summer we were able to keep five of our young people busy with tasks around the Centre. Emilio, Orby, Ambiorix, Eddie, and Betania (Margo’s granddaughter) did a wonderful job of painting the classrooms and all the desks. We were then able to bless them by purchasing school uniforms, shoes and school supplies for September. Calvary Church from Tennessee sent a team who painted our Activity Room and organized a one day youth program. Metro West Church from Boston sent 20 team members to work with the youth in July. Over 100 youth attended these outreach events! In August, Pastor Dean Richards from Malvern Christian Assembly in Scarborough, brought members of the MCA youth group to the Centre. The group painted, participated in Vacation Bible School, and ministered both in the barrio and the Haitian village. A 3-day youth conference for 10–16 yr olds, also drew a crowd of well over 100. Please pray that all the efforts of each team to present the gospel and disciple the young people will bear much good fruit. Pray that what the youth learnt will have a long lasting effect and stay with them throughout the year.
I was busy registering students for our Christian school throughout the summer, and due to the DR government now requiring each child to receive 1,000 hrs of teaching each school yr, we began classes in mid-August. Praise God, /STRONG>Faulto Gonzalez continues as school director, Loyda continues to teach the precious children in our special needs class, and for the addition of a grade 4 class with a new teacher, Reina. This year, Faulto will extend his counseling services to three afternoons a week. There is no charge to any family that is in need of godly counsel – and there are many!
I also thank God that we were able to purchase two used computers. Roberto Minie will be in charge of giving some computer lessons to the older children. He is already teaching English and doing an incredible job. God has given this young man and former student (22 yrs old) valuable administrative and teaching abilities, as well as a real love and compassion for the children and an understanding of many of their home issues. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for his future. Please pray for all of our teachers (Loyda, Rosa, Marisol, Roberto, Rosa & Sophia). Pray for Roberto, as he continues his own studies at night school.
It’s been wonderful to watch some of the students that have been with us for a number of years. Libia & Sandra, Haitians, were shy and withdrawn when they first started with us. Now in grade 4, they have grown in confidence in a place where they are accepted and loved. Elvis, our physically handicapped child, received a gift of a new wheelchair. There is much competition now at recess to see who will have the honour of pushing Elvis around the yard! It gives me much joy to see the children watching out for him and including him in their play. Please pray for all our students, especially that the ones from non-Christian homes will have their lives and the lives of family members changed by the love of Christ. I am also looking for a stop sign for the busy road that our students have to cross.
Youth & Community Outreach
We are always looking for ways to minister to families in the barrio. We’ve had good response to Movie Nights, where we show an uplifting Christian movie and serve free popcorn. The last movie we showed was a Dr. James Dobson video. I was able to purchase a few more Spanish language Christian movies while in Canada. On a more serious note, we invited a Christian psychologist from Puerto Plata come to speak about how to recognize abuse in the home. November is family month, and Pastor Eliezer from Iglesia Fuentes de Vida is to speak on the value of a family. Please pray for a good response to Pastor Eliezer’s message, and for God’s blessing on our community outreach.
Youth still come to the Centre on Saturdays to play basketball in a safe environment. Afterwards, I am using a program from Calvary Church that gets them looking up Bible verses and completing Bible word searches, etc. I am always looking for new ideas to encourage them to get into God’s Word and apply it to their lives. Most of the youth that attend are boys between the ages of 12–18 yrs. Ambiorix, a young man from a difficult home situation, has been coming to the Centre for years. God is at work in his life and has blessed him with wonderful artistic skills. Please pray for our youth outreach and that someone will come alongside who has the heart, ability and dedication to minister to the young girls.
News from Haiti
At the end of October, I received news that fear of the spread of cholera caused the Dominican government to seal all border crossings into Haiti. Dominican newspapers report that cholera has killed 670 Haitians, and approx. 10,000 are infected with the disease. Poor sanitary conditions, augmented by the January 12th earthquake created a perfect scenario for disease to flourish. Only people with visas and passports are being allowed to cross into the DR. Open border market days have been suspended, creating much tension. UN soldiers were using tear gas in Ouanaminthe to disperse angry Haitians trying to enter the DR. Please pray that despite the border closings, God will make a way for us to get supplies through to our Haitian brothers and sisters. It is a 3 ½ hr trip to the border and we would not want to be turned away.
In seeking God’s wisdom on how to best use the remaining relief funds that we received, the Luz a Las Naciones Board gave approval to assist our Haitian ministry partner, Pastor Paul Michelet, in starting an outreach to approx. 15 street youth (some from Port au Prince) that he has regular contact with. Lord willing, the funds will allow us over a 2 yr. period, to supply a daily meal and offer a literacy program three afternoons per week. Paul will also teach them agricultural skills, as we use our land purchased for a future church and school to grow vegetables. Please pray for the success of this pilot project and that these youth will come to know the love of God, and have a future of hope instead of despair. Pray that God will give much wisdom and guidance to Pastor Paul.
I praise God for the generosity of Allsaw Pentecostal Church in Haliburton, Ontario. They have taken on the responsibility of providing Christmas boxes for our children at the Centre in Puerto Plata and at the school in Haiti. A team of 9 plan to work with us for 2 weeks in December. They’ll be busy purchasing small toys, candies, school supplies, and toiletry items to put in each child’s box, as well as packing and distributing the boxes at both school locations. Pray that the border crossing will be open and that we will not be prevented from taking Christmas boxes to our Haitian students.
Our teachers and ladies from the barrio are also in for a treat with a special Ladies Day that is meant to encourage and uplift them. Team members will serve a pancake breakfast that will include real Canadian maple syrup, and then will give their testimonies. Hope and encouragement is always needed in this neighbourhood, and especially by the women, who often carry quite a load. Please pray that all the women that we invite to attend will be blessed and encouraged, and that those who don’t know the Lord will come to know Him.
How you can help this Christmas
A number of families in our school community are in particular need, headed by a single parent or struggling with unemployment. We’d like to fill some donated canvas bags with groceries for these families. It should cost approx. $25/bag to fill them with items such as rice, oil, beans, etc. If would like to assist in this project, simply include a note with your donation indicating that it is for “Christmas Grocery Bags”.
Thank you to all who attended our fundraising banquet at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Etobicoke in October, where we raised $6,700 for the ministry. Thank you to Antioch Christian Ministries & Walkerton Pentecostal Church for donating funds for school books. And thank you also to all who helped fill my suitcases full of blessing items to take back to the people – shoes, toiletry items, school supplies …… May God richly bless you for working with me, and for your kindness and generosity. May your Christmas truly be blessed!
In His Service,