To my dear friends and family,
¡Buenos dias! Good morning! As I write to you this morning, I am sitting in my living room, watching through the window as some boys from our school play baseball with a stick and some bottle caps in the street in front of my house. Today is an election day in the Dominican Republic, so we have the day off from school. They seem to be enjoying their day off just as much as I am, although I’m choosing to spend my relaxing day off with some reading, laundry, an iced coffee, and a letter to you all! I hope this letter finds you and your family well, living in the intense joy and freedom that comes from a life lived in the center of Christ’s will.
I would like to share a few special praises and a few pressing requests with you today. First, let’s thank the Lord for His goodness.
- Clase Biblica has been going wonderfully! Every two weeks we average about 25 girls and several leaders who stay after school to study God’s word. So far, two of those sweet young ladies have accepted Christ and there are several more who I know are being convicted and drawn closer to a relationship with Him every day. Praise the Lord for the salvation of these two precious girls, and continue praying for the salvation of many others. Also, pray with me about the possibility of teaching Clase Biblica every week beginning in the second semester instead of just every other week.
- Our school has been operating with only 3 five-gallon water bottles every day. We often run out of water which means there is no clean water for anyone to drink and no clean water for the cooks to use while cooking. Each day, we would take the water bottles we had back and forth to the water company to get them refilled with clean water. It was a huge inconvenience, and only permitted our students to drink one glass of water a day at lunch. One glass of water – can you imaging being limited to that, especially after recess or PE? Another missionary here, Alex, and I have been working on a plan to get more water bottles at our school so that we would have enough for children and teachers to drink water whenever they were thirsty, as well as have a sufficient supply for our cooks to use every day. Our plan was to buy a few water bottles every month using our ministry funds until we had built up a supply. Then one morning, I received an email from some financial partners in the United States telling me that they felt God leading them to give a special one-time gift towards ministry in Monte Plata. They wanted to know if we would have a use for the money. They had no way of knowing about our water dilemma since I had not shared this need with anyone in the States. Isn’t that incredible?! With their donation, we are now able to buy enough water bottles to last our school for several days, as well as provide students and teachers with a way to drink water every day. We are confident this will cut down on the headaches and stomachaches our students have due to dehydration. It will also make the job of our school cooks so much easier. Praise the Lord for this special gift, the family who faithfully listened to God’s call when they had no idea about this project, and also praise God for the water company which gave our school a discounted price on the new bottles we are buying which is allowing us to stretch our money even more.
- Finally, praise the Lord for my new pasola (like a scooter or vespa), which I was able to purchase with the money in my budget that was set apart for transportation. Public transportation is not really available in Monte Plata, which means that anytime I wanted to get somewhere, I was walking. That is fine during the day, but it’s not safe for me to be walking by myself in the town when it is dark. Also, our residential facility is about a 20 minute walk away, which I also could not do in the dark. I was pretty limited on my ability to get around town in the evenings. My Kids Alive budget included a line for $1200 to put towards transportation. Some missionaries use this money to pay for public transportation. Others use this money plus their own savings to purchase a car. The most practical option for me was the purchase of a pasola and a great helmet! Several men from our church went with me to the pasola store and helped me pick out a pasola that runs great and is safe. I thank the Lord for these men since I really have no idea about how to choose a good pasola! Because of the great reputation of the ministry here in Monte Plata, the store even put on new mirrors, wheels, and headlights for free! The other wonderful thing is that the final cost was under $700 which means I can use the remaining money in that transportation budget line for ministry purposes! Now I am mobile and can safely make it around town, to church, to our residential facility, and to visit friends without a problem. I know my family and I would appreciate your continued prayers for my safety!
Please pray with me for the following needs within our ministry.
- The behavior of the student at our school is a real detriment to their education. We serve the most at-risk students in our community, which means that many of them have no example of responsibility or respect at home and most are allowed to do whatever they want when they are not at school. That creates some challenges for us as we try to teach them about respect, accountability, and appropriate conflict resolution. Our 1st grade class is especially difficult, and we have a GREAT need for a Dominican assistant in that room every day. Please pray that God will provide an assistant for our 1st grade teacher soon, preferably a Dominican man.
- Casa Monte Plata is our residential facility. 20 children live on the property in three homes. We are in need of permanent house parents for these three homes. Casa de Gozo is home to 5 boys ages 12-16. They currently have no house parents and different missionaries and families from the church are rotating through every night to eat dinner with them and help them with homework. Casa de Amor houses seven boys ages 6-11. Currently we have some short-term house parents living in this home with them with their little girl. However, they have a short-term commitment and are currently expecting their second child in 8 months. Casa de Fe is home to eight girls ages 8-18. Their current house-mother has been with them for two years but originally signed up for a short-term commitment until a husband and wife couple could be found. We are praying and looking for husband and wife Dominican couples who are called to be missionaries in the Casa Monte Plata community as they help raise these children. Pray with us for this urgent need!
- Thank you for your continued financial, prayerful, and loving support. We know that God’s work here could be accomplished in many ways and that He could use far mightier and far more qualified people than us, but we also know that He chooses to use the imperfect, the broken, and the weak to accomplish His will around the world. How humbled and how grateful I am that He has chosen us to be part of His work here in Monte Plata. Thank you for joining Him with your prayers and support. If you are interested in praying for a specific child in our ministry by name, please email me! If you are interested in becoming a financial sponsor for a child in our program ($39/mo), please email me! We have many children who are not sponsored yet! You can also visit our school’s amazon wishlist for more opportunities to support our teachers and students. Finally, please check out my blog for more stories and pictures of the work God is doing here every day.
I am thankful for you!