If I am honest, writing this monthly blog is not something that I look forward to completing each month. It’s not that I don’t love to share with all of you about what is going on in San Juan, but it’s that I really don’t like to talk about myself. Most times, I feel like God’s plans are so much bigger and better than what I am doing, and I can’t possible articulate everything that He is doing here. His work deserves more than my mere human vocabulary.
Now that I have laid all of that out there, I will try to describe to you all the facets of ministry that our family has been involved in over the past several weeks.
Teams: It has been a busy team season thus far and we are so excited to finally be saying that. We have helped with North American barrio teams and we also went out with our Dominican barrio team. The communities are so excited to receive us, and we have found several “unique” cases this season. The unique cases usually require additional follow up care, and we do what we can to try to better their situation and set them up for future care. We just finished an intense surgical/barrio team week. The surgical team did 61 ENT surgeries in 4 days. I have the advantage of understanding what the patients say when they leave the surgical area. Many walk out saying words of gratitude. Jason has worked alongside several team members doing construction projects at the guesthouse. They built a garbage shed, painted rooms, pressure washed and painted roofs, repaired ceilings and roofs, and completed other small projects.
Child Nutrition Program: Our CNP continues to serve many communities of the El Cercado region. I try to get to our El Cercado clinic at least once every 2 weeks to check in. I will have a program report to complete by the end of April for our partner, Amway.
Bible Study: We continue to lead a Bible study in English every Friday night at the Iglesia Menonita Central. I love to be able to teach vocabulary and pronunciation with the Word of God.
Neighborhood: Ethan continues to play tennis ball-baseball almost every afternoon with the neighborhood kids. We share a lot with them, and I pray that they would recognize us as being different, not just because we have light skin, but because we try to share the love of Jesus. Miriam spends a lot of her free time at the neighbor’s house playing with her best friends, Akeelah and Kristina.
Special Cases: Recently, Elvis (Dominican staff), brought a very serious case to my attention. The case involved an undocumented Haitian that was in an accident in September. She had an external fixator placed and then received no follow up care. The external fixator is now cutting the flesh of her leg. She has relentless pain. I, along with several of our Dominican staff, worked with a Dominican orthopedic physician that sees patients at both our clinic and the public hospital to get her set up for surgery to remove the fixator. If all goes as planned, she will receive surgery tomorrow at the public hospital.
Family Life: Miriam continues with ballet 2 days a week and Ethan has drum lessons once a week. We are still balancing both Lucille Rupp schoolwork and homeschool curriculums. The kids find ways to serve too. A few weeks ago, we were short on translators for student sponsorship night and Miriam and Ethan were able to help families communicate with their sponsor student. It also poured outside that evening and Jason and Tyler pushed Cora’s borrowed, broken down car out of a flood zone. It was an evening of memories for sure! Jason keeps his hands involved in farming by sharing his knowledge with others living here. Yesterday, he helped set up some seed plots for Mennonite farmers that requested his advice. Recently, he also has helped with some horse training and has gone to the mountains of Hondo Valle to help build Euclide’s mom’s house.
We made a recent trip to the capital to meet with our immigration attorney and do fingerprints for new FBI criminal background checks. Because immigration has delayed our process so many times, our clearances expire and then we need to resubmit them. It’s been frustrating, but we praise God that we have a new legal assistant assigned to our case that has been excellent with communication and staying on top of things. She tells us that we should have our medical appointments with immigration soon and then the final step would be getting the residency identification. Please keep praying for this process. We need it! After the fingerprinting process, we stopped at a mall for lunch and the kids enjoyed the trampoline park and obstacle course inside the mall.
I know that we are just a very small part of what God is doing in the Dominican Republic. As I said above, my words will never be able to capture all of it. God has called us into this ministry, and I give Him the glory for what goes on here. We are here to serve Him and I ask you to pray for us as we do that. Thank you for your continued prayers, encouragement, and support.