This morning we attended the Solid Rock International board meeting via Zoom. During the meeting, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for every single person who cares so deeply about the ministry and its outreach. The way that God has woven us all together to work for His glory is something that I do not want to take for granted. I have a deep sense of appreciation for every single Dominican and every single North American and every other nationality that contributes its prayers, hearts, bodies, time, and finances to the ministry.
Things here in San Juan continue to go well for our family. Ethan and Miriam devote their mornings to completing their homeschool for the day so that they have time to play with friends in the afternoon. We have always considered our home here as a ministry hub because, well, there are people all around us that need to know the love of Jesus Christ. We are not perfect at it, but we try hard to share the things that we have with the neighborhood, teach, interact with, and care about those around us. This past week, Jason and the neighborhood boys have been cleaning up the vacant lot beside us to serve as a mini baseball field. We were so excited when the owner of the lot finally gave us permission to clean it up and use it for this purpose. It was exciting to watch them clear the area and I fully expect the first game there to happen within the next day or so. They are still working on raking a few of the rocks out and making it a bit more level. The afternoons are warming up, so they have been trying to work on it early in the morning or in the evening before sunset. We made it a point to learn all the names of a Haitian family that lives in a small house nearby. The kids used to come to my house and beg for food. Now they come to my house to play with my kids. Recently, I learned that the oldest boy, Miguel #2, was always waiting outside for Ethan and some of the others neighborhood boys because he didn’t think that he was able to enter our house. I imagine that he is not welcomed into too many homes in our neighborhood because we live in a middle/higher class area and he lives in poverty and he is Haitian. However, I explained to him that he has permission to enter our house to help gather the sporting equipment and play with our things just like the others do. I wish that I had a video of his response. I hope that someday he can look back on his life and feel like he was treated like the child of God that he is and realize that he is valuable.
We continue to help our ministry assistants during the planned outreach events. Last week, Jason helped pour a concrete floor and repair a door in a community member’s house where Euclides lives. Overall, it was a small project, but it really is life changing for those that live in the home. Some of our Dominican staff, with their own time and money, plan to go back there and help make a few more improvements. Isn’t that amazing? I cannot say enough good things about the Dominican staff of Solid Rock International. They bring so much to the table and I deeply appreciate every single one of them and am so grateful for their witness.
I had the opportunity to visit with Juana. Juana was a surgical patient that had a very infected leg. Unfortunately, an American team in February 2020 was not able to complete her surgery because of the amount of blood that she lost during the procedure. She was placed in an external fixator and the plan was for her to have a second surgery in March. Unfortunately, COVID happened, and she had to be discharged from our clinic with the fixator. She spent a large amount of time in the fixator at home before it became urgent to remove it. Thankfully, her leg is no longer infected, but she needs some more care so that her bones heal with strength. She currently can not walk without crutches. We advised her to follow up with an orthopedic doctor here in San Juan to see what can be done. Unfortunately, we will not have an orthopedic surgical team here in San Juan anytime soon. On the same day as the visit, we presented the gospel to Juana’s neighbor and had an interesting theological discussion. While I was in Las Matas where Juana lives, I also stopped by and talked to the administrator of the physical therapy center there. We have five children with Celebral Palsy in the Child Nutrition Program in El Cercado and they go to this center to receive their physical therapy. I also have had the opportunity to do home visits several times for the CNP program. It feels good to do this as I have always had time restrictions in the past that did not allow me to get out to do these with the El Cercado clinic staff.
Jason continues in the planning and communication process for an educational building at the Revolution clinic site. He was able to participate in a meeting with Frank, Dr. Canario, and Mike Trompac earlier this month. He also had an adventurous weekend exploring the mountains of Constantza and Jarabacoa with Randy and Oto. This island is filled with such beauty.
On Sunday mornings, we go to service at Central Evangelical Mennonite Church for service and are glad to be a part of their congregation. They also have a large ministry outreach, and I really enjoy hearing about how they serve one another. We have also been deepening some of our relationships with people from the church. I have been teaching and practicing English on Friday mornings to some of their youth that plan to do a summer work program in the U.S. this year. We practice English, but we also talk a lot about the culture and some of the things that they can expect to see that they may not see in this culture. I hope that this will better prepare them for what is to come and so that they feel more comfortable in their environment there.
We have plans for a 2-week trip back to the US for some appointments at the end of this month. We also will be celebrating birthdays for both Ethan and Miriam. I can’t believe that I will have a 12 and a 9-year old. They were 7 and 4 when we moved to the DR. Crazy!
I will leave you with some prayer requests:
- Residency Process. It’s ongoing… but it really is a slow process. Pray that things keep moving along now that we have entered the country with our Visas.
- End of our homeschool year.
- Dominican schools as they are still trying to figure out how to have in-person classes.
- For our North American teams that long to be here serving with us.
- For our upcoming travel to the US.