Thank you for those of you who have prayed for us during this storm. Today was very similar to Hurricane Irma two weeks ago for us in the capitol. We experienced some rain and wind, but it was not like some of the other areas of the Dominican Republic or the other islands here in the Caribbean. We are praying for those who were effected, especially those in Dominica, Puerto Rico, and the other islands!
Thank you for your prayers for our family and the ministry here this past week with Hurricane Irma. The Lord protected us here in the southern side of the island, and we were blessed to have only faced thunderstorms with gusty winds and rain. Please continue pray for those who were affected on the northern side as well as those on other islands here in the Caribbean.
The summer months came, and they have passed on. Although the weather feels like summer most of the year, we have entered into the school year. In July, we were very busy with preparation while the students were on their break. One of the couples that was here in June returned to help us with different construction projects. We enjoyed working alongside of them as well as times of fellowship in our home. While they were with us, Bro. Autrey had a group of teenagers come to minister in the mountains in a Vacation Bible School. Before they left, we had a special youth activity with many visitors in attendance. The following week, Tim’s sister came to help us with teacher orientation as well as training for our English-speaking professors. We are thankful for her valuable input and experience as we prepared for the upcoming school year. Afterwards, Landon and Elena enjoyed showing their aunt a few of the sites here in the capitol. The following week, Bro. Autrey’s sending church sent a work group down to continue the work that began in June with desk construction and bathroom overhaul in the school. We are very grateful for all of these people who sacrificed time, money, and vacation to use their talents and abilities to help us in the ministry in the Dominican Republic.
In August, the physical work continued as well as preparation for the start of school. Tim was able to preach on a few occasions as well as assist in the music programs. Stephanie taught in Spanish a few times during the summer, and she is looking forward to teaching every other week in her Sunday School class as she continues to put her Spanish into practice. New Life Christian Academy opened their doors on August 21. Like last year, Tim is teaching the high school Bible classes while Stephanie teaches 5th and 6th grade English. The school serves as another outreach into our community, and we are thankful for the open doors given to the church to reach the students as well as their families. On a personal note, Landon began his school in K-4 this month, and it is hard to believe that he is already in school.
We would like to also say a special thank you to those of you who faithfully prayed for our visa situations these past twelve months. While Tim and the kids received their visas in December, Stephanie was missing a vital document to continue her process. After turning her application in the last part of April, we waited for the next four months for the office to check all of the information and approve the visa. Last week, we received the confirmation to come in pick up her visa, and today we were able to come home with her one year residency visa! With these yearly residency visas, we can continue the process with renewals in order to receive more permanent visas.
Thank you for your prayers and support for our family. Would you pray with us about the following matters?
- Salvation and growth of the students and their families
- Start of a weekly youth meeting every Saturday to accompany the teen Sunday School class
- Tim’s young adult Sunday school class and Stephanie’s class for the younger children
- New Life Baptist Church and ministries
- Resurrection Baptist Seminary
May the Lord continue to reward you for your service. Dios les bendiga!
May/June 2017 Prayer Letter
We apologize in the delay for March’s update. Things are going well here in the Dominican Republic. During the month of March, we enjoyed a visit from one of our family’s friends from Pennsylvania. It was an encouraging time for all of us, especially for Stephanie to have her friend here with us. We focused much prayer as a congregation on our property payment during the month, and we held a four-hour prayer vigil for the finances of the property on March 17. Praise the Lord for the money that was sacrificially given to this work. Please continue to pray for the financial needs of the ministry. Tim was able to preach in March a few times to the school students as well as a twice during the Thursday midweek service on the book of Hebrews.
One of the highlights from the month of April was our Easter services. Many people in the Dominican will leave the capitol city during this time off from work and school in order to visit friends and family around the country, but we were thankful for the group we did have of those that stayed behind. Pastor Jose Ramon preached the early service, followed by a time of breakfast and fellowship. Tim preached the second service, continuing his study on Isaiah 53 from the previous week. After the message, he performed his first baptismal service with one adult, one teenager, and one child being baptized. Afterwards, we entered the church again to partake of the Lord’s Supper. What a special day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, to see the outward symbol of the inward change through baptism, and to remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us through the Lord’s Supper!
We are continuing the work in our Sunday School classes. This provides a great opportunity to practice our Spanish every week. Tim teaches the young adult class while Stephanie helps in the primary age class. Landon and Elena, who are part of her class, sang and quoted Scripture during one of our services this week along with some of their classmates. We are excited to see them continuing to learn and understand in both English and Spanish.
Also, during this school semester, Tim has been preaching a series on “Choices” to the middle and high school students in the Academy. They have discussed Jonah, Jonathan, Joseph, and Ahab so far. On April 18, he preached about the “Eternal Choice” and our decision to accept or reject Christ as Savior. Praise the Lord as many accepted Christ as Savior following the chapel message! Please pray as we continue to seek to reach and minster to these children and youth. We have another month left with them until summer break, and we are actively trying to make the most of this time that God has given us to impact their lives.
Thank you for those of you who have faithfully prayed for our visas. Stephanie received everything with the notary and apostille from the States in March, and we had it translated and legalized here in the country. We submitted all of the necessary documents (Praise the Lord the office accepted it with just one trip…last time there were multiple trips and additions) and received the medical exam. Pray with us as the immigration office has 3 months to validate and process the application that there would be no problems and that Stephanie can receive her temporal residency soon.
We are looking forward to the various summer outreaches this year. Please pray for the different groups that are coming as well as our summer ministries. If you are interested in coming to see us in the coming year on a mission’s trip, please do not hesitate to contact us! Thank you for your faithful financial and prayer support for our family!
We continued marching forward during the month of February. There were a few great highlights for the church family. On Friday, February 3, we held the commencement ceremony for the Resurrection Baptist Seminary. Sixteen men and one woman finished their studies at the seminary and received their degrees, and they were challenged with a great message from Dr. Rusty Smith. Please pray for these new graduates as they begin this next step or continue in their service for the Lord. The following Sunday, we celebrated the 16th Anniversary of New Life Baptist Church. We passed out hundreds of flyers and invitations around the community, and we were honored to have a packed house with many first time visitors. Dr. Smith preached another powerful message, and during the invitation, two visiting ladies came forward and accepted Christ as their Savior. One of these ladies was a mother who was visiting to see her son baptized that morning. After the service, we held our first baptismal service at the new property. Five precious souls followed the Lord in this important step of obedience!
Also during this month, Tim was able to start a young adult Sunday School class in Spanish. This year, we are making an extra concentrated effort in two of the vital ministries of the church: Bible-teaching and evangelism. We are strongly encouraging the members of the church to come out before the main service to participate in this time of Bible training. We are also seeking to bring them along and include them in our time of weekly soul-winning. We are seeking to systematically reach our sector of Santo Domingo with the gospel. It has been exciting to see some of the fruit already of God’s Word being published to the Dominican people!
We received word from our families that Stephanie’s last item of paperwork arrived at their house. We are waiting for it to receive an apostille from the capitol, and then we can have it translated and begin the visa process for Stephanie. Please pray that it is a successful and smooth process as these applications can be drawn out. Also, continue to pray for the work in the New Life Christian Academy. We have three months left of school, and we are already making preliminary preparations for the coming school year. Thank you again for your prayers for the Lord’s work here in the Dominican Republic. We cannot do the work apart from God and the working of His Spirit!
We have now entered another year graciously given to us by the Lord, and we have had a great start to this year. We were able to spend some time at Stephanie’s parent’s house for the beginning of this past month. We were thankful for the opportunity to spend with them. Another added blessing, we saw around 9 inches of snow while we were there. Our son Landon had prayed for snow for the months preceding our trip to the States. When we first arrived in North Carolina, he prayed and thanked God for the snow that He was going to send. A short time later, snow came into the forecast, and God answered his prayer. We are praying for him as well as our daughter Elena that God would work on their hearts and that they would accept Him as their Savior one day. Also while in the States, Stephanie was able to visit an eye doctor. He explained what she was going through, and he confirmed the treatments that she received in the Dominican Republic were those that he would have recommended. We are blessed knowing that God leads us to the right people to take care of the need. She still has a few complications from the scar, but with each passing month, her eye is improving. Thank you for your continued prayers!
We returned to the Dominican Republic on January 11, and we jumped right back in the ministries. The academy began the day we arrived, and we resumed our teaching duties the following week. On Sunday, January 15, we celebrated Landon’s 4th birthday! We are so thankful for this little boy that God has given to us. Tim preached to the high school students the next week in chapel when he began a semester long study on the choices made by different characters in the Bible. He also preached again in Spanish on January 26 in a series on the book of Hebrews. With the Lord’s help, he plans on preaching when it is his turn only in Spanish for all of the non-bilingual services.
Thank you for those who gave extra to our family for Christmas this past year. It was such a blessing, and the Lord knew the needs. Please continue to pray for Stephanie’s Sunday school class; the Lord is blessing her and her teaching partner. Also, pray for Tim as he will begin a new weekly Sunday school class with the adults on February 12.