A little more than two months have come and gone in the 2017-2018 school year at New Life Christian Academy. We have been able to settle into a good routine with our classes, and we are encouraged by their growth. Landon is adjusting well also to school. His knowledge and use of Spanish has grown exponentially since he started, and we are even seeing a difference with Elena. We are praising the Lord for a few decisions made by the students to trust in the Lord as their Savior so far this year!
The Resurrection Baptist Seminary began their new semester during October. This year, we have sought to not only help with the financial expenses of the seminary but also to expand the outreach and training of Dominican men and women in service for the Lord. Instead of bringing everyone here from around the island every Saturday, we have divided the seminary into five campuses. The main seminary meets here in Santo Domingo at New Life, and there are four other campuses spread out around the island. We are recording any live lectures given here in the capitol in order to supplement and help the other campuses and their training. Two of these campuses are new locations with new students. Please continue to pray as we teach, train, and impact this next generation as they prepare for service.
In the church, things have continued to move along well. Tim was able to fill in for Bro. Autrey while he was working on the loan for the church and school property in the States. We are asking that you would pray for this endeavor that everything would be finalized and that we would be able to get this loan before the end of the year. During this time, Tim and the assistant pastor were able to perform a baby dedication for a new addition to two of Tim’s students in his Sunday School class. We were also able to establish the weekly youth meeting on Saturday night as we all labor together to minister to our teenagers in the church. Stephanie has been able to disciple one of these teenagers, and she is grateful for an even greater opportunity to teach this young lady.
During September, one of Stephanie’s friends came with her cousin to minister in a few of the orphanages in the capitol. We always enjoy visiting and ministering to these precious children, and Stephanie especially was thankful for this time with her friend while she was here.
With our visas, Timothy and the children are beginning the process for their yearly visa renewal. This renewal process is not as involved as the initial application, but we are asking for your prayers that there would be no complications and that they would be able to receive it quickly.
We had another milestone this past month-we moved to the Dominican Republic two years ago! It is hard to believe that two years have passed, but we are so thankful for what the Lord has done and taught us in our time here. Thank you also to those of you who have prayed for us and supported us. We are looking forward to another year of service here in the Dominican Republic.
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!