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.
We have arrived to 2017! Another year has come and gone! December brought the end of the school semester as well as a quick trip to the United States. On December 1, Tim preached to the middle and high school students one last time for the semester on the true story of Christmas. It is always a joy to share the true meaning for this time of year. Later that night, he preached his first full length sermon in Spanish on Joseph’s testimony during the birth of Christ during one of our midweek services. The following week, he was privileged to preach again in Spanish at the prayer meeting on the Great Commission. On Saturday, December 10, Stephanie introduced the different activities as well as the guest speaker at the annual ladies’ Christmas meeting in Spanish. Thank you to those of you who have faithfully prayed for us as we have learned and studied the Spanish language.
We both finished our classes for the semester in the New Life Christian Academy. We enjoyed the opportunity to invest in the lives of these students not only academically, but most importantly spiritually. It reminds us of the many different people who took time to teach us as we were in school. On December 8, we took one final trip to the immigration office after months in the application process to complete the final step to receive the residency visas for Tim and the children. The next Sunday, Stephanie and Mrs. Chona baked cookies for the neighbors in our apartment building and passed out brochures for the church. In the following weeks, two families from the building came out to the services!
On December 13, we flew back to the United States for a four week period. The following Saturday, Tim was blessed to officiate the wedding for his brother. Also during the trip, Stephanie was fingerprinted-which could only be officially done in the US-in order to get a background check for her visa. The first prints were unsuccessful, but after much prayer and a second trip, she received a perfectly clear set. We mailed them off immediately, but we will not hear back from the FBI for 12-14 weeks from when they receive them. Once we receive the report, Stephanie will be able to apply for her residency visa.
We trust that you had a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. We enjoyed reflected on Christ’s birth as well as time together with family. God has given us another year in order to serve Him. May we make it the best year yet as we labor in service to Him.
We are quickly approaching the end of the 2016! Things continued to move forward here at New Life Baptist Church and ministries. Tim was able to fill in and preach the first two Sundays of the month for Bro. Autrey. He finished his series on salvation by focusing on the responsibilities that God gives us as Christians. You can listen to these sermons and others on the church’s website. We are also beginning to finish things in the fall semester of the school before exams. We have very much enjoyed teaching the students and investing in their lives inside the classroom, in the chapel services, and outside the classroom.
We had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving with the Autreys and their family. We are thankful for the Lord’s blessings in our lives. Often, we are guilty of taking for granted all of His benefits that He gives us daily. One of the things that we were very thankful for this month was Elena. We celebrated her second birthday on November 29. We are loving the opportunity to raise her and her brother in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are truly a gift from the Lord to us.
Thank you for those who have prayed and asked about our visas. The immigration office has three months to verify all of the documents submitted for the process. Tim’s three months ended in the middle of the month, but they still had not finished the process. He went to talk with them and had to legalize some of the translation work, but, later, we had trouble with the last step for Landon and Elena. Praise the Lord that Tim was able to talk with the right people this week, and Lord willing, he and the children will be able to finish their visa process next week before our trip. Please pray that we will be able to get the necessary documents for Stephanie during our trip to the states and that her process might go smoothly when we return.
We are excited about the few weeks that the Lord will give us to spend with our families this Christmas. Please pray for our trip as well as for Tim as he is preparing everything for his brother’s wedding in December. Thank you for all of your prayers and financial support for our family. We are grateful to God for the partnership that He has given us with you!
Psalm 103:1-2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”
On October 28, our family celebrated one year of living in the Dominican Republic! We enjoyed taking time to reflect on the things that God has allowed us to do and the lessons that he has taught us over the past twelve months. We serve a great God! During the month, we continued teaching in the school, and we are praising the Lord for the many students in the school as a whole who have accepted Christ as their Savior since the beginning of September! We are seeking as a staff to disciple them and aid them in their Christian walk. Tim preached in chapel this month the first of two messages regarding things that all Christians should be doing, and later that day, one of the students told him that she could not wait to hear the rest to see if she was being the Christian that God desired for her to be. One of the teachers also told him the same thing. We are thankful for the Holy Spirit’s working among the students and staff of the school.
On the church side, Tim has been able to preach the message during the past three Sunday services as Bro. Autrey is in the States for a few weeks. Please pray as he is raising funds for the ministry. Tim is enjoying preaching a series on salvation, from the assurance God gives to the privileges and responsibilities of salvation. We also had a great youth activity on Saturday, October 29 with the teens in the afternoon as well as a ladies’ meeting in the evening.
Stephanie is continuing her Spanish classes. She is thankful for the opportunity to put her knowledge into action through helping at the school and assisting in her Sunday School class. Continue to pray for us as we are always learning new words and Dominican customs.
We will be making a quick trip to the United States during the month of December and January. Tim has the privilege to officiate the wedding for his brother. Also, Stephanie needs to apply for documentation for her visa here in the Dominican Republic in the United States since they are not going to accept what we used last year for her. Pray that she can receive this paperwork in a timely manner and that the legalization process for Tim and the children will go smoothly.
We want to thank you for your faithful prayers and support for our family. God has truly been good to us this past year, and we are looking forward to what He has in store for us in our second year on the field. We hope that you take a moment to view our latest video update; we trust that it will be a blessing to you.
“Seeing Past the Bars”
By Stephanie Germano
Matthew 9:36 says “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” In this verse we see the depth of Jesus’ love for us and His desire for “all to come to repentance”. Oh that we may see the lost through the eyes of the Lord.
On October 28th, 2015, we got on a plane and took a one way flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. We were amazed how God provided every need! Within our first week, He had provided us with a car, a place to live, and many people who were so kind to help us get settled. Not long after we had moved in, I had noticed something that I had overlooked during all the busyness of the move. There were thick bars in every window for security. It seemed odd to me, and sadly it really took away from the beautiful view outside. As time went by, however, the initial excitement of being in a new place began to fade. Soon, reality began to set in. The new culture and its differences became more defined. The inability to communicate with others began to feel isolating. Keeping house and home has always been something I have enjoyed, but all of a sudden those bars in the windows began to feel confining. They began to represent something more, reminding me of the homesickness that was growing each day and the changes to which I was trying adapt. Every time, however, where there was discouragement, God would replace it with His sweet joy! We could feel Him helping all of us adapt in every way.
One morning toward the end of June, I woke up with what I thought to be bad case of pink eye. Later, we were told by the doctor that I had somehow contracted salmonella in my right eye. The infection left a thick scar over my cornea. Though it was a scary few months, God replaced fear with His sweet peace. I have felt the prayers of God’s people as I have had the privilege to literally watch the Lord heal my eye! Over just a few months’ time, the Lord has restored my sight close to what it was before the infection!
Not too long ago as I was watering the flowers, I looked out over our neighborhood. Now many of the faces we see each day have not just a name, but a story. At times you can see some of the students from the school around the corner crossing the street. Many of them do not know Jesus as their Savior and desperately need Him to change their lives. There is a lady across the street, who cooks at park to provide for her two precious daughters. Oh what the Lord could do in her life if she would just place her trust in Him. I watched the men who deliver the weekly water jug orders as they zoomed in and out of the cul-de-sac on their motorcycles. What an opportunity that the Lord has given us to be a witness to them each week! As I was taking everything in, something suddenly occurred to me. For the first time I was able to look out of the window and not even notice those metal bars. Furthermore, I realized that it was not just my physical sight that the Lord was improving. God had given grace where it was needed to help me look past myself and the changes in my life that seemed, at the time, so hard to ignore. There will always be a set of challenges that we have to look past. May we as Christians always depend on God’s strength to help us do this very thing, and only then can we look through the eyes of Jesus to see the faint and weary “sheep having no shepherd”.
It was exciting to witness God’s hand moving during the month of September. In the Dominican Republic, September is the month of the Bible. Throughout these days, we focused on this theme in the messages and Sunday school lessons. Tim was able to preach two messages in this series: one on Ezra’s preparation in the Scriptures and another on Apollos’ knowledge of the Scriptures. We challenged the people to learn memory verses to recite each week during the service, and we are thankful that many of the members took this challenge to heart in hiding God’s Word in their heart. Stephanie was able to share a devotional in this theme during the monthly ladies’ meeting. She taught the ladies on the importance of the Bible in the lives of Mary, Anna, and Priscilla. On the final Sunday, two of the Sunday school classes shared songs and memory verses during the morning service. We were very proud of Landon as he worked hard to memorize the verses and song in Spanish.
The students and teachers began to settle into a routine in the academy these past few weeks. We have made a concentrated effort in sharing the gospel with the students in the chapel services, classrooms, and all around the school. The Lord placed it on Tim’s heart to preach in chapel on the relationship of works and salvation, and three of the students sought him out later in the day to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. You can read more about this in the previous post. In the school as a whole, dozens of children and teenagers have come forward to get saved. For example, last week following the chapel service, the preacher asked the students who raised their hand for salvation to stay behind, and 23 students remained to hear the salvation message again and ask questions about what to do next! I overheard one of them as they were returning to class seek out one of the staff members to tell them of their decision to follow Christ! Some of the school students joined our youth from the church in a Saturday night youth meeting, and 7 teenagers placed their faith in Christ. We are praising the Lord for His working on the hearts of these precious souls. God is doing a work here in the ministry. Please pray as we seek to disciple these new believers!
One more highlight during the month was the opportunity for Tim to preach his first message in Spanish. He was thankful for the encouragement and support of the members as they listened. He has also enjoyed the privilege to help lead in some of the services in Spanish. We are humbled to be a part of what God is doing in His harvest field.
Highlights and Prayer Requests
- Discipleship: Please continue to pray as we seek to disciple these new converts in the Word of God.
- Visas: Tim and the kids are at the end of the visa process. Pray as they are verifying everything and for Stephanie as she needs a few more items of paperwork in order to finish her visa.
- Stephanie’s eye: We are also asking for continued prayer for Stephanie’s eye. The healing process has slowed some, but we are grateful for the eyesight that has returned.
- Moving: Another prayer request is for our move during October. Our landlord is selling our apartment, but we found one on the other side of the church. Pray as we get everything in order to make this transition.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6.
The Holy Spirit impressed this passage on my heart last week. In the academy, we have made a concentrated effort to present the gospel to the students in the beginning of the school year. From the first week of school in orientation until now, we have presented the gospel on numerous occasions. Pastor Autrey preached the good news of salvation the first week of school. Pastor Jose Ramon continued the theme in the second week. Last week, the Lord placed it on my heart to preach from Ephesians 2:8-10 regarding the relationship of works and salvation. I shared with the student body that many religions of the world today change the Biblical principle in the relationship of these two areas. They seek to perform good works in order to obtain salvation. I shared this truth with the students while reminding them that good works are to follow and show evidence of our salvation. At the end of the invitation, I encouraged the students to seek out myself or one of their teachers if they would like to accept Christ as their Savior. A few hours later, one of my high school Bible students came running up to me at her lunch break. Thinking that one of the students was causing problems for her, I asked her what was wrong. She reminded me of what I had said during the invitation, and she asked if she could get saved. Two of her friends then came alongside and told me that they would like to make this decision also. As Pastor Jose Ramon explained the gospel to them in their language, I watched as their faces demonstrated their understanding of the message and their need to apply it to their lives. I saw the Holy Spirit illuminate His Word and help them understand it. I observed as He used Jose’s explanation of the verses to drive home the need of salvation. I listened as they prayed in their own language to Jesus Christ and asked Him to forgive them of their sins and be their Savior. I saw a change in their countenance and their joy as he told them there was rejoicing in Heaven over a sinner that repents. After they headed back to class, I sat at my desk and thought of this verse again. I had prayed that morning in my devotions that God would give the increase. God allows some to plant the seed of the gospel message. He gives the opportunity for others to water the seed and remind the hearer of the truth of His Word. But ultimately, He convicts their heart through His Word in ways that we never can, and He gives the increase through their faith in Him. We must do our part in planting the gospel message and watering this truth in their hearts. God will do His part in bringing forth the increase!