Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Our Neighbors Are The First To Come

We have had so much fun starting this church. At first we were a bit embarrassed with the facility and dove into remodeling it so as to have an adequate place to meet. During this process, our neighbors saw us working up a sweat and began to inquire what we were up to. We happily introduced ourselves and shared with them our plans to start a Baptist church. To take advantage of their curiosity we told them to come to church Sunday morning. Without flyers, fanfare or even a sign, people started to come and we have seen a steady stream of visitors motivated by the love and curiosity our neighbors have to know more about us and the Lord. Several have accepted Christ and discipleships have begun. Tyler and I are holding down the Sunday School while Tom does the preaching, music ect. We really are a army of one family now but pray this Christmas God will give us some Sunday School helpers that want to grow in their relationship with the Lord through service.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Thanksgiving to Remember

A big thank you to Lynn and Randy Brown for sending boxes and boxes of clothes and toys from Play House Day Care in Amarillo, Texas. Our partnership with Agape Missionary flights has bridged the gap between home and field. Yamarka and her courageous family are wonderful people attending Congregacion Bautista here in Santiago and really needed help this Thanksgiving. We were all very thankful that we got to meet Yamarka's mother who has been in Haiti - she is a very very sweet person. SHE GAVE ME A BEAR HUG AND BIG KISS (which is something I normally try and avoid unless it comes from one of my girls) BUT THIS TIME THERE WAS NO ESCAPE (Trust Me)!! Helping those less fortunate during this time is well - unforgettable - it was a honor and privilege to be a part of this and we felt very used. Please pray that this couple stays faithful to church and will stay together no matter the storms that come their way.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September's Interactive Missionary Letter

Car Agency Rented - Help Wanted!!
We are indeed hanging out the Help Wanted sign, but we we will not be selling cars at this agency. We have His business to attend too, which is far more important. Last month we were able to rent this building and the lot for $580 a month on the highway between Santiago and Tamboril. It is a excellent location, has plenty of parking, space for Sunday school and we can put up the tent the Rawlings foundation donated immediately. It is close to several properties we have our eye on to purchase and we feel with a bit of “Help” can will everything ready to go soon.
Church Needs
Chairs -$2950
Tables, Pulpit, Ect. -$1965
16 Batteries -$1750
Fans, Lights, Electrical -$1741
6.5 KW Inverter -$1162
Alarm -$ 962 Remodeling Needs Men’s Restroom - $1976
Ladies Restroom - $1626
Floor Reconditioning - $709
Paint - $590
Gate and Iron work - $530 Doors - $445 Feeding Center Established - 17 Saved!!
When the folks in the Adult III Sunday School class at Arden Road Baptist Church in Amarillo contacted us about their burden for children in the inner city we couldn’t believe our ears!! We had been praying for some time that God would supply the finances needed so we could reach unchurched children in this huge city of ours. With pastor Victor Urraca and several volunteers we began putting together the pieces necessary to put this ministry on a sure foundation. Unbelievably, we have now 48 children enrolled in what we call here the Samuel club that meets 3 hours each Saturday. As of now 17 of these children have received Christ as their Savior over the last few months and many parents have begun attending church services. This is a great example of how one church really can make a difference!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

“As The Dominican Turns”

Our Association here in Santiago has a new web page it is: www.FamiliaAvance.com and its corresponding blog is located at www.FamiliaAvance.blogspot.com Both of these sights will be up and running shortly after we get approval from the Dominican Government. We thought we had everything in order and on its way to being finished but evidently the national office of industrial property is holding up our name and logo registration. Please pray that the letter below gets approved and we can begin using the association as quickly as possible.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Little Information On Project Impact

Have we mentioned Project Impact? No? Smile - well it seems as though every time we go to roll out our mission trip program we have another church who calls and wants to come and visit. (Not a bad problem to have!) In fact the summer of 2009 is already full. However, if your interested in coming sometime outside the summer months we want you to know that we are indeed prepared to handle groups of up to 30. We have a team house here in Santiago which is run by a couple who were former missionaries in Haiti. The rooms at the home are very nice and while there is no A/C - fans are in every room. There are several large area's for morning and night devotionals and all the rooms have doors for privacy and hold 4 people (Aprox.) on bunkbeds and there are 5 bathrooms. There are several computers with internet as well so that you can keep in touch with back home and they have several Dominicans that are employed to help keep things nice and clean. The cost is $35 per person per night (currently its $30) and includes 3 hot meals except for Sunday morning breakfast (which is cold). Below are some pictures of the Team House. If you are interested, our ideal number is normally 15. If you do decide to come we need to know in advance so we can block out our calendar so as to not plan any other groups, church activities, camps ect. We promise that if you come you will be safe during the trip. But just as we live here, you also must come by faith - this in itself is one of the fundamentals of missions work. All receipts and money is above board (receipts are given for each item) on all expenses. For additional information on the D.R., www.DR1.com has great everyday / current information presented in English or you can check out our websight at www.DR4Christ.com. If your interested let us know and we will send you even more information and orientate you as to what God can do on a mission trip.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Children's Field Video Report

A big thanks to Randy Wehner and Glendale Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri for taking the time, caring and puting this together for us. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May's Interactive Missionary Letter

Open Doors
When we were in Costa Rica during furlough, we were able to participate in a church program for visitors and new believers called "Open Doors". It was such a great idea (Thanks Bro. Barnes) we tried it out here and guess what? It worked!! Approximately, 42 adult visitors and new believers came to a special informal service on Friday night where we "opened our doors" to share in a creative way (Drama's, presentations, meal, etc.) what ministries the church offers to those in our community. Our purpose was to present the gospel and enroll as many as possible in two new believers Sunday School classes (rotating every 7 weeks) called "Friends of the Bible" and "Stars for Jesus". We set up the curriculum in both classes and trained the teachers. We also formed and trained a group of seven directors who are in charge of specific areas (Music, Decoration, Greeting, ect.) so as to include current members into regular areas of service. God Blessed and 24 of the 42 enrolled in the classes and 8 have since received Christ as their personal Savior.

Our little Dominican beauty queen is doing wonderful and has been sleeping through the night with the exception of an occasional feeding. It took over a month to get her Dominican birth certificate. The hang up? Well, Believe it Or Not, Tom and I have the same last name. I know that comes as a shock to many of you. Here, Dominicans use both their father and mother's last name. We had two problems. The first was producing documents that proved I was "really" Regina Joy Barnes, and the second was that many of the regular workers had been out campaigning for the presidential elections two weeks from now. Thanks to a few friends, a great lawyer, a good judge and the Lord we prevailed and now Believe it or Not, JuliAnna is JuliAnna Truth Franklin Barnes - that is quite a handle. We had our appointment at the U.S. embassy 3 weeks ago and this week her passport and U.S. Birth certificate arrived making her a dual citizen. God is good.

God is Great. We are so thankful for each and every supporting church and individual that has given money for purchasing land for church property here in Santiago. We are setting up casa cultos "house services" for prayer and Bible study very similar to what we did in Cuba throughout the week. Bro. Herb Rawlings purchased a tent for the church that will hold between 200-300 people. Our plans are to meet on Sunday's in the tent and in homes throughout the week until we can raise all the money needed for the property. Please pray for us. Recently, Dr. Ariel Mendoza from a nearby medical clinic came and scandalously threatened Tom in public to do everything in his power to stop the church. Tom had never met the Dr. before and really had no idea what his problem was, due to his aggressive nature. Tom kept his testimony and after Dr. Mendoza left, those that remained told Tom that the Dr. was also interested in the property but desired to steal it. Greed, it's amazing how it works in the third world. Living on an island with over 9 million people, every bit of land is precious and we are thankful that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

I had just finished my written exam for my driving test when I was invited with 20+ students to watch a educational video with approximately 15-20 dangerous driving situations. The Problem? The dangerous driving scenarios were presented but we never got to the part where they teach you what to do! I'm still wondering what to do when my tires lock up in the snow!!! After this, I got into our diesel truck (Gasoline is now over $5.50 a gallon) and waited to be examined. When the examiner got in, I backed up, drove about two feet, and my examiner (man) excitedly proclaimed - "You know how to drive a truck? Manually?" - You Pass! I don't know if he was impressed or nervous. I wish they would have made the paper work, taxes and waiting part that easy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Didn't Know They Had Tornadoes Here

The quiet peace of Sunday afternoon was shattered yesterday when tornadoes swept through our valley. Hundreds of people were forced to seek temporary shelter when three separate tornadoes destroyed 140 homes, toppled power lines, injured 18 people and killed several others. One 64-year-old woman died after winds blew a telephone antenna tower on top of her house. Power is still being restored and the roads are littered with trees, light posts and broken glass. Officials are reporting major loss's to crops, including pineapple, rice and the plantain field. Unfortunately, this is only going to make the high prices on food go higher. So far this year we have suffered hurricanes Noel (Here is a video from Agape Missionary Flights - they bring in our mail) and Olga, the Tavera-Bao Dam debacle (someone out of fear opened the flood gates to the dam releasing more than 5,000 cubic meters a second into Santiago) that destroyed several thousand homes and now - three tornadoes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Cool Breeze Blows In From the North

Regina and I really appreciate pastors and churches that send groups to the field. Small to large it seems that each group has a unique niche traceable to the talents and gifts God has given them. This week Ben Feldott's group left the cold behind from Cape Cod to spread a bit of warmth this Easter in the Dominican Republic. We had a lot of fun working together from painting, lifting, cleaning and passing out invitations for a 3 day Evangelistic Campaign. We had special music, films and good preaching. AmAZiNgLy - the church had 77 adult (120+ with children) first time visitors and 12 received Christ as their personal Savior. The church and pastor were very very encouraged by the results and this Friday night we will have a follow up dinner for the visitors to attempt to enroll them into two new 7 week Sunday School classes. We have posted a couple of the Post-Trip Debrief's below and hope that a few of you will look them over and consider bringing a group down real soon. Thank you Cape Cod Baptist Church and Pastor Ben for sending Jean and Company - they were a big blessing, a lot of fun and worked hard all week.

Post- Trip Debriefings

Debriefing triggers the reentry process. Reentry is both an end and a beginning. • an end to a foreign experience, but the beginning of feeling foreign • an end of a trip, but the beginning of another journey • an end to being/feeling special, but the beginning of being ordinary with a special heart for God and for the people of the Dominican Republic • an end to being stared at, but the beginning of looking at people and the world through different eyes • an end to simple living, but the beginning of a different lifestyle • an end to crowded housing, but the beginning of having more space for God and for people • an end to eating foreign food, but the beginning of friendships with International students, immigrants, refugee’s and ethnic minorities EXERCISE 1 FOR RETURNING SHORT TERMERS Complete the following sentences. Jean Durgin - www.JeanSoldMyHouse.com LEAVING 1. When I think of leaving, I feel . . . excited to see my husband and daughter Sheri again. 2. My experience here has been . . . awesome, more than I anticipated 3. For me the Dominican Republic means . . . a country where people are “faceless” Missionary Note: In the Dominican Republic due to a multiplicity of ethnic races and backgrounds the “faceless doll” represents the people as a whole 4. The people I will miss are . . . the families that took time away from their busy schedules to show us a perfect mix of the island 5. The things that I will miss are . . . papaya, pineapple and coconut 6. The things I will be happy to leave behind are . . . dangerous driving 7. When leaving a place I usually . . . write about my experiences so that I can reflect on the visit 8. The easiest point of leaving for me will be . . . 9. Before I leave I really want to . . . enjoy the warm sunshine 10. I feel that my goals/expectations have been . . . met plus more 11. The most stressful part of leaving will be . . . flying EXPECTATIONS 1. I think the return home will be . . . welcoming 2. I expect the reception from my family will be . . . joyful, loving 3. I anticipate my church to be . . . involved with Easter and inquisitive about everything on the trip 4. I picture my friends to be . . . ready to hear my stories 5. I expect my family to . . . continue to grow in Christ’s love, strength and courage 6. I hope my church will . . . plan a mission here 7. I think my friends will be . . . amazed that I took this journey 8. I am looking forward to . . . seeing my family at home RETURNING 1. When I think of returning to the United States, I feel . . . excited and happy to see my husband and daughter Sheri 2. I will be going back to . . . reality - foreclosures and devastated families Missionary Note: Jean is a realtor and the U.S. economy has effected the market on the Cape very much. 3. Going back will enable me to . . . have a bigger heart 4. Regarding money, I will be . . . giving - knowing where my mission pledge is going! 5. I think the hardest part of going back for me will be . . . trying to explain all I’ve learned 6. I think the easiest part of going back will be . . . driving w/o looking for cars without headlights at night 7. I cannot wait to . . . talk to Pastor Ben to share the experience COUPLES AND FAMILIES 1. When I talk to my spouse about leaving he . . . said “What could you do there?” 2. When I talk to my children about leaving they . . . were surprised - luckily one decided to join me 3. I think for my children, leaving will be . . . open to anything Julie Durgin - Jean's daughter LEAVING 1. When I think of leaving, I feel . . . accomplishment - knowing what a life changing experience this was 2. My experience here has been . . . absolutely amazing, an eye-opener as to how many beautifully different people are in other places in the world 3. For me the Dominican Republic means . . . important relationships with families and friendly people 4. The people I will miss are . . . all the Franklins, Wesley and especially the children. I will miss Pastor Victor and Wilson also. 5. The things that I will miss are . . . the mountains, the views, working for the church here 6. The things I will be happy to leave behind are . . . the relationships with the people I connected with, yet I will miss this also 7. When leaving a place I usually . . . feel upset when I am on the plane, thinking how I will miss everything, but then I think how it will change me when I return home 8. The easiest point of leaving for me will be . . . knowing I;m leaving with a positive change in my life 9. Before I leave I really want to . . . take in and enjoy the atmosphere 10. I feel that my goals/expectations have been . . . accomplished, but I tried coming with no expectations 11. The most stressful part of leaving will be . . . getting through security and waiting for the plane to arrive EXPECTATIONS 1. I think the return home will be . . . enjoyable to see familiar faces 2. I expect the reception from my family will be . . . a fun easter day 3. I anticipate my church to be . . . taken even more seriously, I think I will try and make more friends there 4. I picture my friends to be . . . different, most of them, I won’t see till summer 5. I expect my family to . . . very happy 6. I hope my church will . . . plan a big mission here 7. I think my friends will be . . . very different from me 8. I am looking forward to . . . seeing if things changed or not RETURNING 1. When I think of returning to the United States, I feel . . . uncertain of the mixes of changed lives after a week of being away from everyone 2. I will be going back to . . . cape cod for a day and then back to Bridgewater State College 3. Going back will enable me to . . . be a more loving person 4. Regarding money, I will be . . . more conservative 5. I think the hardest part of going back for me will be . . . missing here and the people here 6. I think the easiest part of going back will be . . . reuniting with family and certain friends I am comfortable with 7. I cannot wait to . . . get off the plane

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Emergency: Cuba needs Prayer

Today in conjunction with Fidel Castro's official retirement I received a call to prayer from one of our pastors in Cuba. Last year was our last communication regarding Cuba, of course we are now in the Dominican and have been very focused on our work here. We continue to faithfully support the work in Cuba and have been able to reduce that significantly over the last 3 years. Everything has been great and God has been blessing in incredible ways and there has not been any reason for alarm until today. I fear the worst for our loved ones in Cuba. But at the same time I KNOW THAT OUR REDEEMER LIVETH and He has an incredible plan for these men and women. You and I having been a part of that plan need to pray for these Giants of the faith. Would you join me in prayer through Wednesday February 27 for the Pastors, leaders and sheep in the last communist country in the Western Hemisphere?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dominican Born - January 19, 2008

Sure has been a great week! Of course, on the way to the hospital Saturday night - I thought I would faint - but my wife and mother-n-law where there - to get me through - Whew!

My father-n-law has been spending quality time with the grandkids and I thought it would be wise to leave him at the house - but

he insisted that the stork was going to bring the most beautiful Dominican baby girl into the world that night - AND HE WAS RIGHT!!

I told Tiffany that the stork worked very hard that night - because its not easy carrying a 7Lb 12 oz baby sister over the ocean.

I don't know what the boys thought about the stork but I know they were sure happy to see there Mama!

Thank you so much for your prayers, support and love - they truly mean a lot. JuliAnna Truth is at home and Regina is recovering well. Today we are having special services at the church with Bro. Barnes as the special speaker. Please continue to pray - we are looking forward to celebrating several spiritual births a long with JuliAnna's.