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.