June 26, 2019

Good afternoon everyone. This will be a short blog. Mary and I are taking a vacation soon and we wanted to touch base before we "fall off the map" so to speak.

A couple of weeks ago was Fathers Day. I made mention of it in the last blog. Just like for Mothers Day, the attendance was good. There were several guests present for the service. Fathers received a gift and different things were done to honor them. Afterwards, the ladies did themselves proud with a great lunch for everyone. I was not present for the event which takes me to the second point of the blog.

June 15th- 24th  I was in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip organized by Santos Torres, a member of our church and a co-worker of ours here in Aguadilla. In the group there were three from our church, two from other churches in our area and four women from two churches in Shelbyville, KY. It was very hot and basic resources we take for granted such as electricity and clean drinking water and plenty of water to bathe with were sometime limited; yet the mood of everyone was positive and complaints were very few. We were there to bless those with what had been donated to the group (food, medicine, school supplies, and money).   

We traveled from the capital, Santo Domingo, to the western side of the country near the Haitian border, to a town called Las Matas de Farfán, and then over to the northeastern side of the country to the town of Sánchez. Everywhere we went the churches and their leaders were most accommodating to us, doing all they could to make us feel welcome.

Aged woman receiving food
I believe the tally for what was done was: Three medical/pharmacy clinics, four VBSes, and four worship/evangelistic services. School supplies and simple toys were given to SO many kids I lost count. Food was given to the poor and aged and hundreds received medical attention. Some cash gifts were left to be given to the very poorest under the guidance of local pastors. My responsibilities were to preach on a couple of occasions and act as a translator for the group from KY when they got in over their heads with the language.

Well I believe that sums it all up. We will get back to you the first of August. Below are several photos of the trip. Until next time,

Beautiful baby

Haydee Hetrich (left) from KY with church leader

Encouraging the spiritual weak

Team to the Dominican Republic

John preaching an evening service

Praying for a church leader

Food for the poor

Delight under a parachute

Story time for kids

Missions team 

Medical clinic

June 11, 2019

Good afternoon. May and early June have been filled with events, starting with Mother's Day; always a huge event all over Puerto Rico. At the church, there was a special program prepared for the moms including a pantomime by the ministry bearing that name, right down to the classic painted white faces, white gloves, and black outfits. They did a great job and finished their presentation by giving all the moms a rose. There were gifts, specials thoughts and I finished up sharing a video about mothers instead of preaching. (I think I head several "amens" when the people discovered I wasn't preaching!)  After the services we all enjoyed a meal prepared and served by the men. This coming Sunday the ladies are doing something similar for Fathers' Day.

Alfredo López, preaching
To the left is a photo of one of our church members. He and his wife are faithful attenders and we discovered he is a good preacher as well. The photo depicts the first time he ever preached for us. The congregation loved him!

Following up on Mothers' Day was Graduate Recognition Sunday. It is an annual event for our church. The graduates, at several educational levels, are recognized, given a gift, and share a cake made in their honor.

One of our outreach ministries is Alcance Comunitario (Community Outreach). It is an event in which we try to help people in the community. Recently, we began sealing a roof for some seniors. Rains delayed us a couple of weeks so we had a friend of the church finish up the task. The group is on tab to go back and do some cleaning for the family.

Next week I will be in the Dominican Republic along with Santos Torres and Antonio Nuñez, a member of our church. Santos organized the seven day event from start to finish. We will be going to assist with teaching/preaching/ and cooking for the team. There are three from our church, two from other churches in the area and four women from the Shelbyville Christian Church, Shelbyville, KY. We tend to do a trip every couple of years. Our church has committed $600-$700 dollars for school supplies and groceries for the people we will be ministering to.

The church in Aguadilla cares very much about helping people in need. For example, last month over $1,700 was used to help such people. That is two/thirds of the monthly budget. I am reminded of the Apostle John's words: "What value is it to say God bless you and yet not help a brother in need." (I John 3:17)

Pending events are: A couple of outings for the church, a youth retreat the first of August as well as a Back to School all day event; and then, the next day, Sunday, a concert.

That wraps it up. Thanks for reading.