Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Every perfect Gift

James 1:17, NIV: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

From the moment we landed in America and saw the Huge Red, White and Blue Flag hanging so proudly, until we returned to the Dominican Republic, our days and our hearts were filled with joy, laughter and sweet memories that we will carry with us until we return again.

August was a month of celebration that was filled with gifts, gifts and more gifts! Gifts are usually thought of as something you see, open, and hold in your hands.  Even though these are wonderful, the “Gift of Time” spent with family and friends, celebrating and catching up on what we have missed this past year was truly the best gift, and a true blessing to us!

The Wedding of our youngest son was surely the Highlight!  God added an extra special, beautiful lady to our family!  Bruce had the honor of officiating the ceremony, joining Gavin and Jacqueline together.  He did a great job!  And yes, the jokester restrained himself; he can be serious when he has to be. The days leading up to the wedding, and all the moments of the wedding day were extra special and absolutely beautiful.  Our granddaughters were so excited to be a part of this special day as well. They loved being the special Flower girls.  Instead of flowers, they walked together carrying a little sign that read, “Here she comes Uncle Gavin”.   As one of them said at the end of the night, “This was the best day EVER!!”  We agree! 

Beside all the wedding fun, we were so happy to be able to connect with many of you while we were home as well.  It was great to spend time with some of our supporting churches and friends sharing how God is working and opening doors for ministry in the Dominican Republic.  Some days we met with friends for breakfast, and then met more friends for lunch, then again more friends at dinner. What fun!  Gathering together and eating together is always a good time!  Thank you!! (We were even gifted with a little more fluff added to our waistlines.)

Thank you Penny and Dalton ladies for all the
 fabrics and sewing supplies!
Spending time with my aging parents was also a Huge Gift!  I wasn’t aware of, or prepared for, the changes I saw in their health though.  Both of them were having some very difficult and serous health issues.  We spent time in the emergency room with my mom who had a small stroke. We spent time in doctor’s offices helped schedule appointments, tests etc.  Not the fun stuff!  But we were glad to be home to help where we could and just spend time talking, reminiscing and being family.   A real reminder to us; time doesn’t stop.  So, enjoy every moment.  Family Time is a Gift! (Even when it’s difficult)

Over the past 5 years we have missed many, many special events and a whole lot of birthdays.  So, we decide to have One Big Birthday Party celebrating all our grandkids at once. There was a cake for the girls and a cake for the boys: gifts, games, cake and ice cream, swimming, fishing and a ton of laughter.  We had so much fun; we think we will try to make this our family tradition.

We loved our visit home and all the special moments.  But, as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” We are back in the Dominican in our own bed, back to our routine and working on the ministry God has marked out for us here. Please continue to pray for us as we press on making way for planting a church here. 

Thank you for being a part of our lives and having a part in all that we do! You are a special Gift to us!

Blessed because of Him!
Bruce & Janine

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Happy New Year! We had a great idea for a new years resolution. We are going to try and relax a bit and try to be a little more like the culture here. Ya know! Take our time and not be so punctual. So, much for trying to take on the Dominican way of thinking; January 2nd (yesterday) at 4:00 pm we receive a message saying, “Hey, Didn’t get your newsletter for the month. I look forward to them. So, I hope everything is ok” lol 

The month of December was very busy and actually quite rewarding in respects to ministry. The village we planned to teach in is not quite ready for our help at this time, which has been a bit discouraging. They just received the proper documentation to begin the final faze of building the community center. This is the building we were going to use as a base for our ministries. At this time we are a little limited to what we can do there. So, this month, we have branched out and started to minister with other ministries as well. Branching out was our long-term goal, but God has decided we need to branch out sooner. As usual, His plans are always best!

Pictures are sometimes better than words. So, here are some of the Highlights

Recognize this girl? We had a visitor from our home church for 9 days. Lauren needed to have a cultural experience for her college studies. We were glad to have her!

We went to a women’s prison and were a part of a special Christmas service sharing the Gospel message. We also brought sandwiches and smiles to help them through the Christmas season.

We were blessed to be a part of a mountain village church service, with special pantomime and music, and of course, our friend Tim, preached a wonderful message about the birth of our Savior and King and our need for Him. We prayed with, and for, many. And then we blessed each person with a bag of food for Christmas. It truly is more blessed to give than receive. It was a truly awesome time!

Janine and Carolina worked for days making 14 costumes for the Christmas drama.


1 New Year 365 New Opportunities. Be Brave, Friends - Toby Mac 


Monday, October 23, 2017

Arrived in the Dominican

As many of you may already know, we have arrived safely and have begun the process of learning the culture and Dominican Spanish.  We flew into Santiago DR Sunday night and were picked up around 7:00pm.  We were taken to the mission house where we are living until we find permanent housing.  They were holding discipleship classes.  We received a very warm welcome and were welcomed into the family.  An hour later we went to another party where we met a few other Americans who run a school near by.  Needless to say it was a long day, but a good one!

Monday we spent three hours getting our phones activated and it was nearly impossible without our Dominican family.  Tuesday we were finally able to look at housing and furnishings.  I believe we will have to settle for an apartment due to the fact that there are no houses available at this time.  And it will be much safer as well.   We are excited because we need our own space, (this is a very busy mission house. Ministry happenings every day.)

As I write this newsletter I am staring out the window in front of me.  I want to point out a few things to you so you can experience, with us, the culture here and the similarities with Uganda.  First off, notice the iron bars on the window.  This does not mean that Bruce has opened his big mouth and gotten into trouble.  But, similar to Uganda, they have bars on all the windows for safety purposes.

The second thing I would like to point out is just beyond the iron bars.  Look closely and you will see the six-foot high cement wall with broken pieces of glass mortared into the top of the wall.  This too is for protection from intruders, as they will cut themselves as they climb over to break into neighboring homes.  The cement wall is another similarity to the homes in Uganda.

The third and final thing I want to point out is that the building is three feet away from the cement wall.  This is the neighbor to the mission house where we are staying.  The houses seem to be stacked on top of each other.  The closeness might be common to the housing in the city of Jinga where we lived in Uganda, but our home in Uganda had a large yard and room between homes.  This will be new to us and it is something we will have to get used to.

Wednesday night we met with the staff at the Multi-cultural Community Church and we discussed a quote from Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China in the late 1800’s.  To sum up the quote Hudson is saying no matter where God places us or sends us, He goes before us to prepare the way, He goes with us as we journey the way, and gives all the provisions needed throughout the whole process.

I would like to point out one thing about our meeting last night.  The staff, like the Church attendees, is made up of a diverse culture group.  Attending the meeting were Haitians, Dominicans, Americans and a man from Equatorial Guinea, Africa.  The church we are partnering with is not only worshiping with a multi-cultural group they are reaching out to draw these groups together.  (Red and Yellow, Black and White they are precious in His sight)

We realize that God has placed us here and we are not totally sure what His plan will look like as He unfolds it.  But, we will be faithful to trust in Him as things unfold, for He knows the beginning to the end.  A wise man once told me that there are times in our lives where we can look into the rear view mirror and then see what God has done.

As for now and always we will hold to Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and will make your paths straight.  (NIV)

We have only been here 1 week today and found an apartment!  We are excited to have a place we can call home!

We don’t have a car yet, so we have been relying on Amarfry to transport us to the power co., contact office, stores etc.  She has been our little Dominican Angel! Until next month God Bless!

Prayer Requests
*Pray for comfort and peace for our family as we are away 

*Acclimation to this new culture, that all the details will fall into place.

*Pray we grasp their language quickly.  To be effective and to communicate we need to learn Espanol

* Praises! We found an apartment!  Pray for God to lead us in finding the household items needed to set up a home.

*Continued Prayers for our Ugandan Ministries and the families we love and miss.