Alberto Rivas became a Christian as a young man of 16 in the church of Hoyo de Caimito where Ramon Gabriel was (and still is) the preacher under the direction of Billy Loft as the missionary. He was sent to Panama for a year to the Bible Evangelism institute that recent FAME director Kevin Dooley was running.
Alberto, Mitchell Marte, and Ramon Hernandez were there for a year. All three returned to the Dominican and became pastors of congregations supervised by El Centro. It was about this time that Rick York came to work in the Dominican Republic. Alberto began working with CDMM in clinics in 1993. In doing so, he met all the Missionary teams who came to the Dominican. It was on one of those mission trips where he met Lynette Lund, a school teacher from Keokuk, IA.
In 1995 he was sent to Colegio Biblico where he studied for 4 years, graduating in May of 1999.
In December of 1997 he was married to Lynette Lund.
Their first child, Abigail, was born in March 1999.
In July of the same year Alberto, Lynette, and Abigail returned to the Dominican Republic, settling in Santiago. There he started his own own mission, CDEM (Christian Dominican Evangelistic Mission). He continues to work with CDMM, although less and less frequently, and also participates as an officer in the El Centro organization.
In Santiago, Lynette taught at the Christian English emersion school for two years. Lynette was well qualified, having a degree in teaching from University of Northern Iowa. During this time Alberto often helped Gary Klein with the CDMM clinics. Over time, Alberto felt more drawn to the northwest part of the Dominican which has seen very little evangelism. During this time frame El Centro was gradually moving from foreign missionary control to an organization run by Dominicans. However, El Centro had only covered central and southern Dominican. The northern and eastern extremeties have not been reached.
In the spring of 2001, they bought a compound in Monte Cristi to serve as their new base of operations as well as the location of a new church. Cristian, Evelin, and Cristian Manuel (4 years old) Lopez also joined the mission with Cristian becoming pastor of this new congregation.
Alberto continued to have multiple Bible Studies in many locations each week, even though Monte Cristi was several hours away from Santaigo. In July of 2002 Alberto, Lynette, and Abigail moved from Santiago to Monte Cristi. This was a step of faith since the move forced Lynette to give up her teaching position which provided a substantial amount of their income.
In the fall of 2002, CDEM purchased a piece of land on which to build a baseball field. They plan to use baseball to draw in kids and adults in order to share the gospel. They are already hauling van loads of people from this new neighborhood to church and other activities.
They are also using this same idea with volleyball and basketball in the neighborhood of the compound. They have been able to meet many kids from the area through this sports ministry.
On December 21, 2002, Alberto and Lynette welcomed their second child Jonathan.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2003, Lynette collapsed and died just as she answered the door for an arriving missions group. Abigail was 4 at that time and Jonathan was only 5 months old. Lynette was buried in Monte Cristi.
Lynette's dream of bringing Christ to the Dominicans in Monte Cristi continues even after her death. As a result of her death, many people have become open to the Gospel message and have been asking many questions. Alberto and Cristian have begun another midweek Bible study and they have had at least three baptisms. In August 2003, when the mission group from Franklin, TN was visiting, they had over 100 in attendance for church. Negotiations are also continuing for the purchase of property just half a block from the compound where they hope to build a church building.
We are excited about the work being done through CDEM and consider it a privilege to be allowed to serve with this mission. We would appreciate your prayerful consideration of supporting us in this ministry through your prayers and through your finances. We are trusting God to supply all of our needs.