It has been a very eventful past few months for the Rivas family. God has been good and faithful to us. He has blessed us in so many ways during these past months through the good times and the difficult times.
Christian and Alberto We are excited about the work God is doing in Monte Cristi. He has put the church in Monte Cristi on the hearts of another family, Christian, Evelin, and Christian Manuel (4 years old) Lopez. They travel with us every weekend to Monte Cristi to help with the work there. Christian and Evelin are currently taking college classes but will finish this coming December. Then they will move to Monte Cristi, and he will become the preacher there. Once this church is established and growing, Alberto will start work on planting another church in that same vicinity with our home in Monte Cristi being our base. Christian would probably help some but we would also be looking for another person to come along and work, with the idea of that person being the preacher of the new church.
Parking area where church will meet One of the things that limited our work in Monte Cristi was the lack of a permanent location where we could hold activities. God has made it possible for us to purchase a house with a large yard and a covered parking area where Bible studies, Sunday School and church services can be held. Christian and Alberto have just begun a regular schedule of events so that people can attend regularly. Our first Sunday School class was attended by 10 children, and the second week we had 47. On the third Sunday, we began with 16 children but by the end of the hour there were 59. This is just a little bit overwhelming. Evelin is teaching the children and doing a great job. The first church service was held on Saturday, June 16. There were 9 people in attendance. We hope to start a regular Sunday church service soon.
Alberto and Christian have plans to use our big yard to attract youth to play volleyball and other activities on Saturday afternoons. Saturday mornings will be used for Bible studies and evangelism. Sunday morning will be Sunday School and Sunday afternoon will be church services.
It has also been a difficult past few months in other ways. Lynette had a miscarriage two days before Easter. We are grateful to God that Lynette is fine and can now relate and minister to other women in a way she could not before. Another tragedy was that Alberto's niece was murdered in May by her husband. She leaves behind two children, ages 2 and 4. Please be in prayer for Alberto's family as they are grieving this loss and as they try to decide who will take care of these two children. Also be in prayer that the husband will be found.
New Home As mentioned earlier, we were able to purchase a house in Monte Cristi. The house has a large yard that is surrounded by a wall. There is also a covered parking and storage area where the church will be able to meet. This house has already been a tremendous blessing!
Building pews in Monte Cristi In the long run, the house allows us to save money since we no longer have to pay for hotel rooms on a weekly basis in Monte Cristi and we do not have to rent a place to hold church services. But it has strained our finances since we have to pay rent in Santiago for another year as well as pay on the loan. We were able to borrow the money interest- free for two years so we would like to pay it back as quickly as possible. Any donations towards the purchase of this house would be appreciated. The house is in our name and will belong to us although it will continue to be used as a tool in our ministry even after we have a church building.
We were blessed with having our first work team arrive on June 7. This team came from our sending church, Cedar Falls Church of Christ, and included Lynette's mother. The group of seven people were able to accomplish a lot during their time here. Alice Dolgener, Bev Saug, and Mom (Helen) were able to go to school with Lynette on their first day here. They taught the lesson in three different chapels for 230 some students and then spent the rest of the day finishing things up for Kindergarten graduation. The others painted the inside and outside of the church building in Barrero.
We then headed up to Monte Cristi for the weekend to accomplish many different things. The guys on the team worked on building four pews while the ladies cleaned the house which had been unoccupied for some time. On Saturday evening, Gary Klein arrived with his crew as well as part of another work team from Springfield, Illinois to hold a medical clinic in our yard. Sunday the team was busy helping with the medical clinic (over 300 people were treated that day), cooking, putting screens on the windows and child-proofing the balcony. On Monday morning, everyone broke into small groups for door to door evangelism. That afternoon, one person was baptized.
Tuesday morning a Vacation Bible School was held with 47 children attending.
People listen to preaching and singing while waiting at the medical clinic
On Wednesday, the group traveled to Pueblo Nuevo, Mao where they painted the inside and outside of the church building there. The group worked hard and helped out in any way that they could. What a blessing they were! Please be praying about bringing down a work team from your church.
For more information, please contact Alberto and Lynette at email@example.com or 809-581-8016.
The following items would be helpful in the new ministry in
Here is a brief look at what your money has been used for this past year.
Thank you for helping to make these things possible through your faithful giving! (Detailed financial statements are available by contacting Valarie Peterson at 507-289-1086.)
We appreciate your support and prayers as we continue to get settled and set up our ministry here according to God's will.
We can also be reached by writing
715 14th Street SE
Rochester, MN 55904
Our address in the Dominican will be
Juan Alberto and Lynette Rivas
SCS-DR, PO Box 24770
West Palm Beach, FL 33416
Make all checks payable to:
Cedar Falls Church of Christ
2727 West Fourth Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
God bless you.
Alberto, Lynette, and Abigail Rivas