Hola! It is time for another newsletter to update you on all the exciting things that are happening here in Monte Cristi. We want to take time to tell you about just a few of the blessings He has sent our way in the past few months!
Our children are growing and have been blessed with good health. God also protected Alberto from a serious injury when he was working with a saw and cut his leg to the bone. He received six stitches right above his knee. His cut healed well and did not slow him down very much.
In February, God used Alberto to save the life of a young mother who was going to commit suicide. We had the opportunity to meet some of physical needs of her family (she has three small children) as well as share with her about Jesus. We continue to have contact with her and encourage her.
In March, we had a group from the Cedar Falls Church of Christ come for a visit. They were able to complete many projects during their stay as well as encourage us in our work. Also in March, G.O. Ministries brought up a group of teenagers from Kentucky to hold a one day VBS. We had over 120 children come and hear about Jesus.
One of our goals since we moved here has been to build a church building. A church building has become more necessary as church attendance has increased. Our biggest need at present is classrooms. Right now we have two classes for kids during the evening church service. Evelin has been having 15 - 30 children ages six years old and up. My class (5 and under) has been running as many as 20. It is difficult to keep the children where they need to be during this time. Closed classrooms would help tremendously. Our work team from Cedar Falls closed off part of our backyard with a fence which helps keep the smaller children contained, but now they stand at the fence where they can be seen and heard, and they yell or cry. Also, most of the year it is already dark by class time, and we only have a little lightbulb in each open area to provide lighting. A building with lights would be very helpful.
We feel that God has now provided land in a perfect location for us to build a church building. It is located across the street and two houses down from our home. The owner had laid footings for a small hotel on this land but never finished. He is asking $13,000 (plus there will be closing costs). God has already amazingly provided most of the needed funds. Through the generosity of God's people, $13,900 has been pledged towards this purchase. Alberto is currently trying to get in contact with the owner for more information. Please pray that God will give us wisdom in this decision and, if it is His will, that the whole process will go quickly and smoothly.
If we are able to purchase the land, we will need to have plans drawn up for the church building and then the fun begins. We will need you and your church to come on a missions trip to help us build this church building. Please pray to see if you should consider this opportunity!
God is blessing in other ways as well. We really need a new vehicle to help transport people to and from church as well as mission groups that visit. After riding around in our van for a week, Adam Schwab, a college student who came with the Cedar Falls missions team, has committed to help raise the necessary funds for a 15-passenger van. His goal is to get 250 people to each donate $100. So far, $2100 has come in, and we know that God is continuing to work in the hearts of His people to meet this need.
The mission was able to purchase a copier/scanner/printer/fax machine in March. It has been a blessing to have, especially with the large groups of children for Sunday School. Previously, Evelin was having to make copies in Santiago (two hours away). It is so much handier to have a copier in the house!
On April 27, we had a church from Santiago come to Monte Cristi for a retreat. They brought 17 people with them. Our regular Sunday evening church service was moved to Sunday morning so that both groups could worship together. After a lunch of plantains and chicken, the group from Santiago and many from our church went to spend the afternoon at the beach. Amauri, one of our young people, and a person from the other church were both baptized while we were at the beach. Praise God!
We had 14 people from Monte Cristi attend the four-day youth camp at the Christian Camp in Salcedo in early May. The weekend included worship, speaking and small discussion groups (similar to our CIY camps). The kids had a great time and learned a lot. They also enjoyed the special sporting events. Our girls brought home a trophy for winning the volleyball tournament, and our boys placed second in the basketball tournament. Amauri, one of our boys, won a 1st place medallion for jumping. Pray that the seeds that were planted in the hearts of these young people this weekend will grow and bloom.
Alberto, Antonio, and Hershon recently spent a couple of days replacing the tin roof over the carport area where the church currently meets. The old roof had a lot of holes in it letting rain fall in on people during services. They removed the old roof, added two more rows of block and put up the support beams again. They also tore down one of the end walls that needed replaced and built a new one. As they were finishing for the day after removing the old roof, they noticed a strong storm moving in. You have never seen a tin roof go up so fast. It was a race between the sky and the guys. I am pleased to say that the guys won so that the garage/church did not get filled with water!
Praise God for all of these blessings! He is indeed faithful and provides everything we need! And thank you for your faithful support of the work here. We are very grateful!
- God's many blessings!
- Amauri's decision for the Lord
- Money to buy the land
- Alberto's leg healing well
- Van fund is growing
- Small electrical fire in van didn't injure Cristian or do extensive damage
After serving as Alberto and Lynette's forwarding agent for four and a half years, I was excited as I headed out in March for my first visit to the Dominican. I was looking forward to seeing firsthand the work that they are doing there and meeting the people they are trying to reach. I also wanted to have a taste of the difficulties my sister has living and working in a different culture (it is one thing to read that they run out of water and lose their electricity, but quite another to experience it). But as we traveled, there were two questions on my mind. What can only six people from different states, age categories, and walks of life accomplish in a foreign country in six days? And what can I, a stay-at-home mom, contribute to a construction group?
Once we arrived, it did not take long to discover that my fears were unnecessary. The small size of our group was a strength for us because it allowed us to complete many smaller projects without the long delays and transportation difficulties that accompany a larger group. We built and painted pews, put up a fence and gate, completed fencing around the top of the basketball court, painted lines on the basketball and volleyball courts, and began construction on a second story room on the house. We also passed out VBS fliers, delivered food to a family needing help, shot some footage for a new mission video and finished several other small tasks.
It was also rewarding to see how God used each of our unique abilities to help in different ways. There was something that everyone could do (even me!). Once I completed sanding and painting pews, I was able to help with some computer work. I also helped Cristian with volleyball and spent time talking to and playing with the neighborhood children.
Have you ever considered taking a short term mission trip? Whether you are many or few, young or old, experienced or not, God can use you as long as you are willing. Just say "YES!" It will change your perspective. It may even change your life!
- Amauri's growth as a new Christian
- That the young people who went to camp will make decisions for Christ
- Purchase of land
- Rafael Colon, preacher in Esperanza who needs surgery
We appreciate your support and prayers as we continue to get settled and set up our ministry here according to God's will.
Forwarding Agents: Make all checks payable to: Juan Alberto and Lynette Rivas Valarie Peterson Cedar Falls Church of Christ SGO 13908 715 14th Street SE C/O CDEM 7990 15th St. E Rochester, MN 55904 2727 West Fourth Street Sarasota, FL 34243 507.289.1086 Cedar Falls, IA 50613
God bless you.
Alberto, Lynette, and Abigail Rivas