Let’s start a long post with a little fun, shall we?
During our last Sunday School lesson before we began social distancing and staying in our homes, the students were given a pile of newspapers to dress the characters in that day’s Bible story.
Queen Esther and King Xerxes
Notice the details of the “Queen’s” little crown, the bow on the front of her dress, and her bracelet and train in the picture above.
I love watching my kids be creative!
And now let’s turn the calendar back to January . . .
The medical team from First Baptist Maryville, Illinois returned to train leaders from our communities in basic health, first aid and CPR. The team always does a good job of reviewing what was taught the previous year and addressing specific concerns of our folks. Of course, in January we had no idea just how important the review of thorough hand washing would become!
And in February . . .
QUEST, a New England youth development program, returned again this February to work with us and Alberto Felix’s ministry.
Recently termites found the rafters of our blue building to be quite tasty. Thankfully the “QUESTIES” and TIME staff were able to replace all the rafters for us so we can continue using this building that was constructed by a team from Colorado in January 2008. Yet another example of how people from many, many places have been involved with us in Cercadillo.
This year two of our youth spent the weekend with the QUESTIES. Edwarlin is fourth from the left.
Valentina is in the center of her new friends.
The week with QUEST ended with quite a surprise . . . a check from Questies and Leaders throughout the years.
And in March . . .
Like the rest of the world, all of our “normal” activities ground to a rapid halt. Social distancing, stay at home orders and a curfew from 5:00 PM to 6:00 AM have become part of our daily lives, just like so many of you.
As of this morning there were 2349 reported cases and 118 deaths here on our side of the island. I would imagine that there are actually many more cases due to the expense of the tests. Starting at the end of this week the tests are being made available without cost.
Please pray with our leaders and me as we strive to find ways to meet the physical needs of the people in our communities. We have always tried to follow the “Helping without Hurting” philosophies of development, but circumstances have changed and we are moving into relief mode. There are very, very few people in our communities who are still working.
We are trying to research what help is available. The government seems to be trying to provide for those who have ID cards, but the process seems quite confusing. And just like in the States, it’s taking some time to iron out the wrinkles. A few of our people have received some help. Others with ID cards haven’t and don’t really know if they will. And of course, we still have people in our communities who don’t have ID cards. It seems that they will not be receiving help from the government. This may be where we will need to concentrate the most help. I’m so proud of our ladies who are trying to determine where the greatest needs lie.
Several of our sewing ladies are using fabric from our supply to make and give face masks to their neighbors. Love that! They told me this morning that they are going to begin making smaller ones as well since we have had two children die in the DR from the virus.
Between phone calls with my ladies in Cercadillo/Vietnan and researching assistance, I have been busy developing more tutoring curriculum, organizing materials, and planning future activities when we are able to be together again. I have also been baking something every morning to have the freezer stocked with banana bread, mango muffins, cookies, etc that we will use in our various future gatherings. So rest assured that even when I am not able to be IN our communities, I am working WITH and FOR them from a distance!
Mission Base Update
In December I told you that we found land to build a mission base with plenty of room for future expansion. That fell through in mid February when we learned of increased violence in the area. We have continued looking with no real contenders at this time. Of course, our searching has stopped and all offices where we would need to check titles have closed. I trust that when life returns to whatever the new normal is, that we will find what we need. Please continue praying for this.
And a personal note before closing this very long post . . .
My sister Kim died on March 17 in a hospital in St. Louis. Although it was very hard to not be able to go due to the pandemic, I am thankful that several family members were with her until the end. And I’m so thankful for Easter . . . that this life isn’t the end.