We first would like to say thank you for everyone’s prayers for our family as we traveled. We are back in Ocala, Fl. now. We spent a few weeks on the road sharing with others about our family and ministry, the great needs and challenges we face, and the many things that God is doing in the DR that we are privileged to be a small part of. We met many brothers and sisters in different states and were overwhelmed to find out how many people knew about and have been praying for us. We are so grateful, and in so many ways we are in need of the continued faithful prayers of the saints back home. We are confident that the Lord hears them. Thank you.
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,- Philemon 1:4 ESV
One of the biggest challenges we face in discipleing adults and training men for leadership is illiteracy. There are a lot of adults in the area we minister to who cannot read. There a several different reasons for this, but the main reason is poverty. There are no laws that we know of that require that children be in school. And if such a law does exist, it is most certainly not enforced. The children in the DR are required to wear uniforms, but with so many poor families, those who cannot afford the uniforms or school supplies simply cannot go. Some children are so poor they are forced to go out to and work in the streets shining shoes to bring home money for food. Many of the adults in these areas grew up in the countryside, where they simply quit school early to help their families work in some type of agriculture, usually rice, bananas, or cacao.
It does not help that the Dominican Republic has one of the worst education systems in the world. In a recent study of over 14o countries, the Dominican Republic came in next to last in education. Even their neighbor Haiti, although the poorest country in this part of the world, still has a better education system than the DR. In the town of Piedra Gorda, among the adults that attend church, there are only about two who can read that we know of. Needles to say, this poses a huge challenge in ministry there. A sermon on Sunday and a Bible study once or twice a week just isn’t enough for a person to grow. It is not impossible but it does make the process very slow and long. They can’t study on their own and you can’t give them a Bible and tell them to read this verse or that chapter. We have tried other things. We have put the audio Bible on cd’s, which is easy and cheap. The problem is that most of these people do not have cd players.
But even in the DR, technology has taken off and is available if you can afford it. Because of this more and more people have access to cell phones. Even if it is a very basic model. One of the new believers in Boruco is an older man named Felix. Felix has very little and he cannot read, but he has become very faithful and is at every church activity or study. He walks the hills gathering sticks and small plants to make old fashioned brooms to sell. He saved up his money for some time to purchase one of these basic phones and asked if I knew how to put music on it. When I asked him if he would like me to put the Bible on there too, he just smiled and said “claro”, which means “clearly” or “of course.” If these people can’t read the Bible, at least they could listen to it. We did this for another brother as well.
It was actually Jared’s idea to ask for help from the churches back home. Most Americans love their technology, especially their phones. And at the rate at which people buy them and upgrade, a lot of people had to have an old phone in a junk drawer somewhere that they just aren’t using. So we have been asking people to donate their old phone for the sake of missions. It is basically like putting a Bible in the hands of a person who can’t read. The Bible says in Romans 10:17:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
And if a person can come to faith in Christ through hearing, then they can grow in Christ through hearing. We hope to collect these and put the audio Bible in Spanish on every one of them. The best phones are those which have a slot for a SD card, they hold a lot more memory. Most phones hold very little without one. Old mp3 players that are not being used and can be donated would work just as well. So we are asking for your help. If you have an old phone that can hold music, an SD card you are willing to donate (many people remove them from the phone), an old mp3 player and perhaps even some extra earbuds or headphones laying around, and are willing to donate these items, we can make good use of them. You would be helping us get the Word of God into the hands of a brother or sister who cannot read a Bible on their own.
Our kids are testing around mid April, but we will not leave back to the DR until the end of the month. If you have a phone or mp3 player you would like to donate, or know someone who does, please help us to help others. Depending on where you live, we can suggest the best way of getting those to us. You can contact us here on this blog, on facebook @ Salgado DR Mission, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God bless. Pray.