Dear friend, mission partners, brothers and sisters in Christ,
The last week of October we did a massive medical clinic that extended over four days and was in three different locations. The first two days were at the church, the third day was at the school San Lucas, the fourth day we did at a christian clinic in downtown that helps people for very low costs and can sometimes offer some medications for free. Over all it went very well. All praise and glory to God.
Before that we had Brother Kenny Rodrigue from our friends at Woodside Baptist in Ocala, visit us and do an excellent three day conference on the church being the temple of God. A wonderful and edifying time of preaching and teaching. Praise God for that time of teaching and fellowship!
Just a week later, A wonderful young couple (Anthony and Stephanie Willis) had been wanting to do something with medical missions for sometime. They were put in contact with us through a good brother who had visited us on a trip a couple of years back. We had never met and it was going to be their first mission trip that we knew of. And although we have been part of countless medical trips and and likes, it wasn’t something we had ever set up completely on our own like this one. So it was a first for both of us in that sense. We have organized all kinds of different trips ourselves but as far as the medical ones, we were usually called in to help organize, translate, or share the Gospel with those coming through. Thankfully we had the help of experienced friends who did help guide us in certain areas we needed a little more knowledge in.
In all of the teams we have received over the years, (and there have been a lot), we have never had an issue getting the meds through customs since they were very obviously for helping the people here of their country , and thankfully in the past they have been usually gracious and appreciative about that, usually. Unfortunately on this occasion, like always customs had no problem and released the meds to be allowed in the country after a short explanation about who we were and what they were for and where we would be working.
This time though a woman from public health got involved and really complicated the situation to the point that we still haven’t been able to obtain the medications. we spent money sending a rep´representative of the mission to the capital with the paperwork they gave us to the office they told us to go, but after investing the time and money, still to to no avail. Upon returning to the customs office at the airport here in Santiago they were again very gracious and nice (even repeatedly apologizing for the other department’s behavior)and said that according to them they were released but there was now a conflict between customs and public health officials about what to do with the meds in the capital city. A simple non issue suddenly became an issue.
We then were instructed in a confusing process to supposedly properly be able to obtain the meds. At this point, and very frustrated to say the least, I personally asked the public health representative herself to guide me through the steps online, that according to them were so very simple. Now she as the government representative of the Dominican public health department was not able to answer my questions or show me exactly what we had to do but assured us it was as they said , (although she was not able to even to it herself, and getting frustrated stopped attempting to try to show us herself!)
We are still trying and will be making a trip to the capital soon to hopefully finally resolve this. But a side from all of the problems, the Lord was glorified and the Gospel was preached and many were people were helped. At the end of the day that is what mattered.
Aside from that , we have been taking a much needed break from ministry. A sort of in country furlough, at least until we get Yeison’s visa. The convention and other churches we fellowship with have been very helpful in helping the church and supplying a rotation of preaching men to help with pulpit supply We were even able to help people out in Piedra Gorda, a much needed area, with many left over meds to people we know needed them. We are very thankful for Anthony and Stephanie and their willingness to come and serve and do such a massive project with us, basically with the funds from their own pockets, no team, no other churches involved, just a couple who love the Lord and decided to come and serve needy people instead of taking a nice vacation for themselves. Certainly an example worth imitating. The Lord is has been very gracious over the years to bring such people across our path.
Please continue to pray for Yeison’s visa to be approved. Please also pray for our sending church “Romeo Baptist” which is dwindling as a church. We will be switching very soon, (Lord willing) to Christian Missionary Clearinghouse which a ministry that helps independent missionaries like us for a very very small fee and they presently help hundreds of missionaries like us. Pray that the transition will be quick and not difficult. Please be aware and we will be emailing everyone immediately as the switch takes place so that your donations can be sent to the new address. The same tax write offs will be available to donors and the processing of checks should be much quicker and smoother. Our papal account is still functioning the same for quick online giving or one time gifts and there may also be a click and give button on the website of Christian Missionary Clearinghouse for us as well.
We do apologize for the inconveniences of the past, but we are eternally grateful for Romeo and the support and love they have showed and continued towards our family. They will always be a very special group of brothers and sisters to us, especially since the Lord saved us there, I was ordained there and we were commissioned out of there. Pray for Romeo, Pray for Pastor Rob, pray for our family, pray for the church. Pray.