Update from the Antonio in the DR

Dear friends, mission partners, brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the last newsletter, I explained some changes in life here. I will still remain here to raise Yeison and desire to continue the work, but I cannot do so, or at least not very well, without some help. Since the school I worked at changed their language program, I found myself without the monthly income that helped, a lot, even though it wasn’t much. Thank God, I am now working with the same orphanage we used to visit and serve. But the income here is not much at all either, and I am finding myself in a financial difficulty.

At the orphanage I am the supervisor of operations, that means I only have one boss above me, the founder. But the responsibility is immense. Every need that the child has from the moment they enter to the moment they leave is my responsibility.

If a child gets sick, I must be sure they get the medical attention quickly and keep records of everything. When they go to school, when some may have appointments with family members or government officials, I must make sure they get there. I must be sure they have supervision around the clock and everything they need at all times. Thankfully, I have a team of supervisors and caregivers under me, but the logistics of it all is still mind-boggling. There is a lot to still learn, but I feel like I’m finding my place there, and they are pleased with my work, by God’s grace. There are also innumerable opportunities to minister to the children there, and the Gospel is a priority.

I can use the ministry van there to help transport children and youth to their activities. Recently, two different camps right before the start of the school year. One was more recreational, the other more spiritually focused with the older boys up in the mountains. The orphanage is also connected to a good church in this city, which I attend now.

I am personally studying strategic planning for non-profit, and biblical counseling through a program in Lafayette, Indiana. That has been a tremendous blessing too, but also a ton of more work. The boss wants me to take other courses, but I think I am full for now. Between the workload, the extra reading and studying and a little time for Yeison in the evenings, I’m going full speed 12-14 hours a day, six days a week. I thank God that I still feel pretty good and still have my health for now.

Working with the children is rewarding, but it is also extremely difficult. Children that come there come from some of the worst situations you could imagine, and  it really is heartbreaking. But the place really is much more than an orphanage. They have their own school, they go to church and have several kinds of programs, agriculture, painting, technology, etc. There are plans for a center for women who are victims of abuse and much more. Thankfully the staff is helpful, patient, experienced and mostly Christian. The children there attend church, have daily devotions, and are saturated with a Christian worldview and biblical principles. Praise God for that.

At one point last month, I almost had to leave this job for another job opportunity (due to a little desperation at the time) that would have left me needing to commute to another town every day. But when I told the director of my present job that I may have to end my employment with them for a better opportunity, they asked me to stay and matched the other salary that was offered to me. Almost immediately, so at least I feel like I’m doing a good job there. Now, to be clear, even with the raise in income I make less than $900 USD a month. Only about $220 a week! Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my job. And yes, SOME things may be cheaper here, but some things are also much more expensive, especially fuel. I could easily burn through at least $100USD a week just with my normal routine. Thankfully, at least I won’t have to commute now. But it’s not much at all to pay all the bills and raise a young child.

Sadly, because of the financial hardships, I have had to cut support to some who depended on us in the past. Tough times call for drastic measures, literally, but I am really uncomfortable after so many years of helping others, and now not being able to, and even finding myself in need. By God’s grace, a dear family I have known for years helped me a few months back with what allowed me to resolve many needs and get by until now. But, things are getting rough again quick, and I’m in survival mode. I have fallen way behind, sending Leonel in Haiti financial help. We often speak, but his needs are great too and the feeling of helplessness definitely looms overhead. Not being able to help with his needs are one of the things that bother me the most. He has been such a good and faithful friend, fellow servant and brother over the years.

Yeison´s uniforms and school supplies alone cost over $300 USD just because it’s a good school, and they require a lot. Thank God that this is the same school I taught at, and they decided to give him a scholarship this year, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to pay it. Everyone that meets Yeison just falls in love with him. And the school was very clear when they told me that they have never given anyone else a scholarship, ever. So I definitely see God’s provision there and am very thankful for that.

Yesterday, the clutch went out on the van and there are other repairs needed that I just can’t cover at the moment. I barely made it home. I have no doubt that God will provide for needs again as He has in the past, but to be honest, humanly speaking, the situation makes me very nervous. I’m surviving, but the help I received in the past from mission partners has dwindled to almost nothing. Sometimes I understand, other times I just don’t and struggle for a little while to be honest.

Yeison is growing up quick and doing very well, but he does struggle in school a little. A test we did on his brain just under two years ago determined that the central part of his brain processes a little slower than average. But for the most part, he is doing well and learning a lot of big boy stuff like organizing his room, washing dishes and folding and putting away his clothes. So I thank God for that. Please pray for us, God’s provision and that I can maintain my workload and continue to do well at the orphanage. They also receive volunteers and donations and I can put you in direct contact with the department that handles that if you wish to visit the facility or to donate be a part of something beautiful being done here you will find a link below for donations directly to the Fundación Red de Misericordia. Thank you and God bless.

In Christ,

Antonio Salgado

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. – Philippians 1:3-5

To donate to me personally, the work I do here in the DR and financial help for Yeison and I, you can donate at this link through PayPal.

https://www.paypal.me/SalgadoDRMission

To donate directly to Fundación Red de Misericordia to help with the needs of the children we work with, you can donate at this link:

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=GKASFXK6R4EYC&source=url

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