Kobe and kids from the bateyes
April 2012 Newsletter
I know it’s been awhile since I sent out a newsletter so this one is a bit long but has lots of information about new events, projects and even some pretty great news about a trip I'm taking soon...read on and enjoy!!
After School Program
Encouraging the children in the bateyes
June 2012 will begin a long awaited program for children in Batey 16 and Batey 50...the after school program we are naming, Esperanza (Hope). In recent years we've heard many stories of children in the bateyes dropping out of school by the fourth grade and I started asking questions about why this was happening. There are a variety of reasons from lack of schools beyond the 4th grade, lack of transportation, little encouragement to stay in school, lack of supplies and little interest in education.
As we all know, education is what can help these children break the cycle of poverty that they see all around them. So, starting in June, a group of women will begin a program that focuses on encouraging children to stay in school by supplying their schools with needed materials, encouraging children and parents about the importance of an education, supporting the teachers in the batey schools, introducing a fun learning curriculum that includes science, math, sports, music and language as well as teaching about health and self-care. The teachers will also introduce kids to Christ through Bible education.
Volunteers and donations to support this work are always needed. If your church, school, small group or Sunday school class would like to get involved, please contact Crystal Diaz de Benitez at firstname.lastname@example.org We have created a website that will keep you informed about what is happening...it is VERY rough right now but we also will need help maintaining it, so if that's an interest of yours, please contact Crystal about that, too. Here is the link:
If you are able to make a donation, you can do that through International Ministries or the Good Samaritan Mission Council. Here are the links to make a donation:
Good Samaritan Mission Council (make sure you specify for the After School Program)
Guess who's going to Africa?
Yep, you guessed it...me! In August I will be able to visit several missionary colleagues throughout Africa as myself and others from International Ministries attend a centennial celebration of mission work in Vanga (Congo). Please pray for our trip that it goes without a hitch (those who've heard my travel traumas understand the need for prayer!) and that we are able to encourage our colleagues and partners in Africa. I am beyond excited for this trip as it's something I've longed for, for more than 20 years and looking forward to learning and expanding my knowledge of the ministries throughout Africa. On our way home from Africa, I will have the opportunity to take a short vacation in Paris with a colleague and can't wait for that as I've never visited Europe. So, if you've got any recommendations, advice, etc, please pass that on.
Fall Travel Schedule
Coming to a town near you...
This fall 2012, I will be traveling in the Midwest and Northeast. I am hoping to have my schedule set by July 1st so that I can post my travel schedule and you can make arrangements to visit me at a location if your church or group is not on the list. MANY people are requesting my presence in their church, especially on a Sunday, but as you know, I can't create Sundays and there are a limited number of them for the two months of travel this fall.
So you may be wondering, how can I get my church or group on the list? Well, if your church has been a consistent supporter of my ministry over the years and you have been sending teams, then you are likely going to be one of the churches that my MPT will be contacting for me to visit. If you are new to missions and would like your group to hear about what I do, why not try to get several groups together and have a carry-in dinner, picnic or reception so that many folks can participate at once. Be creative! Maybe several women's groups can get together for a tea or maybe the men can do a breakfast with regional churches invited. Do you have several youth groups in the area that would come together for an event?
One of the realities of missions today is that we are required to raise our support money each year so my time in the US will serve two purposes. First, I want to thank all of you who support me in prayer and financially. But I might not be able to see all of you personally due to the limited time. The second purpose is to complete my financial commitment to International Ministries before I return to the Dominican Republic in November 2012. This means that I need to find supporters to sustain me through the rest of the 2011-12 budget year as well as 2012-13. You may not be aware that each International Ministries missionary has a set budget to meet from October 1st of each year through September 30th of the following year. This budget starts new each October. You can see what my current status for salary funding is at www.internationalministries.org understanding that this is an estimated number based on previous years donations and dependent on continued donations of committed donors. Your request for me to visit will be considered based on the best strategy for me to be able to continue in mission in the Dominican Republic.
If you would like to request a visit, please contact Soozi Ford who can put you in touch with the member of my MPT that is coordinating my schedule in your area. (click on Soozi Ford to send an email request)
I want to sincerely thank you for your support, prayers, love and friendship. I honestly could not do all that I'm asked to do with the strength and compassion needed if you were not a part of the work. Please continue to pray and support the ministries in La Romana.