International Ministries

New Beginnings

July 1, 2012 Journal
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“When you come to the edge of all you know and must step into the darkness, faith is knowing that there will be something to stand on or God will teach you to fly!”

New Beginnings

For the last twelve years, I have been working in La Romana, Dominican Republic, serving alongside many volunteers and co-workers from the Good Samaritan Hospital and the Maranatha Baptist Church.  Many of you may remember that I originally came to La Romana on an evaluation trip of only two months but soon heard God calling me to stay and work with my brothers and sisters here in this beautiful yet needy country.  The work here has been filled with challenges, joys, tears and long hours working tirelessly but it has mostly been filled with a deep sense of God’s calling to ministry in La Romana. 

About four weeks ago, during the World Missions Conference, I heard Pastor Ken Fong preaching about the challenges in our life and asking us about our comfort level in life.  He spoke about when we are very comfortable we learn to rely on ourselves and not on God.  When I thought about both of those questions in regards to my work here in La Romana, I quickly began to feel God tugging at my heart and quietly speaking to me about a change.  It was surprising and a bit overwhelming to think about, but when I agreed that yes, it was time for a change, an overwhelming peace settled in my heart.

And so, I’m writing to let you know that I will be leaving La Romana and the ministry here on August 1, 2012…just a few short weeks away.  It’s a sad and yet an exciting time in my life.  Sad, because I will be leaving friends and family, during what is a wonderfully blessed time in ministry.  I want to be clear that that I am leaving on very good terms and in fact, I am probably at one of the most respected and productive times in my career here and my friendships are dearer to me than ever.  It has been a shock to the community here but I truly believe that God is calling me to other ministries.  Therefore, it is also an exciting time in my life!  Over the next several months, I will be discussing with International Ministries the options I have in re-assignment as well as the needs I am hoping to fulfill.  Already it is a bit overwhelming to think about all of the possibilities and I will certainly need your prayers during this time of discernment.

On August 1st I will move to Columbia, Missouri where my sister and her family live, hoping to find an apartment or house to rent very quickly.  A week after I move there, my two dogs will be shipped to me and I’ll need to have a place for them to stay.  Only a week after they get there, I will leave for Africa for three weeks and have to board the dogs or find a home willing to watch them during that time.  Upon returning from Africa, I dive right into deputation and traveling throughout Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and the Northeast until November 1st.  Hopefully, I will have found a car by then, too! 

I continue to ask for your prayers regarding re-assignment, finding a home to live in, care for my dogs (and potentially finding new homes for them if re-assignment prevents me from bringing them with me!), a car to drive and safety in all of my travels.  I believe that following God’s leading can only bring blessings and so I am confident in this decision, even if I can’t see the outcome right now.  I remain faithful to His leading and am committed to following the path he opens for me in my life.

 

Memories of Events in La Romana

I thought it would be nice to make a timeline of all of the major events that I have taken part in or experienced since my arrival to La Romana twelve years ago.  The hardest part is narrowing it down to a list that can be placed into a newsletter!! J

*May 2000, arrived in La Romana to begin working with the Good Samaritan Hospital and its ministries for two months

*August 2000, moved to La Romana where we had 15 teams scheduled to work with us in the upcoming year

*January 2001, started the social service program with a staff of one!  We have our first HUGE concert to raise funds to support the program.

*November 2001, Jean Luc Phanord (pastor and visionary for ministry here in La Romana) died in the American Airlines crash in New York, just two months after 9-11

*January 2005, I returned to La Romana following an invitation to return.  We now have 30+ teams a year!  The social service program is now a department in the hospital!

*2005-2009, the numbers of teams continue to grow while serving the following areas of need: surgery, construction, outreach medical clinics, evangelism, leadership training, children’s ministries, food distribution, sports ministries and health promoter training.

*January 2010, a devastating earthquake strikes Haiti and I begin working in medical relief efforts with the Good Samaritan Hospital, taking new teams over every week for the next four months.  We bring hundreds of thousands of dollars of medicine, food and supplies to Haiti through more than 400 volunteers while still hosting over 50 teams a year in La Romana.

*November 2010, I take a medical team to Haiti amidst riots to serve in northern Haiti with Missionaries Steve and Nancy James as they battle the cholera outbreak

*January 2012, we have 68 teams scheduled for the year!

*May 2012, we now have 72 teams scheduled for the year!

*June 2012, for the first time, one of our work teams decides to throw an all-day party in one of the bateyes, feeding all of the residents with a catered meal and the Maranatha band gives a free concert (way to go Wallingford, CT FBC!!!)

It has been an honor to work with so many dedicated and gifted people in La Romana.  It is my hope to continue to glorify God in all that I do as He leads me in new directions, assuredly with new challenges, but always with His grace and strength through it all.