International Day of the Woman, March 8
To celebrate the International Day of the Woman we decided to ask each person in our congregation to invite one or more women to come to the Thursday night service with them. To add a bit of incentive, we told them we would be giving away a few small gifts to selected women. We were very surprised and pleased with the great turnout with 37 new women in attendance. It was a time of praise and prayer specifically celebrating women and discussing the challenges and opportunities that we each face in our world. We have seen that the women are open to coming to special events so we are already planning another such activity to encourage the women to become more open to attending church. I told them that God gives us gifts every week that are better than the ten we gave away at this service. The gifts of the spirit!
Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit
Another way we are reaching out to the women is through our new exercise classes that we hold every day at four o’clock. Women and young girls come for fellowship and exercise and always a word from God. Most of the women who come are not in the church – yet! They are becoming friends first and then they will feel more comfortable attending a worship service. Every one of the women in the exercise class came to our women’s celebration service! We need to get a larger TV and exercise mats as the concrete is really hard on the old knees!
La Hoya Wildlife!
What a surprise I had when I came out by back door one morning!
Hoping to provide a safe place for youth to ‘hang out’, a place where they feel comfortable to come and spend time with their friends is finally coming to be. This group of boys comes frequently and as I watch them play, I just thank God that they are not ‘on the streets.’ One of them had threatened to cause us a problem during one of our large youth services, but now he is a ‘friend’ and we don’t expect any problems from him. This is called ‘friendship evangelism.’ We want them to know they are loved and that there is a place for them in our hearts and in our church. We treat them with respect and love and they have returned the same to us. It is so nice to see how polite they are when they enter and greet and ask if they can play and then to see their smiles when I say, “Of course, come on in!”
East Kansas Conference
I was blessed to be asked to be a presenter at the East Kansas Conference Mission Conference in Olathe, Kansas, February 25. I thought I might regret the invitation as Kansas in February can be very cold, but the weather was unseasonably warm! It was an honor to present what life is like for Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic and to renew friendships with Camille and Bob Sutton whom I had met during mission training school as well as a visit with an aunt I hadn’t seen in many years.
Mello (his nickname meaning twin) and his wife have suffered great trials and disappointments. He has lost sight in one eye from an accident while working in construction. His eye was pierced by a nail. He still suffers with this and is still under doctor’s care to monitor the situation. He and his wife have one son about 8 years old. They had a second child, a girl, who died at the age of three weeks. It had been a few years ago and Mello was so excited to tell me that, finally, Griselle was pregnant again.
Last night I sat with him as he cried telling me that she had miscarried and that they lost the baby. I was away when it happened and he had come looking for me as he needed to talk about it and didn’t feel there was anyone else he could talk to. My heart broke for him as we discussed how hard life can be. He is a strong Christian young man and wondered if God was punishing him for something. I assured him that God loved him and his children more than he ever could and when we don’t understand what is happening, we still need to trust God. Please pray for Mello and Griselle, that God would bless them with a child in His time.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for God’s work here in the Dominican Republic.
I couldn’t be here if it weren’t for your amazing support!
Rev. Connie Di Leo, Advance Special # 014169
Iglesia Evangélica Dominicana (IED)
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