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October 2016

This is Life

Emmanuel

Read about some of the challenges people here face on a daily basis.

This is Life

The challenges of life in the Dominican Republic

I'm not sure why, but this month especially I have been reminded of the endless challenges many people living in the Dominican Republic face on a daily basis. 

Among the people we work with and those we serve, it just seems like life has been hitting them with one thing after another:  
- One of the pastors from our group lost his son in a motorcycle accident.
- A young man we see regularly who is preparing to be married suddenly loses his job.
- A youth from our team who lives alone and is on her own financially is so frustrated because she still doesn't have her legal documents after battling for years, yet she needs a decent job and longs to study in a university.
- Another young person we work closely with overwhelmed with the stress her family is facing after they have "run out" of money in savings and father still does not have income.  
- Parents who decide to take their teenage daughter out of school and "lend" her to another family to work in their home.  Imagine what she must be going through...
- A family happy because their teenage daughter came home after running away with an older man, yet facing the reality that she is now carrying his baby.    
- The rain complicating life even more - making roads too difficult to cross, school seemingly impossible to reach, leaky roofs causing damage to personal items, furniture, appliances and just making life more frustrating and uncomfortable, not to mention the hours without electricity and all that goes along with that.

If you were hoping for a cheery newsletter, I'm sorry but I guess you're not going to find it here this month!  I'm not sharing these things because I'm discouraged or want to quit.  I just wanted to share some of the stories that have been heavy on my heart this month among the people we love and serve.

Sometimes I feel pressure (brought on by myself)  to report on all the amazing things that God is doing through us and our ministry here.  (God is doing amazing things.)  Among the amazing things, are some hard things that aren't so glamorous, like walking through tough times with a friend.

Often people from the U.S. come to visit, and we take them to places where there is a lot of economic poverty.  They see the living conditions, but they also see the smiles and warm hearts of the people.  They say things like, "They have nothing, but they seem so happy."  I probably said something like that myself when I first started coming.  

Even though it's heart-wrenching, hard to understand, and often infuriating, I'm thankful that God has given me the opportunity to build relationships with some of these people, my friends.  It's an honor to know their stories, hear how they really feel about their life circumstances, pray for them, encourage and help when we can, and stand with them as they wrestle through.  

I learn from them as they choose to worship God even when it makes no sense, faithfully put their trust in Him and wait for God to carry them through the trials one step at a time.  

I read a quote recently from Helen Keller.  "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Jesus never promised the disciples that life would be easy, on the contrary, he told them, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Our hope is in Christ.  

Thanks to all who pray regularly for us and for this ministry and to those who give financially, so we can be generous with others.  We couldn't do any of it without you.  May God bless you more!

New discipleship group that meets each week in the community of El Seybo. Pictured here are some of the newest members of our team.
Another discipleship group that meets in our home.  Pictured here are pastors/leaders from five different churches.  When we finish, they will be equipped with resources to disciple others in their churches.
 

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Kristin or Joselo Santana No. 18-03614
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