People walking through the mall are startled when I greet them with a cheerful hello. First, they are not used to anyone saying hello or to there being anyone in the Community activity room. Some respond with a nod or a hello and others come over and see what is happening. Tables are covered with baking and craft items. Since the theme for the bake sale is Valentine’s, they see pink rice crispy squares, shortbread to decorate, cupcakes with pink sparkles, jujubes and marshmallows in skewers, valentine gift packs in coffee mugs, cinnamon hearts and book marks in the shape of hearts.
Popular items were the gooey caramel squares, mix and match packages of cookies and brownies. One woman said my boyfriend will be really happy with the banana bread and oatmeal raisin cookies. What was the occasion for us to set up in the mall? A fun time and a fundraiser. The beneficiaries of the $400.00 dollars raised are the Inn of the Good Shepherd – a local charity and an international need, a building project of a church in the Dominican Republic.
We had a lot of fun chatting with people who walked by, who stopped to buy banana bread or a blueberry coffee cake or Salvadorian cake. One member of the team stood in the mall offering candies to people while another took samples of the baking to the end of the mall and offered samples, encouraging people to drop by the sale.
Over the last two weeks, I have received many photos and videos of construction work in three sites in the Dominican Republic. First from Navas, where God held back the rain and the concrete floor of a sanctuary in construction was poured.
Then Pastor Ana wrote “God is blessing a great way, all in His time. A “raise the roof” campaign in a church in Ontario raised enough to put the concrete roof on the church Ana pastors in Maizal. The posts and wood to support the cement until it dries are in place; rebar has been purchased and gravel delivered.
Then more pictures came of another site where concrete walls will replace the existing wood walls and the sanctuary will be larger and a new front will be built setting the temple back from the sidewalk edge. Pastor Gladys wrote “God has been good, his faithfulness is forever. What he promises, he completes in his time.”
God has answered prayers and people will have places to worship where the congregation will fit and a roof will protect people from rain. I am excited that in God’s time – hopefully April – I will see how much God has accomplished at these sites.
Shopping this week has been quite different. After going through recipe books and looking for recipes on line, we bought items that we never have in our house: sugar, chocolate chips, cake mixes, icing sugar and marshmallows. Then we went to thrift stores and bought heart shaped cookie cutters, mugs, stickers and heart stickers and yarn. There is still one more shop to visit – the bulk food store. We are waiting for Wednesday and the seniors’ discount. There we will look for cinnamon hearts, heart shaped jujube and red and white gumdrops. Why shop for these things?
No, we are not hosting a Valentine’s party. We are participants in a bake sale to raise funds for two great ministries: the Inn of the Good Shepherd and a construction project in the Dominican Republic. If you are anywhere near Sarnia and its Bayside Mall on Feb 13 between 11 am and 4 pm drop by and decorate a heart shaped cookie, buy a fantastic dessert, get a tasty gift for your valentine.
What do beads and yarn have to do with a bake sale? You will also find several crafts for sale: bracelets, scarfs and a wide variety of book marks. Need a valentine gift for your child’s teacher. Pick up a heart shaped bookmark.
You will enjoy the food, enjoy some fellowship, have fun decorating cookies etc. but you will also help provide food for hungry people by helping out the Inn Of the Good Shepherd and help a congregation in Navas in the Dominican Republic move forward with it Construction. (Many churches in the Dominican call Valentine’s Day Día del Amor – Day of Love.) Get something to express love to someone you know and also to others you don’t know (for example, in the Dominican Republic.)
Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning out of nothing and it is a term used most often when referring to creation and God creating out of nothing. When I work with aida cloth to do cross stitch, what I like most is the sense of creating something out of nothing. I don’t literally create out of nothing because I am using aida cloth and embroidery floss. However, something that was not there begins to take form on the cloth as I stitch.
I have done a couple of large pieces, one of country scene with a home and barn and horse and lots of flowers. This piece hangs in our bedroom and has done so for eighteen years. During the last year I have stitched some 60 or more bookmarks. Some have a bible verse; others are flowers; some are adaptations of patterns and others are completely original.
What do I do with so many bookmarks? The one shown here with the bird has the phrase “Sing to the Lord”. This and others end up in Mexico going back to wives of guest workers in our area and others go to the Dominican Republic. Many will be used as prizes at Ladies’ ministry events and I also hope to teach someone to do cross stitch and become a teacher for others. Several have been given to members of the Spanish language class my husband and I teach or to the wives of pastors I meet with regularly. Some may be sold to raise money for mission trips.
I enjoy the stitching; others are blessed by the effort and leaders are encouraged by the small gift.
Exciting news came from Navas FM church in the Dominican Republic this week. The existing sanctuary is small and the church has an ambitious project to build a
350 seat sanctuary. Navas is a community of approximately 8,800 people and so a church for 350 is an expression of faith. This week, they finished another stage of the work and the floor of the sanctuary has been poured. Now work is halted until they are able to gather resources to continue.
Even though the church has a construction project, they also have assisted a church plant to put up a retaining wall – it is built on a hill – and a covered patio area for children’s ministry. The church is also very active in the community bringing benevolent packages to people both of and not of the church.
During the next three years, we are praying that Canadian churches might be able to continue to work alongside Navas and provide $300,000 to make the church usable for worship. If you are able to be part of this support, contact us at email@example.com for more information or to learn how to send support.
I cannot be described as a very literate person who is able to use all kinds of apps on my cell phone or tablet or even a person who knows how to use all the programs on my laptop. I don’t have a bible app on my phone. I am a word processor person and I play a couple of games of solitaire but that is about it. However, there is a site or page that I have used a great deal this past week. All I need to do is to type on the google search page the letters dicc and I get diccionario ingles español, a Spanish English dictionary. This has been an invaluable tool for me.
I have typed in and received Spanish words or wording for terms like short-term missions, the phrase in conjunction with and the word meticulous. I have looked up vigente and learned it means valid and surgido means emerged. Several times I turned to the dictionary as I wrote or translated several pieces of correspondence related to the ministry in the Dominican Republic.
Then I put the same site to work while preparing sermons to use in the Dominican Republic in a couple of months. In a message about giving thanks in all conditions, I use the example of Joni Eareckson who provides a wonderful example of learning how to give thanks in whatever situation. I learned that tetrapléjico is the translation for quadriplegic. Next I used the same dictionary to help prepare a conversation for the Spanish class my husband and I are teaching at our church.
As time passes, a person’s memory bank seems to overload and experiences that were treasured at one time are lost. For me at least, this seems to be very true. The apostle Paul writing to the people of Colossae wrote, “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” Co. 4:18. There seems to be a key component in remembering both for him and others: writing.
Journaling is one way of recording things. Sometimes my entries are very basic and simply list what I did during the day. Other times, they express the joy of being in fellowship with other Christians, the fun in teaching a Spanish lesson or of baking conchas for the Mexican workers. Other times they reflect an anxious spirit seeking to know God’s will. One entry states, “Oh no, another hurricane; another cancelation of a trip to the Dominican.”
I keep a guest book for visitors to write something; one missionary wrote, “Thanks for the good fellowship and hospitality.” Some are written in Spanish but say “I will always remember the happy times that we have shared together.” Another comment, “It’s always nice to be with family, now that I am alone, it’s even more special.” A migrant worker wrote, “Thank you for the support you have given to Mexicans. Thank you for teaching us the word of God.” Rereading these notes blesses me.
A blog is yet another way of writing and remembering experiences. In my blog bonitabarbara.wordpress.com (where this blog is posted) there are stories about ministry in the Dominican Republic, and S. W. Ontario. There are stories of Marleny and her infectious smile, especially the day she received a bilingual bible. There are stories of balloons used to tell bible stories and of a very special shared meal in a home in Mexico. We asked the local baker to make some unleavened bread and about 25 of us enjoyed a communion meal together.
I have one more source of written memories: it as a small book I authored called The Pensive Heart. This book contains memories of ministry in Canada, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. A young man in a supermarket greeted me and asked if I remembered him. He recalled an in-the-street vacation Bible school in Esperanza, Dominican Republic. Fifteen years had passed and I would not remember him if I had not written something in a journal.
I urge you to write, record events and cherish memories “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Seuss