Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finding Welcome

He came out of Walmart and into the mall with a cart of groceries and other things.  When Lloyd greeted him, ”Hola. ¿Cómo Está?” – Hello, how are you ?, his surprise was instantaneous and quickly followed by a smile when he realized someone was speaking to him in his native language, Spanish. He told us this was his first year in Canada as a migrant worker.

We explained that if he went out the mall entrance and turned left, a few storefronts down he would find a hospitality centre for him and other workers. He would see a sign Brazos Abiertos – Open Arms. We explained that he would find pop and cookies and perhaps clothing for free there and that he could buy corn tortillas there as well.  (Corn tortillas are hard to find in Tillosnburg.) We could have explained that he would be warmly welcomed; that the cookies were all homemade; that the Mexican flag flew there and people were eager to help, to answer questions about English, about banking etc.  We added that ever Friday, Brazos Abiertos, a hospitality centre for migrant workers, operated by a local church is open every Friday and that all the Canadian helpers there are volunteers who love the ministry, love the workers and the opportunity to learn a bit of Spanish. The people in the centre want to be a family for workers who are so far from their own families.

Therefore  welcome  one another as  Christ has  welcomed  you, for the glory  of  God.” Romans 15:7 

 

Offering to the Lord

In Exodus 35, Moses writes about the materials and preparation of items for the tabernacle and states that everyone who was willing brought an offering for the temple, the sacred garments. Gifts included brooches, rings, ornaments and items spun from hair or from gold, purple and scarlet threads. “Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun Exodus 35:25.”   Today most of the furnishing and items in the sanctuary are not the result of work of the members of a congregation.  Yet the woman in Navas, Dominican Republic chose to work with their hands and send craft items to Canada for the purpose of raising funds for the new sanctuary.

P1020029             They have sent girls’ sundresses, crocheted and /or beaded cloches or hairnets, purses for girls, hairbands and other items. These along with embroidered tablecloths from Mexico and other craft items will be part of a yard sale/ craft sales and all the funds will be used for the ongoing construction of the church in Navas. If you live in the Sarnia area you can benefit from the work of the women and help the church with its construction.  Come to the yard sale and find the crafts as well a variety of other items. Saturday July 14 at 891 Lyndale Crescent, Sarnia, ON.

In Every Situation

I listened to someone on the television who was saying that he had given up on prayer because there were so many unanswered prayers. But Philippians 4: 6 states” in every situation … present your requests to God.” God hears and answers prayer. Some situation and requests seem unusual and even a bit silly perhaps. I was reminded today of packing and moving day with a family that many reasons to ask for prayer. Their daughters were moving to a place further north joining their parents. It was the end of November and snow was predicted for the travel on a difficult road; there was a reasonable request for prayer for safety and travelling mercies. There was serious illness in the family, a child about to be born, concern for the safety of those who helped pack the rented moving truck: all of these were pretty normal reasons for prayer.  Yet we also stood and prayed the plumbing and septic tank would hold out for another day so that there was not another stress on the family.  This request was a bit more unusual and God answered. The truck arrived safely.

This week two men came to our apartment to talk about their interest in a struggling church and its pastor in a small community in El Salvador. Of course, we prayed for Pastor Isobel even though we had never met him. However prayer was lifted up by these two gentlemen who spoke no Spanish and their heart-felt prayer was extended to the pastor who does not speak English.  The prayer was translated and spoken over the phone to Pastor Isobel. We prayed for him and his family, his congregation for the plantain that had been planted on the church land and for rain and sufficient workers to bring water to the plants if rain did not come. In spite of language differences and a distance of thousands of miles, prayer praised God, touched people and encouraged both Canadians and Pastor Isobel.

Is there anything too small or too unusual to be brought to God through prayer?  God’s word tells us in every situation we should bring our requests to him. He answers.

A Little – A Lot

A little can become a lot.  When Lloyd and I we were in Navas in the Dominican Republic, he was asked to teach on a topic that many pastors find difficult to preach about – tithing and offering.  At the end of his presentation, he gave an example of how a little could become a lot.  He challenged people in the Navas congregation to set aside 5 pesos a day for the construction of their new temple. (Five pesos a day is about twelve cents Canadian.) Five pesos a day would be about 1, 700 pesos in a year.

a loaf                In the past, banks shaped like a loaf have been used for setting aside missions funds. We are re-using the banks and challenging people in Canada to put a loonie or toonie in the bank each day.   If several people accept this challenge, there would be a considerable support for the Navas construction project, of a new and much larger sanctuary.  Our support will enable the Navas church to complete the construction more rapidly.

Money given through the loaf banks will be directed to Navas church through Open Arms church in Tillsonburg, Ontario. If you want to be a part of the challenge and would like a bank, contact us at lpeterson14@cogeco.ca.

People With Passion

Navas F M church in the Dominican Republic is a church with several key people who are very passionate about their faith and ministry. Norma is a perfect Normaexample. Norma is very concerned about social justice for people inside and outside of the church. When she went with team members from Canada to deliver a food package to an older couple, she was appalled by their living conditions. Their house was falling down and they were attempting to build a house with no floor and sitting on the ground without a foundation. The house was about 15 feet from a cliff and a house without foundation could easily be destroyed or swept away in a windstorm.  That same day Norma started talking to people, to the local government and people from the church.  They began almost immediately building in faith and blocks were donated, cement donated and both the government, individuals and the Canadian team donated to get the foundation laid.

Gina                Georgina is equally passionate and her area of ministry is working with children. Georgina’s passion comes from her thankfulness that someone introduced her to Christ when she was a child. On one Saturday afternoon in April, she organized a 4th anniversary of the children cell group ministry. Over a hundred children paraded down the main street to the church.  A band from the next town played Christian music, children carried banners especially made for the event and everyone wore a t-shirt with the slogan Soy de Jesus. (I am from Jesus).  As they marched, children held up in the air bible they had been given at their cell. The event involved a slide show, choruses, dynamic presentation by children and certificate for mothers who allow their children to be in the cell group program.

Pastor assistant Dignorah’s passion is for teaching and preparing leaders:  Danny and Jony are passionate about worship and prayer.    Pastor Gabriel is passionate about his studies and about the spiritual growth of the church. A church with passionate people is a church on fire.

Visiting the Faithful Servants

One day in Navas, my husband, Lloyd, and I went visiting with Pastor Gabriel. Our first stop was at the home of Pastor Carlos (now in his 80s) and his wife, Juanin. (Pastor Carlos still pastors a church in a small community called RuiSeñor.) Prayer for healing is central in his services. We prayed for Juanin’s mother and sang one of her favourite hymns. Juanin’s mother, who is referred to the community as Mamita, was one of the first Christians in the community of Navas.  As she lay in her bed, Mamita sang along with us.

V35 Bono wife Yovani                Our next stop was half way up the hill at the home of Pastor Bono. Pastor Bono and his wife live on a large piece of property with a big house. Pastor Bono walks slowly and his wife uses a cane to walk. Both Bono and his wife love to recall experiences from the past and to sing the old hymns and pray together with visitors.  Each time we come, they pull up chairs and we form a circle and laugh and chat then pray. Although we came to visit and bless, it was such a blessing to be with him.

Later that day in the evening, we went to see Pastor Juan Perez.  Pastor Juan suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and his activity is pretty restricted.  Sometimes visiting Juan’s home involves bringing a package of food items for Juan and his wife. As we sang hymns and talked about God’s comfort, tears came to his eyes and then ran down his cheek.

In Hebrews 6: 10, we read, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people  and continue to help him .”  May all retired pastors be remembered for their ministry and their preciousness to the heavenly Father.