Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Jill's Blog Entry 6

This has not been the best of weeks. One of our younger children has died following respiratory problems. We visited the hospital where he was on a life support machine. It is extremely sad when a much loved child dies so young.

Our new worker for the Skills for Life project has had major surgery. We visited her yesterday and prayed with her. She is beginning to make a recovery. Another member of staff has a mosquito related illness.

On a brighter note we now have over thirty children in our classes. Gradually things are coming together; the electric fans, the clocks, the tables and cupboards which make up the furniture of a classroom. The P.E. classes are up and running and the children have adapted to the new school routine. I spend some of each day visiting the classes and making sure everything is going smoothly.

I keep running into folk I have worked with or have been associated with over the years here. It is a great delight for me to see them again.

Great fun was had at the Mothers Day event. In teams you had to answer questions like"how many injections does a child receive by the age of six?" Not so easy if you don't happen to have the care of an ecuadorian infant, but my team was quite with it and although I didn't know any of the answers to the questions, we managed to win.

The Freedom in Christ course is going well. I have been hoping to introduce a Healing Rooms type prayer ministry into the church , but there is no space between the first service (150 congregants), the Sunday schools (80 people in the couples group, 22 in the older persons group, plus all the other age groups and categories) and the second service, but we managed to pray for some of the sick anyway. I am hoping to train up a small team in prYer for the sick.

We are still getting torrential rains here. They sound wonderful , especially when you are under a watertight roof, which fortunately, we are.

Jill Ball 25/5/15

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Jill's Blog Entry 5

This week we have got into a steady rhythm of working in the school in the mornings, still lots to sort out with many adjustments, but we have a better idea of the number of children who will attend this year.
We are just starting the planning process for another film about the charity, which will be produced in Spanish and in English; a bit more complicated now, with things going on in different locations. I have to write the text…….

We started the” Freedom in Christ” course with a small group of students and some leaders. There has been very positive feedback on this. I also gave a talk to the Ladies Group, and another to the Elderly People’s Group. They have saved some money and bought some massage equipment which was fun to try out.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Jill's Blog Entry 4

This has been a mixed week. We started the school year in earnest. The working day starts at 7.30; the children arrive at 8.00 and leave at 12.00, but the teachers stay on till 1.00. The last hour is used for planning and meetings. We all seem to be coping with that very well. Maria and Natty's classes filled up quickly and the other two getting a slow but steady stream of children. The whole process of educating begins again. Some teething problems over the use of the communal spaces in the school, but we have negotiated successfully- well, let's hope so.

We had a smaller group for the English fellowship this week as one of the group had to go to hospital, but fortunately it was not too serious. A common cure here is a saline drip and chicken broth; I think it works well no matter what the age of the patient.

The inauguration of our school year was on Friday, but the sudden and unexpected death of a widely known and well loved church member, Bertha, and also mother to our music teacher, sent a shock wave through us all. Our president Danny stepped up to give the opening talk. He spoke about our being a Christian organization and encouraged everyone to pray every day. He had bought a New Testament for each parent.

Here, when someone passes away, the body is accompanied till burial.
Katy, Sharon and I picked up some flowers in bright oranges and pinks to take to the wake. We passed a grey clad military brass band  playing brightly for Mothers Day. The different colors and tones of celebrations of life and death all in one very hot afternoon seemed to typify this town, this culture- gaiety and tragedy in a single breath.

Over 100 people accompanied the main mourners till midnight. Some of our parents and children made an appearance. Sadly, three of Bertha's four children were unable to attend. They  live in Europe and could not get flights. Different pastors spoke in turn about the Christian hope in the afterlife and ......we sang songs. One I really like has the words" mas alla del sol, mas alla del sol, mi hogar, oh Jehova es mas alla del sol", which, translated is"beyond the sun , beyond than the sun, oh Lord, our home is beyond the sun"

Jill Ball 09/05/15

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Jill's Blog Entry 3

From the first floor of the Baptist School I watched the procession of fruit-sellers on tricycles, public health employees, and many others as it moved steadily through the streets of Santo Domingo. It is May 1st, and people are unhappy about taxes and prices going up. Sound familiar?

This week was the last before classes start and the teachers have been busy with last minute planning. We have a new teacher , Gina , who will take the older children and prepare those who are able for reinsertion into the regular school system. We will have three classes for children with Moderate Learning Difficulties and one for children with Autism. As far as  we know , it is the only one in this town of half a million people. We continue to be able to speak weekly on the radio, informing people of the services the charity offers .

I visited El Paraiso, where Blanca and Rodrigo have another handicrafts class. The women had brought their work to show me, and there was a "brindis", which meant coca cola , biscuits and a tuna fish sauce. You can't help but be impressed by the enthusiasm of the women, and the quality of the goods they are turning out.

There is now a shelter on our piece  of land. When we arrived we were met by a pack of wolf like dogs, which turned out to be quite amicable- Ernesto ' s dogs with four of their young. Phew......we just need to put in the loos and then it will be all systems go- young peoples project, women's ministry, and Blanca and Rodrigo want to start a Christian outreach there.

We were asked to visit a young man paralyzed after a motor bike accident. He was very despondent when we arrived. We spoke to him about The Lord and managed to put a small rehabilitation plan in place. He is called Jaime if you would like to pray for him.

I started a house group for English speakers this week, which I hope will bless those who have little opportunity to express themselves in their mother tongue during the rest of the week.

God was very much at work in the  Tuesday prayer service. Many people need healing from past traumas. The  church welcomes all;  we now have Cubans and Columbians with the distinctive linguistic lilts and rhythms they bring to the  Spanish Language. It is a privilege to be included in this ministry.

We have running water again, but it only comes out cold. "Grateful for small mercies" is the attitude to embrace.

Another good week. Thank you Lord.

Jill Ball 1/5/15