God, however, has not
Heaven’s Family has been helping fund the construction
Slightly Slow Angel
Ana the Entrepreneur
Widows & Abandoned Women Fund at Work
Anna Sarita is one of
those people in West Beach who don’t exist as far as the Dominican government
is concerned. She never had a birth certificate or any I.D. Neither did her
mother or grandmother. So Ana could never attend school. She never learned to
read. At age fifteen, she moved in with her boyfriend and, a year and a
half later, had her first of three children. As best as Ana can guess, she
is now about thirty-two years old.
Five years ago, Ana
came to the Lord at one of James and Maria’s house churches in West Beach.
Eventually, her promiscuous and alcoholic husband became very intolerant of her
“religion” and gave her an ultimatum. Ana chose Jesus. Her husband
threatened to kill her and their children, so James and Maria provided her
sanctuary in a tiny house outside of West Beach, where she currently lives with
her three children.
James offered Ana a
job as a teacher’s assistant at Vision in Action Christian School. Although Ana tried to keep her illiteracy
secret, James said he was fairly sure Ana couldn’t read when he noticed that
her Bible was upside-down at the weekly Bible class. Yet Ana applied herself to
learn to read along with the children she was helping to teach at Vision
School, and once she mastered
the basics, she read the Bible constantly until she became a
very proficient reader. James, a former army medic, also
trained Ana in some paramedics, and soon she was able to fill in for James,
helping the steady stream of poor people who came to him for medical diagnoses,
advice and treatment.
encouragement, Ana started studying hygiene and preventative
medicine. She began learning that there is a correlation between nutrition and
health. Before long she was selling vitamins door-to-door, which enabled her to
do even better at providing for herself and her three children. But she had one
more dream. With the help of her oldest daughter, Ana wanted to open a retail
health food store and restaurant that would serve healthy food and help change
the eating habits of her clients.
Although Ana is
technically not a widow, we made an exception in her case, providing the $350
from our Widows & Abandoned Women Fund that she needed to start her new business. She is bound to
The Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund at Work
Holding a well-worn
copy of the Spanish version of The Disciple-Making Minister, pastor Jose’ Martinez was
passionately exhorting a group of almost fifty former drug addicts. They
listened attentively to him talk about the power of Jesus. He stood in the
center of a rustic hall, right in the middle of a raised circle of concrete.
Just a few years ago, the scene in that same hall was much different. Then, a
crowd of men also gathered, but rather than recovering from drugs and alcohol,
most were consuming both. And rather than listening to a sermon, they were
paying to watch women strip under flashing lights, in the very spot where
pastor Hose’ was now preaching the gospel. Quite a contrast.
I told missionary
James Jones that I would never have thought I would be sitting in a former
strip club listening to the gospel being preached by a man who was
very enthusiastically using The Disciple-Making Minister as a manual to teach former drug addicts.
Not to be upstaged, James told me that when he was patronizing that strip club
years ago, he would have never dreamed he would one day be sitting in the same
place shouting “Amen” to a sermon! God is in the redemption business.
James introduced me to
one of the young men who is living at Compassion Drug Rehabilitation Center.
His name is Ramon. Six years ago, James was preaching on the streets of
Javillar, a community adjacent to West Beach. He was invited by Ramon’s parents
to visit their small home, and there he was introduced to their son, who was
then about age eighteen.
Ramon was insane. He
would not communicate, except when he yelled profanities at his parents. He had
not bathed, shaved, or cut his hair in fourteen months. His stench
permeated the house. He had a monstrous afro, and his fingernails and
toenails were so long that they curled under. He would eat, but he would add
grass and leaves to his food. He was violent.
James, along with
several believers, took Ramon to another location to minister deliverance to
him. Ramon cursed and mocked James and the other Christians in English, a
language he did not know (and still does not know). But the demons all came out.
Ramon was completely delivered. In his right mind, he then agreed to receive
Christ as Lord. From that moment, he was a different person.
One week later, James
returned Ramon to his parents’ house. His hair and fingernails had been
trimmed, and he had bathed and shaved. When his father saw him and heard him
speak intelligently, he fell on his knees, raised his hands to the sky and
exclaimed, “I want to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior!”
Ramon is now living at
Compassion Center to study the Bible and learn how to minister to drug addicts.
Those who enter the program must commit to living at the center’s very
primitive facilities for a year. The dorm rooms are impossible to describe by
North American standards.
Using gifts to Heaven’s
Family’s Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund, I
was blessed to leave money that will provide a replacement for the very leaky
roof at Compassion Center’s main building. I also left funds for a used
transmission for the Center’s broken-down old van, which is used to deliver and
sell shampoo and disinfectant produced by the Center’s residents, by which the
ministry is partially self-supported. Thank you for making these blessings
A Vision for Darianny and Carmeli
Hungry’s General Fund at Work
One morning I visited
the West Beach “homes” of two of the students who attend Vision
in Action Christian School.
Darianny and Carmeli, pictured with James Jones in the photo above, started
attending Vision School five
years ago by entering the pre-school program. Both have learned how to read and
write, something that they now use to help their illiterate mothers, who never
had an opportunity to go to school. (Neither of their fathers live with them.)
Our first visit is to
Carmeli’s “house.” It is difficult to describe. It can’t be more than
ten feet wide and twenty feet deep, and it is crowded between two other similar
homes. The walls are built of concrete block and the floor is rough-poured
concrete. There is no ceiling, and I can see the roof rafters and underside of
the corrugated tin roof. There is some old furniture. Out back is a latrine
with a shallow well beside it. We find a little shade there to take photos of
Carmeli is the
product of her mother’s hopeful relationship with a man whom she later
discovered was already married and whom Carmeli has never met. Her mother,
aunt, and grandmother, who all live with her and her siblings, survive by
selling coffee and cooked beans in front of their house. I ask them all about
their relationship with the Lord, and all respond with smiles. James tells me
that they all are attending a house church in the neighborhood.
Our next stop is
Darianny’s house, where we are first greeted by her great-grandmother, who is
67 years old. The house is much like Carmeli’s. Darianny is also age
eight, and she has two other sisters who live at home with her. The three of
them share the same mother, but different fathers, none of whom live with them.
Darianny is exceptionally bright and is an honor student at Vision School. With pride, her mother shows us her report card
and honor roll certificate.
If it weren’t
for Vision Christian School,
it is very likely that both Carmeli and Darianny would be going out to work
each day, and that they would ultimately end up in prostitution. But their
mothers are hoping for a better future for their beautiful daughters.
Find Out What You Are Up To On Our Blog!
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