“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise hiim with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” Psalms 150:1-6 NRSV
Yes, our hearts are filled with joy to the Lord for who He is, for His faithfulness, and for what He has done in our lives during this past year. Thank you so much for accompanying us through both prayers and financial support during this year of our US/PR Assignment and also as we went through the treatments for breast cancer. WOW! God’s hands sustained us in a miraculous way, taking us to a new place of wholeness and renewal in all areas of our lives.
Through this process, we learned that trusting in God and being content in all circumstances go hand in hand. We were not in control of where we would live in MA, what car would take us to Dana-Farber to receive the treatments, who would cover the ministry that we had left in the DR, etc. However, we recognized that the God of the universe was and is actually holding our lives in the palm of His hands, so we could rest and let Him be! God has not failed us and we are standing on His promises that a better day is to come! We are able to pray, “You are my rock and my fortress…into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God” (Psalm 31:3, 5).
Welcome to Talita Cumi
As you may remember from our December newsletter, the Talita Cumi program was implemented in the D.R. several months ago, and we are pleased to report that Leydi (see https://internationalministries.org/stagnant-as-the-dead-sea/) and Raquel are doing a great job of coordinating and leading this new program . Leydi is mentoring the mentors as she teaches a weekly class in the Community Center where she explains step by step the work of the Talita Cumi program. Through her instruction, she demonstrates various methods for teaching the lessons. The mentors are excited to be learning how best to serve the 8 – 12 year olds in La Romana at Joe Hartman School, Beraca Church, and the Community Center, as well as in four different bateyes (sugar cane plantations). For more information about Talita Cumi, please see: https://internationalministries.org/its-happening/
Haitian Pastors’ Retreat
Time to share each other’s burdens and to pray
In our December journal, we had asked you to pray for the Haitian Pastors’ Retreat whose purpose was to build rapport and to offer pastoral care, conflict management, and strategic planning. We are praising the Holy Spirit that our days together in late March were so much more than any of us had anticipated. For the first time ever, all of the various Baptist conventions in Haiti sent leaders and pastors to meet together for five (5) days at a retreat center in Santo Domingo. Represented there were: the Baptist World Alliance, organizations sponsored by Baptist World Aid, and churches and organizations of American Baptist International Ministries. These attendees experience dangers daily, and this retreat allowed them a chance to unburden their concerns.
Some of the questions discussed were: What’s going on in your souls with the trauma you are suffering from all that has been happening in Haiti? How can we work together to strengthen each other as pastors/leaders and to strengthen our churches? Vital’s leadership during this retreat was powerful as he related his own life experiences as a Haitian. There were many heart connections due to his empathy, and this uniting of pastors and Baptist convention leaders was significant in bringing them to an opening of their hearts as well as to some healing. The participants were affirmed in their desires for their children and congregants to become missionaries throughout the world as they internalized that one of their own (Vital) was serving Haitians outside of Haiti. Please continue to pray for these leaders and pastors and join in their excitement as they strive to promote the mission of “From Everywhere to Everyone”.
What is next?
Ketly and Vital with Rev. Dr. Wesley Roberts, Pastor at People’s Baptist Church
Many of you may not know that I (Ketly) have spent many hours these past several months writing my statement of faith to become an ordained minister. This past October, a ministerial friend in Massachusetts surprised me with a question: “Why are you not ordained, Ketly?” After being commissioned by International Ministries almost 30 years ago – after all this time — was God calling me to ordination? Yes! God is doing a new thing! I have been undergoing this process with TABCOM (The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts), and my ordination council is set for May 21. Lord willing, my actual ordination will occur on September 11 at Peoples Baptist Church in Boston. Your prayers are most eagerly sought!
After May 21, we will travel to Florida to visit my (Ketly’s) 100-year-old mother for several weeks. Then we will travel to Green Lake for “Hear the Call” and the World Mission Conference in early July. After the conference ends on July 9, we will fly back to La Romana for another term of missionary service.
UPDATE: We praise God that Ketly’s last immunotherapy treatment was on April 4th and that at her last mammogram on April 13th, there was no evidence of cancer! AMEN and AMEN!!!!
There are so many praises in our hearts for God’s surpassing greatness and for all that God has done for us this past year. Many, many people have walked alongside us in this journey, and we will not stop praising God for his goodness to us.