May 2008 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The big news for May is the start of Saturday Bible Institute classes in Granada.. We have six students and the class is Intro to Old Testament I. Not as many students as we hoped for but you have to start somewhere. For several months we have been trying to get Saturday classes started to complement out the program of training seminars that we have been conducting. Our goal is to eventually offer classes at each of the locations where we currently do training seminars but that may take a while. Nadia Vasquez Barahona has been hired part time as the registrar/administrator to oversee the Bible Institute. Nadia has worked for us in the past as the director of the Tipitapa school and we were pleased with her performance. She is a member of the Tipitapa church and recently graduated from the National University here with a degree in administration with emphasis on educational institutions. We look forward to serving with her again. Her first major task is to organize classes in her hometown, Tipitpapa. We have had a presence in that city for a long time with the church and school so it is a logical place for an extension class.

On 17 May we did an all day seminar in the town of Acoyapa where we had 86 preachers and leaders present representing four churches. Everywhere we go we are finding groups of Christians that are open to solid Bible teaching to help them strengthen their congregations. I see a big role for the Bible Institute as a facilitator to bring qualified instructors out to these rural areas.

Ground was broken for two new classrooms at the school in Tipitapa. With High School classes underway space is really getting tight. The new classrooms will allow the director to convert a present classroom into a library/study area for the High School students. After the two new classrooms are finished we need to make some changes to the roof structure on the administration building to see if we can make it cooler inside.

Construction work is also progressing at the Granada Church site. Juan Zelaya and Jemmy Latino have been pouring concrete for sidewalks and other miscellaneous site chores that have needed doing for some time. So far the rainy season has not been too wet which has allowed progress on these projects to continue. In Granada we are also very pleased to report two baptisms and a really well attended series of children’s activities on Sunday mornings.

We see the Lord at work in one of families that lives next door to the church. Doña Juana Aleman, her husband and relatives in law and outlaw too numerous to count live next to the church property. Most of the crew old enough to walk works collecting scrap or firewood to sell. The men drink most of the income from these activates and the sheer number of mouths to feed the clan lives in an abysmal condition of poverty. However they are very proud people and will not accept help, even scholarships we have offered for their children to attend school. In four years that we have been next door the Lord has used them to teach us patience. This is a nice way to say that they are a pain in the neck! They throw their trash over the fence and channel raw sewage out onto the church property. The good news is that a fair number of the family are coming to church. One of the men who was baptized in May was Miguel Aleman, the oldest son. Now he and his five children are coming to church and getting involved. His younger brother Anistacio (Lalo) and his wife Fatima started coming too and then tragically suffered the death of their two month old baby boy Ramon Enrique, to SIDS. As a church we were able to minister to them during this time.

The wake for the child was a real deal, held in their cluster of shacks in a pouring rain. There was no electricity that day so we ran our generator and snaked a cord to the central shack and the kitchen lean-to where cauldrons of coffee and hot chocolate were brewing on an open fire. Due to the heavy rain everyone clustered under whatever roof was available. Our family tried the kitchen for a while, the cooking fire feeling good against the night chill. One doesn’t think about being cold in the tropics but a damp night can make you shiver. Eventually the leaking roof and rising water in the yard convinced us to abandon our uncertain sanctuary and squeeze into the main shack were the little boy lay in his open coffin dressed in blue pajamas, his hands folded around a candle. He looked for all the world like he really was just sleeping. Amelia’s comment was “Some little babies just don’t make it.” The house was jammed with women, children and the folks from our church. The rest of the men excused themselves to a different shack to drink guaro and play cards. We left about 8pm but Ann rejoined the funeral procession on the way to the cemetery at 7am the following day. As there is no embalming, the law requires that burial take place within 24 hours.

The tragedy has brought us more opportunities to reach out to this family, pray that the Lord will give us all patience. Amen.

In Christ,

Marcus and Ann Pearson

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