Month: October 2010

Oliveria Family Newsletter

We have put out our first family newsletter. We have it available in a print quality PDF if you would like to print it for your church body, the one attached on the site is for screen quality only.

Thank you for all your support and a thank you to the anonymous giver of the much needed boost for this month.

I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter and I will be asking the kids to add their own columns in the next month’s issue.

Oliveria newsletter October 2010

Oliveria Newsletter

Oliveria Family Newsletter

When it Rains, it Pours

For the weather here that is definitely true. It seems that every time it rains we get a downpour that makes it hard to see when driving. This happens probably every other day and a few times today as some storms pass from the north.

Most of our readers can relate to this in their lives as well. From finances to health everything seems to hit at once. Today I would ask that you lift us up in prayer for a few things. I must have a bug of some sort and I am a bit drained right now. Also, we are currently out of cash and a little short in the account to pay rent and the remaining deposit amount that we were allowed to pay this coming month. We just had the back brakes repaired a little sooner than planned since we lost all the brake fluid when a wheel cylinder leaked.

Our guagua is fixed!

We are still questioning the house we are in, it took us a while to find one in a safe location that would work with us and the price was comparable to everything else we found. Now we hear the house next door is $700 month which is $550 less than this house. I am assuming that we get the higher rates as “gringos” because the person next door is currently a Dominican. We don’t want to be foolish with the money God provides, but we also don’t want to be foolish about protecting the family. Until we speak Spanish more fluently and understand more about the culture it may not be the wisest thing to live just anywhere.

We are also setting up with Agape Flights to be able to receive mail and packages from home. We are needing some of the school books we left behind because we had already filled too many bags for the flight. Health insurance is another item on our list of needs that we would like to get soon, the price is much more affordable than the U.S. but I don’t have a quote yet for the whole family.

So please pray with us as week ask God for wisdom in all these decisions and for the finances we need to live here. I believe God has us here and I don’t think it was just to come for a few months to only return home (which we don’t have anymore :~)

Passing out food in a village

What is Normal?

It is funny how we can grow up in a culture and not realize that there are other ways of doing things. We don’t think twice when we get in a car and only get in if there are enough seats to sit in. We expect and even demand personal space especially when traveling. We do things the way we were taught by our parents or schools. Sometimes we don’t even know why we do things the way we do.

For an example, here in the Dominican Republic there seems to always be room for one more.

17 in a 9 passenger van

We have been transporting a family and some of their neighbors from another village to our church in Villa Paraiso. They will pile in and if I think I am picking up a family of 5 I always end up with a full load. In the picture above you can’t even see the 2 kids behind the back seat or one (or 2) hiding behind me and the 2 in the front passenger seat.

All this to say – Why are we doing what we do in our Spiritual walk? 

I have found myself over the last few years questioning everything we do. Why do you pray with your eyes closed? Why do we go to church? Why do we say what we say (as in our christian vocabulary)? AND Does it really say that in the Bible?

I believe we should question. Not question God, but question our beliefs. Question what man has taught you! Why do we do what we do? Is it because of tradition? And if so, is that tradition harmful to your walk? Does your beliefs keep you from fully trusting God?

So driving in the USA and having laws saying to have a seat belt on every person is not bad, it does not bring harm, in fact it may save your life. But believing God is always waiting for you to fail and thus you cannot enter heaven, like many of the religions seem to teach in between the lines, that can keep you from really trusting Him. God, our loving father who sent His own son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, and that was while you were still a sinner deserving death, is not waiting for you to fail, but is waiting for YOU to come to Him.

So next time you see something done differently and are thinking it is wrong, try questioning why you do it the way you do.

Proverbs 16:25  “There is a way which seems straight before a man, but its end is the ways of death.”

Comforts of the Cross

Being uncomfortable or the lack of all the comforts you take for granted on a daily basis is the starting point of what I am about to write. The comforts we have all grown accustomed to and we expect without even thinking about it. The same comforts that if one is lacking we are in shock and can’t believe someone hasn’t fixed or replaced that comfort. As an American I know many of our comforts that we expect, those cushions that are soft, the toilets that are clean, the car that starts and stops, the faucet that runs water hot or cold on our command. These are the things that we have grown to expect even to the point of demanding, yet so many in this world have not even experienced many of our standard comforts.

Now look at the cross. Jesus said to: “take up his cross and follow me” *(Matt 16:24) What did He mean?

When I think of the cross, I think of the complete opposite of comforts.  There is no comfort with the whippings Jesus received before, the mental anguish of how he was treated, disdained and mocked. The thorns pushed into His head, the pushing, the prodding, the lack of energy and strength as blood already was being lost. Then the cross, the hard wood pushed into His already torn flesh, the nails piercing, the pain of holding Himself up with a nail through His feet and His hands as He was probably alternating His weight from one to the other. Christ had no comfort on the cross, no air conditioning, no pampering, no rest, nothing. He gave up all His comfort for us!

I am realizing how little I understood the notion of Christ’s suffering, how much He gave up for us. Could you imagine the comfort Our Lord has in heaven? His comfort is so much more than ours and He gave that up. He lived as a human with all the human frailty we all have, yet was God, creator, perfect and Holy. His humanly body was able to be beaten, feel pain and bleed to death. He left all His comfort. Who am I to say I cannot do something for Him because of how uncomfortable I might be. How thankful I am for every little comfort I enjoy each day.

So next time you feel uncomfortable and are thinking that this can’t be God’s will, remember what comforts He gave up for you and praise Him.


Creature of the night

A little off-beat, but something to share. I am sure all the ladies would love friends like these:

Our pets

Heather was in the pool by herself and called for me to show me one, then a few minutes later the larger one.

Some of the locals say they can kill you, yet even the local exterminator agrees with what I have read. They can bite, but are basically harmless. Still creepy if you ask me.

Where is my faith

I was doing a little pondering today while driving back from Puerto Plata to Sosua. It was about 3 years ago that Jessica and I first met up with Jim and Debra here in the Dominican Republic and they took us to a few places to show us around the area, not knowing then some of the things God had planned for us. It was during that visit that God was putting in me the vision of working with Jim and Debra in the Sosua area, yet before that trip we did not know anyone in this part of the country, however, we did know a few in Jarabacoa and in Santo Domingo.

What struck me today was my lack of faith. I keep finding myself questioning what I am doing here. We are spending time looking for the house to live in as we try to get started working in Villa Paraiso (Paradise Village.)  God was showing me and reminding me of all the things He has done already – from putting it on my heart to move here in 2003, meeting the Tunnicliffes, seeing God take us across the country and to fly here with a number of things timed that we could never have seen beforehand. God was reminding me that trusting in Him has always come to the result of what only faith could see. The visions He gives to us sometimes seem impossible and that is why I believe He does just that. How does our faith grow without the impossibilities to get beyond? If we could see how it would work out it would not take faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  God puts in us the vision and the faith of that vision. I know that over the last few years it has been challenging to even explain to other believers what God has called us to. And it took even more faith when it did not happen in our timing to continue to tell people what we were going to do. I can’t imagine what Abraham went through when he kept on getting older and not yet seeing the fulfillment of the promise of a son.  To believe and hope for something he knew was improbable and was only becoming impossible.  God uses the impossible to show us who He is. Thank goodness we have no say in who God is!

Be encouraged my brothers and sisters, God is not finished with us. He will continue to work out miracles as we look to Him. His ways are not our ways (thank goodness) and He has a plan with all the details already perfectly worked out. I challenge you to be stretched and that thing He has been prompting you with, trust Him. Accept that it is impossible for you and not for God. Let God grow your faith and take the first step in what He is asking you to do. Be blessed by allowing Him to take reign in your life and know that a perfect Father in heaven loves you and wants you as His devoted child.