Planning an escape route

Driving in the Dominican Republic really brings to mind “defensive driving.” At times in the USA I would be on a busy highway at I would keep in mind an escape route in case the traffic came to a quick stop or the guy who was driving sporadically in front of me decides to do something even dumber than before.  Here the roads are narrow. People drive ready to pass with their car 3 feet over the line at all times and leaves you little room to avoid motorcycles who are riding 3 feet in.

The winding road we take up to Niños de la Luz is narrow and has corners with little visibility. The large dump trucks will come down about 45 mph down the center and don’t move over for oncoming traffic. The road have no shoulders like what we have in the US. Trees, fences, cows, people or horses are also in spots. Sometimes even a “parked” car will be on the side (2 wheels on the dirt, but most of car in road.)

The other day as I drove down that road and realized how much time I was spending thinking of where I can drive off the side of the road. This was my way of planning an escape of an oncoming vehicle. I also realized that we should do this in our daily walk especially when we know we might be in an area of temptation. If you struggle with alcohol, for example, and you are visiting a friend’s house who drinks – you may want to have another friend come with you to keep you accountable. If we make our exit plans beforehand, or not necessarily make plans but be aware of the “exits” we have available to us.

But like it says in I Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.”  So, there is always at least one way of escape, we just need to be looking and aware of our escape routes.

Even the keyboard I am typing on has an escape key…

 

Fun day at Niños de la Luz

Josiah in the Sack Race

This week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, much of this country does not celebrate it in a “Holy” fashion. Please keep us in prayers, the roads here are considered deadly and many are driving intoxicated. Loud music and big parties are the norm around the touristy areas (bars and beaches.) We are limiting our travel some, but we are also not living in fear.

Since this week is a national holiday, the boys at Niños de la Luz have the week off from school. We joined them Friday for a play day and had a great time with the boys and the other families working at NDLL.

Boys in sack race

Josiah in the Sack Race

Josiah in the Sack Race

Eating stuff during game

 

Today we went up to visit some families in Villa Paraiso. Little nervous about the roads, but we did fine and made it back alive. Don’t think I will be heading out anywhere tonight!

One man in the village, Jose, has been bleeding for 12 days and has to go to Santiago Monday to be checked out why. Please lift him up in prayer. This may be something related to his past, since before he came to Christ he struggled in drugs. Also, hold his family up as they are all deeply concerned for him. Pray for God’s peace.

Jeremy Oliveria is back on tour

Jeremy Oliveria Above Any Grave

Our son Jeremy has headed back on tour in April along with a group called The Weigh Station. Last I heard they have around 20 concerts to play in April. Pray that God will go before them and prepare the hearts of His children to hear more of Him.

Here is one of the songs, Above Any Grave, on the CD which is a split LP of Jeremy and The Weigh Station.

Jeremy Oliveria
Above Any Grave lyrics

In the dark in the night,
We were searching for truth in the gutter,
In the midst of the fight,
We were searching for love under covers,
Under Covers,
Broken and destitute, Jesus you showed us the way,
Healed our afflictions and rose far above any grave,
Above Any Grave

Jeremy Oliveria Above Any Grave

Album Cover - Jeremy Oliveria & The Weigh Station

 

We are praying God continues to use Jeremy to touch lives and to draw them to the throne of grace. God has been so awesome and Jeremy has a gift to share with others God’s great love. We love hearing reports from people who have been blessed by the music, it is a testimony of how God can take what the enemy tries to use for evil and turn it for His glory.

 

Seasons of Change

Niños de la Luz boys

Everyone knows those times when things just change. Everything seems to be out of your hands and there are a lot of unknowns. Well, we are in that season now, but we have some things we can share with you about those changes.

Niños de la Luz boys with Summer and Hannah

Niños de la Luz boys (with Summer and Hannah)

Currently we are volunteering with Niños de la Luz up in the hills. It is a ministry here in Sosua that has a heart for street children. The family-like structure there combined with God’s amazing love has drawn us all to want to serve there. There are two areas of ministry, first is to younger street kids whom they take in as family and the other is to older boys who are at the age of graduation and need to be taught life skills. Currently they are building a new home to house the younger boys and until that is finished the life skills portion is on hold.

This ministry started in Venezuela and now is also in the Dominican Republic. The focus there are the boys, bringing them up in the love of Christ, and the hope of someday these boys having families of their own in which they will be equipped to lead spiritually and physically able to provide.

Pray with us as we ask the Lord for continued guidance as we desire to follow Him.

Just our little time spent so far visiting the Ranch has grown our love for these children. We have seen the love between those there to work with the kids and the kids. It really feels like a large loving family up there.

Besides helping some with staining boards for the ceiling in the new house and helping build some bunk beds, I was able to put to use skills from the past in wood working by replicating a table and a couple of benches to match.Table and Bench

Seeing the Need

The last couple of days Jessica and I have been talking a lot about a specific need for this area. This is something others have been seeing as well. The need for an orphanage.

We are not sure if this is something God has planned for us, but it has been weighing on our hearts. There are children getting help medically and some of those children are simply in need of basic nutrition. They are starving to death or have diseases related to malnutrition and once they are well enough, they go home to the same. Some of those mother’s will abandon the child especially if they believe the child will be helped. The Transformation House near here has been left with 9 children from these types of situations, yet they are not set up to house children, they are more of a hospital.

What is need is prayer. Pray for an answer, for the place, the people, the funding, etc… It is needed. These children need to be raised up right, fed properly, parented, taught, and most of all they need the Lord!

Seeing a 10 month old in the arms of a family willing to take him on even when he barely weighs 12 pounds can really open your eyes to the need. Pray for the Luther family who has taken in little Franklin.

Breaking the Law

We all know and have heard that our freedom is found in Christ. What seems to have happened is the enemy has infiltrated and confused where that freedom is found. We do not want to be living in ignorance as many who do not know the truth are, but we want to understand what Jesus Christ has really done for us.

The enemy will use the word of God to confuse, just as he did in the Garden of Eden were he took what God said and twisted it just a little to bring confusion and doubt. This is the same enemy we face today. He still uses the same tricks and techniques he has used for many years. One of goals the enemy has is to take those who are free and bind them. Whether it be sins or by taking what was by faith and making it to be by the law.

Oh, brothers and sisters, what have we done to earn our salvation? What is it we do that can add to the cross? Let us not continue to be bound! Jesus paid our debts and set us free! Let go of the chains that bind you! As a believer in Christ, as one saved and set free by grace, those chains are no longer clasped on, but it is by our own doing that we hold on to them.

In the letter Paul writes to the churches in Galatians, he confronts even Peter who, being a disciple of Christ, one who walked WITH Jesus. Peter had allowed others to put the law back on him. He had separated from the uncircumcised and was practicing the law of Moses and not the law of love. As Paul explains that by putting oneself under one part of the law you will need to obey all aspects of the law. I love what Paul asks the people in Galatians 3:5 – “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard?” He asks if they received the Spirit because they obeyed the law or because of their faith in Jesus. We know the answer is “by faith.”

There are still to this day those who are trying to bind those who are set free. They want to bind us to the law from which Paul says “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse” (Gal 3:10). The example used was circumcision, but is not limited to only that part of the law. He also talks about observing certain days, months, seasons and years from which we are also set free from (Gal 4:10). If we are feeling obligated to observe one part of the law then we are breaking the law if we do not follow the whole law. The law is not a “pick and choose” deal for by which we obey only what we want, it is a complete package. Paul, one who studied the law in its entirety and one whom claimed to have observed the law, knew that he failed and was not able to complete all the law had.  Is not the law of love greater? Did we forget what Jesus commanded?

Let us walk in freedom. Love is our freedom. By love we can fulfill the law, by love we do not harm each other and by love we worship God our Father.  Don’t let others burden you with that which you were set free from. It seems that those who are saved by grace find freedom from sin and then are bound by the law later by those who don’t understand the completeness of what Jesus did on the cross.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be careful of the enemy. He works in ways to bind us. Prayerfully consider things you are taught or when you feel obligated to observe an aspect of the law. Don’t ever be persuaded that you will have to do something to earn your salvation!  There is nothing we can do to add to what Jesus Christ has already done. How can we think that we can add to His work? How can we believe that what Jesus did was not good enough, that somehow He couldn’t save us 100 percent? I know I have fought this battle a number of times, believing that somehow a sin has undone what Christ already paid for. No longer will the enemy enjoy a triumph in the area! May Christ have full reign in our lives and may we not be ignorant to the skills of the enemy.

Hear The Fire-Jeremy Oliveria

Our son Jeremy has spent the last year recording, touring and ministering with the music the Lord has given him. He has a huge testimony of God’s grace in his life as well as the desire to reach the youth with Christ’s message of love. What God has done through the struggles, not only for Jeremy, but in my walk as well is priceless.

It took the struggle Jeremy went through to bring me to my knees in prayer and knowing that only God can pull him out of the darkness.

We are excited what God has been doing with Jeremy and the music. Currently he even has a song that is climbing a Christian music chart – Hear the Fire.

Take a listen here: http://www.indieheaven.com/top20

For those of you who have prayed for Jeremy over the years, let it be known, that God is working and will continue to do miracles in our lives. Those of you with children who have gone astray, know that God is the one who can save. Our job as believers, as brothers and sister in Christ, as parents; is to pray. Our weapon against the enemy is prayer.

Hear the fire Jeremy Oliveria

Lyrics: “Hear The Fire”

Written by Jeremy Oliveria & Michael Robert

Hear the fire in the silence of your voice
In your desire in your mercy I rejoice
In your compassion yes I find my relief
In your holy presence, in your spirit I find peace
Hear the fire, you inspire
All of my fears will melt before you grace
Hear the fire, you inspire,
All of creation will dance before your glorious name
Peace that gets me like
the kiss of a river when my throat is dry
your love’s like a waterfall
I’m drowning at the bottom and it’s beautiful

I’m lost in you, lost in love…

Blessings of a Team

We have been very busy, everything from moving twice, running with a team and finishing up a website for a client. Not much sleep, but oh so blessed. We had such a great time working with the MBC medical team! The kids got to help out and had a blast doing so.

Heather checking vision

Samuel and Josiah helped 2 days with filling prescriptions of reading and sun glasses.

Jeremy was able to help raise funds for the Christian Surfers Surf Competition by “worshiping” in a bar!  They actually paid him to worship! See his music at www.JeremyOliveria.com

Jeremy singing in a bar

Worship in a bar?

We also sent Josh away. Back to Oregon to work with Michael Robert Smith to earn money to return to the country to attend a DTS with YWAM in Jarabacoa. We sure miss him and we know God will guide him.

Keep praying for us, we know the enemy wants to keep us from reaching God’s children.

Oliveria Family Update

Well, it is a new year and many things are in the works. At the end of the month we will be working with our first team that is headed by Island Light Ministries. This team consists of an optometrist, dentists, RN’s and a few others to work in two different locations for 4 days with those specialties. Our family is excited to work with this group.

Also, coming soon to our house is our son Jeremy Oliveria and Sam Smith, they will be here in the country for about 6 weeks! This also coincides with us moving to a 2-bedroom house for about 9 days (Thanks to New Missions.) We should be moving into a house on the 1st at a lower rent rate – PRAISE GOD!

Last night we had the Cooper family over for dinner, Josh and Heather can actually speak Spanish better than I thought, I wish they would help me more than just laugh at my obvious error?!?!? I am constantly using the wrong verb form, usually I catch myself, but it makes for messy sentences.

Continue to pray for us as we learn more Spanish, we are going to try a friend in the village tonight to help Jessica and I with the language, he is fluent in English and has been helping Jim by interpreting the services.

An update about Josh – Later. Ha!

God Bless!

P.S. I need to repair my blog, it isn’t posting the photos I tried.

Christmas in Paradise

Christmas with Cooper family

We just returned home from an evening with the Cooper family. In the Dominican Republic Christmas eve dinner is like an American Christmas meal and we were invited by the Cooper’s to have this meal with them. It was such a nice and peaceful (with exception of Silas) evening in Paraiso. It seemed many were just having a nice calm evening.

Our family has somewhat connected with theirs and I say “somewhat”  due to the language barrier as we are still learning the language and we don’t always understand all that is said. One of the interesting things is for our family to fit into the dinning area of one of the houses with another large family.

Christmas with Cooper family

Jessica and Samuel

Oliveria family in Paradise

Joshua, Samuel and some of the Coopers

Christmas Dinner

Josiah and Mr. Cooper

We also had some of the typical Dominican food:

Christmas food

Christmas Dinner Dominican style

Christmas Dessert

And Desserts made by Jessica and the kids

The kids said they had a great time and I heard them all (sans Silas) speaking in Spanish. We hope that the Cooper’s enjoyed our family as we did theirs. We also want to say to all our family and friends back in the USA – Merry Christmas! And we love and miss you all!