Easter Reflection and the Ministry Update
This past Good Friday morning (it wasn’t really a “good” morning for our Lord), I got up around 4 to go to the bathroom. Suddenly I heard a cock crow (not too uncommon here in the Dominican Republic). It was loud and clear and must have been nearby. Wow, my mind went immediately to Peter the night the Lord was betrayed. I waited a few seconds and it crowed again. Then the dark morning became silent. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and then got up for the day. After breakfast I stepped out to see what Debbie had been doing with some plants that needed doctoring. There was a dry vine laying on the stone path. I rolled it up and realized it looked like the crown. I thought, yes, at about this time (mid-morning) on that fateful day somebody thought it cool to place a crown of sharp thorns on my Lord. I felt saddened. He would shortly be led out to be crucified.
He was politically incorrect to many Jews; he never supported a zealot uprising against the Romans. He was also accused of opposing allegiance to Rome by “supposedly” declaring himself “king”, thus the crown of thorns and the inscription on the cross. He represented a threat to the religious establishment with his views of the law. To them He was the nail that stood out and needed to be hammered down. But they had no idea that they were unconscious participants in fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament that spoke of the coming suffering Messiah (Isa. 53). Their punishment of Jesus helped fulfill His ultimate goal of winning forgiveness and acceptance before God for all who would believe. He willingly gave Himself up as an offering for us all. He took the bread and said “This is my body given for you”(Lk. 22:19), words he spoke the night before. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”(Lk. 22:20)
So, something special occurred a couple of thousand years ago; a new era of forgiveness and acceptance for mankind before God. It was sealed with the sacrifice of Christ for us. It began in my life when I was 19 years old. I recognized my life was empty and I had wandered far from God. New life was offered to me at a church service I attended. I reached out and prayed to receive Christ into my heart. He began the life-transforming process in my heart that day!
I know his sacrifice for us was accepted because the heavenly Father bore witness to its validity by raising Christ from the dead. In the Resurrection we see he gave Christ the victory over sin and its consequences, death. For the next forty days, Christ visited and taught his disciples (up to 500 at one time) until he was taken to heaven. And now as we share this wonderful liberating news with others, we await his return from heaven.
It is Christ’s power and authority we celebrate with the Resurrection!
The Haitian Children’s Education Ministry: Over a thousand Haitian children are in school now who might otherwise not have an opportunity for an education. The language barrier, the over-crowded school situation in public schools, and the legal status of the vast majority of the Haitian children have created the need for these Education Centers. Haitian churches are the base for the schools and they provide a strong spiritual foundation. Debbie is giving direction and help to 15 schools right now, thanks to the generosity of God’s people. The basic salaries of 90 teachers with directors are being paid, and a mid-morning meal is being provided to the children. We believe a future is being secured for them through education. If you are led to help with these costs please email Debbie at [email protected], or call the US Vonage number 863-248-1119.
Featured in the photo above is the Ranchito Haitian School and church building. We are praying funds will come in to get a them a property and build them a new facility. Currently they rent their building, and use the four corners for their classrooms.
The El PIno Haitian Church School is looking for property for their program to move to in the future. Because of title complications they are now $9000.00 shy of the needed amount. Land is high now, but we have already received the first $18,000.00 for this purchase.
The El Hatico School Project was completed before the new year. Currently 135 children attend there in the educational building. The finances have been promised for the new church building. We are coming out of the ground with blocks for the new church building. Rick and Isabel Piña Ministries (RIPM) have raised the funds for these two buildings. Praise the Lord!
In Limoncito, the walls are at window height. Finances have been coming in slowly for the completion of this 2nd story sanctuary. This week the second floor exterior walls are receiving a concrete bond beam at top of the window height. Next come the last two feet of the walls and then the stucco work (inside and out) for the whole 2nd floor. The cost of building materials have almost doubled in the last year and so our projects are costing more than usual. But God is always in control. As we wait on Him, the needs are being met. We hope these two projects will be finished before the end of the summer, in time for the new classes to start in September. The Limoncito 2nd Floor Sanctuary Project will free up the space on the first floor for the much needed classroom space.
If you or your church would like to help with these projects, please email Debbie at [email protected] or Mitch at [email protected] We would be happy to answer any questions you have. You can also visit our website at www.DominicanMissions.Org or call our US Vonage number 863-248-1119.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
Bishop Mitch and Debbie Martinez