Dear friends in Christ,
Greetings in the peace of Christ to all of you, from the Dominican Republic!
We want to begin this March letter with a message of thanks and gratitude to you for your prayers for us and gifts to keep us working here in God’s mission. Thank you!
Please know that we are also praying for you – knowing that this current pandemic is affecting all of you in different and sometimes very difficult ways.
We are both well, but remain ‘sheltered in place’, as directed by the government. Flights from this island to the United States were stopped on March 18. The Office of International Missions carefully considered evacuating all of its missionaries at high risk (including us, since Pastor Jonathan had a heart attack in 2018) but came to the conclusion that at that point (March 17) it would be safer for us to remain here than to travel. We concurred with that guidance and are happy we were able to remain at our posts.
YES – We are still working! Every day, Pastor Jonathan, in his capacity as Chaplain for all of the LCMS Missionaries in the Latin America Caribbean countries, video records and distributes a 15-minute devotion; as well as Lenten services and Sunday morning services. (The videos can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYwHIwqgzAvpo7ecQZ92dmA).
He also shares these videos with individuals to whom we have witnessed in this country over the last three years. Seminary meetings and classes also still continue through online technology.
Cheryl leads a weekly Bible study and prayer time online for deaconesses who are in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Argentina; and this week started another online Bible study on the Gospel of John for women in our region. She spends time on the phone with Dominican friends to encourage them. At the same time, she continues to make progress on the VDMA translation project that provides good Spanish Bible materials to all of our missionaries and partner Lutheran churches in this region.
May God bless all of you during these days of uncertainty. May He give you strength, peace, and hope in the never-failing faithfulness of our heavenly Father. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for His love and for His promise to be near us when we call (Psalm 145:18).
We are happy to hear from you at any time!
In Christ, Pastor Jonathan and Deaconess Cheryl