January 2019 Newsletter
We have been here 1/3 of our allotted time. Wow! How time flies! We have tried to improve the base a little by repairing things, adding shelves, helping with clean-up on the grounds, helping pay the rent, and buying some new supplies. We are developing relationships,
assisting in the ministries in which the YWAM base is involved – feeding the homeless, Prayer Station, Kids Club, Intercessory prayer, leading 2 Bible study groups (one on campus and one we are starting with a group of friends from the church we are visiting), teaching several people piano and swimming lessons. We have just begun the Alpha course in a local school! Whew! Every day there is something happening. Last Sunday, we began meeting with a small group that would like to study the Bible together and hear truth to strengthen their faith. I am also helping their oldest daughter, who plays in church, to improve her skill. Merle taught and it was a wonderful evening of fellowship that reinforced truth for us all.
We are teaching the Alpha course at a local public school. I really enjoyed working with the school children and especially, hearing from them. My group of nine were pretty responsive in asking questions, like “What is my purpose?” “Why is there jealousy?” “Why are there other planets?” “Why can’t my family get along?” The course is designed to raise questions about life and present the claims of Christ in an open discussion format. It is presented in a fun, modern video and then there are questions to discuss in small groups. We divide the class into 4 groups, each with a leader and preferably, an assistant, but we just don’t have enough volunteers for the second person. It can be very noisy and the children are the softest speakers in the world, I think! Plus add a Caribbean accent and it is difficult to communicate, but it is still good! Please remember to pray for the young people to be open to Truth and open to consider possibilities, especially one girl in my group who is a Muslim. Merle has a Muslim, a Hindu, and a blind boy in his group. This course will last through our time here. This is the same class below, where Phinehas and Renelle presented a skit and a response to the gospel was offered. You can see the raised hands of those who expressed interest to pray along.
The peculiar thing is that even on this public school building they declare the name of Christ, and yet they have such broken relationships and 70% of children are born out of wedlock. The traditional family unit is in crisis. Every country has its strongholds and everyone needs Christ, but where is the disconnect in their lives? This is the kind of place where you can ask for a raise of hands to receive Christ and many of the hands go up. Perhaps they just are expressing interest to know more? Have they done this before? Certainly we aren't the first to ask, are we? Maybe we are! Or perhaps they haven't understood the gospel - the transference from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light, the marvelous gift of God's grace to forgive us and give freedom from the power of sin!
The YWAM Trinidad Outreach team was here for two and a half weeks. It was fun to visit with them and eat Trinidadian food! Thanks, Renelle! Phinehas loved talking with Merle, and snorkeled with us several times. Renelle was not a swimmer, but after some swimming lessons, she even experienced snorkeling! Thanks Shamus (the leader and a gifted evangelist pictures below, right), Phinehas, and Renelle (pictured above - silly kids)!
I am presenting the follow-up course for the Samaritan Purse Christmas Child Packages in Kids Club. It is 12 weeks long and covers the basics of Christianity. We are dividing the children into three age groups, Jenny with the elementary age, and Merle with the teens, teaching the Alpha course. Pray that they will have open hearts to receive truth that impacts their lives forever!
Can you believe that the temperature is actually a bit cooler in January, but only by a few degrees, but still, it helps! The mornings and evenings are a little cooler but the afternoons are just as hot in the sun. No wonder this is high season! I expect February to be the same, and then warm up as “spring” approaches. The breeze is still “one of my favorite things!” Because of my crooked spine, and swimming being the best exercise for me, I try to swim a couple times a week in the bay. The water is cool, lovely, and buoyant! The swim area is only about a 5 minute walk away, so it is wonderful to have such close access to occasionally fit in a swim. Walking is pretty hard on my back, especially carrying groceries home from the store, but I don’t buy much, only absolute essentials, so it has been okay. And thank you to those who gave extra in December, as we have a little extra for meeting our needs and to give to the YWAM base! May God return to you ten-fold!
Chicken feet - $1.50/pound? About a pound of brussel sprouts are $7., broccoli is $6/pound (actually it came down a little after Christmas to $4.60/pound), a medium butternut squash will cost you over $10, and a half gallon of milk for $4. Those two steaks above are 70 EC=$25! I can tell you we can't afford a grill, the charcoal, or the meat to put on it! Ground beef is $7.40/pound. We can afford carrots, at least, at $1.50/pound! The prices here are typically twice what you would pay in the States, except even more for most vegetables, meat, and coffee. I found a small box of Oreos for about $1! Wow! What a treat!
Mr. Innovation (Merle) designed a pole spear for catching fish. He still needs a missing part, but we are hoping he can add to our food supply! Lovely colorful bougainvillea flowers!
Thanks to all who are praying for us, the ministry opportunities, for the local volunteers who give of their time, and for the adults and children growing in Christ and impacting their culture. Please pray especially for Marilyn as she is struggling with such a heavy load of ministry, taking University classes in Child Development, home-schooling, and all the standard mother obligations! (Lovely Marilyn pictured below left)
Pray for Manessa, right, as she has started a business of sewing and alterations about a year ago, after her job ended with the government ministry assisting hurricane victims. They are barely meeting their rent, even with her husband working at a local hotel, and has a 10-yr old daughter. She is considering a side business of teaching painting classes! They are one of the rare healthy Christian families that we know. She is an organizer and gives of her time and talents to contribute to the children’s ministries.
Also, remember another friend and her little daughter, as she struggles with a boss who is pressuring her inappropriately. She needs a new job! Now! She is a new believer, and bakes on the side for extra income. Lord, protect her and her daughter!
Harvesting coconut milk was very interesting and was used in baking coconut dumplings.
This "racket" is to zap mosquitoes and no-see-ums, so that we can sleep at night. A masave tree is massive! Merle cutting pizza for the homeless. Sometimes the grilled vegetables and the pizza look mighty appealing to us! We don't get those luxuries. The Sandals hotel gives their leftovers to the Salvation Army, which we then serve to the homeless. That's a new twist on the prodigal son story - longing for the food the homeless are eating!
If God leads and you are able, you may donate to us by clicking on the GIVE button above to be sent to ARM Ministries and donate to Merle and Jenny Jones. If we had more, we could give more. You can also donate to the YWAM base St. Lucia, for Guy and Marilyn Fotso, which is also in need of funds. God has been good to meet our expenses so far, though eating is often pretty minimal, mostly rice, lentils or beans, with half a chicken drumstick each for dinner. It’s a different life, among the rich and famous, but on the other side of the street, if you know what I mean. I have had a couple pretty low days, but God brings me back to my normal joyful self. Still missing my kids, however. I don’t know if I can do another Christmas without them.