We know that 2020 has been a difficult year and holiday celebrations may be looking a little different for a lot of us. We hope that you are still able to find something to be thankful for this year, not least of which is Jesus, who remains good despite the chaos we may encounter in our lives. We are so thankful for the hope that we have in Him.
For us, this year has included transitioning back to the US, and with it some reverse culture shock. I (Tonya) began helping at an outreach to at-risk children living in an apartment complex just blocks away from us (photos below are of some of the boys working on their carnival games, an activity we did a few weeks ago). My very first week, the three girls in my small group were discussing the 57 genders and how they’d like to attend a Pride Parade. I did not encounter these kinds of conversations in the DR, as belief in God and the Bible are still generally accepted there. Our biggest challenge was to communicate their need for Jesus as their personal Savior, and navigating some of the false beliefs they had surrounding Mary. Here in the US with such complicated social issues, it is hard to know where to even begin to address these. But the most important thing is still that they understand who Jesus is, His love for them and their need for Him. Please pray with me for opportunities to share Him as I get to know these children. It has been fun for me to learn about their ethnic heritage; so far I have met kids whose parents are from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Micronesia, as well as a family from Syria. Truly the nations are here in my own neighborhood. I recently visited one of my Afghani friends, who works in a food cart cooking Afghani food (so yummy!), and also was finally connected with the refugee family I will be helping. She is a young mother from Rwanda who came here four years ago with her parents and baby boy. He is five years old now and I will be helping him with his online school. It is amazing how I can be a missionary right here in Portland.
Thank you for your continued support as I seek to reach the nations here at home. I realized the other day how easy it would be for me to be a nanny and contribute to our household that way, but God has given me a heart for missions from the time I was a young girl, and although it was best for our family to return to the US at this time, my desire is to continue to respond to His call and be involved in missional outreach right here in Portland, and your support helps make that possible.
I’d like to share more about the ministry opportunity back in the DR. The woman I am working with there has been a director at a government-run daycare for several years, and I am confident that she knows what is needed to run a daycare. We also have a lawyer from our church in La Vega who will be helping with all of the legalities involved. We will need several staff members, including a director, nurse, cook, cleaner, and of course the caretakers of the children. Our estimated goal in order to be able to cover these salaries and the rent each month is projected at $3,000 per month. If you would like to begin supporting this opportunity to come alongside women in the DR, offering them quality childcare as they seek employment in order to help provide for their families, as well as support teenage mothers who desire to continue their education, you can give on the Be One Together website. There is a link below that you may click on. If you are unable to become a monthly supporter at this time, with Giving Tuesday and year-end giving around the corner, please consider a donation to Abby’s Garden.
We are thankful that Ben has gotten a job driving a dump truck, although inclement weather sometimes means the work is not full-time. He has not heard back from the Portland Police.
We were finally able to purchase a minivan, and are thankful that the whole family can now fit in one vehicle without being squished, haha.
The kids are adjusting well. Everyone is doing school at home, either online or through Classical Conversations, or with me as their teacher. My role has become easier as they are older and can do much of their work independently, which frees me up to do ministry.
Continued prayers are appreciated as we readjust and heal.
Ben, Tonya, Jolie, Ivan, Samuel and Melody