March-April 2011 -Home Activities
As we find ourselves nearing the midway point of March-April 2011, we'd like to send you our greetings. At the present time we are well and keeping quite busy, as usual. We imagine things are similar for you.
Someone asked me last week "What do you do when you aren't on short term mission trips?" and "How often are you home?"
These aren't really difficult questions to answer, but they may take a little time.
We are usually home about seven, or seven and a half, months a year. Even when we're here we travel a good deal, as you noticed from our last letter.
Our next planned trip is the middle of March when we'll spend ten day's in Ohio with Sherilyn's nieces and nephew, while their parents, Sherilyn's youngest sister and her husband, go on a cruise to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
In June, we will be in Wisconsin for Family Camp at Northland again. We also have a trip planned to Branson, Missouri to see the Sight and Sound drama titled "Noah". Then in July, we'll probably be in Iowa, to visit my son Scott's family. We also plan to have our annual 4th of July picnic again this year.
Hopefully, in the Fall we will be able to get back to Puerto Rico and get the church in Mayaguez completed enough for them to get into their new building.
However, before this can happen there are still a couple of issues to resolve. We are still waiting on the power company to hook up the power, and we still don't know the components needed for a fire alarm system. (Please keep reading for late breaking news.)
We hope to resolve these issues sometime during the Spring and Summer, but until they are resolved we aren't planning to return to Puerto Rico since the trips are fairly expensive, and with what we have left to do, it might not be worth the cost.
March-April 2011 God's Ways are Perfect
The Lord has worked this out to free up our Pastor, Sherilyn's Dad, to make some special trips. Her Dad was eighty years old on March 27th, and thanks to one of his generous daughters and her husband, he was able to take about a week and a half to go on a Caribbean Cruise and visit his sister in Florida.
Another of his daughters and her pastor husband, provided him the opportunity to go to California for a Pastor's conference.
He is also scheduled to speak in Philadelphia in May for one of his grandson's ordination services.
Our church is still small in numbers, so we like for either the Pastor (Sherilyn's father), or us, to be here most of the time. Since we were here this winter and Spring, it freed him up to enjoy some much needed, and well deserved, time off.
Our church here is still like a transient mission work in many ways. It seems we make one step forward and another backwards. We have people saved every year, but we've also lost members on a yearly basis, as well. Nonetheless, we're grateful for those who've trusted Christ, and even if just one person came to know the Lord from our efforts invested in this church, it would all be worth it.
This was our take on the current situation until March 19th. At that point we were three days into the stay with our nieces and nephew in Ohio...
March-April 2011 God's Ways Aren't Our Ways
Questions, decisions, and scheduling conflicts seem to be dilemmas we must resolve. It is interesting how complicated our lives can become at times. I had imagined if I were forced on disability, my schedule would be more or less my own to decide.
I am amazed at how we can fool ourselves, as Christians, into believing we are in control of what we do, But I think I'm really learning, after many years, if I truly want to follow Christ, I have very little control!
As mentioned above, three days into our visit to Ohio, we got a phone call from Pastor Garcia in Mayaguez. He was calling to ask us to come back to Puerto Rico as quickly as possible (like right away). He tells us he has been able to get an engineer to put together a design for the fire alarm system.
This is something I have been trying to get resolved for two and a half years now, so it is good news they are ready to go with it.
But, this is not something that can be done in a few days...
It will take time and money...
The problem is, at this moment, we don't seem to have much of either!
We have no materials, and during the only time we could possibly fit a trip in our upcoming schedule, a preliminary check of airfares indicates they will cost between two and three times as much as we've been paying for airfare.
Even though we still have several things to do to complete this project, they don't all have to be completed for the church to get the permit to begin using the building.
However, our understanding is, once they apply for this permit, they have only six months to comply with all the requirements and get approval to begin using the building.
The requirements the Pastor currently knows must be met include:
- the fire alarm system
- the exhaust fans in the bathrooms and nursery
- about five additional exit lights
The urgency of their request is due to the fact that they only have until the end of June to finish all these requirements, and get the approval to use the building, or they will have to go back to square one, and start the application process all over again.
Of course, they are hoping to avoid doing this, since governmental red tape could well impede their being able to use the building for another year or two, were that to happen.
If you've had any experience at all with governmental red tape in connection with building projects here in the States, you know the government's approval processes never happen quickly, nor efficiently...
In Puerto Rico the process is definitely worse.
March-April 2011 We Need Your Prayers
Although we had no plans to return to Puerto Rico this Spring, and it definitely isn't convenient for our personal schedules, when you're in the "Lord's army" sometimes the orders come down unexpectedly!
We know the Lord has promised that if we lack wisdom, and ask for it, He will give it to us. So please pray with us that the Lord will give us the wisdom to know His will, and the grace to do it.
The second major concern is financial. We have no idea at this time where the money will come from, although the Lord has already begun to provide through one of the ladies in our church.
However, at this point in time we don't even know how much we'll need to make the trip, but the Lord does, so as we pray, we know He will provide all we need.
Finally, pray for health, strength, and grace to be able to get the things done that we'll need to get done here, before we leave.
I won't try to enumerate them, because this would become a book rather than a letter, but I can assure you that only by God's grace will we be enabled to make this happen.
If we start trying to figure things out humanly, we immediately start feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, so pray we will keep our eyes on the Lord, have His wisdom to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, and His grace and strength to accomplish His will.
March-April 2011 -Revised Tentative Plans
If the Lord continues to open doors and provide, we'll tentatively leave for Puerto Rico the last week of April, or the first of May, spend the month of May on the island trying to get the things done that will enable them to get the permit to use the building, and return to the States either a day or two before the end of May, or a day or two into June.
Nothing is final yet, but if the Lord wants us to go, we know He can, and will make it all happen. By the time we send out the next prayer letter, things will be finalized, and we'll probably be on the field.
We hope we've given you the information you need, but if not, please let us know, and we'll try to fill in any gaps.
We continue to appreciate your prayers and financial support, so we wanted to get this letter out now, so you could be praying with us about this opportunity/responsibility.
Electrifying for Eternity,
Dennis & Sherilyn (Nutting) Thompson
Central Baptist Church
2422 N. Thompson Drive
Sullivan, IN 47882
They accept tax deductible contributions for us.