The Preus Family in the Dominican Republic
The Preus Family December Newsletter is also available to download and share in PDF format (click here).
Dear Christian friends and partners in mission: Merry Christmas! We invite you to read the latest from our life and work in the Dominican Republic. In addition to the news and updates below, we plan to send you additional photos now and then to keep you informed of God's progress among us. We hope that your home is aglow this Christmastide with the good news of Jesus, our Immanuel. Comfort, peace, and joy be yours in Christ, our universal Savior!
Slow, but steady progress...
Landing on the Dominican mission field has been like wading through a fast-flowing current while trying to keep our balance. Every little step requires careful attention as we seek to adjust and adapt to our new life. The other day during morning coffee, Jenny made the comparison of how life here so far feels like what you always hear on the airplane before take-off: Please put on your own oxygen mask before securing your child's. That's kind of how it feels moving your family to the mission-field...we must overcome many hurdles as we secure our own family's "oxygen mask" while simultaneously participating in the mission work among the people and churches here! (Hopefully, this is where the airplane comparison ends and we are not headed for any crash-landings along the way.) Our house is becoming more functional with each week that goes by. One of our favorite features includes a fully enclosed roof [pictured] with a nice view of the city and the mountains surrounding the Cibao valley.
So far we have visited three potential schools for the children, one of which they will begin attending in the fall. I have learned how to drive "Dominican-style" which seems like a whole new set of road-rules most of the time. We are also becoming more oriented when finding our way around the city of Santiago and surrounding areas. At the end of each day, Jenny, the kids, and I reflect on so many of the fascinating cultural observations made that day. I am also continuing with daily Spanish lessons and have also had opportunity to preach four times (en español), as well as assist with visitations and liturgy at various services.
The new seminary in Palmar Arriba
Now that the rains have subsided, the mercy training center and seminary construction is moving along. We are looking at some huge developments here. Starting this summer, students will arrive from all parts of Latin America to study at our seminary. To prepare, we have been having weekly strategic planning meetings to discuss plans to ensure a strong start to the academic year. By God's grace, we are going to offer our seminarians a fine theological education, preparing future pastors to plant churches in the region. Educated Lutheran pastors will be the most fundamental building block for the future of the Latin American Lutheran Church.
A Dominican Christmas...
It is a very exciting time of year down here. The festivities are swelling until they culminate in Christmas Day when the families of the land get together in celebration and the country literally closes down. Our churches have also been celebrating the seven days leading up to Christmas by gathering for a short Vespers service revolving around the "O antiphons" from the old Advent hymn, "O Come, o come, Emmanuel." On Monday, I preached a sermon on Christ the Root of Jesse. Although it appeared that Israel had been reduced to a mere stump, Isaiah reminded them of God's solemn promise that David's throne would last forever, and that a shoot would grow from the root of Jesse. This shoot is our Lord Jesus Christ, the mighty king, who was born in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. In accordance with His promises, our Savior has uprooted the powers of hell and established his own vivacious kingdom of grace and forgiveness in its place. We are members of His kingdom, living branches from the Tree of Life. Thank God for Jesus' life! Thank God that He has come to share it with us!
Reflections From Home, by Jennifer
December has ushered in lots of lessons about how to live as a family of 9 here in Santiago. One learns quickly how much the language barrier is an obstacle to getting even "simple" things done, but fortunately the local people have been very patient and friendly with us as we learn, and we ARE learning which is so encouraging! I've found that keeping up with household tasks is a bit more time-consuming with the heat, all the open air (dust), and the little critters, which will unfailingly descend upon any cracker crumbs or spilled milk if not promptly cleaned up. So needless to say, it's been challenging and yet fulfilling to learn how to manage the home in these new circumstances, and most days I feel we come out ahead... Of course, there was the low point a couple weeks ago when we took a swollen and sore Lena into the ER for an arm X-ray after she fell out of bed the previous morning, but even there we had opportunity to thank God it wasn't broken and we also got a nice tour of how the medical system and pharmacies works here in Santiago. (She's better now, praise God!) We've also gotten the hang of our homeschool daily rhythm, and the older two boys are already seeing an orthodontist for dental braces. We have been able to worship at all three of the mission churches here in Santiago and it is truly a joy to join with other Dominican Lutherans and missionaries who are growing in the Word and knowledge of their Savior, the Advent King, Jesus.
Blessings, dear friends, as you gather with loved ones to commemorate the birth of our Lord! What a happy time of year for Christians all over the world. It gives me great satisfaction to know that you are supporting me to do what I love most: to preach the gospel! I, too, am blessed to know that my supporters share my joy. From our family to yours, we wish you safe travels and happy celebration this holiday season.
In Christ's eternal love,
Pastor David Preus
Apartado 1356 Santiago,
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