Preparing for the Worst

Are you prepared?

The way we operate as a society has inarguably been redefined in the last several months. Since this has been the case, our collective attention as a human race has turned to how we can make sure that we have what we need in preparation for the unexpected. This pandemic situation has made many reevaluate the way they live. My prayer is that it will lead to a greater understanding that disaster preparedness has little to do with ‘stocking up’ and more to do with ‘stepping up’ to the Lord’s will and purpose.

Disaster preparedness for the believer has little to do with stockpiling food, water or toilet paper. Preparedness for the believer begins in the heart, as we learn from the story of Noah that…

Those that keep themselves pure in times of common iniquity God will keep safe in times of common calamity.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 7:1-4

The problem for many of us is that ‘keeping ourselves pure’ can seem somewhat boring, unexciting and well…ordinary. We tend to focus on everything we can’t have instead of focusing on the incomparable blessings we will have when we purpose to follow the Lord, and live out His purpose for our lives. Noah was the laughing-stock among his generation for many years while he built the ark, but he continued faithful to God’s calling, obeying the Lord even when not a single cloud appeared in the sky. He continued to prepare, and when the rains came, only he and his family came out alive.

If we treasure having lots of friends, tons of money, endless social engagements and smiles and applause from people for our accomplishments, then keeping ourselves pure will admittedly be quite the challenge. That’s why it is called ‘dying to self’ and ‘being born again.’ In order for us to live the fullest life that God has for us, we must be willing to die to the above-mentioned things, and/or whatever else keeps us from surrendering completely to His will.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

John 12:24

When we moved to Puerto Rico a little over 6 years ago, we quickly had to get used to a new way of life. Financially, socially and spiritually, our life in Puerto Rico soon proved radically different from our life in New Jersey. We had barely settled in to the work when we began to experience many personal trials that would have seemed insurmountable had we not kept our eyes fixed on the Lord. However, we were confirmed time and again about the calling on our family, and continued to move forward in faith against all doubt and opposition. We clearly saw that God’s hand was upon us, upon our ministry and engaged in provision for and protection of our family.

In fact, we saw these obstacles as coming from the Lord’s hand; it was His way of showing us that there were certain things we still had not died to. We learned the importance of living quietly from these and the many trials since. We understood the importance of keeping our heads down and our hearts active for the work the Lord has established for our hands.

…aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands…that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

WHAT ARE we FIGHTING FOR?

There’s another thing we need to die to as believers: our rights.

Sound un-American? Hear me out.

When Christ died on the cross, He gave us the right to be called children of God. He made a way when there was no way. He showed us the gate to the Father when we did not even deserve a window.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (emphasis mine)

The list of rights we have as believers may seem very short…in this life. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the right to…

…daily pick up and carry our cross

…obey God

…worship God

…live out the Christian life, and

…submit to the authorities that God has put above us as long as they do not ask us to sin.

If you’ve noticed, none of these rights are centered around ourselves or our own personal gain or comfort, but rather for God’s glory.

When our lives focus on decrying the violation of certain rights we hold dear, we are taking our focus off of what should be central in the life of the believer: salvation thru Jesus Christ and a growing relationship with the Father through the Son. Let me explain…

Imagine a serial murderer whose prison sentence has been commuted, not because he is innocent, but because a government official had mercy on his life. He is free!

Now, imagine this same individual asserting his rights to be armed to the teeth, and to live and work near the families of his victims. You’d have some choice words for this presumptuous individual, not to mention the government leader who freed him.

Our sin makes us just like this serial murderer in God’s eyes. Death is our sentence (God’s justice). Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross is our commutation (God’s mercy). Then, we run around insisting that our personal rights need to be asserted at all costs. We shame our God, just like the serial murderer shames the government official who set him free. By this, we imply that we have already received is not enough.

I am not saying that we should not responsibly enjoy the rights we have (as long as they do not lead us to sin). I am not saying we shouldn’t be grateful to God for the freedoms we enjoy, or that we shouldn’t improve on these freedoms for the betterment of society. They are given to us as a sign of God’s grace, and should be used for blessing.

I am also not saying that we shouldn’t seek justice through the correct modes and instituted processes for doing so. After all, God is a God of justice. I am saying that creating a stir about ‘our rights’ is not something that is supported anywhere in scripture, Old Testament or New. What we do see are commands like these:

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:14 || See also: (Matthew 26:63, Mark 14:61, Luke 23:9 and John 19:9)

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

In fact, we see many instances in which those who lived quietly, and who patiently waited on the Lord ended up enjoying many more blessings than those who were ‘fighting for their rights’ at the same time. This is not a popular notion, even among Christians, but God has the last word:

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Luke 17:33

The most powerful example of how the battle does not belong to us is Jesus’s rebuke of Peter when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Him the night before his crucifixion. Peter immediately drew his sword, cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers, to which Jesus replied:

“Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?  How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Matthew 26:52

To be sure, Jesus did not ask His Father to send legions of angels, because, though He was innocent of any crime on earth and in heaven, He knew that God had a perfect purpose in His arrest, in His trial, in His suffering and in His death. Jesus didn’t assert His rights in the light of Roman law. Jesus didn’t attempt to save His own skin. Jesus only cared to carry out the will of the Father, regardless of the unspeakable things He would suffer. Rights? Oh, He had many–and still does–both in Heaven and on earth. Still…

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

serving in such a time as this

We have continued to film, edit and post weekly videos to our YouTube channel, and have been blessed to see a positive response to the teaching videos in particular. This is a surprising departure from our experience while we were out in the schools almost daily, when our music and and character-driven comedic videos would get the most traffic and engagement. We are blessed to see people responding to the teachings we are posting, and also to know that these teachings are reaching people in different parts of the Spanish speaking world.

As of this writing, we have a subscription base of 4,159 on YouTube, and 3,947 followers on Facebook. Below, a description of each video that has been posted during the period since our last update in May…

  • GUARDA TU OJO || Mateo 5:29
    • Concept: This video focuses on the “eye gate,” and how the things we see and hear are processed by our minds to affect our hearts and eventually, our words and actions. This message offers a practical approach to guarding the mind, a topic on which we posted a teaching in April based on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: Mateo 5:29 (as well as many others throughout the teaching
    • Views: 2,915 as of this posting

  • TU PUEBLO DICE GRACIAS || VIDEO MUSICAL
    • Concept: Filmed in our home’s garden with my ‘band,’ this is a cover of a popular upbeat Spanish worship song that we
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: We hope to encourage people that worship at home is just as valuable as corporate worship, and that in these circumstances we must still own that God is good and give Him thanks and praise wherever we are.
    • Views: 236 as of this posting

  • GUÁRDATE DE LA APOSTASÍA || 2 Pedro 2:21-22
    • Concept: This teaching focuses on the apostasy that we are seeing in the modern church, and asks us as believers to shine the light of God’s Word on the established celebrations, customs and traditions we treasure.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse(s): 2 Peter 2:21-22 and many others
    • Views: 2,478 as of this posting

  • LAS AVENTURAS DE SUPER PACO
    • Concept: Both Paco and Jenny lament the current situation, and each have a master plan to get back to doing what they love most: bringing God’s love to groups in communities, schools and churches. This comic-book-style video focuses on the importance of waiting on the Lord for direction rather than carrying out our own designs to be seen and applauded by others.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Matthew 6:1
    • Views: 97 as of this posting

lacking no good thing

We are grateful to the Lord for continuing to confirm His calling on our family during this unusual time. While we and our boys very much miss going out to meet new people and bring them God’s Word face to face, we understand and see that the Lord has set up our ministry to still be effective during such a time as this.

Thank you to those of you who pray for and support this ministry. We enjoy reading your notes of encouragement, and want you to know that your prayers and support are availing much.

If you would like to make a contribution to RAME Ministries, there are two ways you can do this: financially or physically.

To give financially, you may click HERE to go to our PayPal donation page, or click on the image of our family below.

To contribute to the physical needs of the ministry, you may click HERE or on the image of the gift below.

Thank you for reading, and may the Lord bless you and keep you.

When Thou Sittest in Thine House

I thought the title of this post might resonate with…well…everyone…since we’ve all been ‘sittesting’ (not a thing) for a while now, and many of us will continue to ‘sittest’ for the unforeseeable future.

But that’s not the only reason I chose this title. It is actually found in God’s Word. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we read:

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

DEUTERONOMY 6:6-7

While it is a major change of routine for most families to be home together all the time, God’s Word encourages us that there is plenty we can do to redeem this time, and that it is not only possible, but necessary, to use this time to establish new and edifying routines and habits for growth in Him.

Our Bible study time has always taken place in the morning, whether it be at home or during car rides to ministry events, which vary from 20 minutes to 3 hours on any given day. This would qualify as ‘walking by the way’ in the scripture mentioned above.

One of the practices we have been able to be more consistent with is that of digging deep into the Word with our boys. Mornings for them still start early (wakeup time is 6:30am), when they gather with me in our living room for prayer and study of the Word. Ricky uses this time to study and prepare for his next teaching for YouTube.

We use a Matthew Henry commentary to explore the deeper meanings of the text. As Matthew Henry died in 1774, this has been a great vocabulary builder for the boys, introducing them to the King James Version of the Bible and exposing them to words like thy, thou, thine and…sittest. Children understand way more than we tend to give them credit for, and they are not shy to tell you when something is over their head. My youngest will stop me with, “Wait. I don’t get it,” in a bid for me to slow down and offer further explanation, which I am happy to do.

We stay on a piece of text as long as it takes for them to grasp it fully before moving on. This ain’t no ‘Bible-in-One-Year.’ More like ‘Bible-For-As-Long-As-It-Takes’ for them to understand it. What good is finishing any book in record time if we don’t know what we read?

After the boys finish their study, Ricky wraps up his personal study time, and he and I spend another hour or so studying the Word together (currently in the book of Ezra). We have been doing this since our boys were very small, so they know they have to retire to their room to play until we are finished.

This time has allowed us, as a family, more time to enjoy our at-home routine, which we have always cherished for its slower pace, but which now, of course, is the default. Ricky writes out a white board schedule for us at the beginning of each week, no different than he did before, minus events outside of our home (I’ve mentioned before his affinity for lists, schedules, spreadsheets and the like). There are homeschooling/video editing days, as well as filming days, a cleaning/housework day and a day off, when Ricky goes hunting and gathering grocery shopping.

Work days include time for exercise before dinner. A day off involves family time in which we do whatever the kids want, like play in their kiddie pool, shoot hoops, or literally just watch them complete some races on MarioKart. They spend tons of time drawing and are getting better everyday, with their creations wallpapering their entire bedroom.

Sunday mornings we gather as a family for church in the living room after study of the Word. Ricky and I take communion, and review for the boys the significance of this ordinance, stressing the reverence and understanding with which we must approach the Lord’s supper. We also talk about what we have been learning in God’s Word throughout the week.

We do not take a day off from prayer and early morning study of God’s Word, nor do the boys get a day off from their morning routine of making their beds, tidying their room, personal hygiene and feeding our three dogs (yes, three), among other basic household duties and responsibilities.

We adhere to certain parts of the routine everyday, no matter what, in order to teach and model to our boys the importance of being consistent in certain disciplines that are important for spiritual growth, as well as preparing to run a home of their own one day. A man who loves the Lord, knows how to wash dishes and scrub a toilet is to be praised, and a woman who finds one finds a good thing.

He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

PROVERBS 18:9

Just for fun, below is a side-by-side of our youngest lady pup. Some of you may remember I first posted the photo on the left when we got her a little over a year ago. She still likes to hide under the same big chair in our living room. She’s very playful and mischievous and gets along great with our boy dog, who we’ve had for some time. We refer to our oldest dog as ‘our cat,’ as she keeps to herself like an angsty teenager.

not FAILING TO BEAR FRUIT

During this time at home, we have continued to create new content for our YouTube channel, where we post a new weekly video since 2017. Below, a summary of videos posted to our channel throughout March and April…

  • CASO ENCEBOLLADO: BAD MONEY VS. JENNY|| An 8-Episode Series
    • Concept: This series focuses on integrity in the life of a believer as it relates to our private lives, and the kind of influences we allow into our home through music, television, movies and other media. These choices greatly influence not only our own walk with the Lord and interaction with the rest of the world, but also the hearts and minds of those under our charge. This comedic series features new music and an important message for people of all ages.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: Psalm 101:2-3 (as well as many others throughout the series)
    • Views: 4,046 collectively between all eight episodes as of this writing

  • EVALUANDO ERRORES EN NUESTROS VIDEOS || CONTENTAMIENTO 6
    • Concept: This video is one in a series that we started a while back, basically making fun of the mistakes that make it into the final edits of our videos. The premise is Doña Jenny in her house as she deals with the new reality of social distancing from the pandemic. In it, Jenny encourages viewers to submit to local government mandates put in place for our safety and the safety of others during this unusual time. Unless government asks us to sin, we are to submit to its leadership, lest we be in rebellion and resist Almighty God, who allowed them to be put in their leadership positions to begin with, whether we like them or not.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: Romans 13:1-2
    • Views: 3,141 as of this writing

  • TOQUE DE QUEDA: EL CONTENTAMIENTO 7
    • Concept: This video centers on finding joy and contentment in the most difficult of circumstances, and trusting the Lord to meet our needs when we seek to honor Him. God has a purpose in and through this global situation, as well as for each one of His children on earth at this time. A global pandemic does not offer us the excuse to complain or cease to be fruitful for God’s Kingdom.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: Matthew 6:25-27 and Jeremiah 17:7-8
    • Views: 443 as of this writing

  • CUANDO UN PILLO VIOLA EL TOQUE DE QUEDA
    • Concept: This comedic and fast-paced video shows the exchange between Doña Jenny and an ‘old-timey’ burglar, a recurring character on our channel who never seems to have much success when trying to break into Jenny and Paco’s house. This time, we see how Jenny’s time in social distancing makes her overly chatty with her intruder, as she scolds the burglar for not taking safety precautions while doing decidedly non-essential work. Doña Jenny’s lecture seems to work, as we see the burglar come back at the end of the video to disinfect the doorknob where he broke in. This video includes footage of our Zoom session with some students from a school we have visited. We got to encourage them with the Word, and they got to see a little of the process of how we create our videos.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: This just-for-fun video features El Pillo (the burglar), who has appeared in previous videos where we teach about the 8th commandment found in Exodus 20:15.
    • Views: 1,765 as of this writing

  • GUARDA TU MENTE || 2 Corintios 10:3-5
    • Concept: Ricky shares a biblical teaching about the battle that every believer must fight daily: the battle of the mind. When we do not ground our hearts and minds in daily prayer and God’s Word, the enemy of our souls takes advantage of our weak points to gain a foothold in our thoughts, which, when they take root in our hearts, eventually become dangerous actions that have far-reaching effects.
    • Teaching/Bible Verses: 2 Corinthians 10-:3-5, among many others.
    • Views: 2,808 as of this writing

the upward call

Our commitment continues to be with the Lord, and as such, we have experienced that those whom He calls, He equips, prepares and provides for. Above all else, the experience of a global pandemic should teach us that when we put our hope in the world…in science…in government…we will be disappointed. The systems of this world will fail us over and over again; that is a guarantee. But, God never fails. I once heard a pastor say, “If you believe that God has ever failed you, something is wrong with your theology.” Praise God that our greatest Hope sits on a throne that cannot be shaken. As our oldest son, who we call our Gentle Giant, said recently, “If I didn’t know God, that would be worst day of my life.” Amen, pal.

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.

Hebrews 13:14

We have seen how our King has gone before us in so many ways to help us navigate this new way of life. This has been a time of increased gratitude and faith for our family.

If you would like to make a donation to RAME Ministries (no amount is too small), you may click on the following link to do so: PayPal Donation – RAME Ministries

Clicking on the image below will also take you to our donation page:

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Thank you for reading. May the Lord increase your faith and gratitude during this time, and may He bless you richly.


Below, a link to the above-mentioned teaching recently posted to our YouTube channel about guarding our minds based on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5…

The Book and Its Cover

Please note: The photos contained in this blog post were taken during the period between early February through March 14th, just before Puerto Rico began an island-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have not left our home since the lockdown, except for Ricky, once a week to buy our groceries. We are taking all the necessary and mandated safety precautions to keep ourselves and the people we serve safe and healthy, and all scheduled ministry activities outside of our home have been postponed until further notice. We praise God for his provision for our family, and for going before us in many ways to prepare us for this unusual circumstance.  We pray that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy as well. 

We pulled onto the church’s property after circling around on a country backroad several times, only to find an abandoned cement foundation that had not been built upon. Just behind the foundation stood a trailer-like structure where we were told the services are held. Bathrooms have no electrical power and are located outside, across the cement foundation. We soon realized that our car would have to serve as our ‘dressing room,’ since there was no other place to safely put our items where they wouldn’t be exposed to the elements.

Already weary from the long journey south through winding mountain roads in driving rain as dusk fell on a Friday night, it was hard to think about the late night drive back without being discouraged. We have a long night ahead of us, we thought.

Trying to stay upbeat, we unloaded our things from the car and prepared to serve where the Lord had brought us on this evening. Our concerns multiplied when the service started, and we realized that the tone of the evening may not be suitable to the message Ricky would bring. Still, we knew it was our duty to press on.

To our great surprise, the congregants present, including the church’s pastor, received the Word with joy. When the service ended, we were immediately handed plates of food and scheduled for a Sunday morning service to minister to the full congregation.

Long after the service ended and after the parking lot had cleared out, we were still standing on the old cement foundation talking with a young family about the things of God. They shared that they had been struggling with the husband’s job, and how much it was demanding of his time. Many nights he would come home well after the scheduled quitting time because of a last-minute overtime request. He didn’t want to upset his boss or colleagues, so he was obliging them each time, leaving his wife and two young children waiting at home. Since Ricky’s message includes a deep dive into the biblical responsibility of spouses and parents, the husband had been trying to incline his ear to the message through a Facebook Live feed on his phone from the church’s makeshift outdoor kitchen, but found it difficult because he was responsible for preparing the food for fellowship time.

His wife had called him over to us when he was done cleaning up the kitchen, and Ricky encouraged the couple with a biblical exhortation about their duties as husband and wife, and as parents. Ricky also shared about our own personal experiences with work and other factors encroaching upon home life; how this threatens the well-being of a marriage and household, and the importance of drawing boundaries in order to protect what the Lord has put into our hands to care for. Anything that comes up against a marriage and household, he told them, is not of God, and has to be dealt with accordingly. While we talked, our children played with their two young children nearby.

We stood on that cement slab in the countryside, far from home, under a starry night sky until almost midnight, not thinking about the long drive home even once. We had arrived discouraged, but we left completely energized.

Over the years, we have served in countless churches. Some receive us early with joy and a warm welcome. In these times, we have assumed that all will go well and that the message will land on good ground. We have been wrong many times and seen smiling faces drop once Ricky gets into the meat of the message. On the other hand, there are times when we arrive at a church, and things seem disorganized and chaotic. On these occasions, we have often mistakenly assumed that the experience will be disastrous, only to find that people there are hungry for a thorough, convicting message.

Since the night described above (which happened to fall just shy of our 6th anniversary serving on the island), a new foundation has been cemented in our minds and hearts about how we regard the opportunities presented us to bring the Word: We are to never judge a book by its cover. Sounds obvious, but the things we have seen and the experiences we have had often make this elementary teaching much easier said than done. Yet God’s word teaches us:

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

DILIGENT AND RICHLY SUPPLIED

During the months of February thru mid-March, we had the pleasure of ministering in 8 churches, 7 public schools, 4 private schools and 2 community organizations in the 15 municipalities where you see a red star below. Some municipalities were visited more than once.

storms. earthquakes. now pestilence.

Children in the public schools of Puerto Rico have had one of the most uncertain years since just two years ago, when they dealt with extended school closures after Hurricane Maria. On January 7th of this year, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook Puerto Rico, which led to the requirement of each individual school building to receive an ‘apt-to-open’ certificate after inspections by engineers. This took quite a while, so there was only a small window of time in which students have had on-site classes in 2020. Some, closer to the epicenter in the south of the island, never re-opened. Others re-opened only the parts of their school building that were deemed safe.

You can see some yellow ‘Caution’ tape on a small staircase in the background, letting students and faculty know this is area of the school building has not been cleared to house them.

Below, some photos of our time spent in the schools during the short span of time in which they re-opened before closing again because of the pandemic. The first group of photos was of a school in Jayuya (smack in the center of the island) that had us with them for their very first day after the earthquakes. The teachers whose classrooms lay beyond the yellow ‘caution’ tape (see photo above) had to set up their classes on the basketball court.

in the country, in the cities

We miss our frequent Sunday morning drives to the less populated (and most beautiful) parts of the island to serve and fellowship with congregants in out-of-the-way churches. Churches that had us scheduled for their Spring services or retreats have been proactive in calling to let us know that they will be rescheduling as soon as things return to normality. Some were even apologetic, as if there were anything they could do about this unprecedented situation. We are realistic that the prospect of returning to the schools and churches is a bit of a ways off, as the rest of the world has also had to accept this reality about many things that we took for granted. We understand that even when we do return, things will be somewhat different. It’s a new ‘normal’ that we will have to get used to, but we know that God upholds those who seek His face. We pray for him to prepare us accordingly, as He has always done to this very day.

Below, some photos of our family serving in fellowships large and small in the cities and countryside of Puerto Rico.

social solidarity

In the past, when Puerto Rico has dealt with major occurrences, it’s been the public school students who bore the brunt of the consequences when it came to their education. Now, private school students are dealing with this same challenge as the entire world waits to return to normality. We had the opportunity, as seen in the photos below, to minister to students in their private schools and retreats shortly before they were sent home for an as-yet undetermined amount of time.

reading, writing, arithmetic

You may notice that I often include photos of our boys homeschooling during events. We started calling it ‘road school’ when they were younger because we saw early on that we’d be on the go with this ministry, and that we’d have to adapt to different environments and situations. They love the variety of it all, and have learned to work independently quite well as a result. School faculty members often get a kick of how the boys never miss their cue when it’s time to participate in the presentation. They drop their pencils when their part comes, and when it ends, they are right back to their school work. We are grateful to God for His guidance and wisdom in how to incorporate their education while serving Him as a family.

Speaking of homeschoolers, the photos below are from a weekly meetup for homeschoolers. This group is made up of many families who were meeting once a week at a community basketball court for various activities. We enjoyed our time with them when they invited us to present at their gathering.

WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING FOR THE GOLDEN YEARS

Below are photos of our time spent with a group of seniors in Guayama, a scenic municipality on the south of the island. The group gathers daily for activities, time with friends, medical check-ups and other services. We love working with this age group, as they receive God’s word with so much joy, and get a real hoot out of Paco and Jenny, of course. Also, our boys enjoyed the Lego table available at the center…

he goes before us

None of what is happening in the world today has caught God by surprise. We have seen in our home and ministry how the Lord goes before us and how, in His providence, He guided us to do certain things and make certain decisions well before a global pandemic changed everything. We continue to trust Him for guidance and wisdom as we continue working and reaching people through our YouTube channel. We will also continue sending our updates. Thank you in advance for your prayers, notes of encouragement and support.

If you are interested in making a donation (no amount is too small) to RAME Ministries, you may do so by clicking on the image below…

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Thank you for reading, and may the Lord bless you richly.


Below, a video recently posted to your YouTube channel to encourage viewers regarding the world’s current circumstances…not without a few laughs of course. Enjoy!

Without Excuse

As we waited for service to begin at a church in the southern part of the island, I sat in the back of the church with my two boys, listening to the Bible study happening at the front. Ricky had stepped out of the sanctuary to do a final review of his message. The Bible study centered around the Christian life, and how we can reflect Christ in our lives.

A young husband and father in the front row raised his hand and spoke. He expressed frustration about statistics showing that about 97% of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants identify as Christians, yet there is so much corruption, crime, domestic violence and broken families living in poverty on the island. How could this be in a place where 97% of the population claims to be Christian, he wondered aloud. Next, he answered his own question by speculating that there must be a separation between the ‘religion’ of the people and the lives they live. If we are not living out our professed faith in our home, work and communities, he conjectured, can we really identify as Christians?

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:29

I noticed that there wasn’t much of a response to the young man’s contribution, as they quickly moved on with their study and eventually closed it out. I felt bad for him. I made sure to let Ricky know as the service was beginning that there was a man in the front row who was interested in truth; to encourage Ricky that his message would not fall on deaf ears in this church. We have seen that many times the Lord will send us to a faraway church for one person…for one single soul. 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

Revelation 2:29

Immediately after the service was finished, the man and his wife approached us to tell us that they had been intrigued by the content of the message. They offered to take us to lunch, where we sat with them and their two children for over two hours of fellowship and mutual encouragement from one young family to another. We learned that he and his wife had been dealing with some uncertainties about things that had been happening in their church; things that didn’t line up with the truths of God’s Word starting from church leadership all the way down to unbiblical practices in church ministries and weekly services.  The few times they had spoken up about their concerns, they had been made to feel like they were troublemakers, with one instance where the pastor of the church–speaking to the young man’s wife outside of her husband’s presence–asked, “Has your husband calmed down any?” Now, they were in a state of limbo, knowing that God must have something more for them, as they are a family seeking to know Him and live in His light.  

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

Three days later, we heard from this young man again. He wanted us to review a letter he had written to his pastor about his decision to take his family out of the church in light of his many concerns which were not foreign to the pastor, and how he desired to lead his family in the pursuit God according to the teachings of His Word. We have kept in contact with this family, and are ever grateful to God for this encouraging experience for our family and for our ministry. Indeed, the Lord has shown us that all the early mornings, late nights and long drives spent in service to Him are not in vain. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

The core of Ricky’s message, as inspired by what we’ve seen taking place in the churches and communities around Puerto Rico, has to do with the fruit in the lives of professing believers. There seems to be a great veneration for church buildings and church leaders in Puerto Rico. When this is encouraged by those in positions of leadership, the congregants forget that we, the believers, are the actual temple of the Holy Spirit, not their church building.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:9

As an example of this, one of the first things we saw when pulling into the parking lot of this church early that morning was a sign on the wall in front of a parking space that read, Parking Exclusively for the Pastor. Inside there was a sign above a metal folding chair that said Chair Only For Deacons. Below, a photo of my son–who is not a deacon–sitting in this chair before I told him what the sign said.

Not a deacon

It’s incredible how territorial the churches can be when it comes to their leaders. In this case, a metal folding chair is off-limits.

In another recent case, we arrived early to a church. As we waited in the parking lot, we noticed that the Pastor’s parking space was barricaded so that no one would park there before he arrived. When he did arrive in his luxury vehicle with blacked-out windows, the barricade was moved so that he could back into the space. 

There are more instances that I cannot document here…too many more. Our Lord has some choice words for this type of mentality and behavior:

“If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.

Mark 9:35

Those with the calling to bring the unadulterated truth of God’s Word to a church gathering are typically not the most popular. There is many a church quick to let us know that our message is too ‘serious’ (though the last time I checked, the Word of God is to be taken very seriously); many a church that will send someone to ask me how much longer my husband will be preaching because the children want to laugh (even when the majority of the children and their families are being attentive to the message.) We are never surprised by how attentive many children are to the message portion of our program in the churches, but oftentimes those whose role in the church is to teach children about Christ are the first ones to impede them from hearing the Word being preached in its purity. They misuse Matthew 19:14 (Let the little children come to me…), Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child…) and Matthew 18:3 (…unless you are converted and become like little children) to justify actual child-like behavior. We have witnessed grown adults dressing like children, behaving like children and affecting child-like voices while leading worship and teaching from scripture–in church.

“Make them laugh,” they tell us.

“This is too strong of a Word for them,” they protest.

As children become youth in the church, the same message is propagated: “Keep it light. We need to relate to the younger generation.”

Then, the youth leave, and churches lament a generation uninterested in the things of God. They come back when they have children, attracted by the church’s ‘vibrant children’s ministry’…and the entire cycle begins again. 

This is a wall that we have hit for the last 6 years that we have been serving in Puerto Rico, yet more doors have opened in more places for us to bring God’s Word than ever before. This can only be the hand of God. In 2019, we ministered in more churches than in any other year of the ministry thus far. It blows the mind how, by being mistaken for a children’s ministry–despite clear explanation and photos of our full program on all of our materials and introductory conversations–we have the opportunity to bring the Word unapologetically and without compromise to thousands of families on the island.

There are many occasions where we are clued in early about what kind of reception our message will have in a particular church. There are days we want to disappear out the back door before we bring a message that we know will grate against the accepted practices of the church, its leaders and congregants. In these instances, Ricky might see it on my face, and he reminds me, “We move forward as always. We do not shy away. We exalt the name of Christ alone. We bring the truth of the Word, regardless of how it is received.”

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes

Romans 1:16

On the other hand, we have had many wonderful experiences where pastors and church leaders thank us for not compromising the Word of God for the sake of entertainment; many have described our ministry as pura Palabra (pure Word), and have recommended us to sister churches on this basis. They have invited us back to minister at marriage retreats, and to congregants in the golden years. We have had couples and families approach us to tell us they have a deep desire to live as the Word teaches, and that God has confirmed the stirring in their hearts to follow God more closely not only in word, but in deed. 

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22

One final word on the churches: On occasions when we know our message has not been received with joy, we have never once been told that what we taught was unbiblical. Too serious, too strong, too long or too deep — these are the accusations leveled against us.

We’ll take them.

They have not once been able to tell us that what we taught was unbiblical. 

CASTING OUR NET

This post covers the opportunities we had to minister in 13 churches, 4 public schools, 2 early learning centers, 1 private school, and 1 Scouts gathering in the municipalities where you see a red star below.

DO NOT IMPEDE THEM

As our ministry is designed by God to reach people at all ages and stages, we recently enjoyed the blessing of ministering in the public schools and early learning centers pictured below…

commanding your household

A director of a small private school had brought us in to minister to her students in the Fall, and soon invited us to their end-of-year gathering to minister to the parents with a message on the importance of setting an example of godly integrity in their homes. We reminded them that while we can’t control the things happening in the world, we can control what happens in our home by the way we lead our families.

GOD IN THE WILDERNESS

A Scout leader in the southern part of the island invited us to minister to a troop and their parents on a Saturday morning to close out their overnight. Below are some photos of our time with them…