Crankin’ it Up to Eleven

I’m not one to dole out marriage advice, as I often feel like I am still navigating the do’s and don’t’s of a healthy and God-honoring marriage. I’m just shy of 11 years old in marriage years, and really, I don’t know if anyone is ever ‘done’ with that kind of learning. If we’re being honest, we all make many mistakes–some repeatedly–before hopefully going, “Yeah ok, that really isn’t serving my marriage, and it certainly isn’t honoring God.” Ricky and I have a long list of these mistakes, and a good God to thank for His grace and patience in allowing us to continue journeying together through all the times when we haven’t exactly been the picture of wedded bliss.

If I could offer some advice, it would be to younger non-married people–as I often do with my two young boys, my most captive audience these days–and it would be something along the lines of what follows:

When we come to know God, we begin to understand that the world’s definition of ‘love’ is all wrong, as it is based solely on feelings and personal preference. It tends to be very self-oriented and contingent upon the pleasure one can derive from a relationship. But the love that can grow inside a marriage is the most rewarding kind, though it is still second to the love we experience directly from God. (This debunks the myth that marriage is the pinnacle or crown of the Christian life, my beloved single people). Just as we are to grow in our relationship with the Lord, He expects us to grow in our relationship with our spouse as we walk through this life with them. Just as we are to unite ourselves to the Lord and His suffering, we are to grow as one with our spouse, so that anything that befalls him/her is just as if it were happening to us…

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh
…”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:23-24

Hence the vows: in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse. When we take the correct approach God intended, we begin to realize how off and short-sighted our concept of love has been. Prayer with our spouse, about our spouse and for our spouse is key not just to a healthy marriage, but to a growing one. Our personal relationship with God must be paramount, or we simply cannot learn how to love anyone well.

When I first met Ricky, he was a young Christian. He told me that one of his favorite movies was The Notebook. Yes. The Notebook. <Womp, womp.>

His favorite parts of the movie weren’t the sappy parts about Noah and Allie’s young romance. It was the parts with old Noah and Allie that really got him. He would get emotional in the part where the wife would forget her husband again because of her advanced dementia. Ricky was moved by the notion that even though Noah knew Allie would forget him, he would still visit her regularly and each time, he would tell her the story of their love. We witnessed a similar instance in person several years ago while serving in a nursing home. We met a man who would walk and take the bus to visit his wife at the home everyday and spoon feed her lunch to her. They had been married 60 years and he told us she no longer remembered him. But there he was beside her. Everyday. Meeting her needs. I’ll give you a moment…

How often do we forget God? I can’t count the times in my life when it would it have been right with God to not visit me anymore because of my spiritual ‘dementia.’ Yet He would continue to visit me, telling me the story of His love every time I bowed to pray or opened His Word.

I recently overheard someone having a conversation with a professing Christian that was very heated. The non-believing person said, “Oh, and the [biblical] story of Noah?! Where God destroyed the whole earth and all human life except for one man and his family…THAT’S inspired by God?! That’s not a LOVING God! That is a TYRANT!

It’s absolutely understandable that someone would see it this way if they don’t know the complete story of God’s love. This habit of taking Bible accounts out of context (a common practice that plagues Sunday school and even Sunday services) can similarly cause quite a bit of confusion. It can lead to a misinterpretation of the entire Word, and a devastating misunderstanding of the love of the Father inside the very homes that churches are meant to serve and advocate for. Just think: When your child innocently asks you to read them a beautifully illustrated storybook about Noah’s Ark, are you supposed to just gloss over the part where God destroys all life on earth? Without any context? The individual mentioned above has likely had a similar experience, and he was obviously angry about it.

It just so happens that this individual is the head of a twice-broken family with a young son that he cannot control under any circumstance whatsoever. We have been privy to several clashes between father and young son, and even once heard the child scream, “I hate you! You are the worst father in the world!” because he wanted to play Nintendo instead of finishing his school work. This is the result of the many times the father has let the child rule the roost so that when the time comes to lay down the law, the son accuses him of being an unloving father. The misunderstanding of the Almighty Father’s love is unknowingly being passed down to this young child by the false notion that love means giving someone everything they want, rather than giving them what they need. I should add that the heated conversation about God’s ‘tyranny’ was had in full hearing of the child in question.

So, what does this all have to with marriage? As Ricky and I have learned ourselves what things we need to lay down to serve one another, we talk to our boys about what a God-honoring union looks like and what it will require of them if/when it comes time to marry. There are so many examples of poorly matched marriages, contentious wives and unloving husbands in God’s Word to teach us what not to do. In such cases, selfishness is king and each person is serving their own ends. Then there are the marriages in which husband and wife are of the same heart and mind; where both understand their given role as integral to the larger picture of God’s plan while not viewing themselves as of the utmost importance. They recognize that their lifestyle and their choices have lasting consequences for those around them, and for those that come after them. They hold each other accountable and instruct their children to do the same. They understand they are part of a larger story, of which Christ is the central figure.

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

Serving together has taught Ricky and me to have a much clearer perspective on our union than we would otherwise have, of which the most important lesson is that our marriage is most certainly not about us. Anyone who spent time with us or served with us before we went into full-time ministry might remember the bickering and unhealthy competition evident in our interactions. But over the years, God has shown us that we are not meant to be against one another; we are to be for Him. And the fruit of that focus has forged a kind of bond that we never imagined we’d have during the earlier years. We have been in some demoralizing and even scary situations throughout our years in ministry and today we trust one another wholeheartedly, knowing that the other has our back at all times, no matter what. This didn’t come without work, and it didn’t come without first learning the humbling lesson of how to lay down our arms in order that the story of God’s love may move forward.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

But this is God’s design for marriage: that He may be glorified. Not that either of us wins the most arguments; not that we be the most romantic couple in church, or the cutest on Instagram. It is not His design that our marriage be put on display for others to envy. It is that His kingdom may be advanced in and through our life as we raise our children in Him and teach others about Him. Those who are single are not exempt from this same responsibility to seek Him and His purpose for their lives.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

Asking God to show you His view of love is a prayer worth praying daily. As I have prayed this, the Lord has shown me that He sent me Ricky to constantly remind me of the story of His everlasting love for me. I’ve seen this through my husband’s selfless love in action daily for the last 11 years. God’s love is not at all selfish or inconsistent. It is the kind of love that pours out oneself for the sake of another. It is steadfast and enduring, even when we forget Him. God’s love doesn’t need an audience to shine forth…He died alone on that cross. God sent His only Son to physically pour Himself out for me and for Ricky…and for you. It is the least we can do to pour ourselves out for one another, leaving behind our individual hopes and dreams, and uniting in the one thing that really matters: bringing glory to the name of Christ.

If you are married, my prayer is that you can see God telling you the story of His love through your spouse as you seek Him together. If you are single, I pray that He may show you the story of His love by people who love you enough to hold you accountable with biblical principles. May we all be blessed on this side of heaven with at least one like-hearted soul with whom we can share our joys and tears. Married or single, our years on this earth give us the chance to experience a deepening love that comes from the Father above and is designed by Him alone, not just for when we are healthy, rich and at our best, but also when we are sick, poor and at our worst.

feel the beat!

Since our last post, we had the opportunity to bring the message of God’s love to a very receptive congregation in our corner of the island. Our boys have been learning and practicing their music daily, and it is really nice to present what we’ve been working on at home as an offering to the Lord. People are encouraged by seeing us working together as a family, and one woman told me her husband leaned over when we were playing and pointed to Eugenio, saying, “¡Ese nene tiene swing!” (That kid’s got swing!) It’s funny because we recently told him he could loosen up a bit when we play at churches, and he’d said he was worried about not showing reverence during worship. We told him it’s ok to tap his foot and move to the beat. Now, he be-bops for the Lord. Below are some photos of our evening with this lovely congregation.

WORSHIP, THE WORD AND LAUGHTER

The above heading is a concise description of what makes up our ministry in Puerto Rico and online as we reach more and more people with our YouTube videos. Below, a summary of the videos posted to our channel since our last post…

  • EL GRAN YO SOY (Spanish cover of ‘Great I Am’ by Phillips, Craig and Dean)
    • Concept: One of my all-time favorite worship songs is also very popular in Spanish. I have had the opportunity to lead congregations in worshipping the Lord through this song, and was happy to be able to record a cover of it along with a music video for our channel.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Exodus 3:14
    • Views: 7,251 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube


  • EXPLICACIÓN DE JUAN 14:6 (Explanation of John 14:6)
    • Concept: Ricky breaks down what Jesus means when He refers to Himself as the way, the truth and the life. He also breaks down how important it is to understand that no one comes to Christ unless the Father brings us to the Son.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: John 14:6 and many more
    • Views: 3,401 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube


  • CUANDO SE LES METE UN PILLO (OTRA VEZ) (When a Thief Breaks in (Again))
    • Concept: Another one in our “When the Grandparents…” series, this just-for-fun video finds Abuela Jenny showing her brand of hospitality to the neighborhood cat burglar…again. She presents the burglar with a wonderful opportunity for free room and board and her enthusiastic guest is all ears. She neglects to mention she is referring to the big house…the clink…you know, the local brig. That’s right, the local jail!
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Exodus 20:15 (as is always the case when the burglar character appears.)
    • Views: 869 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube


  • A MI BATITA NO LE QUEDA TELA (My House Dress is Out of Fabric)
    • Concept: And now it’s time for Silly Songs with Jenny. The part of the show where Jenny comes out and sings a silly song. It makes no sense. We can’t explain it. Maybe it’s cabin fever from the pandemic. Whatever the reason, everyone could use a good laugh these days, so we put it together, then headed down to the beach to film an equally wacky video in which we all appear fully enthused to be singing this song that means… absolutely nothing.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: None. None at all.
    • Views: 732 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube

his STORY CONTINUES

While our commitment to one another was born out of natural affection, it is ultimately guided by what God showed us before our wedding day when we included the following scripture at the bottom of our wedding invitation:

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

Of course, only God knows all the parts of this story, and we believe He is just getting started. We remain grateful and humbled to be chosen to play a role in this, the story of His love.


To make a financial donation to RAME Ministries (no amount is ever too small), you may click HERE or on the image below:

To make a physical donation of a needed item, you may click HERE or on the image below:

Thank you for reading, and may God bless you richly!

What’s in a Name?

Yes, Pastor. Sure thing, Pastor. Here you go, Pastor. Let’s hear it for our pastor. Can we say a prayer for our Pastor? Brothers and sisters, the Pastor has made a special request in his absence…

And on and on it goes…

It is common, when asking someone in Puerto Rico what church they attend, for them to answer: La iglesia del/de la Pastor(a) Tal-y-Tal (The church of Pastor So-and-So).

Whose name is mentioned most from the pulpit in your church? Is it the name of a government leader, a long-dead theologian, or even the pastor himself? This can tell you a lot about a church, it’s true mission and the intentions of its leaders.

I often get asked, “How can we introduce you?” when we are preparing to serve in local churches. I’ve seen introductions with a bio that seems to include every accomplishment of a teacher or pastor since their Kindergarten graduation. These are crowns that should have been cast at the feet of Christ at conversion, but we tend to still want to carry them around as if it makes us more credible when presenting the Gospel. However, our credentials and accomplishments, past and future, do not make what we preach any more or less true. In my particular case, they may just inform you that I foolishly went deep into debt just to obtain higher learning degrees that did nothing to improve the state of my soul. In Ricky’s case, they will inform you that he knows a whole lot about food safety and kitchen cleanliness. So…

Hence, I introduce myself and the rest of my family by first name only. I say the name of our ministry and briefly explain what we will be doing during the service. After leading worship, I introduce Ricky as…my husband Ricky. I say he will be bringing the message from God’s Word, and then I leave him to it. If they receive the Word with joy, leaders will henceforward address Ricky as varón which is short for varón de Dios (man of God).

I once heard a little boy address his father as Pastor instead of Papá. Pastor’s wives often call their husbands Pastor inside the church as well. Where is the familiarity between a father and son…between a wife and a husband when they all have to address their father or husband by his title? Jesus called God Abba (Aramaic for “Father”) when He was gripped with fear in the garden of Gethsemane, and throughout the Gospels he referred to Him as “My Father.” I personally cannot refer to Ricky as anything but my husband when I introduce him or refer to him. This would be no different if Ricky were pastoring a church. If there’s anyone who can keep your feet on the ground and your head firmly on your shoulders, shouldn’t it be those who live with you? When you hear those of the same household calling an individual by their title rather than who that person is to them, this should be cause for concern. It tells us that the person in leadership wants to be reminded of his position of authority at all times. It’s like a judge making his children refer to him as the Honorable So-and-So at the dinner table. There’s a dangerous level of narcissism present in this practice that has no place in God’s church.

You may be reading this thinking, She’s very critical of the church. It’s not always like that. I would agree with you if my time spent in hundreds of churches over the last seven years had shown this to be the exception rather than the norm. The exception is when the pastor is the first person to greet us at a church and offers to help us carry and connect our equipment, never mentioning his title or position. It does happen, but not that often. By my humble estimation, there are few true servants in leadership in today’s church.

So, those are my related credentials: a lot of experience seeing things you wouldn’t want to see.

Titles like pastor, evangelist, apostle, bishop, reverend, prophet, brother so-and-so and even doctor are often used in churches to identify a person’s authority in spiritual matters. It’s like their first name is not sufficient. But, when we serve and teach on the authority of God’s Word and His Word alone, titles should be of no consequence. When we count on someone’s title to determine whether they are worth listening to regarding spiritual matters, we are taking Jesus off the throne as the only Mediator between us and the Father. When we replace Christ’s name in our hearts with that of a pastor or leader, we are following a religion rather than Christ and, dare I say, we do so in a cultish manner.

As we have recently seen in our great country (Puerto Rico is part of the United States), even the highest title in the land won’t keep someone from concocting and perpetrating untruths or from leading people astray. An illustrious title won’t keep someone from using every resource available to stir up groups and factions that are looking for the smallest excuse to carry out their most base desires. A high title will not keep someone from using their power to undermine solid foundational principles in a bid to serve their own interests. In fact, as we have seen, a title and position are often the reasons they expect to get away with unconscionable behavior…and the silence of those who could speak out is often the very thing that aids and abets their wrongdoing.

A title or high position won’t keep someone from abusing their power and rights, from abusing others, from infidelity to their spouse or from the inclination to ‘redesign’ Christianity altogether. A cursory look into different cults and their origins will show you that the person with the highest title in the organization is the most blasphemous and most willing to replace God in the life of his/her followers. A journalist recently wrote something poignant that I feel also applies to believers if you were to replace the word Americans with the word Christians:

…American exceptionalism only exists when our exceptional ideals are matched by civil behavior.

Robert Draper for National Geographic – January 7, 2021

As an example of rather less-than-civil behavior inside the church, I’d like to present my experience with a pastor whose title was emblazoned on his face mask. He condescendingly introduced himself to me as the “pastor of the church,” and it took everything in me not to say, “Yes, I can see it on your mask.” Worse was that he soon abandoned the mask altogether for the duration of the service as he sat and mingled closely among the congregants. I later watched him scold a mask-wearing pre-teen girl for not coming closer to him when he spoke with her, mask-less. He aggressively pointed to the floor in front of him and said, “¡Ven acá! (Come here!)” The poor girl obligingly moved closer because, after all, it was the pastor scolding her. Her grandmother stood by and watched, saying nothing.

The above account is about a particularly aggressive leader, but there are others who employ feigned meekness and humility to fleece congregants. More covert in their efforts to infiltrate the church, I dare say this type of leader is more dangerous because they are not as obvious in their deception. These types of people often climb up through the ranks of church leadership quickly, gaining a name for themselves by winning the hearts of unwitting congregants with their charade of being ready and willing to serve in any and all ways. If you watch closely, you will see that they soon ‘delegate’ the work to others–that work which they seemed so enthusiastic about–under the guise of ‘training,’ essentially putting themselves in a position of authority pretty early on. More discerning congregants will sense that something is off, while not being able to quite put their finger on it. God’s Word warns us of such people:

For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

Romans 16:18

Regardless of the tactics used, we have seen time and again how professing believers in churches bow to a pastor or church elder; how they stay silent in the face of abuse of power and false teaching, even allowing their children to stay under the tutelage of such leaders. They buy into the words and directives of the higher-ups, neglecting the reading of God’s Word for the mandates of a man or woman. They fear their leaders more than they fear God. They may dress, speak, sit and even pray in a certain way at the mandate of a human, making themselves deserving of the Lord’s rebuke:

Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men…

Isaiah 29:13

We have also seen when a pastor’s absence means that the entire church service is dedicated to the absence of its leader by constant mentions of their name and long prayers for them, including when they have stepped away from their congregation for an unworthy reason, such as a child’s sporting event or a family gathering. We have seen evident reverence for absent pastors as if they were omniscient; as if the congregants would be penalized for failing to constantly acknowledge the absence of their leader by name and title. This looks so wacky when I type it and I really wish I were making it up, but sadly no.

It is dangerous to offer this kind of allegiance to any leader. When we do, we ignore the exhortation in God’s Word to:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:8

But many in today’s church are all too willing accept whatever their leaders are doling out week after week, while making no effort to draw closer to the Lord on a personal level. Why should they, when they have a god they can see?

The Word of God tells us to test all spirits (1 John 4:1), but more and more we see that people are willing to forego truth and justice for a sense of belonging. We must be willing to do the work of prayer and study of God’s Word so that our wisdom and discernment can be sharp at all times, lest we be swept away with dangerous notions and movements that, more and more, seem to be finding fertile ground inside God’s church. I have written this before and I will continue to emphasize: Christians must pray for discernment. And when we do, we must be willing to acknowledge that many things are not as they seemed. It is a lonely road, but a worthy one.

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:1-2

I write about these experiences to let you know about the things our family learns as we spend the better part of our time serving God. It is not always just about us going and teaching others. Our experiences are constantly teaching us about the needs of today’s church so that we may address them using the fundamental principles found in the inimitable and eternal authority of God’s Word. Never have we seen a reason to not make Christ the central point in our ministry, encouraging others to make Him the central point and highest authority in their lives. The Apostle Paul had different letters for different churches, but all the letters were written with the same end: to keep the churches’ eyes fixed on the only One whose Name has the power to save, lest their preaching be in vain. Our heart is to bring unadulterated truth and a stark reminder of the true Gospel back to the Puerto Rican church, and whoever else God may allow our ministry to reach.

NORTH TO SOUTH

We were able to beam out a live presentation from our home for a weekly chapel service at a private school in Arroyo, a municipality on the southeast coast of the island. We ministered to students from K thru 12th grade in the session thru worship, teaching from God’s Word and Casa de Doña Jenny’s musical comedy.

the BEGINNING AND THE END

We had the opportunity to minister to those in their golden years for a holiday celebration in an assisted living facility at the end of the year. Before we went to be with them, each member of our home had to test negative for COVID-19 and then quarantine so that we might safely be the invited guests at their celebration. Currently, family members are not allowed to visit them, but there are different protocols for guests who are doing a special activity like us. Ricky shared a Gospel-centered evangelistic message exhorting the elderly folks to use their final years wisely and seek the Lord everyday through reading (or hearing) of His Word. We are grateful to our friend who owns and runs the home with his wife for the invitation and opportunity, and also for the solidarity he showed with our mission as we stood outside the home talking with him about the things of God until night fell.

PLANT AND WATER

I have mentioned in this blog that is not typical we get invited back to churches a second time. Praise the Lord, there are exceptions, and they seem to be cropping up more often in recent months. We are always surprised and humbled when someone calls to say, “The congregation really loved the message and we’d love to have you back.” Below are photos of two churches that invited us to bring the Word for a second time to their congregants. At one of them, we filmed Ricky’s message called The True Gospel: Repentance and Judgment and have posted it to our YouTube channel.

One of the churches was in the municipality of Rio Grande…

And the other was in the municipality of Corozal…

reaching far and wide

Our YouTube channel continues to enjoy steady growth as we regularly post a variety of videos for viewers all over Latin America. Ricky’s teachings in particular continue to garner plenty of likes and shares when we link to them from Facebook. We have been blessed to be able to share more Bible-based teachings and music since our last blog post, not to mention putting together a ‘behind-the-scenes’ video so all that raw footage doesn’t go to waste. We enjoy working on these projects as a family, and learning more about the technology involved in filming, editing and disseminating God’s message as it is in His Word. Below, a brief synopsis of the videos posted since our last blog entry…

  • GUÁRDATE PARA EL DÍA MALO || LUCAS 17:26-32 Y LA PARÁBOLA DE LAS DIEZ VÍRGENES
    • Concept: It is never untimely to teach about end-times prophecy. There are way too many books written about how current events line up with biblical prophecy, but the only one we need to read is God’s Word. After all, the Word of God is the final authority on what we need to do to prepare for Christ’s second coming. Everything we need to know has already been written. This message delves deep into Luke 16:26-32 and the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Luke 16:26-32, Matthew 25:1-13 and many more
    • Published: December 1, 2020
    • Views: 1,240 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube


  • FILMACIÓN DEL VIDEO: ‘TURBULENTA
    • Concept: A behind the scenes look at how we created a recent music video, with a sweet impromptu moment with our son Marcos tucked in at the end when neither he nor I knew the camera was rolling.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: The song and music video are based on Luke 16:26-32
    • Published: December 15, 2020
    • Views: 241 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube


  • EL VERDADERO EVANGELIO: ARREPENTIMIENTO Y PERDÓN
    • Concept: Preached live at a church service on the island, Ricky shares with the congregation the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the importance of repentance, faith, baptism and sanctification through the Holy Spirit.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Hebrews 6:1-2
    • Published: December 30, 2020
    • Views: 863 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube

2020 IS HINDSIGHT

As we step into this new year, we are pleased to once again be hearing from churches across the island that are interested in bringing us to minister to the families in their congregations. So far, many of them have been invitations to return to churches where we have already ministered, something that in past years was rare. We are grateful to God for the opportunity.

Our calling has come into even sharper relief during the past year as all four of us have grown in our gifts and understanding of what God’s purposes are for our family and ministry. We constantly talk with our children about what the Lord showed us when they were just babies, and how we are already seeing His plans being carried out in and through them as they grow up. We have never goaded or forced them to serve alongside us. Rather, they have volunteered themselves for every single thing they do, feeling pleased and honored to be allowed to do it, and genuinely enjoying it. Ricky and I remember the late nights in the early years of the ministry, staying up till 11pm, working together after a full day caring for two toddlers, and we marvel at how the Lord has faithfully rewarded our steadfastness and commitment to what He showed us, even when so many doubted our calling.

We are thankful for your remembering us in your prayers throughout what was a very difficult year for most everyone. We know and trust that God has more work established for the eight hands of RAME Ministries.

To make a financial donation to RAME Ministries (no amount is ever too small), you may click HERE or on the image below:

To make a physical donation of a needed item, you may click HERE or on the image below:

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

How Much is Too Much?

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that my writing contains too much scripture. Each time it has happened, the individuals have stressed that they would rather hear from me than read a bunch of Bible verses. Each time, the individual has been a professing believer, so I was not only surprised, but dismayed that the language a believer should be fluent in (the language of scripture) actually grated on them.

The truth is this: If this blog or any other of my writings were based on my opinion, feelings, anxieties or passions, it would join the ranks of the many dangerous places on the internet. As an individual defined by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I have laid down my identity and taken a hold of His. This means that ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20).

Yeah so, I didn’t make it two paragraphs without referencing scripture. This is not because I am super-holy. (Truth be told, many times I can quote scripture by heart, but have to check where exactly in the Bible it is, not only to be able to cite it, but to make sure I am not misquoting it in order to support my point.) It’s because the truths that I stand on and the transformation the Lord has made in me make it so that what I think or feel no longer matter. What matters is what’s true. And whether I am speaking or writing, truth should be the only thing that matters to you.

Just the other day, I was working on editing a teaching of Ricky’s for YouTube. I always start by marking in Ricky’s notes each time scripture is cited in the message so that I can check it and make sure we are citing it correctly. I made a total of 75 such markings in just the one message.

Now, many people might think, “Oh, that’s too much scripture for one message. I might as well just read the Bible myself.” Well, yes, you should. But what we don’t realize when we think this way is that we are saying, I’d rather hear more from the preacher, and less from God. I suppose it would seem easier to take only one portion of scripture and spend time breaking it down, using testimony, personal life examples, jokes and stories to make it palatable to the hearers. But in order for a teaching to be complete, scripture needs to be used in its context and supported by other scripture throughout the Old and New Testament. Otherwise, we are teaching Bible verses in a vacuum, which is how we perpetuate people’s misuse and erroneous application of verses like Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13. And those two are just the tip of the iceberg. People have taken verses out of context throughout history to justify evils like racism, genocide, polygamy, bigotry, child abuse and oppression, to name a few.

To be fair, I often use personal stories and experiences in this blog to drive a scriptural point home. Ricky will also use personal stories and cite incidents from our almost 7 years of ministry in his in-person and online teachings to show how he has seen God’s Word to be true. I jokingly call these asides “Storytime With Ricky,” and I genuinely enjoy them. When I ask him why he didn’t include a “Storytime” in a teaching, his answer is always the same: “The Lord didn’t lead me to use a personal story in this message.” His primary aim is to keep the focus where it needs to be: on God’s Word and off of himself.

Still, people love to listen to testimonies of someone’s life before Christ and after, and the testimonies of others can be great faith builders for us in our walk with the Lord. However, we’ve noticed that while people love to hear the sordid details of where we were when Christ grabbed a hold of us, they typically don’t like to spend too much time in the actual trenches of how the Lord may have convicted us of our sin and turned our life into something completely unrecognizable. Those trenches are the time we spent in God’s Word, facing hard truths and making hard decisions about where to go now that the days of our ignorance have come to an end. Those trenches are the stripping away moments where we held onto a beloved sin with our white knuckle death grip, and the Lord lovingly pried our grimy fingers off using His Word. This being the point of no return for a believer, is where we tend to lose many listeners who were purely looking to be entertained.

Truly understanding a Christ-follower’s testimony means that we will not leave the conversation unchanged. Anyone speaking to a true follower of Christ should know pretty quickly that they are not speaking to a person who is led by their own fleshly desires, opinions, politics or worldview, but rather by the unchanging truths of God’s Word. And so, in order that we may testify of Him on whose identity we now stand, we must use scripture, lest we misrepresent our Savior and become a stumbling block to another. Remember…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 (emphasis mine)

Lastly, oftentimes people will criticize believers who cite scripture, accusing them of ‘not having a mind of their own.’ I will tell you that, like you, I certainly do have a mind of my own, and that mind has taken me to some dark places that I no longer care to entertain or expound upon. God’s Word exhorts us:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

(That one I do know by heart, complete with book, chapter and verse).

So, my answer to anyone who says I use too much scripture is the following: It is in your best interest that I use God’s words and not my own. Trust me.

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

Proverbs 10:19

a crown to the aged

Ricky was invited to bring a message of encouragement to grandparents that were gathered for a private school’s special online evening event. He shared an exhortation about the importance of the grandparents’ role in protecting the hearts of their grandchildren and instructing them in the ways of the Lord, as we read about in Deuteronomy 4:9. He encouraged them that even if there are regrets in the way they raised their own children, all is not lost. They still have a chance to do right by the Lord when it comes to their grandchildren.

in and out of season

We have learned that there is never a time where it is ok to lay back and assume that the Lord does not have an opportunity for us to share the Word at moment’s notice. As a family, we continue to diligently work on every aspect of this ministry because we must be ready at any moment to answer for what God has entrusted to us. We never want to be ‘rusty’ when a church calls us after a few weeks of no live ministry. For this reason, we practice for a little while everyday, and devote one whole day a week to a full rehearsal of our entire presentation. Below, photos of the churches that brought us in to minister to their congregations since our last post…

IN THE POCKET

I’ve saved the photos of worship from the churches above for this section because, if you hadn’t noticed in the last post, there has been a sort of reshuffling in our worship lineup. Since the pandemic started, we’ve been able to spend more time honing our skills. This has included teaching the boys more about rhythm and percussion, and how important it is to listen to one another when playing in a band, or being part of a skit.

As a part of this, Marcos (our oldest) started playing cajón. We taught him some simple rhythms to see if he could pick it up and play along with a song. Before we knew it, he was right in the groove every time we practiced. He humbly said to us one day, “I know I’m not the one who decides this, but I feel I’m ready to play cajón at our next event.” Indeed he was, and this meant that Eugenio got to graduate to playing tambourine while Marcos keeps the beat. Ricky has also had to step in to fill in the empty spot Eugenio left, leading the groups in the movements to “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” in Spanish. We feel so blessed to be worshipping the Lord all together.

I’ve been challenged myself to be able to lead them while I play guitar and have learned to use my guitar arm as a visual metronome for them. Marcos and Eugenio know a wink from me means they are “in the pocket.” Just the other day, after we finished practicing, Marcos got up from the cajón saying, “Man, that felt good.” At home, Eugenio does some very funny dance moves, all the while managing to keep the groove with his tambo. At churches, he’s much more ‘buttoned up’ about the whole affair. To say I am thrilled to see my boys growing into a love of playing music is a vast understatement, but to know that those gifts are being offered to the Lord is more than can fit in my heart. I thank the Lord everyday for the work He is doing in both my boys.

TOP OF THE CHARTS

We continue to post a variety of videos to our YouTube channel, and are pleased to see its steady growth continue. One video, a teaching on Jeremiah 29:11, immediately shot to the top spot of the ten most recently posted videos on our channel. People seem to really appreciate in-depth biblical explanations of verses they are used to hearing often. Below, a summary of the videos published to our channel since our last blog post…

  • EXPLICACIÓN DE JEREMÍAS 29:11
    • Concept: Ricky does a deep dive into the real meaning of Jeremiah 29:11, a verse often used for inspirational purposes. While we definitely ought to be inspired by God’s Word, it is important to understand every part of God’s Word in context so that we may rightly apply it.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 and many others
    • Views: 5,401 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube


  • RAME 2020
    • Concept: Our annual ministry video offers a summary of the ministry in the past year against the backdrop of current events on the island. We know the importance of regularly offering information to our supporters about what we are doing as a ministry, which is why we blog regularly and also create an annual video representation of what the Lord allowed us to do each year.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: God’s entire Word is the basis for this ministry, and this video depicts some of the fruit of our calling.
    • Views: 185 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube


  • CUANDO LOS ABUELOS…MONDAN AL NIETO
    • Concept: It seems Jenny has been at home too long, and her beloved haircutting scissors have their eye on her grandson’s overgrown quarantine curls. His father will attempt to defend the honor of his son’s tresses…but who will prevail?
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: This just-for-laughs video features our whole family acting together in a scene that finds Jenny and her entire family in the living room of her house after calling a ‘family meeting’ to discuss her grandson’s haircut (or lack thereof).
    • Views: 336 as of this posting

Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube

20/20 VISION

I doubt there are any who can say they have not learned some important lessons from this past year and all its occurrences, no matter where on the globe you find yourself. As I’ve mentioned before, this has been a time of recalibrating for our family, and the Lord has even offered us more opportunities than we expected for live ministry, considering the circumstances in which Puerto Rico finds itself. We pray that he sees our willingness, obedience to stay true to Him, and to offer all our time and resources to this mission so that we can be found worthy to continue on this journey. Seeing our boys grow into serving alongside us has encouraged us greatly, and has shown us that indeed “Greater things are yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city,” as the song says.

To be a part of this mission on the island of Puerto Rico you can make a financial or physical contribution to RAME Ministries. No item or amount is too small. To make a financial donation click here or on the image below:

If you prefer to make a donation of a needed physical item, please here, or click on the image below. Items start as low as $7.00.

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

It Is Well

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 John 1:4

As we walk through God’s Word at home, our boys express frustration with sin coming into the world and depriving humanity of being able to experience the perfect paradise that was the garden before the fall of man. We address this frustration by teaching them about godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). We look at scripture to see how each person’s sin has far-reaching consequences, and that nothing we do ever affects us alone. We see from each account we read in the Word–from the garden to Noah; from Abraham thru King David and beyond–that it is impossible for any of us not to sin, and we constantly remind them that there is only one man in the entire history of the world who never sinned. That man is Jesus Christ.

Sin brought death into the world. It brought pain, sorrow, worry, illness, war, shame and despair, and all the things heaven promises to be free of…not just to Adam and Eve, but to all of humanity. We have taken pencil to paper and, using the genealogies in the book of Genesis, have shown our boys how the sin of just one person can affect many generations after him or her. Sin is not a joke or a cause for celebration to the Father, nor should it be so to us.

Recently, we took a deep dive into how the Lord brings us sorrow for His glory and for His purposes…

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted…

2 Corinthians 7:10

If we do not know we are sick, we will not seek treatment for our condition. Likewise, if we never feel sorrow for our sin, we will not feel the need to turn from it and go a new way. There is a moment when each of us will come to the end of ourselves; a moment where we will understand that we were never really in control at all; a time when we will see that on our own, we can produce nothing good. Rather, all good things come from a perfect Father who looks down on His pitiful children and gives grace where we don’t deserve it; who shows mercy and patience when our actions merit immediate penalty. And to show us how good of a Father he truly is, He then lets us work on his behalf here in this world. All this after we have been sinful and rebellious against Him for so long.

I ask, have you ever heard of such a good Father this side of heaven?

God’s will for each of us is that we will come to this moment of reckoning while our souls are are still clothed in this weak, imperfect and less-than-glorified flesh; for each of us to look this world in the face with all its threatenings, diseases, terrors, disasters and temptations and be able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

However, we never get to that place if we do not first accept the gift of repentance from God and by the former, come to a fear and reverence towards Him. While it sounds counterintuitive, the fear of God is the only fear that will actually make you… wait for it…

It will actually make you free.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10

“How could religion make me free?” you ask.

Well, it isn’t religion so much as it is the One in whom you put your faith. When you fear the living God…you need not fear anything or anyone else. In these anxiety-inducing times, this is great news.

Worries will come. Threats will be breathed. Disasters will happen. Illness will ravage us. Loss will overwhelm us…in this life.

But God’s Word tells us…

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

If you have ever in life stood before a physical judge (and I have), even if you were right as rain (and I was), it is a truly terrifying experience. Your eyes never leave the judge. You fear the judge, as it is his decision that can make all the difference in your case.

Imagine yourself, a sinful human, standing before a perfect, holy Judge who decides where you will spend eternity. You’d want a pretty good lawyer, no? This is the moment in which every individual will know for certain that he is nothing without an advocate before an Almighty God.

And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:1

But those who fear the Lord will be able to say, “It is well with my soul” because indeed it is well with the soul that fears the Lord, fears the judgment and fears the wrath to come, and who comes to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ alone.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

Hebrews 9:27

If we are truly walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will fear the Lord. The fruit of this fear will be living humbly in integrity and sincerity, not being boastful about our freedom; a freedom that was bought at a very great price (1 Corinthians 6:20). God does not wink at our sin, or overlook it. Thought the tempter can take many forms, seduce us with pretty lies, twisted scripture and lofty promises, the Spirit of God in us should be convicting us of sin and guiding us in paths of righteousness. Satan minimizes the consequences of our sin (You will not surely die. -Genesis 3:4) then mocks us when we fall. But God makes so much of our sin that He sent His only Son to die a horrific death for it. Hence, our fear of the Lord manifests itself as recognition of sin for what it is (repentance granted from above), a desire to go a new way, obedience to His Word, and an urgency to love others with nothing less than the truth, lest they suffer the awful fate that we have escaped.

In light of all of this, it makes no sense that the good majority of Christians today are not absolutely desperate to share the truth with others about eternity and the saving power of Jesus’s death and resurrection. If Christians today could be as passionate about Christ as they are about politics, we’d live in a very different world.

If we love Him, seek Him and obey Him, our certainty lies in Him rather than in everything we thought we had secured in this world. As I mentioned above, fearing God is also the beginning of freedom. Freedom from worry, anxiety and fear. He holds the world in His hands. All of it. He sees all the microscopic things we cannot. He holds the answers to our quandaries and distributes them in His time and in His way to those who seek wisdom from Him. Instead of blaming the devil for life’s problems (which I have seen many a professing believer do), we must look inward, then upward. After all, God sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and nothing can touch His children before first passing through His sovereign hands.

As a final note, not once in God’s Word do we ever see Him blaming the devil. We do see Him rebuking His children for not resisting the devil. Or as our younger son Eugenio puts it: “Satan tempts. We do the rest!” When Eve blamed the serpent, she did nothing to secure her residence in the garden (Genesis 3:13, 16). God saw Eve’s attempt at self-preservation for what it was: avoidance of accountability. We should all stop giving ourselves the glory for our successes while blaming the devil for our failures, and instead, simply do what God tells us to do in His Word:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If it is to be well with our souls, we are to look at ourselves and consider our responsibility in the big picture of God’s covenant with us through Christ Jesus, His Son.

ASSEMBLING TOGETHER

We had the opportunity to minister at a local church where families gathered for an evening of worship and the Word.

We also road-tripped it down to the southeast region of the island to bring a Sunday afternoon outdoor, socially distanced service for families. Some families gathered around the tent we were under, while others listened and honked in response from inside their parked cars on the church’s big lawn.

APART TOGETHER

A mother of a young boy called us asking if Casa de Doña Jenny could join their family for a ‘Zoom Birthday Party” to celebrate her son turning 8. We decorated our at-home ‘studio’ (read: kitchen) to make the event extra-special, and even sang to the child with a birthday cake at the end of the presentation. Many of the child’s friends and family members joined in online to sing, learn, dance and laugh with our family. It was a blast. Ricky made sure that every detail in the frame was just right so that the child and his family could see that we went the extra mile to make his socially distanced birthday party really special. It’s funny how when we do these online events, there is a feeling of having had people over at our home for a little while. The prep and the cleanup are not too different from and at-home gathering. While it in no way replaces face to face contact, we are grateful for the technology that allows us to connect during these times when it is safer to stay apart.

news break

And by “news break” I mean, take a break from the endlessly frustrating news cycle and check out some of the wholesome, funny and edifying content that actually still exists online.

This past month, we posted several new videos to our YouTube channel. As far as online platforms are concerned, as of this posting we have 4,269 followers on Facebook and 4,369 subscribers to our YouTube channel. We continue to work on writing, filming and editing character-driven comedic videos as well as biblical teachings. A teaching that we posted back in 2017 has reached the top spot on our channel with 14,766 views as of this writing. This is exciting because it is a biblical explanation and breakdown of the oft-quoted John 3:16.

Below, a synopsis of the videos posted since our last blog post:

  • GUARDA TUS HIJOS || Deuteronomio 4:9 y Mateo 25:14-30 (Parábola de Los Talentos)
    • Concept: A timely message for the sudden and sweeping changes we have seen in how education is carried out across the world, this teaching is a message to parents about the responsibility we have for our children’s souls. Using over 50 passages from scripture, Ricky breaks down the essential role of parents in the spiritual well-being of their children, while applying the teaching of Jesus’s ‘Parable of the Talents’ directly to the accountability of parents when we stand before the Lord.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Deuteronomy 4:9, Matthew 25:14-30, Proverbs 22:6 and many others.
    • Views: 975 as of this writing

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.


  • DETRÁS DEL TELÓN: Vol. 10
    • Concept: Another installation of our fast-paced ‘behind-the-scenes’ series, which shows what making a video for our channel looks like. Laugh with us as you see all the wacky lengths we go to make people smile during these trying times.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Just for fun, this video features funny behind-the-scenes moments of our family in and out of character, working together to produce videos for our channel.
    • Views: 436 as of this writing

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube


  • TURUBLENTA || Video Musical
    • Concept: This new song is based on the omens of the Lord’s imminent return and the end of all things, as found in Luke 17:26-30. The lyrics, written by Ricardo Cains (my husband), give an account of the Lord’s caution that just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. This video uses images and examples from the biblical account of Noah’s Ark and of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. With a musical arrangement by Annette Cains (me), it is based on the rhythm and melody of a popular song by Puerto Rican artist Vico-C.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Luke 17:26-32
    • Views: 1,529 as of this writing

Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube.

PRAYING, SEEKING, GROWING

This time of quarantine and lockdown has been a time of reflection and preparation for the new world we are facing when we go into churches and other places to minister. People are feeling overwhelmed with the many changes to their lives, and we don’t want to squander this opportunity to encourage them in the most important relationship they will ever have– the only relationship that will sustain them through the many changes in this life: their relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to make sure that anyone who leaves a place where we minister feels that they have been soaked in God’s Word. We want to be secure that whether it brings them joy like Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:1-9), or grief like the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22, Mrk. 10:17-22, Lk. 18:18-23), God’s Word has been preached, and that, as our son Marcos often says, “Now, they can’t un-hear it.”

…but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 15:22

We are committed to carrying out the calling God has put on our lives in obedience to the Almighty, and are grateful to those of you who sincerely believe in this ministry. Thank you for your constant prayers, messages of encouragement and support.

If you would like to make a contribution to RAME Ministries, no item or amount is too small. you can make a financial donation by clicking here or on the image below:

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If you prefer, you can make a donation of a physical item by clicking here, or by clicking on the image below. Items start as low as $7.00.

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Thank you for reading, and may God bless you richly.

He Is Enough

Keep preaching like that. Don’t ever let fear keep you from speaking what the Lord has given you to say.

These were the words of a pastor at a church where we recently ministered. While preaching to the families gathered, Ricky had mentioned that we do not often get invited back to churches because of his message. On the contrary, if we do get invited back, it’s because of Ricky’s message. It seems contradictory, but it has always been the case that Ricky’s preaching is the hinge on which our future with any church pivots. Hence, we are blessed to reunite with some people after meeting them once, while others we meet only once, and never again.

It’s ok, though. We did not go into this life of service to make tons of friends. That should not be the purpose of any mission or ministry, and I think those whose mission it is to truly share the Gospel would agree that it is often quite a lonely road. We take comfort in the ministry of John the Baptist because oftentimes, people don’t really know what to make of us. They often don’t understand why we place so much emphasis on the message portion of the presentation, as if we are not attuned to the current culture of ‘church.’

In a sense, they are right. No true believer should be satisfied with the status quo as we’ve come to know it in church. But in another sense, this is why ‘Casa de Doña Jenny’ even exists—because our experience in today’s churches has taught us that we have to offer something additional to the Word in order to be let in the door to begin with. Sadly, in many churches nowadays, God’s Word is simply not enough, and we have had a number of unfortunate experiences in which church leaders want to hurry the process along to get to the comedic portion. Leaders have held up signs or hand signals to indicate to Ricky how much time he has left–the length of time they originally allotted all of a sudden being shortened, and being attributed to some sudden, unforeseen circumstance.

I am often the one who has to deal with mitigating their anxiety while Ricky preaches, though I am not sure I do such a good job of comforting them when I tell them, This is the most important part of what we do. He is preaching God’s Word, and as one who fears God, I cannot stop him or I would be in sin. But, as this is your church, you can do whatever you think is right. This is not ever easy or fun, nor do I relish or wish for these encounters. Believe me when I tell you, my knees and lips tremble the whole time (I am grateful for a mask to cover everything but my eyes nowadays), but I am clear on one thing: my duty before the Lord and before my husband.

In these experiences, not a single church leader has ever approached Ricky to tell him that his teaching was unbiblical. Many will offer all kinds of apologies and excuses for cutting the service short, but never have they accused him of false teaching.

Some common reasons we have heard countless times:

He’s teaching to the parents and not the children. My answer to them is that we are not a children’s ministry. We are a ministry aimed at every member of the home and we make sure, when coordinating our visit to a church, to explain the presentation as ‘designed to reach the whole family from children to grandparents,’ and that it includes a Word-centered preaching portion. The label of children’s ministry has been put on us time and again…but never by us. Besides, the Word of God is for everyone, and Ricky makes sure to tell families that anything he is teaching them, he has already taught his own children.

His message is too serious. Our very souls’ eternal state depends on how seriously we take God’s Word. If we cannot be serious about God’s Word during church services, then where does that leave the church today?

1To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven…
4A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4

The children are getting antsy. Church was never intended as a place for parents to unload the responsibility of their children for a couple of hours. But often, we find ourselves in a situation in which that is exactly what is expected: that we will remove the burden of parents and essentially babysit their children at the altar. Children should be trained to sit quietly with their family in church, and that training begins in the home. When parents fail to do this, it is not the church’s responsibility, the visiting minister’s responsibility, or even the Sunday school teacher’s responsibility.

On the contrary, there are many times that church leaders and congregants express sincere gratitude for the straightforward way in which Ricky brings the message; many who are thankful for the emphasis on Scripture as the final word on all matters. People often tell us that, though they brought us in for a mid-week service with the idea of ministering specifically to the children, they are grateful that the message was edifying for the congregation as a whole with its simple language, scripture-based teaching and accessible application. Many are thankful for the completeness of the ministry in bringing worship, truth, joy and laughter to families. In the best case scenario, pastors have even invited us back for a Sunday morning so that we can minister the same message to the entire congregation.

Nevertheless, no matter what we do or who we please or don’t please in this world, our prayer is always the same: that God is pleased with the sincerity of our intention and with the integrity of our hearts.

I know no religion but sincerity.

-Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Genesis 17

FEEDING HIS SHEEP

We had the opportunity to minister in a small church this past month where most of the people were actually watching on their computers at home. You will see in the photos that we are wearing face shields to minister because the space was too small for us to be able to have ample distance between us and the congregants who were present.

This was an exciting evening for our oldest son, who got to sing with me for the first time during worship. He’s been playing tambourine for some time now, and is also learning to play cajón during our rehearsals at home. Marcos was cool as a cucumber, humble and focused. It also happened that the church’s talented band members accompanied us on electric guitar, bass and drums. We congratulated Marcos on his first time ever playing with a band, and he is excited to be a bigger part of our worship now. We in turn are excited about the things God is doing in his heart and life, and this worship offering is just a small outpouring of what he shares with us daily about his desire to walk in God’s ways, marry a godly woman and lead a household that serves the Lord.

near and far

This past month, the Lord presented more opportunities for online ministry. A school teacher asked us to be a part of her first parent-teacher meeting of the semester. Since she knew there would be a lot of anxiety on the part of everyone about the way this school year would be carried out, she called to ask if Ricky could help her open the meeting with a prayer and some encouragement for the parents and students. Below are some photos of the morning, where Marcos and I led them in a song, and Ricky brought a brief message to those in attendance via Microsoft Teams.