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.

That same night, we were able to participate via Zoom with a group gathered at a youth leader’s home in the States. A couple who leads the youth in their church have been following our ministry for some time, and asked if we could bring biblical teaching to their group. We started with worship, and Ricky brought a message of salvation through repentance to the group. At the end we got to take a ‘group photo’ with the youth…

CONTINUING ONLINE MINISTRY

We never get tired of praising the Lord for leading us to create the online component of this ministry 3 years ago (wow, time flies). This gave us plenty of time to learn how to translate the way we minister into video format for such a time as this, when a large part of everyone’s lives has moved online.

Our boys have been starting to learn the basics of Final Cut Pro, the video editing software we use, since they have shown to be very opinionated about the creative choices we make. It’s nice to get their input and they have some very funny ideas that we have incorporated to our character-driven videos. Below, a round-up of the videos posted online in this past month…

  • EXPLICACIÓN DEL LIBRO DE ESTER
    • Concept: In this message about the dangers of pride, Ricky explains the story of the book of Esther, breaking with the convention of using this book mostly only in women’s Bible studies, taking the glory away from God and focusing on female empowerment.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: the book of Esther and many other passages
    • Views: 1,811 as of this writing

  • CASA DE DOÑA JENNY POR ZOOM
    • Concept: In our last post, we wrote about a video we edited together for a church that wanted to include it in one of their virtual evening services. We decided to post the video to our ministry’s Facebook page shortly thereafter, and it has received a great response, with tons of comments and other positive reactions.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Proverbs 4:23
    • Views: 7K as of this writing

  • LIGA DE COMPINCHES: EN LA REUNIÓN CAMARADA
    • Concept: Doña Jenny and Don Paco travel to space in another dimension to save their fellow compinches from the evil Mosca Vader in this fun, comic-book-inspired video.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Just for fun, this video is a showcase of some of the characters that have featured on our YouTube page since the beginning.
    • Views: 112 as of this writing

  • ALABANZA EN VIVO Y EN CUARENTENA
    • Concept: Two worship songs we often play and sing performed from home and in churches. Also included are clips from live events that we have done in the past few years.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: We hope this video will help lead families in worship from their homes, as we have included hand motions for the Gospel message, as well as lyrics so they can sing along.
    • Views: 1,732 as of this writing

PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION…(and also, puppies)

As things begin to open up more on the island, we believe it is still necessary to take maximum precaution in everything we do outside our home as a family and ministry. We trust in God’s protection over those who serve Him, and we are careful to assess each opportunity to leave our house in the light of whether it is really necessary and wise to do so, lest we tempt Him. We leave the house to serve in churches and for necessary errands. If Christians are truly called to love our neighbor, that means putting our own comfort and freedoms last. We are honest with our boys that this reality has no foreseeable end as of now, and that the things we can enjoy during this time are great blessings of mercy from our Father in Heaven.

One such blessing is a litter of 5 healthy puppies that our youngest dog gave birth to in August. (Apparently, she got along with our boy dog better than we thought!) We have been caring for them and helping their mama nurse her five babies. Immediately after all five puppies were born, Eugenio, our youngest, happily yelled out, “Now we have EIGHT dogs!” Thankfully, it is only temporary, but it has been a one-of-a-kind experience for our boys to see the birth and to gain some knowledge about the miracle of reproduction, and how a mother cares for her young. When she was pregnant, she would follow me around the house like a shadow, and the boys said, “She’s probably following you because she needs to learn how to be a mommy.”

It’s also been really fun to have daily puppy playtime where we rub their bellies and they scamper all over the place exploring, playing, making a mess and finding a nook to nap in. As far as at-home entertainment, a litter of puppies is about as great as it gets! And 5 puppies means there’s more than enough for each one of us to snuggle.

We are grateful for the continued support this ministry receives through your prayers, encouragement and giving. If you would like to make a contribution to RAME Ministries, there are two different 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. Items start as low as $7.

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

He Goes Before Us

We spent tons of time on the road before the pandemic forced everyone to take shelter indefinitely. We practically lived in our car. During one of our drives in late 2019, Ricky and I had a conversation where we came up with a word or phrase to characterize each year of our ministry since 2014. I am sure we can all agree that 2020 has been an interesting and trying year, no matter which corner of the world you are experiencing it from, and I think by now it would be safe to establish a word for our ministry in 2020…

Providential
(adj.) involving divine foresight or intervention

This is the word that I feel best characterizes the year as we have experienced it thus far. This was evident from the beginning of these unusual global circumstances all the way through this past month when we really saw the different ways in which God has prepared our family to do ministry amidst an ever changing reality.

Our way of operating since early on in the ministry is that we try not to devise anything or take on projects or opportunities just for the sake of ‘doing ministry.’ We go where the Lord clearly opens a door, and do not try to force anything where we do not see Him leading. The world would call this ‘letting things happen organically,’ though we know that it’s God’s sovereign hand that orchestrates all of it.

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

This basis for doing ministry requires patience and fortitude at any time, especially during a pandemic. But, we have seen the fruit of not rushing into anything since early on in our journey, so we continue to follow this standard set by the Almighty. We do not believe in ministry as an entrepreneurial endeavor, and hence, instead of brainstorming and strategizing new techniques, we simply continue moving forward with the aspects of the ministry we can still do under the given circumstances. Similarly, we wait when the Lord says it’s time to wait on other aspects. This time has allowed us to add quite a few more teachings to our channel, something that we have always wanted to do since we started posting videos.

It has also been a time of recalibration. As we fix our eyes on the Lord as our only north, we pray to be ready bring our service in a way that is, first and above all, pleasing to Him. By spending more time in God’s presence as a family–praying to Him and digging deep into His Word–we have honed in on different areas of the ministry, asking God to give us insight on where we can be doing better. The larger part of the change has been in our hearts; i.e. how we approach worship, preaching and the all the rest. Other blessings have included our two boys offering helpful input and developing their gifts, as well as showing a sense of responsibility and duty as it relates to what they offer to the ministry. We clearly see God’s hand in taking us off the road and bringing us home for an extended period of time, and are seeing the fruit of this time spent before Him.

Another perk of going only where God leads: He decides when and where we rest, and there is no rest sweeter than that which is given by the Lord.

As things begin to slowly ease toward re-opening on the island, the Lord has allowed us to put these new insights to work by giving us opportunities to do ministry in ways that we did not realize He had been preparing us for over the years. Keep reading to see how this has panned out recently.

EQUIPPED and enabled

Churches that had us scheduled since before lockdown have kept in contact, and we have been blessed to be able to bring the program to several of them in new ways. One such example is a church that contacted us to inquire if we do ‘Zoom’ services. We were honest in letting them know that until that point, we had only done a brief Zoom session with some public school students, but that we didn’t see why we couldn’t put a full program together for an evening service.

We quickly got to work days ahead, rehearsing and figuring out how to rig up our YouTube camera and audio to our computer in order to give the highest quality presentation for the service. After a quick YouTube tutorial, and some sorting thru cables, adapters and such, we realized we already had everything we needed to pull it off. We moved our kitchen table out of the way to set up our ‘live studio,’ and set up lights so that the image would be evenly and brightly lit. Our living room (out of the camera’s frame) became our ‘dressing room.’ We marked the floor with tape so our boys would know where they could stand that was within the camera shot. Our house was ‘patas pa’rriba’ (upside down) and I told Ricky, “Pretty much every piece of equipment that we own is in use right now.” We were ready to log in for a 6pm service, and had a great time with the group of about 30 families. We could see them singing worship in their little onscreen squares, nodding along to Ricky’s message, and laughing along with Jenny and Paco. Below are some photos of the night…


That same week, we spent time putting together a video for another church that had originally scheduled us for a live presentation. After a spike in COVID cases in their municipality, the pastor decided that it would be better to do a pre-taped service through their Facebook page. We were able to produce our full presentation as an edited video, and were humbled by the gratitude the church leaders expressed when they received and reviewed the video before posting it to their page as a premier on the evening of the service. On the morning after their service, the video had gained 450 views on Facebook. If you’d like to see a version of what we put together, you can click here or on the image below:

our cup runneth over

Another church let us know that they were now holding socially distanced outdoor services, and that they would love for us to be a part of their service if we were willing. We arrived at their church in the countryside on the south of the island early on a Sunday morning, and enjoyed our time bringing worship and the Word to their congregation. Congregants were spaced apart according to their households, and many families listened from their cars through Facebook Live. We could hear the Amen’s and Aleluia’s from the cars parked on the perimeter of the tent. When I was walking past one of the cars after leading worship, a window rolled down as someone called out to me. I saw teary eyes above the mask on an elderly woman’s face. She said, “Praise the Lord. God is still raising up families for His glory.”

The congregants of this church continued to bless us when one lady who sews face masks offered to gift a mask to each member of our home after we ministered. Our boys got ones with their favorite characters on them, which they were very excited about. We left with our hands full when another kind congregant gifted us a bag of fresh mallorca buns, a Puerto Rican sweet bread that is typically eaten warm with butter and powdered sugar. It sounds as good as it tastes.

Driving to and from this event was particularly special. I have mentioned before that we enjoy our long drives through the island, and that a blessing of our service to the Lord is the scenic road trips we get to take. On this sunny Sunday morning, after many months of being homebound, we did not take for granted the mountains, farmland and ocean views on the 1.5 hour drive to the southern region.


Finally, we served in our first indoor church service since the world changed. The pastor told us that for evening services, they have to take names on a sign-up list prior to the service so that they can limit the number of people to maintain social distancing. The front rows in front of us remained empty, and there was ample distance between us and the spaced-out congregants in order for everyone to be safe when we took off our masks to minister.

hand to the plow

We have been able to get many videos produced during this time at home, and are really blessed by the response to the teaching videos. One such video this month was an explanation on the true meaning of Philippians 4:13. It did so well that we only posted one other video this month so that it would remain as one of the most recently posted on the channel. As of this writing, this video alone has brought 49 new subscribers to the channel for an increased subscriber base of 4,279. Below, some more details and photos of the videos posted since our last blog entry…


  • EXPLICACIÓN DE FILIPENSES 4:13
    • Concept: After hearing this verse taken out of context everywhere from sports arenas to expected success in career ventures, Ricky puts Philippians 4:13 back in its context, using 27 pieces of supporting scripture to convey the intended meaning of this oft-misused verse.
    • Teaching/Bible Verse: Philippians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 4:11, Romans 8:36, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Romans 8:35 and many more…
    • Views: 4,208 as of this posting