Far and Wide

During the months of August and September (yes, we are a little behind on updates!), we had the opportunity to minister God’s Word to people of all ages across 24 municipalities in Puerto Rico.

Below, a map of the municipalities we visited in the months of August and September. Many of them were visited several times, as we ministered in 16 churches, 2 group homes or government housing facilities, 11 private schools and 6 public schools.

As you can see from the map above, the ministry’s reach has extended farther across the island with each passing month. We have been blessed to receive calls from places like Ponce and San Sebastian, and have very much enjoyed the beauty of the island as we drive to different out-of-the-way locations.

BACK TO SCHOOL

As the school year got started, we received calls from public school administrators eager to welcome the students back with a message of God’s love.

One public school principal invited us to bring a message to her first parents’ meeting of the year. She warned us that on a good day, maybe 20 or 30 parents will come to a meeting. When we arrived at the school, she told us she expected even less, as few parents had responded letting her know they would attend. For the glory of God, the cafeteria where the meeting was being held filled up to capacity, and many parents of this large San Juan public school were able to hear a message of exhortation from God’s Word about their duty as the stewards of their little ones. Below, some photos of our time with them…

We ministered in many private schools as well, for retreats, Grandparents’ Day and other special activities. Below, some photos of our time in private schools big and small…

YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

During the month of September, many private schools commemorated Grandparents’ Day. We were invited to several of these activities to bring our ministry for the grandparents and grandchildren gathered. In God’s perfect providence, Ricky’s message to families has included some exhortations to grandparents for some time now about how to impact the lives of their grandchildren for God’s glory:

Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren…

DEUTERONOMY 4:9

Ricky reminds grandparents that whatever they consume, their grandchildren will also consume. Grandparents are not exempt from guarding their minds and hearts by virtue of their age and experience. Now that there are tiny feet walking behind them once again, they should take special care to guard the minds and hearts of their beloved little ones by guarding their own minds and hearts from the pollutions of the world. Below, some photos of the different opportunities we had to bring a message from God’s Word to grandparents about their important calling and impact on the lives of their grandchildren…

DOCTRINE. REPROOF. CORRECTION. INSTRUCTION.

Below, some photos of other private schools that invited us to minister God’s Word to their students for retreats, special activities or chapel sessions…

FEEDING THE SHEEP

Below, some photos of the 16 different churches where we were blessed to minister in the months of August and September…

WORTHY HOUSEHOLDS

Also during the months of August and September, we were able to minister to people right in their homes. One was a visit to a group home for adult men who live with mental illness. The family who owns and runs the home wanted to do something special for Suicide Awareness Day. These men blessed us greatly with their enthusiasm for worship and the Word. Another visit was a ‘Grandparents’ Day’ at a local government housing complex. See the photos below…

ALL FOUR CORNERS

Since God called our family to Puerto Rico, our heart has been to reach all four corners of the island with a word of exhortation and encouragement to people of all ages and circumstances. While the Lord has confirmed our ministry and calling time and again, we are excited to see how He is expanding the reach of the ministry to places on the island where we have not previously been. It has been a joy to set out on these road trips to meet and spend time with new people from all over the island as we share our gifts with them. If you missed our ministry video that we posted a few weeks ago, be sure to check it out at the end of this post. It shows some beautiful footage from our travels throughout our little island.

We thank all of you who have supported this ministry in one way or another. You are a part of making this work possible through your prayers, encouragement and contributions. To make a donation of any amount to RAME Ministries, please click on the image below:

2019

Below, our 2019 Ministry Video recently posted to YouTube. Enjoy!

God in All Things

One of our foundational family scriptures since before we were married has been:

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

As we live out what the Lord has shown us this scripture means, we are blessed to see how He fully takes charge of our calendar. We believe in God’s promises, so we step through each door He opens, no matter where on the island. In so doing, we have been able to see how beautifully the Lord works even times of rest into our very busy schedule.

God rested on the 7th day of the creation, and He has been faithful in giving us a ‘7th day’ each week to refresh, recharge and regroup. Several times in scripture, we read about the importance of rest, and we continue to trust in the Lord to determine when that time is for us, as He (and not we) is the God of our days. Between traveling to and from different sites around the island, filming and editing for YouTube, taking care of all the administrative, logistical and coordinating duties of the ministry and homeschooling, we still make time come together as a family daily in prayer of thanks and praise to the One whom we serve, and whose rest is perfect. He knows we need rest before we realize it. And He is faithful to give it, as He is in all things.

SCATTERING THE SEED

As summer heated up on the island of Puerto Rico, so did our summer schedule. As I mentioned in my previous post, this was the most fruitful summer of the ministry’s history. We are grateful to God for using the children, youth, and adults we meet to share the information of our minsitry with others. They do this by way of social media, and by passing on the postcard they received from us to day camp directors, church leaders and group activities coordinators. We make sure to update our social pages regularly so that those who are interested in bringing our presentation have plenty of information and clarity about what we offer.

In July, we visited the municipalities where you see a red star below. Many were visited more than once as we ministered in 7 day camps, 10 churches and 2 community centers across the island throughout the month.

TIMES HAVE CHANGED

When I was a kid, summer was about playing with the neighborhood kids (or alone) in the backyard, kickball games that lasted till dusk, sweating drops of hope that someone with a pool would invite you over, getting creative with the backyard hose when they didn’t, and finding things to do on rainy days. It was glorious.

We now live in times where children are not always safe outside on their own. This and other changes in the family structure have led parents to seek out programs, camps and sports to keep their kids entertained and active during the ‘school’s out’ season. Churches on the island, as well as communities and private schools offer many options in the area of summer programming.

We are happy to go to day camps where children and youth are gathered to bring them worship, the Word and some laughter. Below, some photos of our family doing just that during the month of July…

gathering TOGETHER

In churches, the camps mentioned above often end in a ‘culminating’ service where the families join the children.

We love to be able to minister to a congregation where several generations are present, as the message we share is edifying for children, youth, parents and grandparents alike. We let the churches know beforehand that though the photos online may make the ministry look like a children’s ministry, we are actually a ministry aimed toward families, and that a Word-based, Christ-centered message will be preached. We want to encourage churches that families can and should learn from the Word together, as the body of Christ.

Below, some photos of church services where God sent us to do just that…

NOT CAST OFF

We were invited to Cidra, a municipality in the southeast part of the island, to bring a presentation to a group of seniors who gather weekly at a community center for games, socializing, health check-ups and other activities. It was a joy to spend time with them, and it gave us a chance to remind our boys that their ministry, when it comes to seniors, is just to be themselves, as the older generation gets much joy out of having small children in their midst. We’ve told them, “Your simply being children blesses them. It’s a special treat when they get to interact with children or watch them play, and this is how you can bless them and bring them joy: by being yourself.”

They applied this knowledge as we ministered to the group of seniors in the photos below and, just as we predicted, the seniors received us with great joy and gratitude.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Below, some photos of an activity we did with a group of children and youth who live in a government condominium complex in San Juan. Their social worker wanted to do something special for them before they headed back to school in early August, and she invited us to be a part of this day in their community center.

more will be given

We have seen and experienced the joy of service being its own wages. The Lord has multiplied our work in Puerto Rico, and given us more and more opportunities to serve in farther reaches of the island. Thank you to those of you who have reached out in different ways to show support for this ministry and love towards our family.

We always like to use this part of the blog to let you know how you can be a part of this mission in Puerto Rico:

  1. Liking, following and sharing our posts on social media with those who you think might be interested in our ministry’s program,
  2. Contributing one of the ministry’s current physical needs, available on our registry page HERE,
  3. Making a financial donation directly to the ministry (no amount is too small), by clicking on the image below…
2019

We thank you for your prayers, encouragement and generosity. Thank you also for keeping up with us! May the Lord bless you richly!


Also in the month of July, we were invited for an interview on a morning radio show. Below, a video we posted to YouTube of the segment, which was a lot of fun for us and our boys. Enjoy!

Is This Thing On?

I hope that posting the account below does not keep me from abiding by the scripture:

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

The phone rang as I stood at my kitchen counter on a Sunday afternoon squeezing limes for limeade (it’s been a scorcher of a summer in Puerto Rico, mi gente). The gentleman on the other end apologized if he was a bother, but said he felt a burden from the Lord to reach out to us.

“I’m the man who played the piano in the church where you were this morning,” he began.

He expressed sincere gratitude for our ministry, and particularly for the simplicity of the message preached, stating that such a simple, straightforward Word-centered message is exactly what the church needs today, as he expressed he sees the church getting further and further away from the Word in everything they do. I shared with him that the messages Ricky preaches have developed out of our time visiting many churches over the years, and understanding that sadly, there is a great void where the Word of God once was. Many times, we see that programs, celebrations and other activities bump out God’s Word as central to worship services and other gatherings.

The gentleman on the line stressed, “Please, do not get tired of doing what you are doing. Even if you have to go to different places and say the same thing over and over again, it is important work and you will be blessed for it. God will never forsake those who are willing to obey and serve Him.” He echoed the Apostle Paul’s words beautifully…

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

He assured me that he would continue to intercede for our family. I made sure to let him know that no, he had not been a bother at all, and that in fact, God had used him mightily to encourage me that afternoon.

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25)

Anyone in full-time ministry has moments when you wonder if you are reaching anyone…moments when you truly go, <Tap, tap> “Is this thing on?”

In fact, it is not uncommon for people to think that our ministry in the churches is based on an old lady character; that I am the one running the show and that my husband and children are just tagging along. Even after Ricky preaches a 40 minute sermon, I will often have people approach me to congratulate me on my ministry.  Other times in churches, they will introduce the ministry as just “Doña Jenny,” and I have to explain to the congregation as I step up to lead worship that they will certainly meet Doña Jenny…at the end of the service.

Here’s a little secret: We actually wish we didn’t have to bring Doña Jenny to the churches. But, living in a world of celebrity pastors and evangelists (and Ricky not being one), we need a sort of ‘Trojan Horse’ to get us in the door. We know that without Doña Jenny and Abuelo Paco, we would not minister in half of the churches that invite us on the island.

So, it is refreshing to get encouragement from congregants in the churches we visit. Those who are most sincere are those whose words are tempered with the humble understanding that while they want to encourage us, they know the glory belongs to the Lord, and that we are only instruments of His grace.

SUMMER PLANTING

This was, far and away, the busiest summer for RAME Ministries since we began this journey in 2014.

Our summer months in the past years consisted of a lighter schedule, visiting group homes for children, adults and the elderly. But, summer 2019 saw an unprecedented flurry of phone calls from churches and other groups asking us to bring the program to day camps around the island. Our calendar quickly filled up with these visits, in addition to invitations to minister at special summer church services geared towards families.

In the month of June, we had the pleasure of ministering God’s Word in 16 summer camps (church and/or community),  and 11 church services in the municipalities where you see a red star below. Some municipalities were visited more than once throughout the month.

RAME JUNE 2019 MAP

SUMMER HARVEST

The wonderful thing about summer camps is that, like the schools, we are ministering to mixed groups of young people, some who are churched, others unchurched. We make sure to always bring them a message that draws them towards God’s Word for the answers to their questions. Below, some photos from the camps we ministered in.