Friday, June 29, 2012

The Real God Market (2)

Good morning everyone Y Dios te bendiga!

Here is the latest in the progress at Rio Vista Mission House in the D.R.  Today we watched as the construction team poured concrete for the top of the 2500 gallon fresh water cistern.  You can see from the pictures that it will make a sizable foundation as well for the pump house and eventually an outdoor kitchen. Once the concrete is dry they will build a small casita on top and enclose the water pump for the house.  The picture also shows the pipe behind the cistern which is the well we drilled two weeks ago.  Once we have power hooked up to the property we can fill the cistern with fresh water and then pressurize the pipes connecting the cistern to the house.(no leaky, leaky!)

water well pipe


The other pictures show the newly installed doors with security deadbolts attached.

I want to continue building the platform which explains The Real God Market here in the D.R.  In my last blog I expressed to our readers how important our work is to the big picture in God's Kingdom.  We are all Kingdom builders during our lives and ultimately this is the test for each of us, whether we believe in God or not, the truth of the world still stares each of us in the face as we go through any day.
This is the question:  What are you doing with your life and does it leave a positive impact on those you come in contact with daily.  Ideally this will involve your family first, as this is every man's First Ministry. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Prov 22:6 NIV
and concurrently we are told three scriptures later, "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."  Prov 22:9 NIV.

In the same breath we are governed with the command of God to teach our children the right ways AND give to the poor.

I started talking in the last blog about "Economic Empowerment of the People"  which I believe sums up the commands from God to all of us.
Educational reform is happening in this country and other countries slowly and largely through Missionary based operations like Dominican Advance, Servants Heart and Island Light Ministries.  There are others however I want to focus on the work of one in particular.

Island Light Ministries is primarily a Christ centered outreach to a small community near us.  Pastor Jim Tunnicliffe and his wife Debra are Missionaries in the village of Paraiso.  Pastor Jim works with the local church in Paraiso bringing hope to the faithful through God.  The village of Paraiso houses more than 1000 Dominicans from the poorest of the communities around.  Each family was given a home, built and donated by another Mission, Samaritan Foundation. Statistics reported in the village that more than 50% of the adults  cannot read or write, making them available only for labor positions in the marketplace, if they can find a job.  The labor market pays very little in the third world, in most countries the average is under $2.00 per day.  Here in the D.R. the minimum wage for hard labor is not much higher and a good laborer can make around 8,000 pesos a month or $7.00 a day.  Many here average less than that because they do not have sustainable work daily.
The wage separation between educated and uneducated is massive here as skilled university positions pay almost at parity with the rest of the world; lawyers, doctors, engineers and business owners make far more than laborers.  Economic empowerment for the majority of the people can only come through education.

One of the mandates of the Millennium Development Goals which were created by the United Nations in 2000 stated that in order to eradicate poverty each nation must provide basic free education for primary children.  In a follow-up report issued in 2005 the D.R. is still falling short of many of the MDG's, but they are committed to continue.(1)
The MDG's establish only educating children to grade 8 in all of the third world.  The D.R. is trying to meet this mandate as  many children under the age of 12 can attend a free primary school for free.  After that the government has no concrete plans for sustainable education.  There are some secondary schools for teens and a few good universities as well, however, less than 60% of children go on to high school.  Of those that complete high school, few go on to university, simply because they have no money.  Vocational schools in the private sector are almost non-existent, again, the people have no money to attend higher learning centers.

Island Light Ministries also manages a large vocational school in the village of Paraiso which provides free education in the technical trades for those interested in rising above the poverty level.  These programs include a carpentry school, electrician school, sewing school, beauticians and soon an automotive school will begin.  The waiting list is immense already as the classrooms can handle only a few students at a time. Resources for these vocational schools come from donations mainly from North American Mission Teams and churches back home.
These vocational programs will create a new revenue base of skilled laborers in the village of Paraiso, a skilled labor base that will provide success for a community.  Ultimately that community will grow and begin to support itself with a "buy at home" mentality.  You see, as a community develops with education and skilled training, the revenue available to those that live in the community also grows.  These people in training at the vocational school are also taught the economics of local buying.  This keeps the earnings from the newly trained workers right within the village they live in.  When local money is used properly in this manner a community will thrive and grow.
This program provided  is absolutely essential as a solution to an economic crisis that continues to grip this little country and her people.

Island Light Ministries survives on donations and support from Mission Teams and churches back home.
We hope that their success with these vocational schools continues; we support them as teams continue to bring resources for the schools.  We hope to support the teams when they are here.

Rio Vista Mission House is provided for the support and sustenance of these Mission Teams and the work their Mission Groups are doing here in the D.R.
You can support our Mission by donating to our project.
Please visit Island Light Ministries site as well to see how they operate.
May God guide your steps.



Monday, June 11, 2012

The Real God Market

Over the last year a realization has been building in my mind as to the purpose and look of North Coast Missionary Services here in the Dominican Republic.  The Non-Profit Charity of NCMS is multi-faceted and has at least two stages of operation before the full realization of God's purpose is revealed in NCMS.  Primarily I believe entirely that God's purpose for using a business model for establishing this Mission is wholly centered around talents that He has ingrained within both Laura and myself.  We are hospitality people, we are caterers and restaurateurs; essentially we feed God's people.  With that said, at first I could not entirely understand why He wanted me to build this type of Mission, I mean there are other ways to feed people, especially Missionaries and is feeding Missionaries really the whole point of the Mission He has sent us here to fulfill?  I suggest to you that God has had an idea for North Coast Missionary Services since He birthed the vision in my mind...this is how it looks to me now.
Each Mission team that will stay in Rio Vista Mission House is part of a larger community of Mission Teams who visit the Mission Field in the Dominican Republic every year; there are literally hundreds of groups that work with different Mission Groups in every Mission Field you can think of, or should I say more precisely, the Mission Fields that God has thought of.  I want each of you who read this to put Missions in another perspective right now, a perspective that might look a little different than what you might think is a traditional Mission Field.  This is what I refer to as The Real God Market.

The Real God Market is specifically about Missions, or more effectively, the "WHY?" anyone does Missions.  The Real God Market is what God has been telling all of us since He gave us the great commission to "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matt 28:19 NIV.  The Real God Market is about the people, all of them, even you and me.

Everything else is the World's Market, not part of the Great commission, but nonetheless, still belonging to God for it is written, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." Col 1:16 NKJV.

This means what exactly? This means that we must use the resources from around us, in our world, from our earth, all things and anything that He has provided for ALL of humanity to live in order to do the things that He has commissioned all of us to do.  What we do with the blessings we have, with the wealth we have made is entirely important here and now, actually this has been the rule since God created it.  This actually  means that you are the proud owner of nothing, you may think you are but in reality, you are using everything you have on "Loan" from the Lord.  Think about it, we all trade time for money so we can buy the things we need to live; and sometimes we sell those things we have to make more money to buy other things.  So while we live we are all trading stuff back and forth among each other, using just about anything for currency since the dawn of recorded history.  Today, money is the current form of currency, however, it could have likely been fruits and vegetables or even chickens at one time in history.  Money is just easier to handle today instead of chickens.  The point is, we are called to be good stewards with what we have been blessed with and to continue to bless those around us with our blessings.  This is the way it was supposed to work from the beginning.  So what happened?  In a word...Greed.  Sin and temptation entered as wealth was discovered, resources were dug up and poured into molds and called ingots.  Man turned away from God's edict and began to write his own history.  We all know it, history is full of war and conflict, nation after nation has conquered and been conquered all in the name of Greed, again since the dawn of recorded history.
So what about today?  Can we change?  Are we changing?  What can we do now that we see our history laid out behind us like a finely plowed field.  What are we supposed to plant in this newly furrowed field?
The rules are still the same as they were then, "Therefore go and make disciples of men,"
But what can you do you ask?  Each of us has a part to play in our lives on earth.  We just have to understand what the part is, and even then not fall to the temptation and snare of the World around us; the trappings of the World that cause us to trip and fail, trappings like drugs, alcohol, pornography, crime, and a myriad of other vices.  Those that are not ensnared by these trappings might like to think you are doing OK competing with the Jones'; newsflash, it is not a competition.  Hear it again,  "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." Col 1:16 NKJV.
You came into the world with nothing and you will leave with nothing, it is what you do with God's property in between birth and death that is important.
Here is another suggestion for what to do in between life and death:
God gave us His promise when he said through Malachi, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour out you a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Malachi3:10 KJ
God is telling us in this scripture to "test" Him on this, if we tithe back to Him a portion of our blessing, He will open up the taps on us and we will receive more than we can handle!
How many have the Faith to do that?
Giving to Missions is also considered as tithes and offerings, you see, God created this edict to establish a revenue source for Missions to the poor, to the orphans, to the lost, to The Real God Market.

The Mission Field in itself is becoming very specific in nature as Ministries are defining "How" to do God's work in many different ways, largely because of the size of the problems we all face in differing Mission Fields.

 The biggest God Market that most of the world is not engaged in entirely is the Economic Empowerment of People.  It is compassion for people that we are driven to do more for them than we do for ourselves.  The Mission Groups that are working here in the D.R. and for that matter anywhere in the world, are all involved in some form of Economic Empowerment of the People.  Each Mission group involved in programs that provide improvement in Education for a nation; Mission Groups involved in programs that create training for vocational jobs, even those that provide micro-loans for people to get started in a business.  Mission Groups that are involved in providing medical services, even Mission Groups that are involved in feeding orphans, widows and the elderly.  You see each of these Mission Groups is fully committed to God's plan of Economic Empowerment of the People, and these groups survive in the Mission Field by bringing teams of individuals to their respective Mission Fields every year.  Year after year these teams will continue to bring needed resources, finances, and God's love for the people.

This is what we are doing here in the Dominican Republic. We are assisting those that are involved in the Real God Market with fulfilling God's will, to "feed His sheep",  "to be with widows and orphans in their time of need", and "to make disciples of men."
We have looked into the Mission Field here and "Filled a need".  The Mission House can assist Missionaries  at what they are called to do, we can do this by providing a safe, secure, private, Christ centered environment; a "refueling station".  These teams can return each day from the Mission Field and "refuel" for the next day.  At the same time Rio Vista Mission House will support itself and all other programs the Non-Profit of NCMS will be involved with in the future.  In essence, a Mission that can survive economic downturn because Missionaries will continue to come here to work in the Real God Market.

What we are building here with Rio Vista Mission House is a place for us to do a better job for all of these Mission Groups who are involved in His work.
I cannot express to you enough how important it is for all of you to understand that this is the "Why?" in my life, in my wife's life, in my life with God.

We are not quite finished building the Rio Vista Mission House, we need a few more support dollars in order to complete some of the projects before we can receive Mission Teams.
The full list is available here.

Water well                                             $2500
Backup Power, Inverter                         $500
Security Wall                                     $10,000

Bathroom fixtures                                $2500 for six bathrooms (toilets, sinks, taps, tiling)
Security Protection on Windows       $2000  (15 windows)
Electrical Wiring, Lights and Fans   $3,000
Bedroom furnishings                          $3800  (six complete rooms @ $440.00 each)
Dining Room Furnishings                    $500
Kitchen Equipment                             $1000
Two Hot Water on Demand
Includes Propane tanks                      $1000 

Green Program: (wish list)
Solar Power Start up                          $6000 includes 10 Kyocera 210 Watt Panels, Inverter,                    Batteries System

Support us as we continue to support all of the Mission Groups that are sending teams to work in God's Market, The Real God Market.
Praise God queries of bookings are starting already!
Your gifts are tax deductible, we are so close.

Michael and Laura

Friday, June 1, 2012

Almost there!

Wow, what two weeks out of the country will do to produce results!  Laura and I recently returned to Canada to enjoy some R&r and other details like, filing your taxes, (thought I could dodge last year...nope), renewing passports, (can't fly without those!) and catching up with great friends and supporters of our Mission here in the D.R.  We enjoyed a special time in Lethbridge with two of our children and watched eagerly as our youngest Gabrielle graduated high school, (am I that old?!??!)  It was a great time with the kids and we hung out for a few days trying to enjoy a typical May long weekend in Alberta! (I think this was one of the reasons we left!  6 degrees on Saturday! Are you kidding?  At least it didn't snow!)  After a quick run through Walmart and Value Village to replenish some shirts and shorts, (how did I get paint on three pair of shorts and four shirts???)  we left sunny L.A. for Calgary

Now back to the business at hand.

I want to showcase to the readers exactly `Why`` the Rio Vista Guest House will do what is has been built for.  You see the facility designed to provide accommodations and meals for short-term mission teams while they work in various fields of God`s Missions.  For example teams that work with Dominican Advance, who provide schools for underprivileged children to get an education.  Teams that also work with Samaritan Foundation, who provide housing for poor families.  Teams that also work for Island Light Ministries, who provide programs of higher learning in three vocational schools. We will also provide for the teams which come to assist the medical Mission Field, those teams who work for Servants Heart as well as Willing Servant Ministries who operate clinics for some of the poorest people in the country.  In each of these Missions, the grass roots empowerment of the Dominican people and many Haitians as well is positively affected to a very successful end.  The educators of Dominican Advance are seeing over 400 children receive a first-class education and soon will see them move through high school; almost unheard of in this country.  Samaritan Foundation has moved over 1000 families into new homes over the last 20 years, with over 1000 families still waiting to be selected for a new home the work continues.  Island Light has just begun classes in the vocational schools and will graduate 100`s of adults into new fields of industry, seamstresses, electricians, automotive, woodworking, beauticians and more are moving into a brighter self-empowered work force.  Servants Heart and Willing Servants are also seeing amazing improvements in the health of the people of the communities they serve.

It is because of the work these Mission Groups do each and every day, (and these are only five Mission Groups that I have mentioned); the tireless comings and goings of the many teams that assist them in their work, that we feel called to provide an adequate facility to lessen the burden on them as much as possible while they are here.  Everybody should understand that in order for Missionaries to be greatly effective where they are sent, they need to be safe, rested, and well fed; both spiritually and physically!  It is from the Rio Vista Guest House that these teams can do their best, most effective work.

However with all that said, we still need to get up and operational so that we can provide services for Mission Teams.  The work at the Mission House is almost finished, we have only a few small projects that  still require funding  in order to open the doors to the Mission Teams.  We are inviting individuals and Corporations alike to adopt one or more of these projects in order for us to receive our first Mission team in August; any donation is fully receipt-able through Bridges of Hope
 Or call them directly 403-380-3844.

Water well                                 $2500.00
Kitchen Stove                             $200.00
Refrigerator                                 $500.00
Backup Power
Inverter                                      $500.00
Security Wall                              $10,000

Green Program:
Two Hot Water on Demand
Includes Propane tanks                   $500.00 each unit
Solar Power Start up                       $6000.00 includes 10 Kyocera 210 Watt Panels, Inverter, Batteries

Please visit the other Mission Sites to see their programs and the work they are doing.

Dominican Advance 
Samaritan Foundation
Willing Servants Ministry
Island Light Ministries
Servants Heart           

Bless you all wherever you find yourself on this day.