Gordy and I are extremely saddened to share with you that we lost a beloved sister, Rita Halvorson and a beloved step dad, Jerry Murrey this past week. We will travel to North Dakota to be with our families in this mourning time. We would appreciate your prayers.
900 Solar Ovens were released from the Dominican customs. The Solar Oven team couldn’t be happier. The government questioned and re-questioned our Dominican director, Erasme for many days before releasing them. Money is always the deciding factor.
The following day Erasme motivated a team of 5 men to assemble 119 ovens in 2 days. Many fingers and arms were sore. He then traveled with a truck carrying those ovens to Santiago Rodriguez, Partido and Loma de Cabrera to distribute them. 119 people were very happy that day.
The following week, Gordy, Erasme and Jose Rafael Pegero traveled to the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic. They trained 2 young people from the communities there to visit the homes of folks who have already received solar ovens in order to find out what has been happening with these ovens. They traveled to five communities and visited 53 families. The results of these surveys are extremely important for us as a team to know how to make improvements in this ministry.
I have made the decision to officially retire from the General Board of Global Ministries effective September 1st, 2020. However, I will continue to work with Ardell in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer. My work activity will remain much the same, hosting volunteers in mission, solar oven mission, Church Development in the DR, and writing.
Ardell will continue as an official missionary with GBGM in her full capacity.
I am very grateful to all of you who have supported me over the past 31 years. Your financial support, prayers, and friendship have made this journey possible and filled my life with grace. It has been an honor and a privilege to be in covenant with you as mission partners. I hope you will continue in your missionary giving and consider shifting your support to Ardell (Advance # 10836Z).
I will continue to write for our newsletters and for our website, www.granerfamily.org so that we may remain in touch.
Ardell and I have returned to the Dominican Republic after five months of visiting our covenant churches in the USA. We also were able to visit our adult children (Hannah and Jenny are pictured), our extended family, many friends, and attend two funerals for our sister-in-law Susie and our brother-in-law Leroy. The fullness of life includes death. We are grateful to have been present with our families at this time when we could lean on each other and share our grief.
Visiting covenant churches has always been an important part of our missionary life and we are grateful for all the hospitality and joy of Christian fellowship. We hope that we were able to communicate our shared mission and express to you the passion that we feel. You have sponsored our missionary life over the past 30 years. What a gift you have given us!
While in the US, one of my wishes came true. I wanted to feel the cold of the North once again after being so long in the tropical heat and humidity. I got in on the comforting cold of the fall and first stage of winter that makes me feel sentimental. Later I also got a taste of driving on ice and through a snowstorm with a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel. And finally I had some outings where I felt the sting of bitter cold while not properly dressed for the occasion. That was a painful reminder that winter can be serious, fiercely cold. But before the winter really set in we came south on January 2nd, 2020 to the warmer climate of the Dominican Republic with temperatures in the 80’s.
We were only back five days before taking to the road for a solar oven mission event near the border of Haiti in the region of a bustling market town known as Dajabón. An UMVIM team of 12 came to us. We, the Dominican team, were only 4 but together with our northern brothers and sisters we were enough. We welcomed Marj, Karen, Ruth, Rita and Paul, Clinton, Susan, Harvey, Renae, Shirley, Gene, and Jeanine. Gene said it best one night at the dinner table, “What a privilege it is to be with such good people!” I second that sentiment and add, “Mil gracias!” (a thousand thanks).
We are waiting on the release of a shipment of solar ovens. They arrived about three weeks ago but Customs will not let them go without making the process frustrating and difficult. Somehow they mislabeled the shipment of solar ovens, and categorized them as electric ovens. And they want to charge us fees that are sky high. So our boss here, Erasme is having to jump through all the old hoops and some newly invented ones.
We were counting on the arrival of the oven shipment to have enough to distribute at three new sites. After working at the towns of Partido, Sabaneta, and Cabrera we took orders for about 200 ovens but only had 70 ovens available. At all three towns we had to do a drawing to see who would get the 23 ovens/site now and who would wait until we get the new shipment. The drawing created a atmosphere of excitement. When the names of the winners were announced there were shrieks, applause, and laughter. One woman even claimed that in her morning devotions God had given her a word from the Bible about winning something. She literally jumped up and down and shouted for joy.
Questions and Answers (historical fiction)
We had a number of retired teachers on the team, one by the name of Ruth. I could tell she is a smart teacher by all the questions she asked me. Questions that I could not answer properly. My answers were peppered with, “I’m not sure…” Or, “probably…” Or “it could be that…”
Ruth called me to account, “You live here, how come you don’t know the answers to my questions?”
So I said, “OK listen, ask me a really hard question about the USA and if I can answer it then you have to stop pestering me. Agreed?” She agreed.
She thought for a while and came up with this question, “In the USA how many persons per year are struck by lightning while on a hayride?”
Luckily she had asked a question that was within my sphere of knowledge as I happen to be an expert on hayrides.
I answered with authority, “Three!”
Ruth’s jaw dropped and she said, “I cannot believe you knew that!”
This is our powerpoint presentation that we are sharing with our covenant churches.
Please click here to watch it.
We are preparing to come and visit the second half of our covenant churches and are very much looking forward to another visit this fall.
This is the busiest time of the year for us in Christian Education. The children are on school vacation and the IED churches are busy planning and preparing for Vacation Bible School and summer camp. We have also received the fourth set of Sunday School curriculum which just arrived from the printers in Korea.
We have been holding training sessions for the Sunday School teachers and preparing them to use this curriculum. We are also in the midst of writing new curriculum for the Extension Bible School programs that reach children with the good news of God’s kingdom in their own neighborhoods.
Thank you for walking with us in this ministry.