Dominican Republic Hurricane Update

By Jesse and Rebecca Hales

Many have asked how Matthew effected our ministry in the Dominican.  I was told by our pastors that there were no lasting effects at any of our churches.  The Haiti side of the island faired far worse.  If you’re interested, please contact BMA missionary Bro. Poirier ostervald@axion.ca to find out how to help there.  We were in the US when Matthew hit the island.  We flew to Little Rock on Sept. 23rd to begin our 3-month long focus on reporting to supporting churches.  Due to the type of visas we got in the past we have come back each year for one month to renew them.  Each time, we tried to visit as many of our supporting churches as possible, but that wasn’t a lot.  This time around we are trying to first focus on our supporting churches that we have not been to since our first visit about 4 years ago.  As of sending this out we have had 18 meetings in 20 days with about 70 total scheduled, but unfortunately we still aren’t going to be able to see all of you.

FAMILY UPDATE…

IT’S A GIRL!!  I announce that with all due fear and trembling!  Lydia Diann seems perfectly healthy at this point and is on track for her estimated arrival date of Feb. 10th.  Rebecca is doing well.  She is really enjoying the cooler weather and being around her family.  The boys are fine.  They don’t care for having to wear pants and long sleeves.  Colton does not understand why for one we have to drive so far to get to church.  He told me that he likes the US but he likes the Dominican Republic better.  One of his biggest shockers so far has been that Daddy has to get out and pump the gas when we buy gas.

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Ballard’s October Newsletter

By Danny & Rita Ballard

A Brief Testimony from Sister Mary Ann Diotay, wife of Pastor Rex Diotay from Honda Bay Baptist Church. 

She says, “I praise God for the VSM team introducing our youth to SOAP journaling and for giving me the wisdom to handle the youth in SOAP journaling and small group. We started it last June, 2015, with only eight members, but after one month our attendance has increased to fifteen or more members. The SOAP journaling and small groups has helped us to love and serve God in very simple ways. We have had overnight retreats and fun days in order for our group to have a closer relationship to each other. As their teacher, I have also learned a lot from them. I learned to be more patient and to accept and love them in spite of their differences. We can correct them, discipline them, and they listen and obey because we invested our love to them.

I observed that the young people who are faithful to attend our SOAP and small group meetings are the young people who are faithful in attending church and willing to offer their help. We love them and they also love us.

We are thankful to the VSM mission team who introduced the SOAP journaling to our youth during their mission trip in 2015. Praise God! We give Him all the glory and honor for what He has done through the SOAP journaling and small groups.”

Update on Maria 

We introduced Maria in our last newsletter and shared her story with many while we were home on furlough. The Lord has allowed us to go more in depth spiritually with Maria and her family by beginning a Bible Study with them once a week. Rita has challenged all three of their daughters to learn the books of the New Testament. They enthusiastically accepted the challenge. It was amazing to hear Maria share how excited her daughters were to get to attend Bible study. The enthusiasm of the family to learn more about God is so fulfilling. Maria’s cancer has continued to spread but her enthusiasm for living for Christ abounds more with each passing day. We are praying for a miracle in her health and ask that you will join us in prayer for Maria and her family.

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Update from the Lingles

First Buddhist Funeral:

Our helper’s father past away last week. He was working on a large truck tire and it exploded. The cremation ceremony was a lot different than I expected. It started with about an hour of chants from the monks. After that they passed out flowers to everyone to lay in the casket. That is what everyone is doing in the picture above. While we were walking up to the casket people were throwing candy and coins to the people there. I thought that was odd, but apparently that is a part that attracts people to come and give merit on behalf of the dead. They believe you can still make merit in these last few days on behalf of the dead.

After everyone finished laying their flowers they started the cremation process. All the sudden, loud fireworks came shooting around the temple. Lots of birds were being set free at the same time (a way to make merit). I left very sad. Not only for our friend losing her father, but for all the 100s of people there that don’t know God.

Teaching at North Bangkok University:

A few weeks ago I invited Jo to come and share with my class tips and encouragement for learning english. It was good for the students, and it was good for them to get to meet him. I’m thankful to have a friend and teammate like Jo. If you don’t know he is going to be the pastor of the church we plant together.

We have still been meeting at our house Saturday nights for “Conversation Night.” It has been fun to see how the college students have become good friends with our families. We even have 3 students who will just “drop by” today and visit. It’s good to have our home as a place for others to come and hang out and visit. God has given us many opportunities to hare our hope and faith in God with them. We pray for many more, and that they would come to know the God we love.

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Ricky Williams September 2016 Newsletter

Seminary Classes Across Latin America

September 5th was the first day of class for twenty-three students from eight countries.  This fall under the auspices of BMA Seminary three classes are being taught.  Phil Knott, Eric Johnson and I each teach one class a week at the Associate of Divinity level via the internet.  Pray for these men and women who are studying to be better servants for the Lord.

Bible Institute Continues

Although I am not in Mexico, the Bible Institute continues.  Rebeca and Lemuel are finishing this year.  Both work during the daytime and attend classes  from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. most week day evenings.  I teach them on Friday from 4 until 6 p.m. Pray for them as they seek God´s will for their future.

Roof Construction

Well thanks to three churches’ generous offerings we have been able to finish 5 columns.  Seven (7) more are needed before we get to the next stage, roof construction.  Even if the roof is not able to be finished, the columns will provide support for a large tarp to be placed for the BMA of Mexico meeting in case it meets at El Rinconcito.  To finish the columns we need $2,300 dollars for labor and the remaining materials of gravel and sand. In case you feel led to give any amount toward this need, please send that offering to the Ricky Williams Project Fund at BMA Missions, PO Box 878, Conway, AR 72033.

Homiletics in Peru

This past August I was happy to assist Dr. Charley Holmes and BMATS students Axel Zavala and Santos Juarez to hold a class on homiletics in Ica, Peru and shared virtually with students in Bolivia and Peru.

Hales Family Happenings – September 2016

By Jesse and Rebecca Hales

Dominican Republic

Oh, the fun of getting ready for furlough. That seems to be the main theme for this month. We will be flying to the US on September 23rd to visit supporters and renew our visas. We won’t get back home to the Dominican until December 30th. We are looking forward to spending the holidays with family, but (contrary to popular belief) it is going to be far from a long vacation. Right now we have 53 meetings lined up in 9 states plus more to schedule. Add to that chasing down paperwork for visas and living out of suitcases with 2 little balls of energy and a tired pregnant wife. I say that not to complain or get pity. We are really looking forward to this trip and all the people we will get to see and connect with. I say it so you understand better how to pray for us. That’s the future, though. This month has been getting ready for that, preparing ministry stuff and the house for our long absence, paying all our bills for 4 months (this month + the 3 we will be gone), trying to figure out what we need to pack (everything) and so on. It’s been a different kind of month, but don’t get me wrong, it’s been a good one. As we have faced different challenges and hurdles in preparation, we have seen God’s amazing provision and answers to prayer along the way. Surrounded by abject poverty, it is humbling to be able to save up enough money to pay 4 months of bills at one time. We finally got our first electric bill since we moved to Santo Domingo and ended up paying 17 months on it in 2 different payments. We are also trying to prepare for having a new baby just 5 weeks after we get back here. That includes needing to turn the SUV into a minivan, and one of the cribs into a bunkbed among other things. All this adds up very fast, but not more than what God can handle. See, it may SEEM like the theme for this month has been preparation, but really it has been God’s provision. God is an amazing provider! THANK YOU for being a part of that!

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Ricky Williams – August 2016

ALUMNI RETREAT IN BOLIVIA20160806-114637.jpg
Just a couple of weeks ago I was privileged to speak at the BMA Bolivian Bible Institute´s Alumni retreat.  The topic of “Not looking back” from Luke 9:62 was the theme. I enjoyed sharing six m
essages with about 15 alumni in those days. Fellowship and sports activities were some added times of joy.  At least I didn´t score an “auto-goal” in soccer.

 

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COURSE IN PERU
Áfter Bolivia I flew to Lima, Peru where I met John Michael and Angela Poulin. Later that same day Dr. Charley Holmes and two students, Santos Juarez and Axsel Zavala, arrived and we all traveled to Ica, Peru to teach a course on sermon preparation and delivery. Twleve students attended the beneficial course. Three of those were distance students from Mexico and Bolivia via the internet.

 

A BIG THANKS
20160808-134551.jpg John Michael and Angela Poulin deserve a big thanks for hosting the course on sermon preparation and delivery.  Not only did the course meet in their house, they housed us from the U.S. (five) plus four pastors from Peru. Each day they fed around twenty people including students, their family, and some workers who helped.  They were gracious and helpful. May the Lord continue to bless their work there in Ica, Peru and the surrounding area.

 

UPDATE ON ROOF
The roof over the basketball court is at a standstill presently.  Five columns have been poured. Seven still need to be poured. All the steel rebar has been purchased. FBC of Livingston has given another $1,000 dollars toward the construction. At current prices another $1,300 dollars is needed for the cement, sand, gravel and labor to complete the remaining seven columns. If the Lord places this on your heart, no gift is too small. Send those offerings to the Ricky Williams Project Fund marked “Basketball Roof”.  That address is BMA Missions Department, P.O. Box 878, Conway, AR 72033.For those who may be new to this newsletter, the roof at the basketball court at our Bible Institute near Aquismón will provide an extra benefit to camps who use it as their church camp sites.  Also, the BMA of Mexico can use it for their national meetings when no church chooses to invite it. Therefore, your gift would be a lasting blessing to the churches of the BMA of Mexico.

 

UPDATE ON PRISCILLA
While I was away in Peru, Priss fell again here with our daughter, Amanda.  That was due in part to her low hemoglobin.  She continues to be weak but now is “gun shy” about walking by herself.  She has several doctors´ appointments in these days.  Pray for her and her doctors so that she can see some marked improvement.

Hales Family Happenings – August 2016

By Jesse and Rebecca Hales
Dominican Republic

Okay, so this month has just flown by way to fast!  We have been able to be a part of lots of great things though.  First of all, the VBS programs that we asked you to be praying for in last month’s newsletter (thank you for that) went very well.  There were about 12 workers each day and around a total 0f 480 different kids who learned about imitating Christ with love and respect.  The teachers have already been coming up with ideas about next year’s programs.  We were also blessed with a visit from Pastor Steven Kim and members of his church in New Jersey.  They came to teach/help us install hydroponics gardening systems on the rooftops of 2 of the churches here.  Rebecca’s mom, Diann Jones, also blessed us with a visit this month.  Elisha is still walking around the house at random times calling for his “abuela” (grandma).  Add to all of that a ministry trip up to Nagua and all the other normal ministry activities and you get a great month that just goes by way too quickly.

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Rivers of Blessing

The M.S. Arrington River Boat of the BMA in South America

The First Arrington

The First Arrington

By Buddy Johnson

There is bad news and good news concerning the Arrington riverboat in South America. The bad news is that its hull rotted and the motor ruined. During the past ten years, the Arrington has made many trips up and down the Mamoré River in Bolivia. From the Chapare River at the southernmost point to Guayara-Merin at the northernmost point there are many river villages that have been contacted as a direct result of the ministry of the Arrington.            Through the years, many medical teams, flood relief teams, and evangelical teams have traveled the hundreds of miles up and down the Mamoré. Pastor and boat Capitan David Flores reports that there are believers in 37 different villages who are direct results of the ministry of the Arrington. Along the river, several church houses have been built and the pastors of these churches have been trained as part of the Arrington ministry. Our River Bible Institute in Belencito has been built, commissioned, and is being used to train young men to evangelize up and down the Mamoré River.

 

Motor before repair without the radiator

Motor before repair without the radiator

Sadly, this entire ministry came to a splashy halt as the Arrington motor became useless, and the boat slowly filled with river water. After much prayer and discussion, we decided to sell the boat and purchase one or two smaller boats with which we could continue the ministry. In order to sell the boat, much needed repairs had to be made. The boat was lifted out of the water with hydraulic jacks and placed on stumps of large trees that had been cut for this purpose. More than fifty 2x12x20 hardwood boards were cut from jungle trees with chain saws by our brethren in Belencito. The rotting hull was repaired and coated anew with tar to make it floatable once again. While this was happening, the crew repainted the boat inside and out. Also, plans were being made to replace or rebuild the straight six-cylinder Volvo diesel motor.

The problem with the motor is this: The cooling system had been taking in water from the river, and over the years the algae and minerals in the river water corroded and destroyed the cylinder walls of the motor. We decided to rebuild the motor and install a radiator for the cooling system. The drive shaft, U-bolts, etc. were all rusted and in need of replacement. However, before all this work began, David received an invitation from people who lived along another huge river, the Intenis, which intersects the Mamoré and comes from deep within Brazil. As he made contact with several new villages along the Intenis, God began to refresh his vision for the Arrington River Boat.

New motor with radiator and barrel (Pastor David Flores)

New motor with radiator and barrel (Pastor David Flores)

Instead of selling the boat, we decided to repair and renovate it and begin a completely new era in Brazil. Several of our men along the river are bilingual and speak both Spanish and Portuguese. They, along with David, have made contact with several villages in Brazil and already have several believers along the new river. In early July, I visited the boat to accompany David and the crew on the “maiden voyage” of the newly repaired boat. On the trip, we found that the radiator was too small to continually cool the motor, and the air flow was not sufficient to cool the water as it circulated through the radiator. David and his mechanical abilities solved the problem by circulating the water with a lot of coolant through a barrel filled with clean water. After a few adjustments, the motor was tuned up, smoothed out, and fully functional.

Here is the good news. Many new churches are being started in the northwestern waterways of Brazil. A new era of ministry is now being realized, and soon the Brazilian Association will have a ministry begun by Bolivian missionaries. God is exciting many people with his vision for the villagers along the Intenis River in Brazil.

Here is our dilemma! The funds which were available for the ministry of the Arrington have been depleted! The necessary repairs cost almost $12,000.00. As the ministry continues along the rivers of Brazil, we desperately need to replace these funds and spend our time and efforts evangelizing the river people in Brazil. Our plans are to invite the leaders of BMA Brazil to help with this ministry as funds become available. As you read this article and view these photos, will you pray for the future of this worthy ministry? Will you consider a gracious one-time or monthly offering to help us reach this new area with the gospel? May God receive all the glory and may we rejoice in his blessings.

Hales Family Happenings – July 2016

Jesse and Rebecca Hales
Dominican Republic

It is always encouraging when one ministry has developed enough where you can somewhat transition out of it and into another one.  When we first moved here to the Santo Domingo area Rebecca focused most of her ministry time in helping the children’s ministry in Manoguayabo.  That ministry has now grown and developed in several positive ways.  This month Rebecca moved from this ministry to focus on the children’s ministry in Bienvenido.  The Children’s ministry there has grown to the point that they are ready to divide up into different classes and Rebecca will be helping in this process among other things.  Another big thing for this month has been all the preparation for the VBS programs getting ready to start.  It has been fun for me to watch the excitement grow in the teachers as they get all the plans, details and decorations worked out more and more.  Finally our report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the quick ministry visit from our field coordinator and friend Bro. David Dickson.  His visits are always important to our ministry here.

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Ricky Williams’ Newsletter

Roof for Multi-Use Facility Started

As you can see in the photo, work has begun!  Thanks to the generous offerings of one church in Texas, five columns will be built.  Two columns have been poured and work on the other three progresses. That just leaves seven (7) left to raise funds for. In case you are wondering how much the remaining seven columns will cost, at the present it will be $4,750 dollars for the seven. I say at the present because the price of steel rebar, cement, and other materials increases each month.

The Plan

The plan for roofing the basketball court is to not only have a covered area for basketball, but also a multi-use facility for camps as well as our own BMA of Mexico meetings. Although five columns have been poured, we still lack seven at a cost of about $500 dollars each.  The price of steel and concrete increases each month.

The Roof

The contractor has drawn this preliminary sketch of the roof structure. The cost of the material and labor is $16,718 dollars.  Just as I mentioned above, the material may very well increase each month. Some  brothers from churches both here and in Mexico have expressed interest in donating their labor as welders.

PLANS FOR THE SUMMER

I was in Jacksonville, TX June 13-17 for a DiscipleWay training course at BMATS.  This was in Spanish.  In July I will be coordinating a Systematic Theology 2 course for Latin American virtual sites.  Dr. Erickson will be the teacher. In August I will be traveling to Bolivia to speak at the Bible Institute´s alumni retreat and then from there I will go to Peru to join Dr. Charley Holmes for a Homiletics course that will be taught live there and in other Latin American sites virtually.  Please pray for my travel and funds for the ministry

Where to Give

Funds for either my ministry or the Basketball Roof Construction can be sent to BMA Missions, P.O. Box 878, Conway, AR 72033. Please mark funds for my ministry as Ricky Williams Work Fund.  If they are for the roof construction, mark them Williams Special Projects-Roof fund.