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May 1980
Dear Friends in Christ,
April 2, 1980, was the first anniversary of my arrival in Puerto
Rico. The time has really gone by fast. I realize I have been neg
ligent in not writing very often, and I hope to do better through
out the rest of this year. Since my last letter was received short
ly before Christmas, I'll begin there.
Many of our teachers went home for Christmas, but I chose to
stay here, as did some of the teachers at Levittown. So on Christ
mas Eve, I invited them over to my place for a get together. We
opened our presents from home, decorated Christmas cookies that were
later given to the neighbors, and watched "White Christmas" on TV. Believe it
some of them had never seen it before. On Christmas Day we all went to York's
traditional turkey dinner.
One of the interesting customs here at Christmas is the "paranda" or "asalto." A group
of people will get together and go "caroling" Puerto Rican style. The songs that are sung
have a Latin beat and are usually accompanied by bongo drums. The "asalto" will take place
during the middle of the night. The person who is visited by his friends in this way is
expected to feed them before sending them on their way. He may even join them as they
continue their singing. It's quite an Interesting experience to hear an "asalto" at two
or three in the morning!
We had a three-week break for Christmas, and then school began again on January lAth.
In addition to my secretarial.duties, I am now te^ch1ng jius ic to the children in first
through sixth grades. This was an area that was n6t"*emphasized too much in the past be
cause the school did not have a qualified music teacher. However, my degree from Ozark
is a Bachelor of Theology degree with a major in music, and I decided it was about time I
put it to use. I meet with each class twice a week. It is quite an experience, and I'm
learning too, along with the children.
The first of March four of the students from the school in Levittown were baptized.
We were able to witness this event because they used the baptistry at our church building.
(The church building in Levittown doesn't have one.) We were glad to take part In this
service and so happy to see some of the work that we are doing in the schools bearing
fruit. Also, the service was a witness to some in the congregation. For, one. man it was V \
the first baptism by immersion that he had ever seen! He grew up in the Catholic Church,\
and although three of his daughters have been baptized, he did not see that event becausejy
he wasn't interested in the church at the time.
week of March saw the end of the third nine weeks. We teachers went on a
much needed break. We were gone two days and nights. It was really great
from the hustle and bustle of the city, the heavy traffic, radio, TV, and
I think we all came back refreshed and ready to go to work again,
the middle of March was the regional spelling bee. I was the school co-
accompanied our school champion to this bee. Although she didn't place
or not,
for the
The second
retreat for a
to get away
telephone.
Also, in
ordinator, so I
in the top six,
again.
The last ful 1
week, a half-day
the co-ordinator
The theme
she did well. She's only in fifth grade, so she will be able to compete
week of March we had Spjj.itj^^^^EmpJiasis Week at the school. During this
is spent each day in BibTe^study, chapel, and related activities. I was
for this, too. The material we used was the Standard VBS material for
is "Jesus, I Believe in You." Everyone was really pleased wi th it, and
the kids really learned a lot. They're spending more time on scripture memorization now,
too. We also used the song books that Standard has to go with the VBS material. The kids
love the songs. It's not unusual to hear them singing the songs any time they have some
free time. In fact, during music class they would rather sing these songs than spend
time doing anything else. We pray that all the activities of that week have helped all
of the kids to really realize what it means to say "Jesus, I Believe in You.
On March 29 the churches of the island got together for a singspiration on the
Boquer5n Beach. Boqueron is located on the southwest corner of the island on the Carib
bean. It is really beautiful there. We had time to go swimming and visit with each
other before the singspirat ion got under way. The speaker for the occasion was Nils
Juarez, a young man from Levittown (originally from Cuba). He was
doctor, but decided to go into the ministry instead. Right now he
at Lincoln Christian Seminary and plans to come back to the island
graduates.
The week bjefgre Easter school was dismissed, on April 2 - A we had
the church
mi ss i onary
cepted the Lord as his Savior that week, one woman did come forward to express her de
sire to know more about becoming a Christian. She is the mother of the girl who was
killed in the automobile accident last November. (I wrote about that in my last news
letter.) The preacher and the school director are having Bible studies with her, and we
pray that she soon will accept the Lord. Please continue to pray for her. Her name is
M-i ^dg. Bra,Cjej:a.
""faster Sunday morning a woman who has been attending the church for the last three
years came forward and made her confession of faith. She was baptized the following
Sunday. What rejoicing! There are several attending the services regularly who are
very close to making their decisions to accept Christ. We ask that you continue to
studying to become a
is in graduate school
to work when he
a revival here at
in Caparra Terrace. Our evangelist wascAlbertp_Gonzalez, a Mexican who is a
in the Dominican Republic. The attendance was good, and although no one ac-
keep them in your prayers.
My Sunday.. School class continues to grow.- It has doubled since I started teaching.
Last quarter we had lessons on what to do to become a Christian, different aspects of
prayer, and the sovereignty of God. This quarter we are starting a series of lessons on
letting God guide us and trusting Him.
I'm looking forward to my parents coming down oerXt.month and spending a we^ with me.
1 hope to be able to show them aro'und the island especially in the areaSwhere we do
have churches.
Also, Marianna Taylor, the jote.rn who lived with me last summer, will be returning
the end of May to help us again this summer. She and I will be working together in
camps and VBS's throughout the island during June and July. In fact, as the schedule
looks now, we have only one free week left. If possible, we hope to go to the Dominican
Republic that week to see some of the mission work that is being done there.
_A11 of the VBS's and wmps wi 11 be conducted in Spanish, so I'll soon start preparing
my lessons for them, so that the kids will know wfiaf'l'm saying. My Spanish has im
proved since I've been here and I'm using it more and more every day, but 1 have a long
way to go yet to really be fluent in it.
L,as-.year my average monthly support was not quite $^6^.00. But since my last news
letter, it has beehTricreasing". I just continue to thank t^' Lord for the way He con
tinues to provide; I thank my supporters for the financial support they continue to give;
and 1 thank all of you for your prayers on my behalf. Believe me, they are needed, and
I do appreciate them and can tell you have been praying for me.
One thing most missionaries don't seem to get enough is persona] mail^from the folks
"back home". There are so many of you that I would love to hear from, so the next time
you have a spare minute, why not write me, or some other, missionary that you may knovsL,
a short note. It would really make our day. Once again, my address is:
GPO Box 29^6
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
A 15^ stamp is all you need to send a first-class letter to Puerto Rico.
For those of you who want to send financial support, please send it to me at the
following address:
c/o Eastside Christian Church
7755 Phoenix
El Paso, TX 79915
Thank you again for all your help and prayers on my behalf. May God continue to
bless and guide each one of you.
In Christ,
MARILYN WOOD
SPANISH-AMERICAN EVANGELISM
3135 FORNEY LANE
EL PASO, TEXAS 79935
Research Department
Missions Services Association ^ ^
Box 177
Kempton, Indiana 46049 M
Marilyn Wood
NON-PROFIT ORG.
U.S. POSTAGE
PAID
EL PASO, TEXAS
PERMIT NO. 2295
ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED
-*5
Fall 1980
Dear Friends in Christ,
It doesn't seem possible that school has started, >
but as the saying goes, "Time Marches on." And we're
already into our fourth week of school.
When I last wrote, the 1979~80 school year was just
about to end. I had plans to work in several Vacation
Bible Schools and camps and was looking forward to my
folks coming for a week's visit.
On May l^th they arrived. I was able to take some
time off from school, and so we rented a car and drove around the island in
two days. We visited with some of the missionaries in the different areas and
also saw several sights of interest such as the Phosphorescent Bay and the
Rain Forest.
The first two weeks of June I was the musl^dlrector and progcam coordinator
for the Vacation -Bible School held here at the Iglesia de Cristo in Caparra Ter
race. We had an average attendance of 80.c.h.i 1dren each day, and this year, as was
true last year, all the teachers except one were Puerto Ricans.
As soon as VBS was over, we had our Junior Day, Camp at Goat Island. This year
It was conducted entirely In Spanish. Our theme was "Great Men of Faith". I taught
a class about Abraham four times each day. We taught 35 to kO children each
day.
Fol lowing Cciay camp there was a weektb prepare for the Senior Camp at Monte
del Estadoih the southwest corner of the Island. Because of a mix-up in the
reservations at the camp site, we were able to have camp from Sunday evening to
Wednesday afternoon only; however, we madethebest of the situation and did what
we could to teach those young people in the few days we had. I can honestly say
I have never been in a camp where the young people were so cooperative and so
willing to learn. Can you imagine 35 teen-agers groaning when the whistle blows
to begin a new activity? No, they weren't playing -- they were memorizing scrip-
ture and didn't want to quit. So they were gi_ven five more minutes and then went
on to another activity.
Many of the young people who went to camp from Caparra are not Christians,
but they continue to come to Sunday School and church and study God's Word. And
the young people have formed their own youth group. It has really been great to
see our Christian young people grow In the knowledge of the Lord this summer.
After senior camp I had a week to prepare for two Vacation Bible Schools in
Yauco. For me the week there was the highlight of the summer. Yauco Is where we
have our newest work. In fact, most of the members of the church there have been
baptized since February, I98O. Jesus (Chuy) and Jane Ramfrez are the missionaries
working there.
One of the Vacation Bible Schools was held at their house (where the church
meets). The other one was held in a public housing project. This was the first
time that a VBS had been held there -- in either the church or the public housing
area so It was quite a new experience for all of us. The average attendance
in both schools was 25. I taught a class of 2nd and 6th graders in both schools.
Our theme was the "Parables of Jesus". It was a challenge to teach children who
had little or no background in scripture or church. The majority of them had
never been to church. The Ramfrez's feel that there were some good contacts made
for the church during this week and have been doing some follow-up work since the
VBS.
A Puerto Rican friend and sister in Christ, Bruni Ortiz, went with me and
also taught classes in both schools. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and look for
ward to going back there again next year.
Immediately following the week in Yauco,we had the annual Caribbean Missions
.Cjinic here in Caparra Terrace and Levittown. This year missionaries came from
Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, as well as from here and the
United States. Once again we had a great time of sharing with each other and edi
fying one another In the Lord. Every year the clinic has been held here; however,
rtext year we do plan to meet in BqmI n i can Repub lie.
SchqoJ[ started.j^gust IJjh. ^We have., aljnost 27.0 students enrolled. I'm teach
ing riuTsTc and doing the secretarial work again. Our school principal, Rick York, v
and his family are leaving for a nine-months' furlough. When they return, th'ey" )/
will be mpvmg to San German, a town on '1tRe'"sduth side of the island, to begin
new.,Wpck. The j,ss ipnaries here have a desire and are working toward the goal of
starting 10 new churches in the next ten years.
-A
It
Th^iiew school principal Is Kathy Rosa;,-^'daughter of Gordon and Vivian Thompson,
'who started the work here on the Island backin the 1950's. Kathy and her family
recently returned to the Island after several years In the States. She has a degree
In Education Administration and has experience as a school principal. We're really
glad to have her working with us.
All of us teachers have a d.eep desire to see the Lord's kingdom furthered here
on this earth, especially here In Puerto Rico. With this In mind, we had an evan
gelism seminar In August to discuss ways In which we could better use our contacts
at the school for evangelism. One of our plans Is to go calling on all the families
of the school. And waixg praylnp that the Lord will lead each of us to one family
who earnestly desires to" know more about Him, so that we might begin Bible studies
with them.
I personally will be calling on the families of the third graders, which Is the
largest class In the school. Not only are the XatholIcs and various Protestant
groups represented In this class, but also Muslim and Hindus. And then there are
those who have no ch.urch preference whatsoever. The doors are wide-open, and we pray
that God will heTp^Trs to bring His Word to others. ' '
^ The church here In Caparra Terrace Is growing, for which we just praise the Lord.
In July two adults were baptizedone was the mother of one of our students and the
other was the.,grandfather of two of our students. (Their mother and sister were bap
tized last year.)"" One of the students will be baptIzed,thIs next Sunday.
We praise the Lord, too, that we didn't experience that so-called "summer slump'U
In fact, new families have started coming regularly. Over half the adult Sunday School
class are not Immersed yet, but we know that several will be making decisions soon.
^11 of-us who are working here are j-ust.r5.ally thrilled with what the Lord Is doing,
and we're really excl^^ed to be a part of the work.
Another thing I'm looking forward to Is the National Missionary Convention. I
have been asked to participate in a workshop entitled, "Whole though Alone". When I
was first asked to come, I didn't think I would be able to because of the cost. But
the Lord provided -- both with the funds needed and a lowering of air fares for Oct
ober and November. He really does provide for us In so many ways. If any of you are
there, be sure to look me up.
I do not plan to make a speaking tour at this time (I'm planning one for next. year}j
however,"~'r'dO have a ^stlde Drooram with a script of the work here. If you would ffke'
to use It for a missions' presentation In your church, Sunday School class or ladles'
group, please let me know.
1 also want to thank you all for your wonderful support. It really means a lot,,
to me to know that you care and are praying for me and for the work here. My heart
Is just full of praise and thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done. I can really
say with the Psalmist, "Bless the Lord,0 my soul; and forget not all his benefits."
Psalm 103*1,2. Pleas take time to read the entire psalm. It Is a marvelous psalm of
pralle to,.t^ Lord for all that He has done.
fay God; bless every one of you as you work for Him.
In ChrI St,
MAIL';^GP0 Box^29A6 FUNDS: ^Eastside Christian Church
San Juan, Puerto Rico 7755 Phoenix w -
00936 El Paso, Texas 79935
MARILYN WOOD
SPANISH-AMERICAN EVANGELISM
3135 FORNEY LANE
EL PASO, TEXAS 79935
Research Departii>ant
Missions Services Association
Box 177
Kempton, Indiana 46049 M
NON-PROFIT ORG.
U.S. POSTAGE
PAID
EL PASO, TEXAS
PERMIT NO. 2295
ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED