I arrived in the Dominican Republic yesterday at 3:45 and was outside with luggage in 5 minutes-a minor miracle. From there we traveled 30 minutes to Guerra, where one of the sisters was having a service of thanksgiving at her home. They were alreay singing when we arrived--between 65 & 70 people and after a couple of songs I preached to the group. Most of the brethren from Guerra (25 or so) were present, which means there were around 40 visitors, so my theme was the importance of knowing God´s Word, encouraging them to ask the local brethren for help. One of the "problems" here is that close to half of the older men can´t read but are ashamed to admit it, so anything that might reveal this "weakness" they shun. Studying the Bible can be very embarrasing because they are asked to read, so I dealt with that a little.
After the service was over all were served juice, snacks in a small styrofoam box and what you would think of as a birthday cake.
The ocasion for thanksgiving was the new block house the family had. The sister is probably in her mid 30's, with 3 small children. She is a widow--her husband was killed in a car wreck about 3 years ago, leaving her with no job, 3 babies, and a small wood house (in the VI wood houses are called temporary houses--the first hurricane will destroy them). The company he worked for had pity on her and began the construction of the concrete block house and neighbors & family helped with the labor, a few pesos, etc. and she now has a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house with kitchen & living room (around 1000 square feet). She wanted to first thank God for her new home, then family & friends who helped, also taking advantage of the ocasion to let the Gospel be preached to them.