Posted by: The Jewell Family | June 30, 2011

Response to a request for personal information/prayer requests

My wife and I have been married for 25 years.  We have five children.  They are: Amber (20), Hannah (19), Jesse (15), Samuel (12) and David (11).  Amber and Hannah were born in Lebanon, MO before we went to Bible college at Oklahoma Baptist College and Institute, Jesse was born during our time at college, Samuel was born while we were on deputation, and David was born in Mexico while learning the Spanish language.  Amber and Hannah are with us now, but will be staying in the states when we come home on furlough.  Hannah will be living in Lebanon, Missouri with an aunt while she studies to be a certified nurse’s assistant.  She is hoping to go on to study nursing.  Amber will be attending Fair Haven Baptist College, and wants to be a missionary or a missionary’s wife (I would prefer the later).

We have been here in the Dominican Republic for 10 years.  In that time we have started two churches.  The first church is completely autonomous, and the second is getting to that point now.  We have purchased a piece of land, and are ready to build our church building for the second church.  We have a Dominican assistant pastor who will most likely become the pastor of the church.  He is doing a great job, and the call of God is obvious to all.  His name is Paul Ramirez, and I would ask you to please pray for him and his family.  He still has a lot to learn, and I am glad to say that he is very teachable, soaking up everything I can give him.

The Dominican Republic is a third-world country, and we live in the poorest of the large cities in the country.  There is no industry here, and very little work for the amount of people that live here.  Most of the people ride motorcycles in our city, or walk to where they want to go.  We have cars, trucks and buses, but the majority of people don’t purchase those types of vehicles (in our city).

The country has a lot of corruption, from the president all the way down to local law authority.  There is a lot of drug trafficking throughout the country.  There are a lot of thieves and troublemakers also.  Most of the parents and couples here in our city are not legally married, and many of the men have more than one family.  That is a sad part of the culture.  Most of the children are allowed to do whatever they want, and go wherever they desire during the day (when not in school).  Speaking of school, it only lasts for about three and a half hours each day.  School is held in two sessions.  One group of children go in the morning from about 8:30am until 12:00pm, and a different group will go in the afternoon from about 2:30pm until 6:00pm.

Music is played all day long, and there are trucks that are completely loaded down with speakers and a generator that play VERY loud music while going up and down the streets.  It is not uncommon to have someone stop in front of your house and play the loud music for hours at a time, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.  The wicked Dominican music is very much a part of the culture, and I believe it is one of the reasons why the country is in such a bad state of affairs.

Despite these problems, the Dominican people are some of the friendliest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  They take care of the children and their parents.  Family members will often get together (or send money) to help another family member to build a home.  The elderly live with their children or grandchildren, and many times, adult singles stay at home with mom and dad until they can get out on their own.

Everyone is ready to great you with a smile.  They will open their home to strangers, and are ready to give a couple of pesos, or a little bit of food, to just about anyone in need.  When soul winning, they will invite you in, offer you a chair and a cup of coffee (or something else to drink), and want to hear what you have to say.  They are, however, very slow to make a real decision for Christ, or to change their lifestyle.  When handed a gospel tract, they respect them, read them and, many times, pass them on to others.  They are curious about strangers, or anything new.  They are not, in any way, shy about checking out something new, or about stating the obvious.

The next observations are not true throughout the country, but it is true in our city:  They are a little bit backwards or crude in many ways.  For example, when swimming, many do so in the underwear.  I have seen boys up to about 12 years old swimming in public places completely nude.  It is not uncommon to see a mother breast-feeding a baby in the street, in her home or even in the church without making any attempt to cover herself up from the view of others.  People will urinate in the streets, and some do so facing the public.  People will dance in the streets in a very lewd manner with no shame whatsoever.  The women try very hard to be as sexy as possible, and the men try very hard to be as macho as they can.  This results in a lot of foolishness at times.

Our current church is the Mount Calvary Baptist Church.  The first church we started in the Good Shepherd Baptist Church.   I ask that you pray for these two churches and their pastors.  Please pray that we will be able to get our building up quickly, inexpensively, and that we will make it as honoring to the Lord as we can.  Please pray for spiritual strength for us, and for our church members.  Please pray for our protection from thieves, and for the influences that will affect my children.

I often worry about what affect this life will have on them.  They have seen, and experienced things that I wish they would not have.  They have also missed out on a lot that would have benefited them if we lived in the states, and were in a good church like yours.  I am sure that the same could be said about children who aren’t raised on the mission field since there are a great many temptations and problems in the states also.  I am, however, constantly concerned about my children’s welfare, and their future.  Please pray for my children.

Our desire is to honor the Lord with our lives, and be true to His calling.  I want to see as many people saved and serving the Lord as I can in my lifetime.  I am called to be a minister of God.  To me, that means that I am to teach His Word, and be an example.  Please pray that I will do these things faithfully until the Lord calls me home.  One of my greatest fears is that I will dishonor my Lord in some way.  I want to be found faithful, and carrying the torch when the Lord returns or takes me home through death.

Please pray for my dear wife also.  She has been my constant companion, and I would not be here if it were not for her.  She has sacrificed much to be the wife of a missionary, and particularly my wife.  I thank God for her encouragement, and her willingness to sacrifice.  She is my minister, and takes care of me and the children.  She does not have many friends, and really no one here with whom she is close to.  She can speak Spanish, but her language abilities are limited.  That prevents her from being able to freely express herself, and feel comfortable during conversations.  I don’t think she will ever get the language completely, but she is fine with that, and has no desire to go back to the states.  I am thankful for her help and support.  Please pray for her also.

As always pray that the Lord will open up doors for us to minister to as many people as we can.  Pray that He will give me wisdom and guidance as to what I should do, and where I should minister.  There is no shortage of places that need the gospel.  Please pray that we will have the money that we need and the resources to do the work.  Unfortunately, buildings, materials, Bibles, tracts, vehicles, speakers, tents, and gasoline all cost money and are needed to minister.  We also need workers.  It would be great to have groups come down, but even better to have one or two other missionaries come to work with us.  I believe that, with another family or two, we could do great things in this region of the country.  The laborers are still few, and we need them here.

We have one bus that we use to pick up people for church.  This past weekend, we brought in more than 200 people.  We don’t have the space to minister to this many people at once, so we have to split up our services on the weekends.  Last Saturday morning, we brought in 68 children for a Children’s church.  Then on Sunday morning, we are able to hold a combined adult/teen Sunday school in the morning.  That is followed by another children’s church with a different group of children.  We had about 25 in our adult/teen SS and 75 children in the following service last Sunday morning.  Then we hold a later Sunday afternoon church service for everyone.  This is our main church service.  We do not bring in the children that we have in the two children’s church services because we don’t have enough room for everyone.  Yesterday, we had about 80 people in our afternoon church service (almost all adults and teenagers).  We are very much looking forward to getting a larger building where we can better minister to our people.

I would like to end this by thanking you for all that you do for us.  Your prayers and support are such a blessing, and allow us to do what we are doing.  We thank God for the partnership we have made with you to do the work here in the Dominican Republic that the Lord has called us to do.  The fruit that we are seeing here is the result of your efforts and sacrifices as much as it is our own.  We are so thankful for you.  I know that you are doing the same work where you are that we are doing here.  That is such an encouragement to us.  Thank you for holding high the banner of the Lord, and for holding the ropes for us to do the work He has called us to.  We pray for God’s richest blessings to be upon you all.

Your friend and servant for Christ,

Roger Jewell

Mt. 28:18-20

Barahona, Dominican Republic

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Responses

  1. You and your family are in my prayers.. Im now living back in Michigan,Divorced for 3yrs and I put myself through medical school. I’m now a Certified Medical Assistant. I think about you and your family alot, I often think about trying to get to the Dominican Republic on some type of Medical Relief. But I don’t even know where to start or who to even contact. If God wants me too do something like this he will guide me.. Love and Prayers, Rhonda.

  2. Thank you for this update! It was encouraging and challenging!


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