On the 11th of October, 2010, we started to build the new hall in Guatajiagua. This municipality is a one hour drive from San Miguel. The brethren in the eastern part of the country purchased a piece of property two years ago and we decided to help them build a hall so they wouldn’t have to continue renting the building they were currently using for the weekly meetings. We were able to finish the walls, build and set the steel trusses and purloins, and screw down the corrugated zinc aluminum roof. We also fabricated two double main entrance doors and welded the iron bars for protective covering for the windows. On the 29th of October, Tom Letourneau came down from Ontario with a crew of 10 men, four of which stayed in El Rosario to work on the kitchen and Sunday school classrooms, and the others came out to help in Guatajiagua on the construction of the hall. We then did the plumbing, dug a complete septic system, installed two bathrooms at the back of the hall, and laid a concrete floor, covering it with ceramic tile. We finished on the 20th of November, and then returned to help the group that stayed in El Rosario. They put a false ceiling in the Sunday school rooms, did all the electrical wiring, installed five ceiling fans, and worked on the kitchen cabinets.
At the end of November I flew to Houston and brought down two more buses to replace those that have been taken out of service. Gary and Mary Dempster of Garnavillo, Iowa helped in this. We continue to help out with some of the diesel expenses (which are close to $5.00 a gallon), purchasing parts, and doing the maintenance to keep them running. Lord willing, this year we will be able to travel to the US at the end of the summer and pick up two or three more units for the work here.
On January 8, 2011, we had a Seed Sower distribution in Guatajiagua; 22 young people from the different assemblies came to help. In the first two weeks, Dad and I shared in the preaching of the gospel. Then, after Dad left, we continued with brother Raúl for the remainder of the series. Nine who had been saved in previous meetings with brother Raúl and brother Antonio were baptized on the last night of the meetings. The Lord was good to us and we saw the hall filled each night and a good number professed to be saved. We have been trying to continue to visit and to encourage these new Christians in their new faith.
After the meetings in Guatajiagua, we went to San Miguel to help the Christians remodel their hall. We ceramic-tiled everything and made it as presentable as we could. We inaugurated the building at the Easter conference, with all the eastern assemblies present. There were over 500 believers who gathered for three days to feed on the Word of God, and I must say the fellowship was truly enjoyed. We took up the life of James, the brother of John, and studied the maturity in his life from the time he followed the Lord until he was beheaded 16 years later, and we applied this process to our own lives! (What are we willing to leave, and what are we willing to change?) At the last meeting of the conference seven were baptized, all from the San Miguel area.
On February 17, we returned to work in Rosario with the help of brother Dave Procopio and crew to finish the retaining wall around the bottom of the property. The wall is 100 lineal meters long and over six meters high in some areas and makes a U around the bottom section. We needed to secure the property as we have had problems with intruders coming in at night and taking items off the property. (The last time they got in they stole the 20 ton jack, the lug wrench, and the cassette player out of the bus). During this time, we finished up the kitchen cupboards and tiled the counters and the back splash area. We also purchased a new refrigerator for the kitchen. On April 3, seven were baptized in El Rosario.
After that we went out to El Carmen and put in a complete ceramic floor in the hall and installed all the accessories in the two bathrooms and rebuilt the submersible pump. We also built a wooden platform to cover the baptistry.
We had the Mother’s Day program in Rosario with 94 mothers out to the meeting. The hall was packed, with not enough chairs for everyone. I guess that is a good problem to have! One more boy professed to be saved on Friday night after the Bible study where we were taking up James chapter 1. It is good to see the Lord’s hand working in our midst. Hugo is the sixth one who has professed to be saved in El Rosario this year alone, for which we give the Lord the glory!
We also have been praying to the Lord to open the door to get some of the less costly hardcover Spanish Bibles into the country. Dad found a distributer in the US that sells this same Bible inexpensively. We are thinking of driving up at the end of the summer to acquire up to 1,000 Bibles for the work here.