Update on the Escalantes and ministry in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.

Keeping up with the Escalantes 

This has been a busy year of adjustments as a family and in ministry. We traveled to the states over Christmas and again in April, as well as Leo making two trips to Puerto Rico for his residency.   August 14th we arrived stateside for the final steps of Leo's citizenship process in the US (which will then allow us to be able to concentrate more completely on ministry in the DR and not have to be planning two or three or more trips a year).  We were in Indiana and St. Louis, and are now in Iowa.  September 3rd Leo passed his citizenship interview and civics test and now we are waiting for his oath ceremony, and then he will apply for his US passport.  As we do not have exact dates yet for Leo's appointments, it is a little difficult to plan our visits at this point, but we hope to be able to connect personally with many of you as we are planning to drive to Chicago and the Twin Cities areas.  If you would like to see us, please contact us or our phone number in the states is 712-267-0064.  

Amelia had her first birthday on July 15. She is a happy, healthy and very active little explorer and always keeps us on our toes.  We are so thankful and humbled by what God is doing in and through us as a family.  We are enjoying some relax and recoup time after a busy summer of teams with Students International at the Boys Club.  We asked Leo's intern, Jesse, to write a brief overview of the Boys Club from his perspective and experience this summer from which you will find excerpts below (you can read Jesse's entire reflection just as he wrote it on  Jesse, it was our pleasure and a blessing to have you with us this summer!

Now to you who is taking the time to read this: As Paul and Timothy wrote in Philippians 1:3, WE THANK OUR GOD EVERY TIME WE REMEMBER YOU!  Thank you for your love, prayers and partnership with us in what God has called us to in the Dominican Republic!  Please send us a note, we'd love to hear from you (especially if your contact information has changed) & see you if possible!

How to be part of our support team:

Pray!  We need brothers and sisters committed to helping us fight the spiritual battle of ministry in the Dominican Republic.  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6 ESV)

Financially, we are responsible for raising all of our own support.  All gifts are tax-deductible and automatic withdrawal may be set up for either of the accounts if you would like to partner with us monthly!

Write your check to First Baptist Church (do not include our names on the check) & send to:
Dominican Republic Ministry
PO Box 220
Kiron, IA 51448

OR... Checks may be written to:
Students International
(include a note indicating support of Staff Member Leo Escalante)
PO Box 2733
Visalia, CA 93279-2733


Boys' Club in the Words of Jesse Gearhart

Well, I never know how to start these "reflection" papers, so I guess this is how I will do it... Spending the summer in the Dominican Republic was more than most words in the English language allow, so I'll do my best to reiterate it onto paper.
I worked in the Social Work Boys' Club Site with the ever famous, Leo Escalante.  Upon arriving for the first time, I felt slightly out of place.  As an unathletic, awkward, loud, English-speaking boy, I couldn't have been placed in a more alien world...  It was very difficult at first, but as I foreshadowed earlier, things became great with the boys.  God used the very things I struggled with to grow me and make me into a true man.  I became an "acceptable" baseball player, and by Dominican standards, that's not bad at all!  I cam to love the boys dearly and do my best to speak through the language barrier.
God has provided many strong bonds between Leo and the boys.  I'm truly grateful for Leo, Elizabeth, and the ministry they do in Jarabacoa.  Working with Leo all summer was so much fun.  Seeing Leo's passion for the boys is unlike any.  Leo can preach the pants off Mark Driscoll!  Seeing him preach to the boys one on one and pour the Gospel into each of their lives.  Many boys have come to "confesar a Jesus" (confess Christ) as Leo would say!  I'm truly blessed to have been a part of this ministry.

Above is a picture from our last Boys' Club Store.  A huge thank you to all who made donations to help make this a reality!

Please contact us if you would like to help with the next Boys' Club Store, where the boys can be blessed by using their "Leo Bucks" to buy clothes, shoes, school supplies, personal items, toys, etc. that many of their parents can't or won't buy them.  When the boys have needs, we teach them to pray to their Heavenly Father & many times on store day they receive answers to their prayers & needs.  Thank you for allowing God to use you!

Ministry with FCAQ

As the church body is as dynamic and diverse as it's members, we are always being faced with new situations, opportunities and challenges in ministry.  Above are Leo and Head Pastor "Popin", at the most recent baptism (publicly made a commitment to Christ here is a dear Brother from our cell group).
Some exciting highlights of the last few months of ministry with the local church include: *Having the privilege to walk alongside and disciple new believers (including one of Leo's brothers and his girlfriend).  *Studying Jesus' parables and now Jesus' miracles together with the cell group of about 20 people which we have been helping co-lead as it is in transition of leadership (this is the cell group in town that we mentioned in our last newsletter).  As cell group leaders, we do not only prepare and teach in cell group, but provide basic pastoral care, counseling and discipleship of the Brothers and Sisters, things we feel blessed and humbled to be able to do.  *We have had the opportunity to visit and help on various occasions the cell groups that our church is planting in two other cities in the DR, San Francisco de Macoris and Cotui.  *The church Leaders Retreat at the end of May was a time of renewal and new challenges.  *There have been other women's and men's activities, fundraisers for the Timothy School Scholarship Fund, fundraisers for the purchase of a new piece of land for the church (adjacent to the current location), taking part in the suicide hotline, and many other activities which have kept us busy.
It is exciting to witness and be a small part of the God-sized things that He is doing in the Dominican Republic!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Prayer Requests

Abba Father is ever faithful to provide for every one of our needs!  We humbly ask you to pray with us for the following points:
*Genuinely we desire to know and love God more every day. Pray for our spiritual lives, may we have the discernment to follow God's direction in each step in our lives and ministry.
*Our computer is dying, please pray for provision for us to be able to replace it while in the states.
*May we have the wisdom needed to impart God's truth into the lives of those we minister to.  May our Brothers and Sisters be able to grow and be established in Christ.
*Please pray for us, the church and all of the church leadership for the challenges that face us as we seek to mark the difference in Jarabacoa and the Dominican Republic for the Kingdom.
*Please join us in crying out for the situation of lack of land for the boys club, especially in Sabaneta (the land that was being loaned previously was taken away and since April the Boys' Club meets in the streets of this community).
*Praise the Lord that Leo has been able to go through naturalization to become a US citizen, this is a huge relief to us as a family, and we are thankful that everything went well at his interview and civics test on September 3 (the day before our 3rd wedding anniversary)!
*We pray that our time stateside may be filled with God-ordained appointments.  We want to be able to share about His work and be a blessing to so many of you who have been of blessing to us over the years.  Pray for provision, for the traveling that we need to do and that we may make connections with Brothers and Sisters who God would want to serve with us by being part of our support team, as well that we may simply have the opportunities to renew personal relationships with friends and family on this trip.
*Financial provision.  Leo is looking to begin university studies, probably online, this next year, becoming another cost that is not currently covered in our budget.

Thanks to all the teams that came alongside us in ministry at the Boys' Club this spring & summer!

Keep in touch!  Join the Boys Club SI-DR group on Facebook & share your pictures & stories!
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