Monday, December 05, 2016

Tech Sacrifice for a Good Cause


I teach Physics (in Spanish) to a small group of students at our Puerto Rico Baptist College. Last week, my Sony Vaio laptop died and I decided to donate its body to science. These young ladies had a fun time dissecting it down to its smallest parts. I am sad my laptop died, but I am glad its sacrifice provided a learning opportunity for these students.

Friday, November 25, 2016

3 Nations, 1 Mission


Rosendo (left) comes from Mexico. Roger (right) comes from the island nation of St. Lucia. They were both my students in Puerto Rico Baptist College and today both are in the ministry. Roger is a missionary and an assistant pastor in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. Rosendo, who was also my assistant pastor, is now the pastor of a church of his own in the town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. 

Though we are from 3 different nations, we all work together to do the work of missions here in Puerto Rico. I am thankful that we have such great people to work with us here. One of the best things about being a missionary is seeing young people prepare for the ministry and then launch out in faith and become pastors and missionaries themselves. 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful on the mission field!

Even in a small, missionary church in the mountain village of Comerio, Puerto Rico, Thanksgiving is both celebrated and deeply felt.

We give thanks for you, your prayers and your support.

Feliz dia de Accion de gracia!
(Happy Thanksgiving!)


Enjoy the comic skit our Bible college created a few years ago. It's in Spanish, but you can follow the story pretty easily

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shallow water, deep faith


One of our students, Christian Sua, is now a pastor in Bogotá, Colombia. The baptistry isn't very deep, but you don't need deep water to get baptized. All you need is just a deep faith and a little bit of obedience.





Saturday, November 05, 2016

Cheap Blessing

Today, I took our churches' non-functioning wireless microphone to someone who said they could repair it for me.

I thought about getting a new one, but to replace it would have cost close to $100.

So, I looked around and found a person who repairs them.

Total cost for parts (a new switch) and labor:

$5.00

Hurray!

I mean: Amen!


Visiting in a Puerto Rican Mountain Village

Quite a few mountain homes in our small town have no roads that go to them.

So, that means climbing many, many steps.

Today, I climbed up these stairs and visited homes all the way up to the top, which is about 6-7 stories high.  Then I went down again and started up a new set of stairs further down the mountain road.

It was quite a grunt, but I had no ill effects, except using the clutch pedal on my stick-shift Honda Fit made my left leg feel a bit wobbly for a bit.

I met some nice people, had some conversations and left some tracts.

I am glad I went today.

Someday our knees may fail us. Best use them now doing something worthwhile.




Saturday, October 01, 2016

Big Fruit

Tina and I visited the home of church members Miguel and Anna Nieves, a couple who live up in
the mountain town of Aguas Buenas. They invited all of the church to their home for a time of fellowship.

Before lunch, we got a tour of their 5 acre mountain property. I was impressed at the great variety of fruit trees and especially by the great size they were able to grow them.

There were some magnificent papaya trees; one had papayas weighing from 12 to 15 pounds.

We have tried to grow them a couple of times, but without success. In the home of Miguel and Anna, they are springing up all over the place and are producing amazing fruit.

It goes to show you, that planted in the right place, and cared for in the right manner, the ordinary can become extraordinary.

I hope our churches can provide just such a place for believers here in Puerto Rico.

I know our church has been blessed by this family. We are grateful for the spiritual fruit that they have produced in our church that has benefitted so many.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Nights the Lights Went Out

Power went out all over Puerto Rico Wednesday. 

Still out Thursday and Friday. That meant Scrabble night by Coleman lantern for us.

We missed our fans and air-conditioning. Also, with the police stretched thin, security is a concern

On the up side,  we got to eat all the ice cream before it melted.

Our emergency power generator didn't work, so we had to take it into the shop yesterday.

It might not be worth fixing, but all the island is empty of new generators now, so, if we want one soon, getting the old one fixed seems like the best way to make that happen. 

Hopefully we will be up and running before the next power outage hits.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Post-it Note Prayer Prompter

My student assistant Jhonatan Ponce showed me this prayer board someone put up at our Bible college.

Each student has a card that flips up, revealing a prayer request list on a post-it note under their name. The Post-it notes allow prayer requests to be updated easily.

It makes you want to take a look and then pray for them.

I bet it would work for missionaries and church staff members as well.

We all need reminders and prompts to pray for each other.

Please pray for us.

* Our health
* Reaching more Puerto Ricans for Christ
* New committed monthly support.
* Getting our emergency generator refurbished and working.


Saturday, September 03, 2016

Our Bible College Kids Are The Best

Preparing Bible college kids for ministry in the church and Christian school is one of the most fun things we do.

Being around young people that have great faith, that have made great sacrifices, and who are among the best Christians we know, is a truly uplifting experience.

This semester I am teaching Introduction to Physics as a part of the Christian Education curriculum. It is challenging to teach it in Spanish, but the experiments are fun and the students are patient with me when I am searching for a word that my language school didn't expect I would be needing.

Quality Christian students are preparing now to reach the world for Christ. They need our help. It cost about $300 a month per student for room, board and tuition. That is not a lot by US standards, but here in Latin America, it is a big expense for these kids. Some few can pay all of it, but some need help. We would like to pay some of them for helping out part time at our church. If you can help us help them, we would appreciate it.

I hope we may be as much of a blessing to these students as they are to us.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ordaining a Faithfull Man

Newly Ordained Puerto Rican Pastor Nelson Westerband
 Today, I traveled to the mountain village of Aguas Buenas and had the privilege to participate in the ordination of a Puerto Rican pastor, Nelson Westerband.

He has been a faithful servant here on the island for many years.

But, even so, ordinations are tough and the council was thorough.

His doctrinal statement was 35 pages and it took us from 1 pm to 5 pm to go through it, with only a 15 min. coffee break. Then we discussed his answers and voted.

It went well.


It was a pleasure to vote "yes," and to sign his ordination certificate.

Puerto Rico is blessed to have a servant of the Lord of this caliber. May the ordination of this faithful man lead to the ordination of many more.

The 35 page doctrinal statement!

The Ordination Council

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Staying on Top of Our Biblical Roof Top

You may know that, in the Bible, roof tops were flat. Peter went up to pray on one (Act 10:9), and certain messages were to be proclaimed from them. (Matt10:27)

We understand those verses because, here in Puerto Rico, we have flat concrete roofs that can serve as an extension of the house.

But flat doesn't make for great drainage, and that means we have to be vigilant about any water damage to the roof. We noticed an area of concern and checked it out today.

Tina and I did find a spot that needs attention. Some previous owner installed a solar water heat, which is nice, but the solar water heater hugs the rooftop so tightly, we can't apply waterproofing under it very well.

So, we are going to have to figure out how to move it enough to scrape away the old and reapply the new.

It isn't rocket science, but it is what we need to do, and I am no plumber. So I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and our safety as we go about giving our roof the attention that it needs.




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Missionary Recipes Requested: Cream Cheese Flan & Peanut Butter Popcorn

Tina was asked for some of her favorite recipes. She has a 3x5 card box stuffed full of them. Here are a few of her favorites out of that box:

Cream Cheese Flan
Serves 16

This is a favorite dessert here in Puerto Rico, where we are missionaries. It is a way we can share a little bit of the good things Puerto Rico has to offer with our friends.

A. In a blender, combine:

1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese
6 - eggs ( or 7, if medium)
1 - teaspoon vanilla
1 - can sweetened condensed milk
1 - can evaporated milk

B. Pour into a 9x9 inch pan that was previously filled with caramel sauce (instructions below).
C. Place in a larger pan that is filled with 1 inch of water.
D. Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes at 325, or until firm and slightly brown.

Instructions for the caramel sauce:
* Melt 1 cup of white sugar on medium heat until it turns into brown liquid.
   Keep stirring until no lumps remain.
*Quickly pour into ungreased 9x9 inch pan.
   Be careful, it is extremely hot and turns solid quickly.

Peanut Butter Popcorn
Peanut butter is hard to find in some Latin American countries, like in Costa Rica, where we began our language training. Comfort food from home is missed. Fortunately, it is easy to find here in Puerto Rico.

A. Pop enough popcorn for 2 quarts
B. Heat to a rolling boil:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup or honey
C. Remove from heat and add:
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
D. Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bible Reading Checklist You Can Print Out - My Treat

I have made it a goal to read through the Spanish Bible and am keeping track of it on a checklist. I have a Bible Reading Log app that is OK, but I like the paper version a lot better.

Here is my favorite one. I put it on my Google drive as a PDF. Here it is if you would like a copy:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Open Home, Opened Hearts, Opened Eyes

Swinging hammocks and hot coffee is not what I expected.

Luis (one of our deacons) and I walked up to a home in Rio Hondo (Deep River) and we were greeted by a Miguel, who was working in his garden with a machete.

Miguel invited us to his carport, called a Marquesina here, and got comfortable in his hammock, contentedly swinging back and forth as we shared the Gospel.

The lady of the house came out later and started the second hammock going.

She said, "I didn't eat breakfast yet, but when I heard you were out here sharing the Bible, I decided to skip it. I can eat anytime. Besides, it doesn't hurt to fast a bit to hear the Bible."

She made us some nice Puerto Rican coffee and gave us granola bars for a snack as we left.

We prayed with them and were extended a welcome to visit again.

Please pray with us that we may see them make an important decision.

We were given the gift of hospitality. What a joy to be well received and find such open hearted people.

But it is even a greater joy to share a message that has the power to change lives and bring hope, comfort, and salvation to the people whom we have come to love.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Could We Visit You Next Summer?

Could you please do us a favor?

I hope to speak in a number of churches next summer to raise needed support for our missionary work in Puerto Rico.

We ask your help in scheduling meetings for June and July of 2017

Ideally these meeting would be:

1. In churches that are concerned with reaching the Spanish speaking population of the Unitd States

and...

2. Would like to support a ministry that could help them do that.

I was thinking of the Pacific Northwest, but I am willing to go anywhere that we can schedule two or more churches for meetings.

May the Lord Bless You and Yours,
(Dios Les Bendiga)

Steven Prelgovisk
Puerto Rico, USA

Support Address:
Continental Baptist Missions
11650 Northland Drive NE
Rockford, MI 49341
ph (616) 863-2226
cbm@cbmoffice.org

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Escalating Economic Crisis and Christ


People ask us about the economy in Puerto Rico, if it is bad and if it affects us.

I read today that our electric rates are being raised 26%.

So, Yes, there is an economic crisis in Puerto Rico, it is bad and it affect us. But there is another side to the story.

It is true that the sales tax has risen to 11.5%, home values are plummeting, and that the island is losing a doctor a day as they join the many Puerto Ricans who are leaving the island.

But, being shaken out of a comfortable and secure material existence has another side. It is in just such disturbing times that many people cry out to God.

It has always been our ministry to reach the immigrant population at its source. Because of missionary work done in Puerto Rico, in that stream of new arrivals are many good Christian men and women.

Both those arriving and those left behind face an uncertain future. In such a time as this, as financial foundations crumble, many may seek and find a firmer foundation in Christ.

We also are affected. Pray for us in this crisis that we might effectively reach more people for Christ. Please pray for an increase in our monthly missionary support. Also, for the safety of our family here as we minister in an environment of rising costs and among people who are in economic desperation.

Puerto Rico to hike electricity rates 26%

Friday, July 01, 2016

Straining: the Good Kind

Adventures in tropical living: 

Hurray! No bugs in my coffee today!

A strainer helps get those black bugs out of your black coffee. A little cream for contrast helps too.

The tropics may have "eternal summer," but that also means the bugs never die or give you a break.

Eternal vigilance, or at least a couple of good tricks like this, constantly applied, are what is needed to keep insect encounters to a minimum.

Prayer Letter, June 2016

Our June 2016 Prayer Letter. Please click on this link. It will take you to Scribd,  a site where you can download it (the big blue button on the right) or print it out (the printer icon near the upper right hand corner of the prayer letter). Please print it out and share it in prayer with the church. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Unwanted Russian Gift Finally Finds a Home

Puerto Rico found itself the recipient of an embarrassing birthday gift. When the gift was revealed, it turned out to be a super huge statue of Columbus. It is a 600-ton monument, which stands at 350 ft tall. It was given as a gift of friendship by its Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli in 1992 to celebrate the 500 year of the discovery of America.

Puerto Rico said: "Thank you," and then promptly hid it in a warehouse. Liberal activists pin many Puerto Rican social ills on Columbus, artists complained about the style, and the government complained about the expense of putting it somewhere. But no one wanted insult the giver of the gift, so it was just stored away.

One mayor thought to put it up in San Juan harbor as a tourist attraction, but there was a big backlash against him. The statue bounced from town to town and it was finally sold to a private investor. Once it was out of the hands of the government, things began to happen.

It has now finally been installed in the city of Arecibo where it is hoped it will become a tourist destination.  Despite the criticism of many about better use of scarce government funds, there were actually no public funds spent on the statue or it's construction.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Celebrating Scholastic and Spiritual Success


One of the things I do in Puerto RIco is teaching English to Puerto Ricans. Here are some 11th graders that I teach celebrating their success and promotion to the 12th grade. 

My favorite part of teaching them is the Bible lessons we share in the mornings. 

It can be exhausting teaching young kids, but it is also energizing as well. It certainly is well worth the effort. English may give them an advantage in life, but it is Christ that has the power to change those lives into something truly remarkable.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day


We had a nice Mother's Day service today. I preached a sermon from Judges 4 & 5 contrasting two notable mothers: Deborah, a mother of Israel, and the mother of Sisera, the oppressor of Israel.

One of our young ladies, Wilmarie Negron, did the shopping and prepared the dinner for her mother and the other mothers of our church. Thanks, Wilmarie!

Wilmarie


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zika getting worse.

The Zika virus outbreak is getting worse . Even Time magazine is reporting on the spread of this disease.

I feel run down today and may have something. Pray for those of us who serve the Lord in the tropics. There is a lot of stuff here that is not much fun to catch.

Why Puerto Rico Presents Real Challenges in Fighting Zika



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cross Walk

Our town of Comerio, Puerto Rico  installed a lighted cross on one of the highest hills outside of town. It is a custom for Catholic church members to hike up that steep hill every year and pray at the cross.

The road is much steeper than any road would be in the US. Since there is never any snow or ice here, they can build roads at a much steeper angle.

They do that, plus some.

The missionary I worked with before did not like crosses on our churches. He was afraid it would identify us with the Catholics.

But,  a Puerto Rican asked me in a puzzled voice: "You are Baptists? What is that? Is it like Buddhists or something?"

I think I we might be better off with a cross than without one.