John Mark and Starting Over

John Mark and Starting Over

Has your life gone as you’d planned? Or has a mistake or choice put you on an unwanted path?

Do you need a “do over”, a fresh start?? The writer of the Gospel of Mark did after he left a mission trip before the work was finished. But God was not finished with John Mark, and God is not finished with you. He has a good plan for you. God wants to show you His love and His way of living. He will not leave you or quit on you.

John Mark came from a wealthy family and was a young man of action. His cousin, Barnabas, and Paul asked young John Mark to go with them on the first missionary journey to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. He turned back after a time and was labeled by Paul as a failure, a quitter. But God did not quit on John Mark.

Ray Stedman spoke of this in the Joy of Living introduction to the Gospel of Mark, “Later in 1 Peter 5, the apostle Peter spoke fondly of Mark, calling him ‘my son’. Perhaps Peter, who failed Jesus and was restored, understood something that Paul didn’t: A person who has failed can learn and grow from failure and become even more valuable to God in the restoration.” It is generally agreed that Mark received much of his information for the Gospel from Peter.
Trinity Baptist Church invites you to 
Women’s Bible Study 
Gospel of Mark 
 Joy of Living 
9/13 – 12/13/2017  Wednesdays  10 to noon or
9/14 – 12/14/2017 Thursdays  6:30 to 8:30pm  
(Childcare is available on Wednesdays by reservation)

Workbook is $18.  

Please come and study with us!

We all can have a fresh start, a new life, in Christ.

Sivells 2016 – Mark Clemons


It is always a great time of fellowship on one of these trips. Bill Parr’s devotionals were outstanding. Pastor’s game time was full of joy and camaraderie. We worked hard and played hard. The dodge ball game we played with bows and arrows (soft covered points) was exciting and exhausting. Never get enough time in the high country with it’s cool mornings and nights full of stars. While waiting to take our final pictures before leaving we saw an eagle soaring above us, would have missed it except for it’s shadow seen in the trees. Hoping we have more of these types of mission trips.
Mark Clemons

DR 2016 – Jody McCulley


After going to Mexico on TBC mission trips for almost thirty years, I found the Dominican Republic mission trip VBS planners used some different approaches, such as having color-coded teams of boys and girls. I followed the Red team of girls ages 12+ who…led by our energetic Dominican young adult leader…won the last day competition with a lively chant, red hair bands and painted faces. As a ESL teacher of both middle school (now retired) and adult classes, I loved working with Tina from Kennedy who led the English Camp for the youth at the church. Even the shy ones practiced their English playing her inventive learning games.

The young Dominican adults’ commitment to their church and the schools which it and STCH (South Texas Children’s Home ministries) support, as well as their career aspirations were impressive. Harold and his wife Sara (both 26) will be heading up the Rosa Elena School as teacher/principal and counselor respectively. He wants to obtain a degree in school administration and finance. Valentina (32), the vivacious leader of the yellow team of 3-6 year olds, wears many hats as Assistant to Rebecca, the Director of the Samuel Fund through which young people and their families receive monthly support for education via sponsors such as our team leaders Rick and LaVerne Boles. Her goal is to become an attorney!

At the orphanage in Monte Plata, Valentina and I conducted a mini-VBS using the craft we at TBC had prepared for the parable of The Lost Sheep. Valentina placed a little robe and staff on young boy to be the shepherd and chose a tyke to hold the example of the sheep craft while hiding out. She ended by explaining how Jesus wanted each of them to invite Jesus into their hearts. For those who had already done so, she explained salvation was a one-time thing; but Christians young and old need to pray daily for God’s guidance, study the Bible and ask for forgiveness for any wrongs they might have done to their siblings or friends. Afterwards each child made their lost sheep. Later Harold led the group of both adults and kids in a fun game. He called out a random number. Those who couldn’t link up in a group would have to sit down! Imagine the hilarious task of huddling up in groups of 10!

For me, the DR Mission Trip was filled with learning, love, and inspiration!!!

Blessings, Jody McCulley

Sivells 2016 – Pastor Wheat


I am so glad that a group of men from TBC will choose to leave and spend time together helping a place of great ministry get prepared. We really get a great opportunity to really know each other from the travel time in the bus and the work time during the day to the shared time in Bible study and worship. God blessed us with a great group and great work. It is a testimony to our group that when we leave, there is an open invitation to come back again. Thank you men for your dedication and hard work.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the
inheritance as your reward. Your are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

Pastor John

Cuba 2016 – Larry Danks


It’s hard to imagine walking through an airport doorway and immediately being transported to a time almost 60 years in the past but that is exactly what it felt like when The CenturyMen arrived in Havana, Cuba on Monday morning, April 4th. Sixty singers plus accompanists arrived with almost 3 tons of cargo being transported to the Cuban churches…cargo including a sound system donated by Trinity’s Worship Choir for use by a small church, 7th Baptist in Santa Clara, Cuba.

From the very first moment we were keenly aware that our very presence was a testimony to the faith and prayers of the Cuban pastors and their people. We were able to walk the streets of Havana freely and were able to minister to those we encountered with our words of faith and our pleasant presence.

We are a men’s choir…singing in places where the gospel hasn’t been sung in since the revolution in 1959. In the grand theater and the basilica in Havana we were not only able to sing to an audience of people made up primarily of non-churched Cubans but we were also filmed for television and were broadcast nationwide during the following days.

During the 10 days while we were actually on the island we traveled from the east to the west performing 17 different concerts. On two different occasions we were divided into three performing groups and were sent to minister to three different churches in three different cities. We sang to full houses at virtually every performance and were delighted to see people come to Christ when the invitation was extended in virtually every situation.

While we traveled under the banner of Global Missions Project and were led by Camp Kirkland from that organization we were also accompanied by members of the Cuban Baptist Association and other volunteers who interpreted for us and assisted in many ways.

I am blessed to be part of this organization and am also very blessed to be part of a church which supports and prays for missions in multiple locations across the world.

Larry Danks

DR 2016 – LaVerne Boles


My reflections from a week on the DR Mission Trip:
  • Loved renewing friendships from previous years in the DR
  • Loved making new relationships with people at IBQ Church, Kennedy Mission Team, and individuals at our own ministry sites
  • Loved giving smiles, hugs, and kisses to Dominican children at VBS
  • Loved seeing the girl we sponsor and seeing how much she has grown and to be able to encourage her in her school work
  • Loved seeing progress of projects we have worked on in the past and how they are being used to glorify God
  • Loved seeing active sewing classes. We began the sewing ministry about 4 years ago.
  • Loved seeing the faith of the Dominican people lived out even in very primitive and simple situations
  • Loved that we are supported by Trinity-a mission minded church
  • Loved seeing the pantry filled with foods purchased with World Hunger Funds for the school that we have worked with for 10 years.
  • Loved that as we started to leave and asked to pray with the pastor and his wife (at 4am) and his prayer request was “that we would pray for God to give them (the church) another ministry site!

Praise God for the trip!

LaVerne Boles

Mexico 2016 – Jean Ward


Our trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico, took us through customs at Del Rio, Texas. After crossing successfully, we drove through beautiful country scenes to our destination. We arrived at the church building around 8 PM. After unloading the vans and trailer, we headed to the motel and unloaded the rest of our “stuff”. The motel rooms were very spacious, clean, and cool. Breakfast at the motel was included in our room cost. We had a choice of a large plate of fruit or eggs with tortillas. Other breakfast items were available at our own cost.

Monday morning we arrived at the church complex and the rush began. Rooms were organized for each class; kitchen area was set up to meet our needs as well as the church set up for feeding supper to all the children following their classes. The water supply for the day was purified and bottles filled for each group in a room to take to the motel. This process was done each day.

Monday afternoon at 3 PM, Larry (Danks) pulled out his phone, checked the temperature and it was 109. At 5 PM it was 105 and at 8 PM it was 103. I asked him not to tell me the rest of the week what the temperature was! He did better than that, he texted to have people pray for us and the heat. The rest of the week, we had cloudy days, rain and breezes. God answered your prayers for us.

The children were usually there by 3:10 PM for the 4:00 PM start. Some even came in the mornings just to see what was going on. We put them to work helping prepare projects the children would work on during the week. Two girls, Carmen and Rebecca, lived in Dallas, and were spending time with their aunt and grandmother. They were very helpful with their English skills. 

The church is located on a busy street with a lot of cars, bicycles, scooters, and walkers going by. Several stopped at the gate to see what all the activity was about. Two men accepted Christ as their Savious after Zeb and Saul shared the Godpel with them. (Zeb and Saul are from San Antonio and were with our team.) The two new believers were given Spanish Bibles.

It was a great inspiration to see the children excited as they learned Bible stories. Two storied of the Good Samaritan and Zaccheus seemed to be their favorites. As the children left, hugs were given freely and will you be here tomorrow was asked. “I will miss you” was heard over and over on the last day as they children were leaving. “Will you come next year” was a question asked many times.

Two mornings, some of our group went to Casa Bethesda orphanage and played games with those who could participate. Others watched, while others are confined to beds. The orphanage has a large new kitchen which is greatly needed as the number of persons is increasing in the home.

We were fed delicious meals at noon and enjoyed sandwiches and all the trimmings for our evening meal.

God has blessed all that was involved in the planning, preparation, teaching, and sharing that went into this week. Lives were changed and one day we will see results we are not even aware of now.

To God be the glory! Jean Ward

Mexico 2016 – Jerry Cangemi

This was my first opportunity to go with Trinity Baptist Church to Piedras Negras, Mexico. A team of 8 people went. It was a blessing to work with each person and get to know them better.
We crossed the border at Del Rio where we were delayed a bit because authorities required Larry Danks and Conrad to unload and reload the supplies from the trailer. We then drove to Piedras Negras to the church where Julio was pastor. Arriving at the church we were met by the pastor and a man who lived at the church. He is the guard and we proceeded to unload all the supplies, VBS cloths, and chairs.
We drove to the La Quinta Hotel which was nice and air conditioned!!! Big blessing throughout the week. Each morning we had breakfast together at the hotel. Went to the church and set up for the afternoon Bible School. There was a class for the women during this VBS time as well. We were inside and outside and everywhere there was space at the church grounds. Conrad and Larry made sure the team had clean drinking water by using a filter system we had brought. Monday definitely was our HOTTEST day we experienced. Being busy with setup and preparations everyone didn’t drink as much water as needed. Terri and Jody passed out. We were blessed the rest of the week with cooler weather (below 100) anyway. Tomas was in charge of cooking our meals with jean and other helpers. We had good food and plenty to eat. Thanks Tomas and Jean and helpers. Pastor Julio would also join in with the cooking. He prepared meals for the 200 plus who came to VBS. We also had team members who joined us from San Antonio. Each day the ones who spoke Spanish would be in front of the church talking with people passing by. The people wanted to know what was going on. These folks told them and shared the Gospel with 2 men who accepted Christ as their Savior. Tuesday and Wednesday the team went to an orphanage. The Directors were Paulino and Betty. They care for 26 physically challenged adults and older youth. They asked for prayer for their ministry. They are praying and hoping to add another facility that is 6 hours away from Piedras Negras. Our team did crafts and visited with people from the orphanage. We also left some of our supplies with them. Friday our last day, we had over 200 attending VBS. The teachers, Jody, Loraine, and others were worn out, but blessed to be used to share the good news of Jesus and His love. Pastor John and Clint came to help the last 2 days. They were a big blessing. I want to thank Terri and Conrad for heading up our team. As a team we were blessed to be used and stretched for our Lord Jesus. Thank you Trinity for your support.

Jerry Cangemi

Dominican Republic, June 18-25


I rejoice that I was invited to be a part of the Trinity Baptist Church mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  As a former Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary, the trip brought back many good memories and gave me wonderful new ones.  It was a special blessing to get to know the team members and serve with Pastor John Wheat.  I have a new appreciation for South Texas Children’s Services.  Being allowed to preach in Spanish and share at the first pastor’s conference was a special blessing. Seeing the tears of appreciation a family shed when we gave them World Hunger Fund food reminded me of how blessed is my family.  The time with the 176 children at the three days of
Vacation Bible School was exhilarating. Kids are loud and excited no matter what their language and culture.  It was fun telling them about Jesus in Spanish.  Thank you Trinity Baptist Church for your international and local missions vision.  I am honored to serve as Director of Missions for the Hill Country Baptist Association.  I am equally honored that Trinity is a member of our Association and is a partner with the other 36 Southern Baptist Churches in the Hill Country as we reach our area for Christ.


Dr. John L. Brackin
Director of Missions
Hill Country Baptist Association 


My Missions Moment

Well, I have to say my missions moment happened on my last full day in the Dominican.  We visited an orphanage, when to EBDV (VBS) and had church that night.  I think overall it was the impact that the children had on me, they have so much love for you and they are so giving.  The first night we were in the Dominican I had the privilege of having dinner at the Jasquez house where Deyanira and her two daughters Amelia and Arlin lived.  The last night I was in the Dominican I received a letter from Amelia and Arlin just saying how much they loved me, and things like that.  I just think it’s so crazy how loving they are, and I can’t help but love them back even more.  The children in the Dominican and at IBQ are absolutely amazing.  There were several other moments, but sometimes it’s the little moments that mean the most and that you will never forget.

Kara Strange



6/18/15 – 6/25/15
Ready to Follow

Ready to Serve


This is my 5th DR trip and I prayed the Lord would help me see a new mission moment!  I went to a home of one of the interns. It had been brokin. Head of family not saved. The Lord united the family in home, health and new baby soon!  The father saved & dedicated church goer.

Shared God’s Glory
Loraine Couch

I am blessed!


My Missions Moment
By Jean Allgood
2015 Mission Trip, June 18-25

Mission moments were talked about all week and there have been many.  I’d like to share my first one.

We landed in the Dominican Republic at about 9:30 pm, after a very long day of anticipation and unknown experiences.  I walked out of the customs and baggage claim area to be greeted by two young Dominican men that are interns of the STCHM Children’s Home Ministries.  Their smiles and warmth radiated the
Dominican welcome that lasted all week!  Franklin and Francisco were
everywhere doing everything to help make our week of ministry fruitful.  They blessed all of us with their love of the Lord and joyful spirit, and helped us to be “ready to follow and ready to serve.”

God is truly amazing! I could never have imagined that at age 81 I would be on a Caribbean Island helping with a Vacation Bible Schook, or help cook 67 hamburger patties for an orphanage lunch party or slicing green bell peppers for a Luau Dinner Fund Raiser. But there I was doing that and so much more with our Dominican Republic Mission Team.

The days were long and strenuous-oh, and did I mention hot? But what a great week it was to minister to those wonderful, joyful people.

 What a blessing it was to see the gratefulness from those:
  • That received the month’s supply of groceries we had shopped for and delivered.
    That attended the teacher’s training program offered to local teachers with 41 attending the sessions lead by our very qualified teachers,
  • That were recipients of the construction team working daily in the heat to complete 4 picnic tables, 24 bookcases, and repairing 14 benches and shelves in the kitchen attending Vacation Bible School that resulted in 63 children and two mothers committing their lives to Christ,
  • And so much more that was done by our team in that brief week. But the amazing thing was to see the staff and interns work with such verve beside us, with us and for us.

The question I hear is “well how was the mission trip?” I’ve tried to find the right words to describe it, even checked my thesaurus. Then I realized it isn’t about words but it is a spiritual experience.

Going to this small spot in the Caribbean to glorify God by trying to meet some of their needs, both physical and spiritual, was our goal, then as so often happens-we the doers and givers are the ones most blessed.

Yes, God is truly amazing!
Jean Allgood



The DR Mission Trip was a faith growing trip for both Our groups and the Dominican Christians. The work was intense and the hours long, but lives were changed both us and them. We were all Blessed by our loving and Faithful God with His work. Our love for our Dominican Family continues to grow and we feel like we are going home on the way there. A love that is just a smidgen of what our Eternal Life in Heaven will be like. God has put together a loving team from FBC Kenedy, Trinity Baptist and STCHM Adults and students that will continue to grow as we continue to serve in our homes here.  

The Missional moment for me was a visit to a Dominican Home for a meal and fellowship. The hospitality of this family was an amazing experience, as they showed us how to have real joy, joy from the Lord. In spite of a Language barrier, we laughed for 30 minutes, more than I have laughed in the last year at any one time. In that home we found Christ Like joy in spite of their meager home. I was challenged to find in my Lord the real joy He talks about in His word. That is my challenge that I came away from this trip with.

By Rick Boles


It was such a joy to return the Dr and see old friends and to make new ones!  The DR people are so loving and they make us feel so loved and welcome.

The whole week was great, but the best was delivering food from World Hunger Funds.  We shopped for food for four families, and a different group of our team members delivered to each of the four homes.

I was on the team that delivered to Francisco’s family.  The father is in bad health with high blood pressure and diabetes and unable to work at a job, but he does make patio furniture and bedsteads to sell.  Mother has high blood pressure and she just found out that day that she was pregnant.  Her children are ages 22, 17, and 14.

Francisco is in the university and get support from STCHM through a new program to assist older young people who want to further their education and who show great potential. Francisco has a girlfriend and would like to get married, but cannot until he has the money!

When we delivered the non perishable foods, about $175 worth, they were so appreciative and thankful. They invited us into their modest home and Francisco showed us his room and the bed he had made.  He shared his room with the other  2 brothers.  His graduation picture was on the wall and scriptures were written on paper tacked on the walls around the house.  The mom also proudly showed us her plaque of high school completion that she only completed last year! Francisco now serves as an interpreter for IBQ and STCHM.  The family shared their testimony of how Francisco was saved as an 8 year old boy at IBQ church—later mother and other brothers were saved.  However, father was obstinate and was a heavy drinker and was a terrible father and worthless to his family.  At one point the boys encouraged their mom to kick him out, but she did not.  They just kept inviting him to go to church with the family and finally he said he would go on Wednesday night for prayer meeting, singing, and worship.  Then later he attended with his family on Sundays and was ultimately saved and now the entire family are Christians.  As they shared all of us had tears in our eyes.  We ended with a prayer for the family.

It was just another example of the impact of one child coming to know Jesus and how it affects the entire family.

LaVerne Boles



This may have been the most challenging trip to the Dominican that I’ve been on.  Johanna Berry let us know at the beginning that she had made a very ambitious schedule for us — because she knew how we worked in the past and felt that we could accomplish everything she had on her list.  Several in the Kenedy group had been working for months on for a few of the activities (the couples Luau and VBS)  Knowing about a few of these projects, I was able to provide some of the supplies needed and help out with setting up and hosting.  It was rewarding to be able to cook and serve these lovely Dominican couples at the Luau.  I was able to make some new friends and build relationships.
I was clearly pushed out of my comfort zone by working in the kitchens for both the bake sale (fund raiser for San Filipe Church) and helping with the meal for the Luau.  There were some stressful
moments, but also moments when we became very close to the
amazing women that work in the kitchen — we built some very special relationships with them. 
The English Camp was probably the highlight of the visit this year.  We got to know several of the Dominican children and youth.  It was a joy to talk with them and help them practice their English.  Tina (from Kenedy) had developed a terrific plan of songs, interactive games and time to just talk.  I’m grateful for the friendships and relationships that were started in this camp. 
VBS was an adventure.  The San Filipe children were a bit of a challenge.  They did not understand following directions and just went their own way.  I was told that this is a very rough neighborhood where many children don’t have a real family life and many don’t have a father in the home.  They just really didn’t have respect for much of anything.  However, by the third day, they were listening and paying attention and following directions — if only we had a few more days with them —— we all worked together and tried our best to start relationships with these children who so desperately need to know the love of our Lord.
What a privilege it was to see and experience the relationship that these Dominicans have with the Lord.  It strengthened my relationship with the Lord and I am so grateful for the relationships that I built and strengthened with many of these wonderful people.


Bendiciones,  Jan Cody



DR Mission Trip Moment

One of the moments that impacted me the most during this mission trip was when we went to the orphanage. I expected to be touched by the stories of the children at the orphanage, but what really touched me was what I witnessed outside the gates of the orphanage.  When we got to the orphanage I was walking around and looked at the facilities. I heard a noise and children running outside the fence of the orphanage. I walked out of the gates and four little boys came towards me pulling a string that had their tous tied to it that scooted along the ground.  Even with the language barrier, we were able to communicate, they let me see their “toy”. They had made their tou out of an empty plastic car oil container, plastic lids (all sizes) and rocks. The toy rolled on the plastic lids that had been attached to the oil container on it’s side.  The rocks were placed inside to give it weight so it would roll along.  These children were so happy to share their toy with me and show how they raced them against each other by pulling them.  It’s really humbling to watch these children that have so little, they have to make their own toys, yet they were so  happy with what they had.  They also were happy and generous to share with me, a stranger.

I have learned from this experience to not only be satisfied with what I have and know that God has provided just what I need, but also to be resourceful with what God gives me.

This mission trip was a blessing to me.

Nancy Gawryszewski



My Mission Moment

The whole week for me was a huge mission moment.  I cannot explain how blessed I feel due to the people of the Dominican Republic.  My mission moment is very silly!  I’ve wanted to ride on a moto since the very day I stepped on the street in Villa Melta last summer (2014), and this year my dream came true! I definitely thought it was a long shot before I asked
Joanna, but she surprisingly was totally okay with me going!  Francisco took me for a ride around town and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I was feeling so many emotions at one time-joy, fear, love, excitement, worry, bliss, etc.  My fears were all quickly replaced with feelings of joy and excitement; I knew God had me in his hands and nothing else seemed to matter.  I wasn’t helping anyone but I learned to put my trust and life in God’s hands.  Francisco is like family to me, and I can’t imagine my life without knowing him and so many others in the Dominican!  The memories I’ve shared with the people of Santo Domingo will forever be in my heart.

Kate Kotara




I had an amazing time in Dominican Republic. We got to do
construction, VBS, help world hunger, and an English camp for kids who wanted to learn English. I tried to do a little bit of everything. I was glad that I could come on this trip and help other people. When we went to the peoples home to go deliver a month’s worth of food we got to hear the peoples testimony. It was amazing to hear how people got to know Christ. We also got to go and have dinner at a family’s house. When we got at there we learned that the father had made all of the furniture that they had. At VBS we had over 170 kids at one location that I worked at. The next day at VBS you could see the difference from the day before. I loved seeing the kids come and want to learn about him. At the end of each day I watched as the kids left how they went different ways by themselves, with an adult, or with older brothers and sisters. I got to make new friends and a see some people that I knew about from my dad and brother. One day we went to the orphanage and played and ministered to the kids that were there. We cooked a meal for them and ate with them and played games. I even got to spend my birthday at the beach. We went to the beach and market on my birthday. I had an amazing time and want to go back next year. This was my first mission trip and it was not what I had expected but even better. I am glad that I could come on this trip with my grandparents.

Leah Gordon


What a special joy it was to be able to return to the Dominican Republic again this summer!  Even though this was my 6th trip in 5 years, I still am awed by the love and grace God has shown me through my Dominican brothers and sisters.

Having new team members always “re-opens” my eyes to experience their thoughts and feelings as they learn about the Dominican people.

Over the years we have seen projects begun and completed, such as Rosa Elena’s school and her new home at Hatillo. Many children have been blessed both physically and spiritually through Rosa Elena.  We have been privileged to help with the construction there many times.

We were honored to share an evening meal in the home of a young Dominican woman who has become a special friend.  Our hostess talked about her life growing up, and now, as an adult, how God has provided food, money, and protection for her.  She spoke freely about following His plan for her life, and listening to and waiting on Him.  With so few physical possessions, she is a praiseworthy example of loving and trusting our heavenly Father, because He knows the plans He has for her.  Oh, to have faith like hers!

At our English Camp, one of our team members, a teenager from the South Texas Children’s Home, shared her testimony with the teenage Dominican students.  She talked about drugs and abuse in her life, and how she came to Christ and though she still struggles, He is helping her become a new person in Him.  When she finished, several Dominicans had questions, and then one young man said “we will all pray for you, because some of us have had those kinds of experiences in our family too”.  It was a very emotional moment, and showed that God created all of us, and wants to forgive and bring all of us to Him, no matter who you are or where you live!

The week went very quickly as we constructed picnic tables and bookcases, prepared and hosted a luau as a fund-raising project for the church, baked goodies for a bake sale for another church, helped with vacation Bible School at 2 locations, held an English Camp, shopped and delivered World Hunger groceries, and worked and played at an orphanage.  In between, we enjoyed time with fellow team members and re-connected with our Dominican brothers and sisters in Christ.

It was an awesome time and I was so blessed to be able to go on this trip again.  Thanks Trinity for your support!

Dios te bendiga,
Carol Westfall


This is the 5th year I have gone to the DR.  I cannot begin to list the things that were done in the 5 short days we spent there.

God has made a place in my heart for the people of the Dominican Republic.  I have developed family type relationships; watched children become young adults; young adults grow up and marry; and married couples have babies.  What a blessing it is to be a part of all that.

 I have seen what God can do in lives of broken homes. Many ask why I keep going back…. it is about the people.

If you have never been on a mission trip such as this I believe you have to have a minimum 2-year buy-in.  The first year all you see is the living conditions, the poverty, and trash everywhere.  It is the 2nd year you know it is all about the people.  I have seen how God has moved in the hearts of so many in just 5 short years.

I want to thank Trinity for their prayers and support over the last 5 years.  Once again, if God wills it, I can go back next year.


Blessings to all,
Larry Westfall


It was a joy to get to be in the Dominican Republic and with Iglesia Bautista Quisquiana. This year there were several new ministry opportunities. We continued to hold Teacher Training, Vacation Bible Schools, and construction projects while adding an English camp, purchase and deliver food for World Hunger, hold a Pastor’s conference, hold a couples night, and Luau. We were on the go the whole time we were there. On the second day of VBS, I was helping with the recreation games. During the games I noticed one girl with down syndrome. She was assigned to one team and it was such a blessing to see how the other children on her team helped and encouraged her to participate. There was a game where they kicked a ball past a line and then returned to pass it off to another child. As this little girl kicked the ball, she did so with vigor. It didn’t always go straight. But it didn’t matter because a few children ran alongside to keep it in front of her. Precious. It was a beautiful picture of a body working together. Not everyone can run at the same pace, but with the help of everybody, we can all run. God worked in our lives as we were blessed to serve. It is amazing that as we return,
sometimes exhausted, that we always feel we bring back more than we take. Thank you Trinity Baptist Church for all your support and prayers.  God bless Pastor Rudy and Patria as they minister among the people of the Dominican


Pastor John


Camp Sivells, May 20-24


Men’s Ministry Mission Trip 2015

Cloudcroft, New Mexico in many ways was delightful; Chilly mornings, cool days, and bright sunshine as 14 men from TBC worked long hours preparing Camp Sivells for its summer opening. The sound of lawn mowers, weed eaters, and picks & shovels resounded through the valley.  We were sustained by great food and drink, encouraging words, and most importantly, prayer.  Every evening after dinner was spent doing devotion time and sharing. After three days of hard work the camp had been transformed.  A deep feeling of the greatness of God’s provision was felt as we loaded up to return home.  May God grant us the opportunity to return next year.

Blessings, Frank Brooksher


“A men’s work retreat gave us a chance to cross the age and worship barriers that inevitably arise in a church.  The best part of the trip was getting to know new friends and old friends better.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!”


Thistles While You Work

Behold the upright, verdant thistles whose defenses include many sharpened missiles

Guaranteed to puncture the thickest of skin right down to where your meta carpals begin

Why God in His wisdom considered creating, a plant so reviled it earned a triple X rating

He must have decided our earthly existence required a test in landscaping resistance

So, in the interest of keeping you fully informed, ever alert and completely alarmed

Here’s my message direct, a lesson sublime, extensively researched with masterful rhyme

Attend to this first, let your mind be expanded, never approach a thistle bare handed

It’s completely and thoroughly postured to win, in a battle with you and your flimsy white skin

You could ignore its advance on your lovely abode, but it’s such a distraction, the gauntlet’s been throwed

Don’t go it unarmed or you’ll surely succumb, to multiple contusions and be considered just dumb

Secure the strongest of gloves, two pair at least, sufficient to assault this thorny green beast

To go it alone sans such needed protection, would ensure your fingers be exposed to dissection

You might think the best source of a thistle’s demise, is cutting it down to a manageable size

But once the deed’s done you’ll quickly find out, the thistle responds by growing fresh sprouts

There’s one other thing if you think it’s now dead, along its main roots new thistles will spread

Like sin in your life if you don’t play to win, and deal with the roots, it crops up again

Now the longer the thistle grows deep in the ground, its hold on the soil will amaze and astound

Gripping and tugging with all of your might, leaves the thistle intact, a victorious fight

And lest you think you’ll just wait ’til it dies, see how the wind makes its hundred seeds fly

Landing and sprouting in new crannies galore, all pledged to expand our carnage and gore

What’s true with our sin and thistles as well, if you ignore them they’ll create your own private hell

 For thistles and sin both strengthen each day, but arrest them at birth and they’re easy to slay

This tale of the thistle and its blight on the land, reminds us of sin that we fail to disband

Barely detected it seems hardly a worry, you’ll deal with it later, no reason to hurry

Then, one day you waken and soon realize, this meaningless sin has quadrupled in size

It controls your thoughts and becomes your master, and left unchecked is a looming disaster

There’s just one solution in this desperate hour, confess your sin, claim His healing power

For Christ alone has conquered all sin, no matter what form your thistle comes in

Scripture declares if our sins we confess, He will cleanse from us all our unrighteousness

Cast your thistles on Christ and from root to the stem, he’ll cast it away and replace it with Him

So, choose this day which master to serve, some skin-shredding thistle, (a gift from the ‘perv’)

Or the life-giving healing of your Savior and friend, who promises your thistles forever to end

Dedicated to the several stout-hearted souls who battled the Sivells’ thistles. 
Wiley Wilkerson, May, 2015