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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 8 3 comments

Our Team:

Today we woke up at the usual time, 7am. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs, french loaf and pineapple.

We left the camp at 8am and made our way out into the country for the first time. We went to a Batey, which is the Spanish word for an impoverished area. Here we visited a 4 classroom COCREF school. The grades 1-4 have class in the morning unitl lunch time and then the grades 5-8 have class in the afternoon. This school receives funding from an organization in Chicago for food to feed the students from grades 1-4 breakfast and grades 5-8 lunch. Some of the kids have to walk up to 8 km to get to the school. After touring the school, Nathan and a teacher from that school guided us through the surrounding area and viewed the living conditions. We then loaded back into the van and visited the next school which was approximately 10 minutes away. This school had classrooms for grades 1-8. They were taught in subjects of mathematics, art, Spanish grammar/phoenics. We then stopped at a bank, which was located at a gas station to exchange our US dollars to pesos. 

From here we went to Pizzarelli's and enjoyed some delicious pizza with a view of the Carribean Sea. We went for a walk along the seaside and took pictures with a soldier. Back to the van and off to the market we went. 

The market was an adeventure like no other. It was slightly scary. At the market we were bombarded by many vendors trying to sell us overpriced items. We were challenged with having to try to barter to get these prices lowered. After spending 2 hours walking through the shops, we finally left tired but satisfied. 

Nathan dropped us off back at the homestead. We hopped in the pool for a quick cool off before supper. For supper tonight we had a traditional Domincan meal which consisted of pickled onions, cheese and another food item we are not sure what it was. 

After dinner, some of us played basketball and the other's just sat and talked. We then met at 8:30 pm and did our nightly devotions. Tonight, Chelsea led the devotions by reading from three different passages in the Bible, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekial 36:22-38 and Luke 6:43-45, talking about what true repentance means in our lives.

We stayed up with the Chatham team for a while to keep them company as they were pulling an all-nighter, since they have to leave by 2:30 tomorrow morning.

We thank God for the experiences that we had today. It really impacted us to see that even though they have a lack of material posessions they are still living content lives. It was such an eye-opening experience to see that "our way of living" is not the only way, God's people are found in many different places and living conditions. Praise the Lord for this opportunity!  

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 7 0 comments

Even though today was the last day of work, it was a day full of firsts. We all woke up on time. We were in the dining hall at the same time, eager to get to work. We had our favourite breakfast, PANCAKES, honey dew and sausages :)

This was the first time we were stuck in traffic for over an hour on our way to the job site. It was a shock to us that a building that we had seen yesterday was still smouldering. We realized that not everyone has access to immediate emergency services as we do. Once we arrived at the job site, we all fell out the van from stiffness and stretched our legs quickly before heading straight to work. After painting for an hour, we took a water break. The kids were also having a break, so we took this opportunity to play with them. Then we walked down the street to the church where the children had prepared songs to thank us for the work that we had completed. They also requested us to sing a song for them as well, so we sang the song "Love Jive" in rounds, as this was the song which we had prepared for the church service on Sunday. The children were done school and we were forced to say our goodbyes. There were many hugs and tears as it dawned on us that this would be the last time that we would be seeing each other. We then had a delicious lunch prepared by Louisa, the English teacher at the school. After lunch, we set off to work to finish painting the seven classrooms. JOB FINISHED!! We went together as a team to the rooftop to take pictures with the beautiful view of the town Los Guaricanos. Santos, the principal, delivered a beautiful, heartfelt thank-you with Nathan translating. Let's just say that there were some tears shed. It was then that we truly understood the importance of short-term mission trips and building relationships with our brothers and sisters in other countries. We were all strengthened by each other's love for Christ and the amount of Christ's love that is shown through the communion of saints.

The ride home we experienced another first. Brooke was riding in the passenger seat and was spotted by a young Dominican taxi cab driver. He crossed over 2 lanes of the highway to get beside our van. He was yelling at Nathan to tell Brooke to give him her number. While he was looking over at the van, he drove into the car in front of him. This was the first time we witnessed a car accident in the second most dangerous country to drive. We were at a stoplight and watched as the driver from the vehicle that was rear ended exit his vehicle to inspect the damage. The light turned green and we toke off before we could watch what would enfold next.

We went back to the camp and were the first team to get to the pool as the Chatham team had beat us every other work day. We eagerly soaked up the sun rays.

For supper we had rice, chicken, potato salad and another dish that we do not know the name. After supper, some of us played soccer and then cooled off by sitting by the pool.

Tessa led us in devotions and we read from John 14:1-4. We talked about the elect and how we should live our lives knowing that Christ is preparing the ultimate resting place for us. Throughout the trip the topic of moral filth has been re-occurring. We have thought a lot about the things that need to be cut out of our lives in order to live for Christ first.

We thank God for the emotional, physical and spiritual strength that He has blessed us with today.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 6 0 comments

Today we woke up to a beautiful day, though it was overcast, we were optismistic that it was going to be a great day! They prepared french toast, sausages and banana's, a substantial meal for the full day of work ahead of us! We loaded into the van and we started on the 45 minute trek to the school. Once we got to the school we started our work by putting some finishing touches on a couple of the classrooms that we had started. Tessa was not feeling well and Nathan, our COCREF co-ordinator brought her back to the camp with Alyssa, while Hilmer held down the fort at the school. The boys proceeded with moving a pile of sand from outside the school to inside the school yard, while the girls continued on with painting the upper hallway and other classrooms. The children were singing a song that was recognized by some of the girl team members, and the teacher allowed them to go into the classroom and they joined in with singing the song in English, to which the children all replied with cheers of excitement. We were taking a water break and playing keep up when we were completely surrounded by many of the children wanting to play as well. We all enjoyed this time with the kids. Today in total we ended up finishing painting 4 classrooms. We got back to the camp at 5:30 pm. Some of us had a quick cool-off in the pool and checked up on Tessa who was feeling a lot better. For supper we had spaghetti, lettuce, tomatoes and bread, some familiar food. We played basketball after supper. Debra led us in devotions today and we had a discussion about being strong and courageous in our faith and knowing that everything is in God's control, including whatever sicknesses we may face while we are here in the Domincan. Some games of volleyball were played before heading to bed for an early night because we wanted to ensure we were well rested for our work day tomorrow. 

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 5 3 comments

Today was Sunday and it was a beautiful, sunny day. The time change in Canada messed us up this morning, so we all woke up at 7 when we were planning on getting up at 8. We drove to church and got there around 10. We stayed for three hours of the service, and Pastor Hilmer preached. The service involved a lot of (very loud) singing, and our team went up and sang Love Jive (a lot quieter than everyone else sang, but we think they liked it). After church we went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and the food was really good. Then we went back to the homestead and went in the pool and hung out. Then a few of us played cards, and then had dinner. After dinner, some of us went and played basketball (the girls won), and some of us talked. Next we did devotions, and sang lots of songs, accompanied by Brent, on the guitar again. Then some of us played some soccer, and some of us talked more. After that we played cards again, and went to bed.  

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