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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

COCREF, Great Food, and Guillarmo's home 0 comments

Our Team:

The last full day in the Dominican was just as full and rich as the rest.  Today began by hopping onto the bus and heading out to pick up Guillarmo on our way to tour several of the COCREF schools.  COCREF is the organization here that partners with EDUDEO and operates 15 school in the Dominican Republic.  There are 3,500 students that receive education from these schools.  Today we were able to see the very first school that was set up in 1981.

These schools have benefitted from the work that HANDS teams have done and we could see that our school, Jerico, is newer and thus needs a lot more work done.  The schools we visited today were in the outskirts of the city, while Jerico is located in a Batay (a village established by the Hatian slaves of the sugar cane industry).  Batays generally are populated by people who live in dire poverty, so the hope is for the schools to help the children from these Batays to break the cycle by giving them an education and a Christian foundation.

After lunch at eh COCREF office we headed for the Market and enjoyed dickering with the vendors for better prices. Deanna and Annika proved to be the best at this paying less than half of the original price for most items.

To end the day we headed to Guillarmo's house to have dinner with his family and some of the hosts.  Franklin, Mario, and Fred joined us there and we had a great night eating and learning to cha cha.  Franklin presented us with t-shirts and coffee as departing gifts from the hosts.  The evening was an absolutely perfect way to end a wonderful trip.


Sorry there were not more pics in the blog, but the wifi was not cooperating.

We will try to get vanilla at the airport Esther, as your request cam in an hour after we left the market.


Flight leaves 11:44, we land in Buffalo Lord Willing at 8:10


Adios, asta munyana!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Adios Amigos! 0 comments

And so it comes to an end.  We are in no way looking forward to the cold, ice and snow that awaits us in Ontario, but we have learned that we, least of all people, should not complain of anything.  

However, we are really looking forward to seeing you all again later today as we have missed our loved ones.

We say goodbye to some dear new friends here in th Dominican.  Freddy our bus driver, Mario, Franklin, and Guillarmo.  We will miss them very much.

We say good bye to our beautiful accomodations, the ocean, and a country that has so many happy people, yet has so much need of the gospel and the message of Jesus Christ.

Adios Repulica Dominicona!


See you tonight loved ones!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Last day at Jerico 1 comment

It will be impossible to capture the essence of today in words, but it was awesome.  After being delayed in traffic for a good 45 minutes, we finally made it to the Jerico school and got to see our kids.  Upon arrival we asked if we could sing our song to the school and so Carolin the principal had all the students come out into the play area.  Before we could sing there was countless little kids that wanted to ride on our shoulders and backs, the girls wanted our young ladies to participate in some hand clappng games and the older boys wanted to throw atound the new baseballs we brought for the school.  Only pictures will be effective in describing this scene.

Once the kids were assembled in front of us, we sang "Humble Thyself" and "Here I Am to Worship" with the chorus in Spanish.  We left behind some baseball gloves and baseballs, a soccer ball, and our hearts. Saying goodbye was very hard.  

There were tears.

We all knew the time here would effect us, but we really did not know how.  You really have to be here to understand.  We talked at length at devotions about the experiances we had in the morning and each of us continue to be amazed at the affection appreciation, and love that the people showed to us.  We also now understand, much more deeply, the desparate need that exists in some of these communities and how we can support Christian Education moving forward.

Today was also our beach afternoon and we first went to a beach with huge waves where we were tossed around trying to swim past the breakers. Later we went to Boca Chica, which was a picture perfect Caribbean paradise type of beach.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we will tour some of the other schools and go to the souvenir market.



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Monday, March 12, 2018

Passion for the Lord 0 comments

Each night during our devotions we each take a moment to mention our memorable moment of the day.  Tonight the common theme was the joy and passion we saw that the Christians we worshipped with had for the Lord.  Interestingly, the sermon we heard focused on Matt. 6:24 about the two masters.  The Pastor preached a sermon about the dangers of wealth and the simple fact that everything belongs to God, and not to us.  It was humbling to hear a Dominican minister admonish his flock not to serve money and then to pray for those who are rich so they do not love the money God has given.  While we often pray for those in need, they prayed that those with wealth to realize their need....something to think about.

The service began with about an hour of singing as the members of the congregation arrived.  Two young girls did some rythmic dance with ribbons as we sang.  The collection basket was placed on a chair at the front of the church and each person could walk to the front and give as they were blessed.  We were invited to come to the front of the church to say a few words.  At a loss for what to say, Ashley suggested we sing a song we had sung at Saturday's devotions, "humble thyself in the sight of the Lord".  It went over well very well.  After that the Pastor came up and gave his sermon which was translated for us by Guillarmo's (our host) daughter who spoke English so fluently we could not eve detect an accent.

There are many different cultures with many different types of church services, but there is only one Word, and when it is faithfully preached, it speaks to whomever is listening. 

Our afternoon was free and so much of it was spent in the pool at the hotel.  Some read, some napped, some slow roasted themselves in the sun.  At one point the team left the hotel to walk along the rocky coast and got some photos of the sun set over the ocean (pictures may be posted tomorrow).

After our evening devotions, we practiced the Spanish version of "Here I am to Worship", which we hope to sing for the students at the school tomorrow.  Annika suggested that we sing the verses in English and chorus in Spanish, which was a fantastic idea that just might help us to pull it off.  

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