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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Last Day! 1 comment

Our Team:

Pancakes were on the menu this morning - a little break from the ham and eggs. Once we were well fed, we headed out for several school visits. It was great to see a few other schools in addition to the one we've been working on this past week. 

The first school was Pena de Horeb. This school was in a very poor community. There was another EduDeo HANDS team working here as they are adding a number of new classrooms. We were greeted by the Principal, Alejandrina. She is an amazing women and is doing a fantastic job leading this school. It serves as so much more than a school with feeding programs, medical assistance and so much more for the community. 

We then visited Jericho Christian school in another poor community. This school recently had an addition built as well - an entire second floor was built in partnership with EduDeo Ministries. It was so encouraging to see the smiling kids in the classrooms. 

We then made a quick stop at the ministry centre to view the partner offices, stopped by the market to purchase gifts for loved ones, and then went to the beach. It was an action packed several hours. 

We were then hosted for dinner at Mario and Yolanda Matos' house. Mario is the Director of the partner organziation. They shared stories about their upbringing and we enjoyed a debrief together. We were then presented with a thank-you gift, consisting of Dominican coffee and a t-shirt with our team picture on it. It was a very special, thoughtful gift. 

Having our debrief and devotions in the van, we arrived back close to 10pm. We enjoyed a time of sharing thanks and encouragement with one another. Each girl read aloud a thank-you card to their week-long partner. We then played charades, acting out the highlights from the past week, having other team members guessing at what was being acted. We then concluded with a time of prayer, with each participant contributing. 

Oh, and then we played mafia. For one last eveing. 

Good night. Tomorrow we head home. Changed. By this amazing experience. 

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Goodbye to New Friends 1 comment

A day of many emotions!

After we had breakfast we went straight to the worksite for our last day there. When we got there we were given a tour of the school and all the classrooms, and were very warmly welcomed and blessed by the children and staff there. We were very thankful to see the school filled with happy and excited students! After the tour we started working on laying mortar and bricks again. We were making good progress on the classroom walls until after lunchtime when the kids came running out of their classrooms. Lunch was delicious and we even got to sample some of the lunch the children at the school receive. (The children receive breakfast and lunch at school everyday.) During lunch, we had the opportunity to thank Luciano and Orpha for everything they have taught us and provided us with this past week and presented them with a picture of our team.

As soon as the children came running out they came to us and we couldn't be more excited to join in their games that they quickly got us involved in. Even though we couldn't understand what they were saying, we were still able to learn their games and participate in the fun they have at school. Hand clapping games, soccer baseball, ring around the rosie, cat and mouse, and tag were some pretty popular games with the students. The girls also enjoyed playing with our hair and they loved to pose for pictures. 

At the end of the day the children thanked us by presenting poems, songs and letters. Even though it had only been a day, we felt very connected to the children and staff and it was very hard to say goodbye. It was amazing to see how this Christian school was impacting the students life and future and how we could be a part of it! The children and staff were very thankful to us, but we are also very thankful to them for all we have learned and experienced by being there with them. It was a day we will never forget!

We look forward to a busy day tomorrow!

Buenos Noches!

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday...what a day! 4 comments

Following breakfast we headed out to a church service in Santo Domingo. It was a small church, but not short on sound and action. We saw young girls dancing in church and heard a wonderful message (Spanish and English) from Mario Matos on why the wise men went to see Jesus, and how we too must still seek Jesus every day...and give our best to him as the wise men did. Not only was it loud in the church, the buzz of activity on the streets was clear with the church doors wide open. We were encougared to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a great reminder that He's gathering his church from every nation! 

Following church we met Mario and his wife and daughter in downtown Santo Domingo for lunch. Guillermo, another staff member of EduDeo's partner organization joined us for lunch too. After lunch we enjoyed an informal tour of the colonial zone in Santo Domingo by our host, Franklin. Among other things, we saw the oldest church in the Americas (1512), a Cocoa museum, and many other old buildings. The city is stunning. 

We then met up with another EduDeo HANDS team from Burlington and together we went to a National Park to view some caves. They were much bigger than we expected and the water was sparkling clean. We took a little boat across one cave and even fed a few fish. The beauty of God's creation blew us away. A country that has much hurt, has tremendous beauty. 

Franklin then took us to his home to meet his beautiful wife and two children, a boy and girl. Franklin made us some smoothies with fresh fruit and we enjoyed a pizza dinner together. Devotions were done on the hour and half ride home with a tired group. Energy levels picked up for a couple of quick games of mafia, an evening hit...every single night. 

Tomorrow it's back to the job site. School resumes tomorrow after Christmas break so we're really excited to see the school full of kids!

Thanks for your ongoing prayers!

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Fun Saturday! 2 comments

Wow! Another great day for the girls on mission! Day by day we are slowly building deeper relationships with the community and were able to hug and make handshakes with others by the end of the day. We are learning so much about God and his creation by witnessing the wonderful world he has created. 

The day started at 7:00 when we woke up for a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. Shortly after we headed off to the job site to work for half a day. There we got to do devotions with the workers and some of the local school children before the work began. We did a devotion based off of Psalm 23 which talked about goodness and love. It was great to see the kids participate with us through an activity that interpreted the Psalm into actions.

After devotions some girls moved gravel while others laid mortar and placed bricks much like yesterday. Today we really felt ourselves working and bonding as a team especially when we were working as a team to finish walls of mortar and bricks. We each took a job around the same area so we could talk more while still getting work done in the process. The heat and sun were tough to work through, but we were thankful to God when the clouds and a breeze came around. The morning ended with an amazing lunch of rice and traditional Dominian stew following hugs and handshakes. 

We got back to hotel, quickly changed, and were soon on our way to see the beautiful waterfall: Salto Socoa. All were astonished by the detail of God's creation. Wow, He is good! We spent the afternoon swimming and exploring the waterfall, rivers, and pools. On the way back we stopped at a pineapple farm and learned more about how they are grown and harvested.

To end our day we went to a local restaurant where we were served food very new to us; boiled bananas, fried plaintains, very fresh oven baked chicken, and passion fruit juice. Following dinner we were treated out to mouth-watering ice cream.

Another day well spent and are looking forward to experiencing church in the Dominican tomorrow. 

Adios Amigos!

P.S. As more building supplies arrived at the job site today we were reminded of the amazing financial support we recieved from so many people back home. Your support paid for these products and allowed this school to be built. Thank you!

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