Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hospital Highlights

The group from Northside Church of Christ is here this week. They've been a lot of fun to work with and get to know. This week's hospital visit was especially momentous. For those of you who don't know, the hospitals here are very different from the hospitals in the United States. There are large rooms with tons of beds lining the walls. Patients have sheets on their beds only if their families bring them. It is very dirty, and there is no way that any procedure done there is sanitary. There is a lot of pain and a lot of suffering, and sometimes it's very tough to deal with. However, after visiting so many times, I have gotten past my fears and actually enjoy visiting the people in the hospital and bringing them some joy. Yesterday, I met the sweetest lady who was staying with her grandfather in the hospital who had prostate cancer. She had on the prettiest bracelet, and when I told her I liked it, she just gave it to me. It was so sweet, and she had such a positive outlook on life. I really enjoyed talking to her and her grandfather. I also got to see a guy named Antonio who I had met the week before. He is in the hospital for a broken leg which is infected. He had a deck of cards there yesterday, and we did some card tricks for each other. It was so much fun, and we had a wonderful time visiting together. There are many more stories like this every week, but these especially stuck out to me yesterday.

On another note, I'm sure many of you are wondering how the first church service in Rio San Juan went. It was this past Sunday, and there were 7 adults present and 35 kids. We were so excited about this turnout and we pray that it will continue to grow. Please keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lake Cities Photo Update

This is Bianca, a little girl I met at our Community Day house with the Lake Cities group. She was precious and she loved cheese.

Here are some of my favorite people in CaraqueƱa: Lisea, Abi, and Rosmery.

This is mine and Audrey's group for the week on the mountain overlooking Rio San Juan.

Estefany fixed our hair for all of us! It was so much fun.

The amazing Lake Cities group!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Well, our next group is coming in this evening. It's a group from Jeffersonville, IN, and Cory and Laura Beth Lamb are coming with them! They used to live down here as missionaries, and I'm so excited to see them! I know they're excited to be here as well because it will be their first time to be back after living here for two years.

Since my last post, here is what has happened. After a hard work day on Monday of pouring concrete, we took the Lake Cities group to the beach. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly the beach weather everyone was looking forward to, but this group did not let that stop them from having a blast. As soon as the rain started they started up a game of soccer! It was so much fun watching everyone play together and enjoy their time there. We mixed it up a little this time, and instead of eating at the beach, we came back to the Outreach Center and had a cookout. It was a lot of fun, and I personally enjoyed doing something that reminded me of being home. Let's face it...a cookout is pretty American. :)

Tuesday morning we helped get the group packed up and then we all got to go with them to the airport to say goodbye. They were such a wonderful group, and I am definitely going to miss them! When we arrived back at camp, Norm made all of the interns be completely silent for two hours. We were able to do whatever we wanted, but we could not talk. This was exactly what we needed! It's so hard to find time for yourself down here because there is so much to be done. This time was great for me to journal, pray, and read the Bible. It was also relaxing to not feel like I had to do anything. After quiet time, we had dinner at Norm's and then we all played cards together. I love nights like this where we can relax and just spend time together. I love everyone here so much, so it's always fun to be together.

Yesterday we prepared for the group that is getting here today. We had some things to take care of around camp, so we tried to get all of that done. However, we have been getting so much rain that it's making it difficult to do anything outside which is where most of our activities are! Apparently rain is not normal for this time of year, but we have definitely gotten our share of it. Hopefully it will let up soon so that we can get back to normal and be dry for a few hours. Haha.

Right now the interns are in Rio San Juan catching up on Facebook and doing some laundry. We're excited for the next group to get here and for what this new week holds!

Monday, June 21, 2010

VBS, Painting, and Concrete

Here is what's been happening since my last post. On Friday, the Lake Cities group went up to the hill that overlooks Rio San Juan and prayed for the city. It's always so nice to do that and it really encourages Rosi, Ronald, Evan, and Rachel. Friday afternoon, the group had VBS at the Outreach Center. They did such a wonderful job and the kids really enjoyed it. I met the sweetest little girl named Yaresa. She made a necklace for me and then gave me this little turtle charm she had. She was precious, and it was so nice to spend some time with her. After VBS, we try to walk some of the kids home to meet their families and get them involved in the church. I took a teenager named Estefany home. I got to meet her grandmothers and Estefany fixed my hair which was quite an experience. I'll post some pictures soon. Let's just say that my hair was looking slick. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I hope I can get to know her better as the summer goes on.

On Saturday we had a work day/free day. The morning was spent painting Porfi and Carla's house and then the afternoon was just free time. We were planning on doing concrete work. However, the city was not prepared so we had to use our backup plan. We had a rough start to the morning, but God always provides, and He did that day as well.

Yesterday we had church at the camp and then we did the Cultural Safari in Rio San Juan. Lake Cities did a great job and they were a lot of fun to work with.

This morning we poured concrete which we had planned to do on Saturday. It was hard work, but the group stuck with it, and we finished before lunch! We're fixing to head to the beach for some relaxation with Lake Cities before they leave tomorrow. Please keep them in your prayers as they head back to the states.

Friday, June 18, 2010

God Understands Spanish and English

Hello everyone! We finally have another group here in the Dominican. It's the Lake Cities group from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They are incredible people, and I am so happy another group is finally here! Since this group is doing pretty much the exact same things the group last week did, I wanted to share some personal stories about this week so far.

Before the group got here on Tuesday, the interns got to go to Rio San Juan to help Evan and Rachel with Princesas and Pescadores which is a program for the teenagers in the area. The girls talked about prayer and divided into small groups to talk about different aspects of prayer. It was so refreshing to hear from some of the Dominican girls about what was on their hearts and minds. I really feel like everyone benefited from that night and it will not be something that I soon forget.

Yesterday, we went to Puerto Plata to visit the hospital and the dump. At the hospital, I went over to a man's bed and sat and talked with him for a while. I asked him if I could pray for him in English and he said that would be fine because even though he wouldn't be able to understand, God would be able to because He understands Spanish and English. I was floored by this answer, and the truth of it is what makes our God so amazing. We serve and incredible God and He is definitely at work in this place.

One final note, Rosi and Ronald and Evan and Rachel are planning to have the first church service of the church in Rio San Juan at the end of this month. Please keep this in your prayers. Pray that the people of Rio San Juan will be receptive of the Lord and His love as well as the efforts of the missionaries here. I love you and miss you all! Thanks for your continued prayers and support. I'll try to post again soon.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Picture Perfect Overview

Our bedroom...I sleep on the top bunk.

Our beautiful house modeled by Audrey.

My first taxi or "guagua" ride in Santiago.

Our five hour trip to PriceSmart and all of the food we bought.

My fabulous first group from East Hill.

The entire East Hill group.

All of the amazing interns and Kevin. From left to right...Kevin, Nikki, Jordan, me, Glenn, Audrey, and Carter.

Fun in the Sun

Well, not much has happened since the group left. We have had a few days of relaxation and it has been much needed. The interns have been able to spend several days together getting to know one another and bonding since we have added Jordan to our team. I cannot describe how much I love these people and how excited I am to be a part of this team. Their love for the Lord and for the people here is so genuine, and I feel like I am right where I need to be at this point in my life. God blesses us so richly and knows exactly what we need.

Today the interns got to go to the beach. It was so much fun to spend time with one another and enjoy God's beautiful creation. It was also nice to relax because once this next group gets here it's going to be nonstop for the next several weeks. They literally come back to back for the rest of the summer.

Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures soon. I will try to blog as frequently as possible but please be patient with me as I look for available time to do this. The Internet is very sketchy here and it is hard to find time as well. I love you all and miss you so much! Thanks for your support and prayers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Great Week With East Hill

Well, as most of you know, it has been over a week since my last post. I'm so sorry for the delay, but this past week has been so busy! Our first group arrived last Tuesday. They were the East Hill youth group from York, Nebraska, and they were absolutely incredible! They were so prepared and such a great first experience with the groups. It made me so excited to meet all of the other groups that come. I'll give you all a quick overview of what went down last week.

The group arrived Tuesday night and we went through orientation at camp with them. Most of them were newcomers, so they had never experienced this place before. It was exciting to get to see their reactions to everything. Wednesday morning, we had Community Day in Rio San Juan and a VBS here at the camp for the kids in Bobita. Community Day is where we take our groups into the homes of people in the city for them to meet families and eat lunch in a family's home. My group of five people from East Hill and Chad all went to Anna's house. She was so sweet and the meal she made was great. I'm excited to get to know her more over the summer. East Hill had planned a wonderful VBS for the afternoon. The kids really loved it, and I loved seeing how excited they were about everything. Thursday was Puerto Plata day. On this day, the group goes to Puerto Plata and visits the hospital and a dump there. The hospital is so different from hospitals in the States, and to be honest, it's just pathetic. However, the East Hill group was so kind to the people in the hospital and I know they were able to ease their pain even if just for a little while. After the hospital, we visit the dump to deliver care packages to the people who live there. This is always a hard day, but the East Hill group handled everything so well and I was so proud of them. On Friday, we spent the morning praying over the city of Rio San Juan. We all went up to a hill overlooking the city and prayed that God would pour His Spirit over the city and open the hearts of the people who live there. It was such an uplifting morning, and I think it was definitely something we need to do if we want God to bless our work there. That afternoon, we had a VBS at the Outreach Center for Rio San Juan. Once again, it went off without a hitch, and the kids loved it. On Saturday, we had a work day at the entrance to the city of Rio San Juan. We planted palm trees and flowers to beautify the area. Sunday was spent having church here and then taking the group to Rio San Juan for a Cultural Safari. This is where groups get to go around Rio San Juan and explore while trying to communicate with the people to answer questions. My group did a great job, even though we finished last. :) Monday morning was another work day at the entrance to the city. We poured a concrete sidewalk around the trees we had planted. Monday afternoon was the group's beach day. We were blessed with safety and a fun afternoon spent relaxing. Yesterday morning the group packed up and left. We all went to drop them off at the airport and pick up Jordan, the final intern arriving this summer.

After Jordan arrived, I felt like our team was finally complete. He is such a nice guy, and I'm glad that we're all finally here. Once we picked him up, our entire team ate together, played volleyball on the beach, and spent the evening celebrating Audrey's birthday. I cannot describe the love I already have for these people and the joy I get from being able to work with them to serve the Lord. Just to let all of you know, here is who our team consists of: Norm is the director of the field program in the DR, Chad is the assistant director, Evan and Rachel along with Rosi and Ronald and their son Kevin are over the work in Rio San Juan, Porfi and Carla and their children Abi and Dani are over the Children's Home in Bobita, Luckson is in charge of most of our work projects, and there are six interns that include Glenn, Carter, Jordan, Nikki, Audrey, and myself. In addition to all of these amazing people there are multiple Dominicans who work closely with our team to help us with as much as possible. Please keep our team in your prayers as we work together to make touch the hearts and lives of these people and share the good news about Jesus with them.

We have this week off and we're spending today debriefing. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. You don't know how much it means to me. I love you and miss you all!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shower? Not Necessary

Wow. That is the only word I have for the time that has passed since my last post. Before I get into details, let me just say that I'm sitting in Norm's house in nasty clothes and I haven't showered in almost 48 hours. I'm looking and smelling pretty rough, but yesterday and today have been crazy!

Yesterday morning we left camp at 6:30 A.M. to head to Santiago to buy food for the first four groups that are coming. All of the interns, Chad, Norm, Rosi, and Ronald loaded onto the Daihatsu with coolers and tubs to pack all of the food. Santiago is about a 3 hour drive up a mountain. With all of the tubs on the truck, it was not the most comfortable I've ever been. Anyway, we finally got to Santiago and had to leave the Daihatsu at this place because it needed some maintenance work. So...we were on our own to get to PriceSmart where we were going to get our groceries. I took my first ever taxi to PriceSmart with Glenn, Evan, and Rachel and two other people and the taxi driver. It was crazy, but so much fun. I could not stop laughing because I know we looked ridiculous all piled in that car. It was definitely an experience. PriceSmart is pretty much like an American Sams or Costco. We literally spent over 4 hours in there getting all of the food for the summer. Then we had to go a few more places after that to get some things they don't carry there. We shopped all day and it was exhausting. After that we had to pack it all on to the Daihatsu and get it back to camp. Talk about scary! The truck was packed full. I rode the entire way back with my knees pulled up to my chest. It was a crazy ride, but so funny.

Once we got back to camp, we had to unpack everything off of the Daihatsu so that it could be taken to pick up the group today. It was around midnight and we were all unpacking the truck. I went into our bathroom to get some Clorox wipes to clean off one of the tubs where something had leaked. I reached out to the shelf to grab some wipes, and almost grabbed a boa constrictor. AHHHHHHHH!!!!! It was slithering around on the second shelf in our bathroom. I'd say it was probably about 3 feet long and it was pretty thick as well. I went running outside and told the group. Ron came in and carried it outside and took it far away. If it comes back again, we're killing it. Yuck! That definitely gave me the creeps!!!

So after all of that drama, we were ready to jump in the shower and go to bed. However, I got in the shower to find that there is no water. Apparently, there is a leak somewhere. We decided after talking to Chad to wake up early today and get the problem solved. So...after driving all day on the Daihatsu, we jumped in bed dirty, sticky, and gross.

As of right now, 1:45 P.M., there is still no water. We've spent most of the day getting camp ready for the group coming tonight. We interns are going on 48 hours without showering. I am disgusting, but I can honestly say the past few days have been so much fun. We've worked hard and had some problems, but we've gotten closer as a group and have laughed so much. There really are blessings to be found in every situation. I know the Lord will provide and everything will get taken care of before the groups get here. Please continue to keep us in your prayers! The East Hill group is arriving tonight!