Monday, August 5, 2013

The Dedication Ceremony and arriving home

Saturday was a wonderful day of celebration as we 'presented' the new building to the community.  The team and the children paraded through the streets of the neighborhood singing songs to God, collecting community members as we moved through the streets to the project building.  The ceremony itself was very moving with presentations from pastors, leaders, and the children. Words cannot describe what we were a part of there.  So many others before us had brought us to this place, yet we were the ones fortunate enough to be a part of that day.

Please ask your loved ones about their experiences there, not only for the dedication ceremony, but through the entire week.  They will want to tell the stories. They are stories that should be shared.
Sunday was travel day back home for all...

While we are home, the Domincan Republic remains in our hearts and it will for a very long time, if not forever. The next few days, weeks and months will offer some adjustment back to our 'normal' way of life.  We will look at things differently. The hope is to bring awareness, help and advocacy to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

My heart is full today, sad, happy and mixed emotions all at once. LOVE to all... keep telling the story.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's here already?

....our last full day in country.  Yesterday we took a FUN DAY at the beach. Parasailing, snorkeling, laying out by the ocean and quite a few sunburns. :( 

Today, we are heading to the project to  clean up, decorate and have the GRAND OPENING of the school and present it to the community.  It will be bittersweet, for sure. What a wonderful way to end our stay here, but then, we have to go.  It's always hard to leave once you've fallen in love with the people and children, and that's exactly what has happened here.  But, we know that we are leaving them with a center where they can worship together, children can learn and play and build their community even more.

In the morning, bright and early, we will all be heading to the airport and back to the U.S. Thank you for your continued prayers for safety as we travel back to our homes and loved ones.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vacation Bible School Day

Yesterday we finished the construction work on the facility.  Praise the Lord for His goodness!!  Praise songs and hymns were sung by some of our team members as they were applying the final coats of paint.  The local pastor and the local workers joined in when they heard a familiar tune.  Again, praises being sung to God, in our own languages, but to the same Lord.  A wonderful example of our entire week here.  We are different, yet all His children, working together.  One local mother came at the end of the day and was overwhelmed with seeing the building completed.  Joy overcame her and she laughed and giggled and just kept hugging us as she walked from room to room.

Today we get to have lots of fun at VBS and speak directly through interpreters, sharing the stories of Jesus.  Praying hands crafts, witnessing bracelets, balloon animals, etc. Lots of wonderful seeds will be planted and I'm sure, lots of giggles and smiles will abound.  Be sure to check the FB page, link listed in a previous post, for pictures. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Want to see pictures, and even video?

It's a tad challenging to add pics and video here.  This link will offer you lots of pictures and even a video or two of our week. There is a photo album called Domincan Republic July 2013 at is the Volunteer Network page for One Child Matters.  Lots of great things to see. (you may have to log in to Facebook to view)

What a Day!

Tuesday started with lots of painting.  Most all walls are finished.  The only things left to paint are the sanctuary, one side of the exterior of the building and the mural.  Watching the building all come together is very rewarding.  We can see it coming to life.  A few more people were able to meet their sponsored children and seeing the homes and neighborhoods is eye opening.  Wooden slats nailed together for exterior walls, sheets to divide rooms, most matresses are on the floor and there is typically only one mattress per household, for many people. 

Tuesday afternoon we took a trip to the local market.  It was in the downtown area, which meant our bus drivers showed us even more skill in the maneuvering in a crowded area with what seems to be very little order.  Our American eyes see no rhyme or reason.  While they drive on the same side of the road as us, there are cars and motorcycles turning into traffic, bicycles, street vendors, even pedestrians walking in and out of very high traffic areas.  Amazing.  It was very interesting bargaining with the store tenders for some souvenirs. We tried using our Spanish speaking skills, but mostly relied on a calculator so there was no misunderstanding.  The supermarket was also fun.  Coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla were hot items as those are products of the Dominican.

A moving moment before dinner as we stopped by a local cathedral to experience a little time in a mass service.  While we couldn't understand most of the words, when it reached time for the Lord's Prayer, we all joined hands, reciting it together.

We ended the evening with a lot of singing around the dining tables.  Some praise and worship and lots of silly songs too.  Laughter and growing friendships seemed to be the theme of the day, New Domincan friends, missionary friends at our "home away from home", and American friends in our teammates. 

We are off to the site again today, Wednesday, to finish up the painting, and then cleaning up the site in preparation for the Grand Opening, presenting it to the community in a few days.  EXCITING!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another day in paradise

Lots more accomplished today, most of the cement is now poured. Some hard working team members have been mixing the cement with sand and shovel and sending it in buckets or barrels to its destination.   Classroom walls have been primed and were all but finished today with their final coat of paint.  Each wall had to be sanded down, swept (yes, we swept the walls), sweep out the room, spackled, sanded, primered, then painted.  So, to have much of the painting complete left us with quite an accomplished feeling.  A very moving time at lunch today where the team broke out in spontaneous song... songs to God.  Then, the pastor and his wife shared with us their gratitude for our work and told us the history of this location.  It's taken 7 years to get to this place where they will have a building with walls, a roof and electricity for the community children.  Not too long ago they were meeting under a mango tree.  Thank you for your prayers and your support.  All team members are in good health and in great spirits.  Teamwork and relationships abound.  Until tomorrow...

Praising is the same in any language

Sunday offered a fantastic time of celebrating Jesus with our new Dominican friends in a local church service.  Loud Hallelujahs and soft hugs all in the same room as we remember and celebrate that we are all in the same family, children of God.  Our leader, Yunior, was translating excellently, so the words could be clear. But, there was no need to translate the passion and love in the room. After church, we visited the communities and homes of some of the children who attend the school/center in which we are working to build.  To see the differences in their way of life makes us all so much more appreciative of what we have.  But, at the same time, we are perhaps learning that possessions are not all that important.  We wrapped up the day with some ice cream, visiting a local plaza. The evening brought about lots of fun back at La Casa Grande (our home away from home) with games and swimming and building relationships and new friends among our team.
On deck for Monday... lots more work at the project.  Painting, more cementing and whatever else we can do to help to get this school ready.  Until next time...