See the Need. Make a Difference.

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”  Jimmy Carter

If you have been on a mission trip, or have ever passed a homeless person on the street, you have seen the need. If you have seen a child who can't go to school because he has no shoes or clothes to wear, or held the hand of a 14 year-old mom who can not feed or care for her baby, you have seen the need. If you have eyes, you surely have seen the need; the overwhelming needs of the people around us.  How can one person make a difference?

Our recent medical mission trip was nothing short of amazing, as our team of 70 ministered care and compassion to a multitude of people in a few short days. With such a wonderful team, there are (at least) 70 stories to be told by 70 individuals who, each in their own way, choose to make a difference. One of those stories is lovingly illustrated by the new playground equipment in our schoolyard.  

One of our team members, while participating in the 2016 medical trip, visited our school, saw the need, and donated the funds for the playground equipment. It is such a blessing to our school and to our precious students. The children love it!  


We all have the capacity to make a difference and we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking it needs to be a huge, imposing or intimidating task. Sometimes, it requires only a simple act of kindness. Sometimes you write a check, or volunteer your time or some specific talent or ability. It could involve a paintbrush or a hammer; a stethoscope or, perhaps, a pen and paper.  There are endless opportunities so go ahead, get involved. See the need, and make a difference!

Here are a few ways you can get involved at Handfuls of Hope

Sponsor a child
Our school is funded solely by the generosity of our donor/sponsors. You can make a difference in the life of a child.

Participate in a mission trip.
Be part of the team. Activities include construction, VBS, food ministry, medical/dental. visitation, or a host of other opportunities.

Creative fundraising ideas
You can help us to achieve our ministry goals by raising funds and/or awareness for HOH.

Do you have other ideas?  We would love to hear them!
Contact us today!

Let's make a difference!
 

Jan 2017 Medical Missions Trip - Day 5

Our last full day in-country. It began with a great breakfast, then some worship and an impactful message from Don Coords, who asked us to listen to what God is calling us to do; to work toward being committed to HIS plan, and not seek our own alternatives. He was preaching to me personally although the room was packed. 

After that the team had some time for rest and relaxation at Costa Caribe, with a dip in the ocean and a fabulous meal, it was a well-deserved break from ministry work. 

The icing on today's cake was our visit to "Pasitos de Jesus"  a girls orphanage that HOH has a relationship with. As we entered the grounds we heard the girls singing for us. They greeted us in song then grabbed our hands and played with us out in their large open yard.  Face painting, bead bracelets and a Pizza Party to top off the evening. 

These young girls have such love for the Lord, and they are so polite and thankful for what they have. Several girls told their story of rescue from abuse and how they are thankful to be living with their "sisters" and Mamma Dalma at Pasitos.  Our evening ended with the HOH team presenting Mamma with a significant donation to be used for food and necessities. Pasitos is struggling to keep the lights on and the refrigerator stocked for 50  growing girls. 

Eye opening, but glad we could serve them pizza and distribute donated toys, shoes and clothing.  Emotional for sure, and we left all our tears on the pathways surrounding our gathering area. Another late night and early morning, so "Good Night" and thank you for supporting HOH with your prayers and financial resources. -  John D. 

Jan 2017 Medical Missions Trip - Day 4

Our day started with a visit to our sponsored children as they played on the new playground equipment. Never have we have seen so many smiles on a Saturday morning in the school courtyard. We had the time to share gifts with our sponsor child and meet with their parents. Won't you consider sponsoring a student for the remainder of the school year? It's easy, electronic and life changing for both a young child and you ! Just go to the Home Page and click the "Sponsor a Child" photo. Or go directly to  http://www.handfulsofhope.org/sponsor-child/   

Our clinic opened bright and early and we saw more than 1000 clients today, including our Mobile Medical Clinic which rolled alongside our Isaiah 58 bus.

It was truly a wonderful week serving alongside some amazing people. Our Medical Team cared for and treated approximately 2,700 people in three short days, both in-clinic and on our mobile medical unit. Isaiah 58 distributed more than 21,000 meals, hundreds of clothes items and more toys and beanie babies than one can count. Thank you again to HOH, family and friends who helped make this possible. The Medical Team looks forward to returning January 2018.  Please think about joining us next year or sign up for a Summer Trip in 2017. 

Late night tonight.... we will update you tomorrow - John D. 

Jan 2017 Medical Missions Trip- Day 3

What's in a number? I'll tell you what; it's the hope that comes from sharing your love and compassion with God's children. 925 is the number I have in mind tonight. That is the number of men, women and children we saw today at our clinic in Catalina and mobile clinic near Bani. 

Individual care, love and respect were evident as the Isaiah 58 team served two areas today. We distributed clothing and shoes as well as food packs to appreciative Dominicans. We also turned a small street into a "Bubble Party" with the young ones.  Our Mobile Medical Clinic distributed Medication after careful diagnosis. We even transported an older gentleman and his wife back to our main clinic because Dr. Rick needed to care for his foot wound. Flexibility is word ONE on these trips and I am always amazed at how our volunteers step up to the task and jump right in. 

Our teachers and Teacher Trainers worked tirelessly with both upper and lower grades, delivering novel teaching techniques and a mountain of new Spanish reading books and textbooks. We even had a morning reading time out in the courtyard enjoying the beautiful Dominican climate.

Construction continued on our new play area, getting the rough lumber smooth for little hands. 

Medical Clinic, Mobile Ministry and Food Distribution to multiple villages, Teacher Training, and Construction... all in a days' work for our talented team of HOH volunteers. Won't you consider partnering with us? God Bless and Good Night  - John D.

Jan 2017 Medical Missions Trip - Day 2

Today was filled with much activity across the Handfuls of Hope Ministry. We were greeted by the entire elementary grades at the Handfuls of Hope School as they sang and welcomed us to their beautiful school. The work the teams did in the summer really shows as these students have a beautiful, clean and safe area to play during recess. Their presentation took place in the new courtyard in front of our new building which added several classrooms for the 8th and 9th grades. 

Our Clinic was in full swing, seeing approx. 600 "clients"  today and our doctors and nurses treated each one with the personalized care they needed. Buses arrived throughout the day bringing people to our portable clinic. Our clinic treats dental, optical, gynecological, general internal, pediatric and prenatal needs. It is amazing to watch the intake teams work with the physician/nurse teams to make sure everyone sees the right specialist. 

Isaiah 58 Mobile ministry was on the road, visiting the towns of Azua and Santa Rosa. They were joined by a magnificent rolling Clinic provided by the Rawlings Foundation and staffed by our teams. Naturally we distributed food to families in need, totaling approximately 1300 Meal Packs. We provided clothing to children and young adults and played with the children while they waited to have their faces painted.

Our construction team started construction on a new Play Structure for the older children, we will have pictures of the finished product; sure to be a surprise for our elementary grades. 

Friday promises to be another day of blessing across all the ministry opportunities here in the DR with HOH. Dios te bendiga  - John. 

Jan 2017 Medical Missions Trip - Day 1

Wednesday-Day one. We are about ready to go to sleep. Many of us have been up since Tuesday morning. Thank goodness for a few short naps. Before heading to the clinic to set up we went and visited the families who live in San Juan. This is a sugar cane village. There we distributed bags of dry food and played with the kids. Many of these families will be visiting the clinic while we are here. The rest of the day we organized the clinic along with preparing dry food bags for the teams to distribute tomorrow along with clothing and toys. Many of our local friends were here to greet us.  What a joy it was to serve alongside this group of people

Bags are Packed and Team is Ready

Well we are all ready to set up a Medical Clinic in Catalina, DR . Last minute preparations for the team of 70 + people ready to serve and be blessed in the process. Our bags are packed with medicine, face-painting kits, toys, balls, books, shoes, clothing, and many other items to be used in ministry. Many thanks to all who donated supplies for our trip!  Follow this Journal with us this week as we share photos and maybe some video as well .

Day 4 & 5 Summer 2016 Ministry in Full motion!

As the sun rises over Santo Domingo this morning I am writing this to update everyone on the progress of the mission here in the DR. Day 4&5 is included here as the nights have been late and the team has been gathering back quite late preparing for the following day. People are tired but overjoyed by the way God keeps "showing up" and blessing the people we seek to serve.

As a quick Recap of Day 4 & 5 I will provide bite-sized updates on all our major Projects this Week. Please forgive me as there is SO much going on - most importantly lives being changed, both on the team and in the villages where we serve. 

HOH School Courtyard - Completely covered in Cement and now a great Gathering place for our School Community- It looks Awesome- I can almost imagine the kids playing during recess in this space during the school year.

The new Building ( classrooms) Block by Block working along side a local team of Dominicans HOH is erecting this new classroom Space. It is safe to say that every team member has had a hand on a cement block used to construct this massive building. Block by Block our faith is strengthend as we watch God provide the energy and skill needed for this undertaking. 

VBS... we finished our incredible VBS program at the end of Day Five - Get this, while a building is being put up only 50 yards away. VBS is in full swing !  Courtyards and Classrooms are full of hundreds of singing and smiling Kids. All receiving Christ's love with a dose of Fun , Music and VBS drama stories. I have seen the Smiling faces of the many Kids involved each day- they number in the hundreds.

Isaiah 58- Food ministry is in Full swing with teams leaving each day to visit the poorest of the poor here in the DR. I have personally traveled 2 days with teams and I am impacted by the love and humble nature of the people as we get to have fun and do ministry all at the same time.  Where else can you organize a baseball game in 2 minutes, "create bases" out of Rocks and use Sticks to hit out of the park home runs?  Oh and by the Way the Chickens on the playing field are just one of the distractions. Nevertheless, the Americanos  can never seem to win a game against the Dominican teams, and there are no mercy rules either in this league ! After a great game of Baseball the team returns to the village with hot meals and food for families for the days to come. Clothes are distributed and a powerful message of Hope and Love is delivered by pastor Arnold in their language. All this against the backdrop of the beautiful DR countryside.

The team is healthy and energized to continue to serve this week as we prepare for the Teen Challenge program, and visiting our Sponsor children. 

Thank you for your Prayers and support as they are so needed and strengthen this team in supernatural ways, ways that only God can orchestrate. 

Be Blessed - we are  John D. 

Day 3 Summer 2016 The School Courtyard

Major construction today, as the Sun Set on Catalina the last of the concrete for our school courtyard was poured and leveled. A crew of over 20 men and some impressive concrete pumping gear, created a beautiful courtyard for our students and their families. It is because of your generosity that this was all possible. The School continues to be the hub for this community and your constant attention to this ministry makes upgrades like this a reality. Thanks for helping serve families with incredible community spaces.

-- We continue to be.. Blessed , John D.

Day 3 Summer 2016 Isaiah 58 Ministry Season Launch

Wow what an incredible opportunity to serve villages by feeding them a hot meal and providing them with food to take home to their families. Our teams visited the first of 5 villages this week and enjoyed games of baseball and tag with the children as well as visiting with parents and village leaders.

All this while delivering food and the message of hope found only in Jesus Christ.

--Be Blessed John D.

Day 3 Summer 2016 VBS Program Starts Today

Today we had the joy of working with approx. 700 children at our annual VBS program here in Catalina. The Children enjoyed crafts and several Bible Drama's played out by our talented volunteers. So much thanks to the teams of "short term" missionaries who stayed up late Sunday night to get all the Crafts, Props and Skits ready. Our VBS Program will run through Wednesday and bring joy to countless children in the area.

-- Be Blessed, John D

DAY 2 Summer 2016 Visiting Children's Hospital

This afternoon we headed to Robert Reid Children's hospital. If you know me, you know how emotional this was for me. There is nothing worse for me than to see sick children . While we were there we entertained the children with puppets, balloon animals and our singing as well as handed out many beanie babies. We also spent time praying along side the sick children and their families. After dinner many of us shared our days experiences and how it impacted us deep inside.

It was followed by us all working together prepping for VBS which starts tomorrow. We have 500 children attending tomorrows program. It sure is going to be a crazy but amazing day.

Out of respect for the children and their families we will not post pictures of the children in the hospital. The Hands picture above is of Angela in our group comforting and praying with a Mom who's child is in intensive care. So many stories Stay tuned.

God is good. He always is. Share on Social media with #hohmissions2016

  • Rosemarie D

DAY 1 Summer 2016 Planning and Preparing

After a late night flight Friday into Saturday 60 people from this incredible team landed in the DR. We met up with our in country team to plan and prepare for the weeks ministry. With VBS, Construction, ISAIAH 58, Teen Challenge and Women's Health and Childbirth Education , this multi-talented team is ready for action.

For those of you who can not join us this week please continue to pray that lives will be changed and the message of Christ's victory would go forward.

Each day on this trip I hope to post an update of the days progress and select photos in the Gallery on the Handfuls of Hope Website. Check back daily. And if you share this information on social media please remember to tag your posts #HOHMISSIONS2016

Be Blessed, John D.

DR Journal - July 16, 2013

What an amazing day in Catalina!

Today was the first day of the 2013 Teacher's Conference hosted by Handfuls of Hope. Over the past three years,  our team has been blessed to have a team member who is a NJ Superintendent who is passionate about the Dominican Education System. Through an updated curriculum, our team is providing local teachers with limited resources access to updated curriculum and best practices to enhance the learning experience in the classroom. 

The VBS team visited two villages named Matanzas and Carreton to over two hundred people including children, youth and adults. 

IMG_7156.JPG

In Matanzas, we ministered to over one hundred children and forty teens and adults. It was great to see how engaged and open this town was to hear the Lord.  To start off, the children, teen and adult ministries all occurred in non-Christian homes.  To think non-Christians would open their homes and backyards to host bible studies and sing praises unto the Lord is pretty amazing.  What was even more exciting was the woman who allowed the young women and mothers to meet in her home accepted the Lord today. 

When we arrived at Carreton, there was not one child at VBS.  Simply said, the team was discouraged.  Were any children going to arrive? Instead of sitting and waiting.  Some members of the team decided to venture out throughout the village and invite children to VBS.  Suddenly, a swarm of children walked towards the team- all excited to attend VBS.  Not only did we minister to over one hundred children in Carreton, we also ministered to a group of forty team - the largest group of teens in all the villages.  Twenty of them were young men between the ages of 12-20 years old.

IMG_7185.JPG

HOH member sharing his testimony with teens in Carreton

Three members of our team had the opportunity to share their testimonies and spent time sharing God's love.  The coolest part was that all three testimonies were in spanish.  No translator needed. Jeff, one of the individuals on the team, explained, "For three Americans to speak for thirty minutes in Spanish is proof of God's spirit working through us to reach these young people and continue the work of God's Kingdom." These young men were engaged, hungry to learn more about the Lord. 

Back in Catalina, our construction crew was hard at work and committed to build the new school. We are excited to report that we are making great progress! The school buildings foundations are down, school walls up and the outdoor pavillion where students will eat lunch is underway. Still, it wasn't an easy process.  When the team arrived on site, a school wall collapsed overnight, there were not enough construction tools or supplies and the weather was extremely hot and no shade at the site.  People became discouraged and frustrated. Nothing seemed to go according to plan.  Then, one of the team members called "PT" (aka prayer time). Everyone stopped what they were doing, came together and prayed. It was amazing how prayer took our nerves away. We realized we had to give all our worries up to God.  After multiple "PTs," we found an electrical store to buy supplies we needed, the wall was up and everyone encouraged each other. In addition, our team also worked on renovation projects, painting the exterior and interior of the church building.

IMG_7143.JPG

Wall of pre-k and kindergarten building goes up

As always, we ask you to join us in prayer for tomorrow as we prepare to visit two villages, continue construction projects and enter day two of the teacher's conference. 

DR Journal, Monday 7/15/2013

Hola a nuestros hermanos y hermanas!

Today was an amazing and God filled day. There were many children ready to learn in the village of Catalina and La Noria. The excitment on their faces showed abundantly and you could feel the presence of the Lord in every step we took closer to them.

IMG_0561.JPG

Children of Catalina

We sang with them as they loudly praised to God. The sounds of their voices was amazing, it was beautiful, touching, it was God. The children sat attentively and learned about the story of David and Goliath, they all knew the story by heart and were thrilled to be able to participate in telling it with us. We helped them rehearse the scripture of Philippians 4:19 in Spanish and taught them how to say the verse in sign language as well.

IMG_0573.JPG

Filipenses 4:19 / Philippians 4:19

Mi Dios, pues, suplirá todo lo que os falta conforme á sus riquezas en gloria en Cristo Jesús.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
IMG_0618.jpg

It was a challenge for them, but a challenge they conquered and had a lot of fun doing so. Creatively we exercised their minds with arts and crafts. Using the verses separated on colorful stickers, color coordinated tongue depressors, string, and jewels, we helped make a craft they were able to take with them to remember this verse and know they are watched overLydia and Lindsey helping a child with his craft by our Lord Jesus Christ. Its always amazing to see God's work of perfection in each and every one of them, allowing him to use us as his vessels.

We sat together and ate lunch, which was a great experience. The food was tasty and the people are wonderful. Spending time with them is a blessing because they are such happy and faith-filled people, no matter the circumstances.

As we rode the bus on our way back to the hotel in Santo Domingo, there were multiple opportunites to preach to people on the street as we sat in traffic. We

provided them with Bibles as we passed and let the Lord work in his time. Every moment is the right moment when bringing someone closer to him.

IMG_0626.JPG

Men of La Noria

DR Journal Monday 7/15/2013 - Construction Team Update

Greetings from the sunny and tropical Dominican Republic .  Our first full day in the village of Catalina was super busy as the construction team sprang into action. Our major construction project is the Handfuls of Hope School building and the project is well underway. The foundation has been laid for the main school building, which will consist of five classrooms. The concrete floor is scheduled to be poured tomorrow but, before that can happen, the block foundation must be filled with dirt and tamped down to form a solid base for the concrete floor.

Truckload upon truckload of fill dirt was delivered to the site and our team worked tirelessly, shoveling, raking, and spreading the seemingly endless supply of dirt and rocks.  A front-end loader was supposed to be onsite but, due to mechanical  issues, the machine was not available, forcing the team to resort to plan B, moving tons of dirt and rocks by hand.

IMG_0838 (800x600).jpg
IMG_1457 (800x600).jpg

Finally, late in the day, we were able to arrange for a machine to be brought onsite and not a moment too soon as the hot sun had sapped our energy to the point where it seemed impossible to finish the job.

IMG_1462 (800x600).jpg

In the meantime, our carpentry team was busy preparing to start framing the walls of the new pre-school building which will consist of two classrooms and two bathrooms. As quickly as materials were delivered to the site, the team began cutting boards in preparation for assembly of the roof trusses. More updates to come...

IMG_1458 (800x600).jpg
IMG_1454 (800x600).jpg

Ahhh... Sean helps to cool Rob down a bit with a block of ice from the cooler

DR Journal, Sunday 7/14/2013

Hola from the Dominican Republic! 

It is hard to believe that after months of prayer and preparation we are actually here in the Dominican Republic.  Over the next few days we will be updating the HOH Journal to keep you posted on the amazing things God is doing during our time here.  While you may not be with us in person, we encourage you to come alongside us through prayer as we continue on this journey.

Upon our arrival on Saturday afternoon, we visited a local orphange where we spent time with children with special needs. Many of these children were abandoned at infancy, and this orphanage is their home. We had the honor to talk and play with them; people raced with them in wheelchairs, strolled the hallways enjoying their company and helped them eat their snacks.  
A personal favorite moment was when we were blessed to hear the children sing songs.  One young lady named Lydia truly melted our hearts. Lydia is young girl who is mentally handicapped who organized a group of members from our team to sit in a circle and taught us hand motions to a song as she praised the Lord. Her love for God, and sharing His love, was easily seen. 

On Sunday morning, we had an amazing time together in praise and worship.  We were reminded to use our talents, resources and time for the Lord. This could not have come at a better time as we prepared to visit and minister to families at a local children's hospital. We aren't doctors or nurses, but we can spend time with these children and show them Gods love through smiles, music, conversations and prayer. 

At the hospital we partnered with a local church called Iglesia Bautista Internacional (IBI). In small teams of ten we visited various rooms with sick children and their families. The bilingual members of the church spoke a short message on Psalm 23, and closed in prayer.  We then distributed gift packages, stuffed animals and bibles, and spent time with the children. One of our team members learned to play "piedra, papel, tijeras" - or as we call it rock, paper,scissors- and lost against an eleven year old girl named Mari-Lu. She says, "It was the best loss of my hand-gaming career."  The time at the hospital ended with our team, nurses and even  the families from the hospital singing worship songs in Spanish through the hallways. Yes, the hallways. 

We are now back at the hotel about to sort and organize crafts that will be given to the 1500+ children we will meet this week through Vision Bible School (VBS).  It is going to be a late night. 

We will begin to post photos and personal testimonies from our trip tomorrow morning, so don't forget to check the HOH Journal throughout the week! 

Also keep us in prayer as we go out to minister and begin our construction projects. 

Que dios le bendiga (God Bless)!

DR Mission Journal

Sarah checks in with an update as the Eastern College DR team wraps up their week of service.

Hola! So I was asked to write another update about our trip so far. However, I am a procrastinator  of the worst kind. So, this morning, as I considered all the things I have to pack up before we grab a hasty breakfast and wave "adios" to this beautiful island, I was trying to think up a way I could use my words to bring glory to God AND give an idea of our trip--a way to express the things we have felt as we watched this week turn into a memory. 

But how could I do that? How could I possibly explain what it was like to feel the sun pierce through my dirty clothes as I tried my best to shovel cement into the wheelbarrow? The relief I felt when a small cloud would guard us from the sun for a minute as we mixed cement, and poured it into the cracks of the cinder block school? 

How could I begin to explain the poverty we saw in the two Haitian villages? The way some of the children looked like the joy for life had already fled their eyes? We passed out Beanie Babies and cross necklaces and crayons and did our best to show them the perfect love of Christ as we held them and colored with them and sang songs like "Father Abraham".

943466_10200590774426123_1616697333_n.jpg

How can i explain the stark realization, as we drove away in our bus, that those beautiful people cannot ride away from their reality? But let me explain this: it was beautiful to hear that many of the villagers have the hope of Christ in their hearts, to know that I will see them someday in heaven, and we will finally be equally blessed, and our dirty, unfair world will be merely a distant memory.

581928_10200569494414136_1213733170_n.jpg

I don't know how to express these moments and one million more to you all. We met the most genuinely loving, Christ-like people down here. We saw sadness and sickness, but we saw a plan that is much more majestic than our own beginning to unfold. and we saw hard work pay off as we rejoiced for the breakthrough in funding for the school--new hope for the children we have fallen in love with here! We saw hard work pay off as the cinder blocks began to look like a real structure rather than a taunting pile that told us we could never get the grueling work done. 

942777_10201062559437873_607628417_n.jpg

We felt tears on our last night in Catalina, the church service that wrapped up the relationships we created with the people we worked with, the people who fed us, the people who traveled with us to the beach: our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I don't know how to express them to you, and maybe I don't have to. Maybe God is preparing a trip just as beautiful for you, so you won't just HEAR these moments, but you can LIVE them. Or maybe He is preparing the perfect situation for you to walk into--sharing the gospel with a friend-and you can experience the joy that only comes when we trust God to flow through us and to hurting people, because you certainly don't need to travel to a third world country to find suffering. 

165483_10201062557077814_1854902868_n.jpg

So even though I can't express each of these moments to you, I hope you are encouraged to know that our work was all in God's name, and that He will use our human hands to create opportunity for the beautiful people of the D.R. 

God bless, and thank you.

-Sarah and the team

DR Mission Journal

This journal entry was written by Sarah, a student at Eastern College, who is serving with HOH this week in the Dominican Republic. -Don

Hey everyone! It's my pleasure to be reporting to you all about our trip to the D.R.

team.jpg

On Saturday, we arrived at the Santo Domingo airport around lunch time, after a late night/early morning of traveling. After getting situated with our luggage and becoming acquainted with our designated bus driver Marcos, we headed to an orphanage for disabled children. None of us knew exactly what to expect, and in all honesty, I was really nervous about the inevitably distressing emotions awaiting us at the home. And again, if I am to be completely honest, there WAS distress in some of the children. A lot of them were physically handicapped, and most had some sort of mental disability as well. It is never easy to see such diseases inflicted upon such innocent beings, but a deeper sadness took root because these children don't have parents to shower them with love and kindness. However, we serve a God of mercy and unfailing love, and we were able to pray for the kids, see their beautiful smiles when we gave them Beanie Babies and hugs, and feel the most beautiful love of Christ for His wonderful children. It was sad, and we all felt the ache that comes with compassion for those in the throws of disease and suffering. But God will make all things right in the end, and we can be assured that the children will someday be able to live in perfect peace and health with Christ. And for now, some wonderful ladies are taking care of them at the orphanage.

969252_10200553098364245_869683314_n.jpg

We felt a similar ache when we visited the Children's Hospital on Sunday. After sleeping off our jet lag and enjoying devotional time by the poolside of our hotel, we headed off with Beanie Babies, tracks, and crayons for a day of ministry at a children's hospital. We met with another Christian ministry who comes into the hospital on a weekly basis to serve the children and their parents through prayer, visitation, and preaching of the word. We each split up and went into different areas of the hospital. My group went to a room for children with Pulmonary diseases. Again, it was really upsetting to see kids of such a young age suffering so greatly, but God was able to renew my strength and just offer the kids more perfect love of Cristo (Christ in Spanish:). David, from the other ministry, preached the gospel to the parents of the sick children, while we handed out Beanie Babies and tracts, along with verse cards. We then prayed over the children and their parents, and played with them as much as we could considering their circumstances. One team member mentioned that the best part was seeing the children's faces positively glow as we handed them the stuffed animal. Again, another example of how Christ's love can shine simply and beautifully even in the most seemingly pain-stricken places. After this, we went to a church service in Catalina, the village we will be serving for the majority of the week. The service was beautiful-our team member Eveny, a fluent Spanish speaker and Dominican native, translated for us. We sang a couple songs for the church (quite sheepishly), but even though we were timid and unsure, the congregation seemed to love it.

968893_10200564340125282_2114009803_n.jpg

Today, we laid the foundation for a school Handfuls of Hope is building. Using cement mix and concrete blocks, we laid foundation for TWO different buildings. The sun was hot and our skin is STILL gritty, but we were really productive and were rewarded with delicious Dominican cuisine from "Mama", an incredibly hospitable and loving woman from Catalina. But more than all that, we were able to sacrifice comfort to help build a vital piece to a really great ministry--a taste much sweeter than the fried yucca that I will more than likely try to smuggle back to the U.S. :) thanks for the prayers, all! We could do this trip using own strength, but because we have so many prayers and most importantly- the power of God-the trip will have an impact with more true joy and peace than our own strength could ever created. Dios te bentiga! (God bless you!)

-2013 D.R. Team