Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The half-way-day is typically challenging but from all accounts today seemed to be a highlight for many! A team of 10 headed out early in preparation for the two day teacher's conference where 75+ teachers were in attendance. They will resume again tomorrow and our teaching professionals are so excited at the outcome and fantastic response to what they are sharing. A tremendous amount of prior preparation and attention to details from our ladies is making this such a success and blessing to so many! We'll be sharing more details of the teacher conference in tomorrow's update.
We were so happy to have our final team member arrive today, welcome Bethany S.! She had to take her nursing exam, then boarded a plane for the DR because she couldn't think of missing this trip for anything! We love you Bethany! You are an incredible example and inspiration!
The Heavy Construction team have completely erected a new roof, ready for the final tin sheathing tomorrow. The wood "addition" to the block addition is now in place ready for a new roof to be sistered into the existing church roof and the newly constructed one. What an amazing process! This group of men, women and teens would impress the most professional construction sites in the USA!! Two side preparation rooms will be added on the new platform where Pastor Vernon will preach from. A beautiful new sound system, donated by a very generous Handfuls of Hope supporter, will be put in place, all in preparation for our worship service on Friday night! Fantastic job, team. Your genuine love and respect for one another is such a testimony. Thank you all for what you do!!
The Light Construction team was busy finishing the painting of Mama's metal garden fence in a rich black sheen, and her memorial garden is coming together beautifully! A group worked exhaustively on removing a huge pile of cement block chunks alongside Mama's garden and it looks fantastic!
The shrubs and flowers were purchased at a local nursery who gave a generous 20% discount when we told them what we were doing. It is such an encouragement when you see fellow Dominicans respond so favorably to our being here to help those less fortunate in the outskirt villages.
A dynamo team worked exhaustively all day at Pastor Vernon's, nearly completing all the painting from the ceiling down, including the front porch and stairwell. The large room just gleams, ready for ministry and a blessing to so many with Bible studies, youth gatherings, etc.
The morning VBS session was held in Catalina and, in the afternoon, in Santa Rosa. The girls shared that the Catalina children are so full of love and appreciation for this annual event with their American friends! Santa Rosa is a new location for VBS this year and our program was warmly received.
Six teenage boys accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior today, to the delight of the teen boys ministry team. The Lord is good!
While walking from Carreton back to Catalina, our group stops to pray with "Georgie", a member of the IBCJ Church, who is stricken with cancer.
We had our first rain on the drive back to the hotel. Everyone changed quickly and converged on the hotel pool which had been granted us extended access as it closes daily at 6pm. We were joined by a bus load of our Catalina family. What a joy to see everyone laughing, splashing, and mixing together like best friends do! Everyone then gathered under the tented platform for pizza, soda and singing. The blended voices of these two cultures came together like a symphony that lifted to heaven above! The love for one another is so real and evident and our 25 mission trip "newbies" all have blended right in as if they had been on every trip prior! Only the family of God can look this authentic and alive in love and compassion!
We are all so excited for Thursday! We will head out early and scramble to start wrapping up all the projects. The afternoon will be our "Fiesta" which is a free festival for the community. Details about this work and fun day to follow tomorrow evening! As hot as it is here, we enjoyed a steady breeze though the sun felt well over 100 degrees but from what we are hearing...New Jersey is sounding hotter and more humid than here! You all should have come down with us to cool off!
DR 2012 team send their love and hugs to our family and friends! Keep the prayers going; we truly covet each and every one!