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.
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.
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.
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.