Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Day of Ministry Sites...

Yesterday our first team arrived. The size of this group is 39 people. 36 are from a Christian high school in Florida and the other 3 are college students from New York. This is the smallest team we will have, the rest of the teams we will see are estimated to be over 40 people and when the summer arrives we have six 2-week outreaches with over 60 people in them.

Last night we did an orientation with the students and today they are serving their first day at their ministry sites. While the students are working at the ministry sites we stay busy by preparing and planning for the upcoming activities. Most days we will at least go out to one or two ministry sites to check on the students and see how things are going. Today we went into town to change all of the student's money from US dollars into pesos, which can be a long process. I do enjoy that process because it gets me into town and it is one of the things that Vicki and I both enjoy most. We like going to town because we get to interact and meet new people. We also love to take that opportunity to practice our Spanish. Everyone is so friendly and usually very patient with our poor Spanish.

I also went to the Sports site for my first time since being here and that was a lot of fun for me being able to see my old friends from the summers past. It is always a cool feeling to know that you are remembered. They were in the middle of a baseball game when I arrived and so they asked me to umpire for them. For some reason it can be a lot of fun to call someone out on strikes.

Please continue to pray for us as we minister and serve this group that is here. They leave next Saturday, March 7th. We hope that during their time here they will be able to grow in their relationship with Jesus or if they do not have one or do not know what a personal relationship with Jesus is, that they will learn about that during this time. Our jobs are to serve the student's and hopefully create an atmosphere where they will be able to experience and encounter Christ while they are here. We ask that you pray that through the student's working in the different ministry sites that they learn to serve God while being a physical therapist, a doctor, a teacher etc. etc. and that when they go back to the States they will carry that lesson with them into their school, jobs, hobbies and whatever else it may be.

.... and some side notes from Vicki.....

Today has been yet another gorgeous day. It's amazing the change in energy I find I have when there is sun to look forward to nearly everyday.

Josh and I have spent the past several days in preparation for this team and are so glad that they have arrived. We are enjoying this experiencing of learning, however we are anxious to call this job our own.

For all of you who are freaked out by all of my bug stories... and who maybe don't want to come and visit because of them, you may be happy to know that we have hired an exterminator to come and spray our yard, trees, house, etc. tomorrow. This will rid our house of all pests!!! I can't wait. Then hopefully, Josh and I will be able to screen the rest of the house before more make our house theirs :)

God has been so faithful to provide and protect us, and we just can't thank our prayer warriors and financial supporters enough for all of your help. We are so happy to be here - sometimes I still wake up and can't believe that it's real.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Staff Photo

This past Wednesday all the staff went out to a beautiful home outside of the city and took a day of rest and solitude. It was really nice. While we were there, I took a staff photo for an up-coming idea that Josh and I had. I thought some of you may enjoy seeing it. Here it is!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Hello everybody! This is Vicki here... I haven't had chance in quite some time to reflect a little on here, so I'm jumping in on this opportunity.

First I need to tell you that I have like 20 bug bites; 3 on my face (which happen in the middle of night), 12 on my arms and hands... 7 of those happened in the middle of the night - the sneaky bugs, and the rest on my legs, and one on the bottom of my foot... which I don't understand because I wear pants and shoes all day long! And today I got attacked by ants. I received several bites on my ankles from them. I just thought you should all know about that. Okay, enough complaining :)

Anyway... things are going really well. Our home is basically all set up. Job training has been good too. It's been a little slower paced than we expected, but that's great because it's allowed us to really concentrate on the things we do have to work on.

A friend suggested to me right before we flew out to come here, that I keep a journal of things that are different here. He said, one day, those differences won't be differences anymore, that I may forget. I thought that seemed like a good idea so here are a few...
~ chickens and roosters clucking/crowing at ALL hours of the day and night
~ the constant smell and sight of gas as we're driving down the road
~ how friendly everyone is here
~ how willing people are to help us learn Spanish
~ the electricity cutting in and out
~ finding cows in the most random places
~ we can watch a storm as it comes for us
~ it is second nature to honk the horn on ones vehicle
~ one can basically park their vehicle anywhere
~ it seems that each bumpy and pot-hole covered road can be beaten out by another
~ needing several keys to open and run ones house - we haven't quite figured out how many we have yet
~ the Coca Cola is so much better here
~ many stray dogs
~ it is so lush and bright green here

This is just a start of some of our observations

I'm still working on the video... I'm having problems with the uploading process. I've tried a few things and they haven't come through, so I will keep trying other options.

Waiting for the video...

Well... I am sitting in our office at work (I know...very official) and I am waiting for Vicki to edit the video we took of our house. She is taking a long time but thats ok. We hope you enjoy it.

We are waiting to get internet at our house so the blog posts might not be posted as often. Hopefully we will get internet sometime in the next week.

We have been busy this week finishing our house set-up and also learning all the details of our job. We have a team coming from Feb. 25-Mar. 8 and we will be training during that time on how to run a short term outreach when teams are here. But right now we are getting trained on how to plan for the outreaches.

It has been raining a little more than we have been used to and we have a tin roof, so when it rains it can be pretty loud inside our house. This was the case last night as we were trying to go to bed.

Today while Vicki was filming the video, we left our front door open and Snickers came running inside and instead of kicking him out right away we decided to see what he would do. At first all was well because he just kept running from room to room but after a few minutes of that, he started sniffing the couch which we were both suspicious of. And sure enough he lifted his leg up and tried to pee on our couch. Luckily Vicki grabbed and moved him in time so he only went on the floor but I think that we will not experiment having the dogs in the house for a while.

UPDATE: It looks like the video is having trouble loading so we will try and fix the problem and get it posted in the next couple of days.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Off to our new car

Hey everyone! Happy belated Valentine's Day!
We have had a long week with car shopping and driving into the city and shopping for everything we needed to furnish our house. While this sounds like fun and easy work... it was really hard. The first day of shopping was spent just pricing things so that we could figure out what we could and couldn't afford. The second day was making decision and all the work of carrying things to the van, etc. It was really neat though, and we did enjoy the process... we are however quite glad that it is done.

We ended up finding a vehicle on Friday. Praise the Lord for that. It was a long day before we found anything within our price range. Everything we looked at was about $1000 more than what we wanted to spend. However, after a long day we finally came across a 1997 Honda CRV that was within the amount we wanted to pay. We had Lowell's trusty mechanic, Pedrito, come with us and he checked everything out for us and said it was in good shape. We are happy to finally have our own vehicle and have a feeling of freedom now that we don't have to depend on other people for rides.

As for our home, we love it. We are mostly settled in, we still have some maintenance work that we need to get done. Our gate to get in the driveway doesn't open very well and so we have to figure something out with that. This morning Vicki wasn't able to close the gate all the way because the tracks are not very good and so you are basically sliding the gate through grass and dirt. I suppose it can be a good workout though.

We have adjusted really well with the dogs and they really seem to enjoy having us around. If we are outside the house they are always rubbing up against us wanting to be petted. Snickers killed a rat Friday night, so that is another benefit to having them. He seemed to be real proud of it too because he kept walking over there and looking at us to make sure that we would admire what he did. We gave them baths, which was very needed. They didn't seem to enjoy the process all that much, but afterward they were running around the yard like they were puppies. It was really fun to watch them. They are so great, we are really getting attached to them.

Today we have spent most of the day relaxing and are going to be leaving for church in a few minutes. Vicki is planning to write a blog that is a little lengthier and includes more detail... be prepared :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Setting up the house

We have been very busy the last two days getting things we need for our house and along the way been stopping by the car dealers to try and find a car. We go to Santiago which is about an hour away to get all the stuff that we need and today we spent about 7-8 hours going from store to store. A long process but I think we have everything we need to move in.

Hopefully if we find a vehicle on Friday we will be able to move in by the weekend and relax a little bit. We are definately feeling the fatigue with the time change and from an emotional time at MTI and saying goodbye's to family and friends and then leaving so quickly to arrive here.

Next week we are going to start learning more about the job we will be doing. Going over all the details that we need to know. We will have about 1 1/2 weeks (Feb. 25) before a team comes down. That will be our first group of teams. After that we have groups coming one after the other until Aug. 8, with the exception of a couple week break in April in which we will be preparing for the busy season of summer.

We will try and get some pictures and maybe a video when we start to get settled in. We also posted information on the side of the blog if people are interested in sending mail to us while we are here in the D.R. Please remember though, it costs us $1.50 per pound to receive any packages (letters are free).

We also want to express our thanks to all those who are praying and supporting us and to those who follow us through the blog. We are so very thankful for everyone. We are very excited about the ministry that is happening in Jarabacoa and we are really glad that you are all partnering with us to be apart of it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We have arrived!

Hello Everyone!!! We finally arrived at 7:30pm on Monday evening after traveling for about 23 hours (with time change). Currently we are 4 hours ahead because here they do not do daylight savings. A huge blessing and answer to prayer was that ALL of our luggage also arrived. Thank you for those who prayed about that because it was definitely a relief.

We have great testimony about God's provision and constant reminder of how He is in control... and this involves how we got picked up from the airport. Our contact who was supposed to pick us up from the airport (and who shall remain nameless) got the arrival time mixed up and thought that we would be on the 9:30pm flight. So here we come trotting out of the airport with ALL of our luggage, and we didn't see "our contact". So we dragged everything to the curb waiting and looking for our ride... it was around 7:35p (we landed around 7:20pm). We thought maybe he just assumed it was a larger plane and that we wouldn't have gone through customs and luggage pick-up as fast as we did. So we were content with waiting... hoping to see him soon.

(Now, backing up our day just a little to when we were in the airport in Puerto Rico...)

Luckily, and we thank the Lord for this, while we were in the Puerto Rico airport, we met a Dominican lady who works with a Christian school in Jarabacoa (the same town where we work and live for those who forgot). We had become good acquaintances while in the Puerto Rico airport that before she left the airport in the DR, she asked us if we had a ride, and if not if we would accept a ride from her and her friend. We told her that our ride should be here shortly and thanked her. She asked us if we felt comfortable waiting and asked if we would like her to stay. We said we were fine and thanked her again, but this time she insisted that she at least call around to see if she could find out where our ride was, just in case he got the times mixed up. We didn't have his number but she said that was ok and that she would call someone who might know him. Sure enough she got ahold of him on the phone, and came to find out that our ride realized the mistake he made (and felt really bad...still does even a day later) and so we got a ride with this lady that we had just met a couple hours earlier in another airport.

This is one of the things that we really love about Dominican culture. We insisted that our ride would be here shortly and that it would be ok if she left. But she said that it would be wrong for her or at least that she would feel real bad not knowing if our ride was coming.

Not to over spiritualize the situation but we really felt that God was telling us through this circumstance that he is in complete control and that he is going to be there providing for us even if it might not be the way that we might have expected.

Today... we went and got our cell phones that we will need for our ministry. We also took a look at the house we will be living in and wrote a list of things that we will need to buy. We also went around to some car dealerships to price some vehicles. Vehicles are really expensive here, we have been looking at Honda CRV and for a 1998 they are a little over $10,000. The reason they are so pricey has to do with the different types of taxes that they have to pay to get them to the island. After car shopping we attended our first staff meeting and it was nice seeing everyone again that we met from last summer.

Another funny story...

So today when we went to the house, Josh opened the gate so that Lowell could pull the van into the driveway, and Josh didn't know that Snickers (the brown dog) would run off if he didn't hold him or tie him up. So Snickers got out and barreled down the street, which was flowing with water like a river because it has been raining so much. So I took off after the dog who just ran even faster. I chased him for about 10 minutes before I gave up. I came walking back up the road to where Josh and Lowell were and told them that I gave up. Just as I said that Lowell said, "that's okay because now he's following you". I turned around and there he was, following me back to the house. And this was a complete miracle because Snickers isn't one to come back... at least not for A LONG time. So after we got him back into the yard we were able to check out the rest of the house. Then we came to find that the dogs had dug two huge holes in the yard (somewhat hidden by the palm trees). The silver lining to these holes, we have just come to find out, is that the house isn't flooding because of these 2 holes. It's been raining really hard for the past 6 days. (We didn't know that the house even flooded, so we learned several new things today!)

Tomorrow... we will be doing some more shopping for our house and if we have time maybe look at some more cars. We probably won't buy all the stuff we need until we have found where the good deals are at and then on Friday we will buy most of what we need.

Sorry for the long posts. Lots of stuff going on and we will probably write more tomorrow night.