Monday, March 30, 2009

Pictures of hopeful new house

This is the house that we have been looking at. We meet with the attorney on Wednesday to discuss contracts, etc. We are praying hard, that if this is the house for us that all the details will work out. It's perfect for us and Snickers... the yard is fully fenced and perfect for him to run around in. It's in a great area and within walking distance from Nate and Maggie's house and next door to other missionaries from YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

Please pray that God's will be done!

The house is a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, it's quite a bit larger than our current home... but only $90 more in rent. The roof is fully enclosed so we wont deal with bug and lizard problem we have been in our current home. This new house also has a well, so we will always have water which is really great. The fireplace in the new home is actually functional unlike the one in our current home... it's just for decoration. Additionally the pump is working well at the new house, where at our current home it is leaking. Another huge perk for us is that the front gate is easy to open. The one at our current house is SO hard to open and close... it's just so old and rusty. Another great thing is that most of the windows are "real" open/close windows; which means in the winter months, we may stay just a little warmer than in this house. When we first arrived it was SO cold here. So, all that to say, this other house is a huge blessing!

Here are some more photos!

After you first walk through the front door this is the view... the living room and dinning room. The opening on the right leads to a bathroom and two bedrooms.

This is the other angle... there is the "working" fireplace. The door on the left goes into the master bedroom. and beyond that (all the way to the back), that opening goes into the kitchen.

Here is the view of the entrance to a bathroom and the two bedrooms (one on either side of the bathroom). On the left is a closet. The connections for an inverter (small generator) are inside there.

This is one bedroom... the view is from the door.

The closet

This is the bathroom... not necessarily the colors I would have chosen :)
But everything is in working order... which is the most important!

This is the master bedroom. Off to the right is the entrance to the closet and around the corner from that is the bathroom.

Here is the closet

This is the bathroom in the master bedroom

This is the kitchen. Unfortunately this is a typical Dominican kitchen... it's not my favorite, but hopefully after a little work, it will be ready for fun meals and treats :)

This is the view from inside the house to the outside... it's a little hard to see because I didn't open the gate all the way... oh well... you get the point :)

This is the view from the front porch. Nice big front yard for our great big dog! He will love it. There is not a back yard at all, but there is very small porch on the back... we probably wont sit back there because it's not very pretty... in fact, it looks straight into the backyard of our neighbors.

So this is it... I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thoughts from Josh...

I have had some interesting transportation issues happen to me the last couple days. While I was riding my moto up to a work site I noticed that my front brake was not working all of a sudden. Not the most comforting thing to notice when I am going down hills. I was not sure what happened at the time and I figured as long as the back break works I will be fine, so I continued on. As I got closer I saw a lady that I got to know from working last year and offered to give her a ride on my moto to her house. After dropping her off and about to leave she noticed that my front brake had fallen off and was barely hanging there by the cords it was attached to. In typical Dominican fashion she got someone, a boy that maybe was 15 to fix my bike for me. I was very thankful for that because I had no clue how to fix it.

Today, I was driving three students that work in our Health Care site to the clinic to get some supplies and then to transport them to their work site. During the car ride one of the girls was asking me about traffic laws and other things related. I basically told her that there is not a whole lot of rules like in the states but that they do have rules but they are rarely enforced.

Well, on the way to the work site (I prolly should not be sharing this because some of you might think less of me but anyway...) I decided to take a little short cut and go down a one way of the students mentioned this fact and I told her very confidently that "the rules are more of guidelines." As I turned and got back on the right road there was some police officers who promptly waved me over to the side. We said our hello's to each other and then he started talking about something and I just gave him a blank stare, told him I don't speak Spanish and did not understand and he let us go right away.

Anyway, things are going well with the teams that we are working with. Our 3rd outreach is almost over and we have now worked with about 130 students or adults since we have been here. It has been very cool for Vicki and I to see the impact that the ministry at Students International has on the people that come on short term trips. At the end of every outreach, they turn in evaluation sheets and we really get to see how God has been working in everyone's life.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I have come to realize that when I am writing blogs, I don't really have any specific order, just many random comments... so here are more thoughts from Vicki.

Today I went running for the first time since I have been here. I was passing by probably 20-25 kids who were on their way to school and about 15 of them started running with me, ahead of me, trying to push me along (I wonder if they thought I was going to slow?). It was such an amazing moment.

Today Josh and I had our first Spanish tutoring session. We think that we are really going to enjoy our tutor. She is really neat. I think she is younger than us and she speaks (that we know of) English, Spanish, and French. She is Colombian, and she teaches at Dulos, a Christian school here that, I believe, speaks both Spanish and English. We are hoping that by May 15 we will have had over 60 hours of tutoring. We really want to be at a place where we can do everything we need to do in Spanish by the time summer teams arrive. We are SO excited.

Prayer Requests:
  1. Language learning - that we will really benefit from the Spanish lessons
  2. Home hunt - before we get locked into the home we are in currently, we are going to look around a little to see what else is available - we need God's guidance and direction in this decision
  3. Wisdom, guidance, direction, and leading from God as we begin to prepare a schedule for next year (May - April). We are really excited for freedom and flexibility but we want a solid schedule that teams will benefit from the most
  4. Health - so far we have remained healthy and we would really like to continue

We love and miss you all, thank you for your support through prayer, e-mails, skype calls, and finances. YOU ARE THE BEST TEAM WE COULD HOPE FOR!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Other Details I Failed to Mention

The Day
I write to you today from a very rainy and dark Dominican day... which just so happens to be our day off... and we were planning to go for a hike. Oh well... I get to writes blogs and catch up on e-mails! We have this week off, Mon-Fri, and then we receive another team on Saturday. We have been enjoying our time off, we went to the beach on Sunday; on Monday we went into Santiago to do some shopping for needed supplies that we cannot get up here; yesterday we took it easy and just enjoyed the beautiful day that we had, then had friends over for dinner; and today it's raining, so another forced day of rest and relaxation.

During our time here, I have been learning the power of prayer and how it prepares me for the whole day. Every morning (when we have teams) we set them up for their devotional time from 7-7:30am every morning. I have been using that time specifically to pray over the day. Talk about a transformation in me and my attitude, and how God blesses that time by giving me grace and patience. Amen!

Hablas espanol???
Josh and I have been learning Spanish, but at a much slower rate than we would like to be. So we are going to hire a Spanish tutor really soon, we are just working out details. It's very inexpensive, 150 pesos for an hour - which is about $4.50. We are hoping to begin at 3-days a week, an hour a day and then when we have no teams (April -12 - May 7) we are hoping to do 4-days a week, 2 hours a day. We are so excited to begin.

Friends, fun, food
Last night we had some friends over for dinner, dessert (chocolate eclairs), and games and Josh got a picture of me cooking with my faithful companion... Snickers... also known as Bubba (that's what we call him the majority of the time because he is so thick and big!)

Cindy... if you look close enough, you'll notice that the apron I'm wearing is the one you and Cole gave me for my birthday!
Josh finally got a picture of his moto...
Thanks for reading!

"A Few Random Thoughts" by Vicki

So I was thinking yesterday about life in the D.R. and how there are things that we have to be aware of here that I have never thought about before... basic things that have to do with daily living. Additionally there are just some random thoughts... here they are :)
  1. We have to remember to turn the well pump on at least once a week for several hours if we don't want to run out of water in our house. This has happened once already... (no showers for us that morning)
  2. When the electricity gets turned off, we have to remember to turn everything off, especially if we plan on leaving before it has turned back on. This happened the other day, and we had to leave. When we got home 6 hours later everything was on... which is bad for the power bill :)
  3. Currently our hot water heater only provides about a 3 minute warm-to-hot shower... shower fast!
  4. Before we eat any fruits or vegetables, they all have to be soaked/washed in iodine for 7 minutes.
  5. If I don't want a cockroach invasion, I have to make "special" cockroach food/poison. This gets placed by all their entry points into the house and in all the cupboards and drawers.
  6. The sun is slightly showing itself about 6:30am and it is completely dark by 7:30pm - this is fairly consistent year round.

Well, that's all I can think of for now... more to come later I'm sure!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How We Spend Our Day

Hola amigos! So I have been thinking that you must be wondering what Josh and I do? What does our schedule look like? Here it is!

6:00am – wake up, get ready
6:30am – leave for Base
6:40am – set up chapel for morning activities
6:50am – facilitate morning scripture reading – we are going through the book of Colossians with the teams – Josh usually leads this. Following the reading everyone gets 30 minutes to do their quiet time alone with God.
7:30am – facilitate morning worship and devotional – we don’t lead either unless someone forgets to show up. We make sure everything runs smoothly and I (Vicki) get the sound system up and running. I have led worship one time because the staff that was scheduled was sick
8:15am – eat breakfast
8:45am – get the teams onto their trucks and sent off to their work sites – Josh usually does this
9:00am – 4:00pm – this is our time to plan, get things accomplished for upcoming events and future teams. Additionally this is our time to relax and take care of personal things, like fixing our car (we just got that back) or paying bills which is done quite differently here, you have to go to the store to pay for your bills. To pay rent we have to go to the landlord’s house.
4:00pm – be available to team leaders and participants
6:00pm – dinner (we eat on base with the teams)
7:00pm – lead evening activity – we do not lead every evening activity, so some evenings we get to go home after dinner
9:00pm – end evening activity, go home

This is what our schedule “typically” looks like. On our evenings off we will usually play games with friends or go home and watch a movie. I really enjoy baking and so have been doing a little of that. Many people have not had Crème Brûlée here, so I made that for everyone – it was well received. Next I plan on making chocolate éclairs because no one has had those either! I have to wait to go to the city to get the ingredients however… I have been learning that up here on the mountain, we don’t have many necessities (or what I would consider a necessity)… such as baking soda! So I have to wait to go and get crucial ingredients.

We also enjoy spending time with Snickers – he is really sweet. We like to spoil him when we are home because we are gone so much. He is a great guard dog so he deserves it. We take him on walks sometimes, however Dominicans are terrified of dogs, so when we go walking down the narrow streets with him, people get really scared, I don’t like to do that to people. We also enjoy just sitting on our porch just talking and hanging out.

So there you have it! That’s our schedule right now. In the summer it will look slightly different and have more routine. Right now there is a little craziness… but we have been enjoying it.

We want to thank everyone for their love, support, and prayers… we wouldn’t be where we are without all of those things. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A word from.... Vicki

I am so happy to finally have some time to write... it has been so crazy around here that writing on the blog is the last thing on my mind. (This is Vicki by the way)

So a funny story... since we have been here I kept saying, "we don't need a mosquito net, we'll be fine, eventually I'll stop reacting so badly to bites and it will be no big deal". WELL! Let me tell you... we have one now, and it was not a bug bite that won me over... here is the story. So last week I was laying in bed and my eyes were closed when I felt a "tap" on my stomach. I asked Josh, "yes?" He answered, "yes, what?" I said, you tapped me, what would you like? He said, I didn't tap you. So I opened my eyes and looked at my stomach to find lizard poop! GROSS!!! A lizard must have been in our rafters and pooped right down on me! I know, I know, totally disgusting. That night I slept with the blanket over my head and the next day I put up a mosquito net.

So besides that fun story :) We are doing outstanding. God has been faithful to fill us with energy and excitement. Yesterday we had a great day of rest and relaxation, and today we welcome another team. We are excited for this team, as it will be the first time we will lead EVERYTHING on our own.

We have been training Snickers (our dog) to be an inside/outside dog and it has been going very well to my surprise. He is finally getting used to the bed I bought for him and now when he comes in the house, he almost always goes straight for his bed and stays there without me having to tell him. It's been working really well and he is enjoying it more and more. I can even shut the front door now without him getting anxious... in fact, he doesn't even care! YEAH!
We still think we are going to find him a buddy, but probably not until the end of the March.

Anyway... I think that's it for now... not to much new information to share.

God is good, all the time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First team almost done

It is Thursday and this team will be leaving Saturday morning. The next team arrives on Sunday. The next group we will be working is mostly college students so it should be a little different experience. It has been enjoyable working with the high school students but we are excited for the oppurtunity to work with college students.

I think we have progressed pretty quickly with our training. The first couple of days of the outreach we did a little more observing but this last week we have been doing most of the leading. This next outreach will be all ours to handle from start to finish, so we are really excited for that oppurtunity. We are starting to feel comfortable doing what we are doing and have been getting more organized.

One struggle we have had is our language is not perfect so that has made it more difficult at times to communicate what we are trying to do, so at times we need to ask for help or have someone talk with another person for us. For the most part though we are able to communicate what we need to communicate. We have definately learned more spanish these last few weeks than we learned all of last summer. You are sort of forced to learn when you have to go into town to take care of business. We are looking into getting a tutor to help us progress a little faster. Hopefully, the times will work out and we will get that started soon.

We have also realized that we need to get some physical exercise so we are probably going to start going to the gym. It costs less than $10 a month to go to the gym, it is not the greatest gym you will ever see but I suppose it will do.

Rain, Rain and more Rain...

It has been rainy terribly here for the last two days and it does not look like it is going to stop until Saturday. As you have read I bought a new moto the other day but have only driven it twice because of the rain. In fact, as Nate and I were in the office filling out paperwork and about ready to leave it just started down pouring. I don't think I have seen it rain so hard before. We decided to leave the moto there at the shop and pick it up later. Eventually it quit raining and Nate picked up the moto for me and brought it to the base. After evening activities with the teams we left for home and it was not raining at that moment we were getting ready to leave but right when I pulled out on the road it started pouring again. My first time riding the bike I had to do in the dark with it pouring down rain. Needless to say I was soaked when I got home but thankfully arrived safely. I am still learning how to shift on the bike and things like that so it was quite an adventure to do that in the dark with it rainy so hard. Also, it is confusing because there is a handle break which is for the front and I always think that it is the back brake. The back break is actually located by my right foot. I was a little nervous a few times that I might go flying over the handle bars.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Some Sad News

Hello Josh & Vicki Fans! We hope that you are all doing well.

This is just a brief quick up-date... we had a sad incident happen Sunday night, our dog Diamond past away. It was really hard for both Josh and I. Even though we hadn't known her for very long we got really attached to both dogs. We are watching Snickers closely and allowing him in the house now. We are trying to train him to be an indoor/outdoor dog. In a few weeks we will see where he is at and if we feel that he is still really lonely, then we will probably get him a buddy. The past two nights he has been crying at night... and he has figured out which window is ours because now he sits there and cries.

Anyway, besides this really sad event, things are going extremely well. Yesterday Josh bought our first moto, he LOVES it. Today we were sitting outside with Snickers and Josh went over to his bike and just sat on it. He then asked me, "do you want to go for a ride around the block?" even though it was sprinkling and about to rain really hard... silly guy :)

Alright, I have to go but will report more later!