Sunday, December 4, 2011

I believe in Santa Claus

Fairfax Church of Christ has always been a huge support to us here in the Dominican Republic. They have brought many many groups here over the past few years. One just left yesterday.They were terrific. I was extremely encouraged by them.
For me, and I would say that most of the full time missionaries here would say the same thing, the most successful part of the week was seeing how the group and our Discipling Program kids worked together. They did the carnivals at each of our Magi drops together. They ate together all week. They played together in their free time. They were always talking with each other. It was truly a success.
I want to say thank you to the Fairfax group for all that they did. You were all awesome.
Thank you to Sam, Ronald, Erin, Kennedy, the Wornocks family (who is actually from Searcy but came in and participated and were a huge part of the success of the week), Sarah, Rebecca, Amie, Laughton, Barbara, Angela, D'Ivone, Josh, Lauren, Ken, Ryan, and Lydia.
And I want to give two special thank yous.
One to Mark Gibson. Mark led this group and did a fabulous job at it. Mark is part of our Advisory Board and is always a humongous support to us.
Mark, you are awesome and I appreciate what you did for us this week.
The other one will go to Shack. From the moment Mr. Shackleford got here he was a huge uplift to all of us. He also played Santa at our carnivals and the faces that were lit up because of him were incredible. Everyone wanted a picture with him, including all of our kids.
Thanks to all of you for a great week.

PS- I say that Shack "played" Santa at our drops but to be honest, I think he is the real deal!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Honoring our staff

Every year we have a Christmas party to honor the
people that we work with here in the DR. It was especially special this year.
Fairfax Church of Christ has brought in a group for the past 4 years to come be a part of our Magi week and part of that week is our Christmas party.
This Christmas party reminded me of just how far we have come in a year. Since last Christmas we have had 4 new missionaries come in to be a part of our team. We have added 21 members to our Dominican family in our disciples and students. We have almost finished a full semester of school. We have had 5 new additions to the Children's Ho
me. Amazing.

Our staff has also been incredible. Just the fact that abo
ve I did not mention that we have had to change any Dominican staffing is a huge accomplishment. Esteven, our facilities manager, has taken on incredible new responsibilities. Jasmin, our school keeper/cook/house keeper/Connor's baby sitter runs around daily from place to place helping make all of our lives a little easier. Onesimo and Alex are now full time grounds keepers. Marta now has a house of 7 boys at the Children's Home. Lydia now has a house of 8 at the Children's Home. Ada, our school cook/Children's home sub runs around everyday splitting her time between the school and the Children's Home. Carmen, who has cooked hundreds of pounds of food for the 15 groups we have had over the last year. DarlĂ­n, who watches over our houses and helps keep us safe here.

Just typing that makes me thankful that we can not only have all of those people doing all of those necessary things, but that we can keep them and over the past year not one of those positions has had a personnel change.

Our party this past Sunday was to honor them. First, we presented all our staff and their families recognizing them for all the work they have done and sacrifice that they have made for us. Then we had some time to eat dinner. Dinner included
3 roasted pigs, 30 pounds of rice, 25 pounds of green peas, 3 full cabbages, 25 pounds of yucca, almost 50 bags of candies, 80 chocolate covered cherries, and to top it all off 4 cakes for dessert. Then we were able to have some fun at camp playing games.

It was a terrific party and an honor for us to honor those who work closest with us.

We are truly thankful for all of those people. They are a huge blessing to us and to all that we do here. Thank you for letting us honor them again this year and I know that it is a small token to them because we do not say thank you to them enough. Bless all of them and their families.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Happy day late Thanksgiving to all of you!

Thanksgiving is always a little weird here, and somewhat sad, because I am not with my family. But, as we have for the three Thanksgivings I have been here (wow, I can not believe that it has been that many) we celebrated with our Dominican team.

Everyone brought a typical Thanksgiving dish. It always consists of turkey and dressing and the usuals but we always have a little different flavor based on all of our family traditions. There was strawberry pretzel salad, sweet potato casserole, cheesy corn casserole, hash brown casserole, green bean bacon wraps, fresh bread, home made apple pies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and more. It was a feast and we had a great time.

After we were all about to see our food twice we rested before it was game time.
We had a lot of fun playing "Scattegories" and "Hand and Food".

After I got back to my house I was able to Skype with Dad, Mom, Trent, Micah and Nikki.

It was a great Thanksgiving. God has given me so many things to be grateful for. Here are my top 5 for the year (in no particular order).

1. The trust that God has in me to give me the chance to make a small difference in the world. And the door that he has open for me right now is here in the Dominican Republic.
2. The Manna Team who supports and works with me.
3. The unbelievable support that I get from the United States.
4. The Perry family, who loves and supports me and has been a huge part of getting me here, even if they do not know it.
5. My immediate family, who supports and loves me even when I do not get to see them very often.

I hope that you all had a marvelous Thanksgiving. And get ready, Christmas is coming. (And if you were here, it had already come, starting November 1).

Thank you for all the many many blessings that you have given me in this life. I am thankful for all of them. I know that I rarely thank you for them. Thank you, at least, for the yearly reminder to think on all of those things. I do pray that you be with my family and pray that the time comes soon when we can see each other.
I love you every day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This past weekend we, as a Manna team, went on a retreat. It was a time to remind us of our mission here and to refocus.
I am personally extremely grateful to all of the people that were able to be on that retreat. It was a time of encouragement for me. I miss being able to sing in a large group. I miss those deep discussions with people with years of wisdom. And this weekend was a great recharge because of those things.
Along with the team that is here in the Dominican full time we were joined by most of our Manna DR team that is based in the United States.
We had our advisory board here which includes:
Tommy and Jill Reese
Chris and Angela Lowe
Cassey Gibson. Mark, we missed you a lot but are excited to see you with the Magi group.

We also had our communications director with us.
Doug Hurst, who acted as our MC for the weekend.

As we started on Friday we had two goals set out in front of us:
1. Get focused.
2. Get encouraged.

Each ministry within the DR had a chance to let everyone know what is going on in that ministry, talk about the future andwhere they believe that God is leading that ministry, and ask questions to get the wisdom of our advisory board.

It was an amazing time and we all left having accomplished those two goals.

1. Get focused- We must keep everything that we do focused on the ultimate mission of turning people to Christ. Everything we do has everything to do with that. Discipling is our mission and it must flow into everything that we do.
2. Get encouraged- We spent a lot of time reading from the Word, listening to the Word that God put on our hearts, singing together, and praying with and for each other.

I want to extend a special thanks to everyone that was a part of a very encouraging weekend. Thank you for helping us get focused and encouraging us with your prayers, wisdom, and presence.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A great week.

School here in the DR is going great. We have had a lot of great things happen. A lot of things that do not happen in normal schools, ranging from hilarious things to really deep things. Here are two.

I was actually not there for the first one so I will not steal Glenn's thunder but I will let you know what happened. We had a snake in the rafters of our classroom. I will let Glenn tell the rest of the story but I will spoil one for thing. They proceeded to dissect it and out pops a full size rat, pretty gross.

Another one was an experience that I had with on of my boys in our one on one time this week. His name is Anderson and is quickly becoming one of our best students. Not only is he very intelligent but he is a great student. (And there is a huge difference there and great students are much harder for us to come by). That is not why I blog about him.

The other day we were writing letters to our sponsors. Anderson wrote his and I helped him but after I wrote a response to what he had written. The whole meaning of what I was writing was telling the Winchester Youth Group (Anderson's sponsors) just how proud of him I was. I am so proud of how much he is growing and how much our relationship is growing.

Actually at the first of the year in one of our team devos I prayed about him because of how I was not seeing our relationship growing.

Well, as I was reading I looked at him and he had such a loving look on his face it made me cry. I finally made it through what I had written. He gave me a hug and told me that he loved me.

I am so excited about my relationship with Anderson and ask that you pray for us as we all continue in our relationships with our disciples.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Group Pic

Here is our first group pic of all of our students.
I am so proud of all of them. Please continue to pray for Ibelca, Estefany, Jailinne, Renecito, Elisa, Yefri, Nataniel, Carlitos, Bebo, Graisy, Cristopher, Keren, Carlos, Ariel, Leandro, Anderson, Elio, Angel, Rosmery, Wilson and Ranger.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 1

Manna Christian School is now a reality.

Its sounds crazy to me to even say that but after a few days of school I have to realize that it is true.

On day one when our kids arrived they had a reaction I believe that

no one expected. They were excited but usually when our kids are excited it is hard to get them under control. Along with their excitement they almost looked scared or confused. They were so tranquil it was hard even getting some of them to talk (that did not last long but we had a few hours of peace). We are all entering into new roles as we start this school and we are all trying to get used to it.

Classes are going great. Our students are learning lots of English. They are seeing a new kind of education that is not just copying words from one page to another. Things are going amazing.

I can not thank all of you for what you have all done for us. Thank you all for the prayers. We have had so many encouraging words sent this way for our school and we are all so thankful.

I joked about only having a few hours of peace but I do feel a sens

e of peace among all of us. This just seems right for right now. And for that no obnoxious student, no unexpected challenge that comes up, nor any hard days can get in the way of the endless peace that God provides. No, we do not feel one hundred percent at peace all of the time, but we

do know that this project is protected and covered by the Holy Spirit and that is a peace that passes all earthly understanding.

Much love from the Dominican Republic,