Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas in the Dominican

I love Christmas. It really is the best time of the year. For the last 23 years I have spent Christmas at 5713 Browntown Road. And for the last decade or so I have gone to Gatlinburg with my extended family before Christmas. This year was a little different. Yes, I absolutely missed being with my family in the United States but I could not help but realized how blessed I am.

Most traditions in this country come from a Catholic background. There are not a huge number of practicing Catholics but most people claim that they are. So the big celebration here is on “Noche Buena” or what we call Christmas Eve. They usually have a big dinner with lots of family. I got invitations from several of my Dominican family to spend Christmas Eve with them. We already had plans for our team to spend that night together so I could not take them up on their offer but it truly was uplifting.

One night, I think it was the 23rd, three of my best Dominican friends came over and spent the night at my house. Carlos, Cristopher and Overlin came and stayed up almost all night hanging out, watching movies and just enjoying the Christmas vacation. When they were here I told them something that was on my heart that day. I had been missing my Perry family a lot that day because I could not be in Gatlinburg with them but I was so glad that I had family here with me to spend Christmas with. God bless those boys.

Christmas Eve I ate a lot. I had a Dominican Christmas meal with our two Children’s Home workers then dinner with Norm, Kevin, and the three Menas.

Christmas Day I got up thinking I was going to have to go to the airport, but was relieved of that job. So, I stayed in Bobita all day. I drank my Christmas flavored coffee (thank you Trent and Micah) I watched Christmas movies all day long (thank you mom and dad) I worked on my new Harry Potter puzzle (thank you Nikki) and spent the day with the kids. It was by far the most different Christmas day of my life but I was blessed to have friends around to share it with.

I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas too.

Oh and I am pretty upset that the first white Christmas in Chattanooga since the 60’s came the first year of my life that I was not there. But no hard feelings.


Thank you for this time of year. Fairfax brought in the Christmas spirit with their group. The second Magi group only strengthened that. And, my Dominican family topped it off. I am truly blessed to be where I am and have such amazing people in my life.

Bless Carlos, Cristopher and Overlin. Thank you for the time I was able to spend with them. I pray that our relationship comes from you and you use me to help guide those boys into a life with you.

Thank you for my Perry family. I missed them the most and wish I could have been with them. They have done so much for me in my life I can not thank them enough.

Thank you for my family. It was a weird Christmas for us but we are blessed just to have each other.

I love you everyday!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

As Magi ends

Our Christmas Magi Season has ended.

It went super this year. As the Fairfax group left we had a few days to get some stuff done and then we had a very special group come in this past week.

First of all, before that group arrived we had a very encouraging meeting with the local high school. We are trying to work with them in creating this school. The meeting with very well and we are back on track for getting our curriculum worked out for next September.

The second Magi group had a lot of work to do. We did three Magi drops to over 300 children. They handled the fair at Acapulco with only ten of them and did amazing.

I want to personally thank Tommy and Jill Reese, Lynn Mynatt (dad), Lisa and Jill Rhodes, Berneta, Jordan and Jarred Crow, Hoss Ridgeway and Arik Bartlett for coming in here blessing so many kids and truly blessing us.

I am so blessed to have all of you in my life.

I pray that you all have a very Merry Christmas.


Thank you for this season. It is a season of giving and encouragement. Magi went so well this year and I thank you for guiding us through it.

Be with us as we end this season and work hard to get to the next. Help us to lean on you and know you are there for us.

I love you every day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Magi Week 1

The Christmas season is such a special time of year, and we are privileged enough to have some friends bring us the Christmas spirit every year. The Fairfax church comes to us every December to be a part of the final step in the Magi process.

Every year we receive around one thousand gifts bought and wrapped by people from the United States. These people work with us every year starting in the fall to get these gifts together and get them to us, and then we get to be Santa.

Fairfax brought a group of twenty amazing people this year. Every year we try to improve the process to make it more special for the kids. We put a big task before the Fairfax family and they absolutely lived up to the challenge. We spent a lot of time at our Magi drop locations and really got to have a lot of fun with the kids.

The drops consisted of three parts. The first part was the challenge that Fairfax tackled, and that was a fair. We had seven games set up for each Dominican to play. Some of them were bobbing for passion fruit (apples are a little hard to come here), a three legged race, a balloon stomp, ring toss, and more. The kids has a blast. It was especially fun watching them bob for chinolas. It was a new concept for most of them but they caught on pretty quick.

The second part of our program consisted of Christmas songs sung by the group members and a Christmas story told by one of our missionaries, Porfi. It was special and you could see the Christmas spirit in everyone involved.

The last part was the part all the kids were waiting for, the gifts. It is always so fun to see their faces when they get a gift for Christmas. It is heart breaking to know that our little gift to them might be the only thing they get this year but it does give us joy to bring them a little something every year.

It was a special group and it was our privilege to work beside them this week.

Every night with the groups we always get together for a devotional and people get to share a little about their day. By far the group member most mentioned in these devotionals was Nathan. Nathan helped out in every situation he could possibly help out in. He was Santa’s helper elf passing out the gifts and brought smiles to the faces of so many kids. Nathan is a fifth grader. What a special honor for us to work beside him this week.

Fairfax: Thank you so much for your support. You continue to support us in so many ways and this week was the perfect example of that. I pray that God continues to work through you in the Fairfax area and that He continues to provide us opportunities to work together. Thanks again and I pray that you have a very Merry Christmas.

Dear Lord,
What an amazing week. Thank you for the opportunity to have such an amazing group come in to our ministry here and take the lead on the final part of the Magi process. We pray that all of those 500 or however many kids it was were blessed by those gift and are more able to appreciate the love that you have for them.
I love you every day!