PRE-Journey Interlude to the Dominican Republic

We are the on journey of "liminality" as we walk through the thresholds leading to each new adventure.  This adventure starts with a time of rest and sabbath at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Saturday, June 25th we arrived at Fort Worth, Texas to fellowship at Babe's Chicken and today, Sunday June 26th we will celebrate Christ among the believers at The Villiage Church Fort Worth.

Sunday - Worship at the Village

Afternoon Sessions:  

Dr. John Massey -  who was a missionary in Singapore and is a PhD in Systematic Theology to do our first lecture. He is a wealth of missions knowledge and extremely relatable

 and Dr. Matt Queen.  He is the Associate Professor of Evangelism and occupies our L. R. Scarborough “Chair of Fire.”  He will also give a copy of his book Everyday Evangelism to all of the students.

MONDAY, JUNE 27TH  ARRIVE AT THE BASE

We traveled all day and everyone is very excited.  Our flight was delayed a bit because of thunderstorms in Miami, but we made it to the connecting flight just barely!  Our students were troopers, as they jumped right into helping one another from gate D22 to D48 . . . including a ride on the tram in Miami!!  

While on the plane to the DR each student watched a movie of their choice . . . with pretzels and drinks.  Once off the plane, the students scurried to fill out the forms written in Spanish.  WE HAVE ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE.  We are thankful that not one of them got pulled aside for questioning -- it was a very smooth transition to the DR. 

As we exited the airport, Student International was there to greet us with a much needed sack dinner and a ride up the mountain to our destination . . . . Jarabacoa.  When we arrived, everyone slept tight in the sweet breeze of the mountains!  Praise God!

TUESDAY, JUNE 28TH CULTURAL TRAINING

Day of orientation to the new culture (new food, smells, cultural activities).  Each student encountered their ministry site coordinators and ministry sites.  They are all excited for the day of ministry beginning tomorrow.  

Tonight we participated in Dominican dances and games.  WOW!  Lots of fun and festivity.  

Chase Winchester - Hi, this is Chase Winchester.  I'm going to tell you about the DR so far.  First off, I'm assigned to the young men's social work.  We are in the middle of a street and we minister to ages 13-30 or up.  We help kids that grew up on the streets.  We are teaching them a vocation and some English.  Today at base camp was orientation, and learning about the ministries of SI.  We learned about the "Do's and Don'ts" of the DR and little culture stuff as well.  I really like the facilities here, and all the staff are cool.  Well, thanks.  Please continue to pray for all of us, as tomorrow is our first full ministry day.  Thanks for your prayers and support!!!

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29TH THE REAL DEAL

So, today . . . training put into action!  I am so proud of our students . . . . they have jumped into the middle of the lovely people of the Dominican Republic.  Today was the first full day of ministry at sites.  The biggest barrier conveyed by our students and leaders was the language barrier.  

Media - traveled to five sites to interact with the teams positioned at each location

Physical Therapy - went to a nursing home today and got to interact with the elderly . . . .physical therapy was received with joy and pain.

Education Los Higos - a batch of young bright-eyed children ready to learn greeted our team with hugs and high fives.  They taught the children numbers today.  

Education Mata Gorda - working with children and youth all day.  Learning the language was difficult but with patience the students are slowly getting there.

Education El Cajon - wrestling with the children.  Lots of learning activities and love expressed to the hungry children.

Men's Sports - all day baseball with children and youth.  Bible study and devotions shared with all.

Woman's Sports - all day volleyball with young woman.  Testimonies shared and new lives committed to Christ.  Our students helped in the process of conveying the good news.

Mens Social Work - taught a drawing class this morning, building boards for a learning activity.

Dentistry - Working all day on patients with dentistry needs.  Creating a working team.

Micro-finance - Built a display case for micro-finance products.  Conducted bank meeting #1.

THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH

Christian Rhymes  "The Joy of Working"- Day two of the outreach was amazing.  I'm part of the Physical Therapy (PT) Site.  We do massages, electro-therapy, ultra-sounds, exercises and stretches, and group therapy.  In the mornings, we go to the nursing home.  It's awesome!  All of them are filled with joy!  There's this one man who is 98 years old.  He still gets up and moves and dances smoothly!  I even got to work with a 106 year old man!

After lunch we head back to the PT office.  There we do exercises, messages, electro-therapy, and ultra-sounds.  We help people who have had surgeries, been in wrecks, and many other things.  All the people we work with are grateful, kind, and ready to work.  I can't wait for tomorrow.

Brenner Golden - "MaDu" - Today was my second day of work in media.  Our site leader, Micha is funny, and always very joyful.  I love watching him interact with everyone in town, (and I do mean everyone, he knows them all), and how he interacts with the site members.  It seems like the Dominicans cannot keep a schedule; every plan has gone out the window.  Today, we stayed at a site until 2:30, when we should have left at 12:30.  I don't actually take pictures; I am media assistant.  I assist everyone.  Micha calls me MaDu, (My Dude).  I am having a great time, I love my team, and I am happy to be here!  

FRIDAY, JULY 1ST

Rebekah Quigley - “Looking Through God’s Eyes”

This day was an awesome day for me in the Dominican Republic. We had our normal bible study in the morning with my site group (I am in the Community Health site) and we really dug deep in this study. We are studying about Daniel during these two weeks and during this study we talked about God-reliance over self-reliance. 

Self-reliance is something that can be hard for any individual. I have trouble with God-reliance when I get caught up in the daily life. I end up just doing my own thing instead of looking for God in every situation. I felt God put this on my heart and then I realized that I was even doing it on this trip.  I get to doing my own thing instead of looking for God and relying on him. I would be kind and I would show my love to the Dominican people but I wasn’t looking for how God wanted me to serve them. 

I decided that this day I am going to focus on Him. We went to a Cancer patient’s house and it was amazing what God had shown and did to my heart. When heading to the patient’s house (which was about a 30min drive) I was looking around and just was in awe of God’s beauty with the lush green mountains. We arrived there we sat down around the patio and waited till they brought this elderly man out. It took this man about 2 years to accept Christ into his life and he accepted him only a few months before. He is eighty-two years old. His Cancer is so bad that he could die almost any day now. We sat down and talked to him for a while. He had such a happy heart they way he was telling his life stories. We then sang some songs. The song I only remember singing was “Mighty to Save.”  During that song I just saw the sight of what the Kingdom of God looks like. We sang a couple of verses in English and Spanish, there was laughter of the caretaker’s two boys playing, Chickens, dogs and cats running around, the beautiful scenery and the love you felt from the people we just met (Psalm 8).  

My eyes were watering and honestly I just wanted to “bawl” in how beautiful all of this was and how blessed I felt being able to take a trip like this and this experience.  After we sang we were starting to pack up to leave and the family invited us in to eat lunch. She did not have to invite us in for lunch, but she wanted too. I felt so loved. (They made an amazing lunch. It was so much better than the sandwiches we get for lunch everyday out on our sites.)  This was the first time I didn’t feel bad not being able to speak their language. I had fun with the two little boys who lived there and I didn’t really speak to them, but I felt the love they had for me when they were being silly and playing with me. 

Love is definitely a universal language, because even though I wasn’t able to say much there, there was still that love that we had for each other. Everyone was so kind. If I hadn’t had an open heart and really looked for what God wanted to show me, I would have missed out on the spiritual experience that had meant so much to me. I pray that you won’t miss out on what God has for you. We all left the house with happy hearts.

SATURDAY, JULY 2ND

Adventure, Rest, and Shopping in Jarabacoa.  Our journey has transitioned to a time of rest.  Early in the morning we transitioned to the Lower Falls (swimming, cliff-diving, and hiking).  Upon return almost everyone had a two-hour nap.  Late afternoon included a shopping pilgrimage to the town square.  We enjoyed dinner at a nice eating establishment . . . . the food - Mufong gitous.

Fellowship and dominos ended the night.

SUNDAY, JULY 3RD

We attended a festive church service at La Vid.  Pastor Fernando gave the message from John 5.  We worshipped in Spanish, enjoyed the Lord's Supper with other believers.  This evening we will engage in poverty simulation. 

MONDAY, JULY 4TH

Fireworks, hotdogs, and lots of dancing.  Our group celebrated the fourth of July Dominican style . . . We actually had a cookout, music, and even a few fireworks.  The students enjoyed dressing in red, white, and blue.  They played yard games and closed the night with a dance challenge (American Style).  

Earlier that day, participants started the day as follows:

6:35am Solo Time

7:15am Worship

8:00am Breakfast

8:30am - 4pm Service at sites

It is remarkable that our team is showing great resilience in doing hard things.  They have continued to do all things without complaining.  The Grace of God continues to shine through them.  The Student International interns have commented on the KALEO group as being a "breath of fresh air," "a great encouragement," "a close group, ready to serve."  Our time together during the days and in the evenings reminds us all of the early church.  

TUESDAY, JULY 5TH

Physical Therapy - Students were able to break through and minister to the depth of the older generation Dominican people.  The simple act of gentle touch does something great.  In the tone of Jesus touching the leper, today one of the student's helped one of the older men deal with a time of frustration.  The student reached out across the table and held the man's hand as he was weeping.  That gentle touch spoke to the man's heart.  He was cared for in a way that he had forgot was possible.  

Sharing the Gospel - in the micro-finance site today, Trevor shared the six words of the Gospel.  After a simple presentation, the site leader prompted six middle age woman to respond.  It was powerful illustration of God using the faithful.  

Acts of Grace - in the men's social work site they continue to meet more young men.  They have discovered that these young men are surrounded by the depth of darkness, but each day they have the chance to be the light exposing the Truth of Christ in the midst of their chaos.  Jim, the site leader, continues to foster a routine to challenge these young men to find purpose in Christ and helps them to find purpose in God's plan.  

Recess -  Each of the education sites are flourishing with God's presence . . . especially at recess.  They love to be encouraged by our students.  Lots of laughter is being shared among our team and the Dominican kids.    

Practice - The young men and young ladies in the sports sites continue to practice baseball and volleyball (I think the girls are working harder ;) .  

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6TH

WORSHIP NIGHT
 

THURSDAY, JULY 7TH

       Zoe Salamon - "Shalom" - At the beginning of this trip, I had a hard time figuring out why I was on this trip. I stressed so hard about it and tried to feel something, or do something that would help me realize why I am here. My parents got divorced my freshman year and I relied a lot on myself and others to help me through it and make me happy. I do not remember praying about it at all. I tried to get through it myself. I didn't want God's help. My dad moved back in this year, and I did not like that. Again, I didn't pray about it or give my worries to God. Wednesday night was worship night, and I heard God speak to me in a way I have never heard him before. I have been stressed and looking for answers, and asking for answers, but God doesn't just give out answers. Its not apart of His plan. So, instead of asking for answers that night, I asked for peace, and God immediately gave it to me. All I had to do was ask for peace. Sometimes you don't need answers, you need to ask God for peace about the situation and give it to him. Trust in his plan and know that he knows whats best for you.