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1st Presbyterian Church

Serving In The Dominican Republic
March 30, 2013

We're here!

by Holly M. | March 30, 2013 12:12 PM

Wow! We couldn't believe that everyone was actually AWAKE when we met them at the airport around noon today! Such a long journey, but we're finally together. We just finished our lunch at the airport and now we're heading to the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo to do a little sightseeing before our future friends and partners in ministry arrive at the airport later this afternoon. Then, off to Polo on the bus! We will arrive there late this evening, so there will be time to put our beds together and go to sleep. Tomorrow will be a great day of worship and ministry on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter to you! Keep checking back here for updates - we're so excited to be here in the Dominican Republic!

Happy Easter!

by Holly M. | March 31, 2013 1:38 PM

Hola! We’re in the middle of a great first day in the Dominican Republic! Yesterday was a very long one – after picking the Whobodies up at the airport, we had a pizza dinner and loaded the bus to head west to Polo (in the Barahona region). We arrived at the church around 11 p.m. and were able to rest on the bus, except for when we drove through towns along the way – the main squares were full of people celebrating and partying. At one point, Pastor Ninan and all the bus crew had to get out, hit cars so the alarms went off, and find the owner of the cars parked along the way so the bus could fit through the street. If nothing else, at least the whole town knows there is a group here! When we pulled up to the church (or almost to the church, with the gravel and rock road making it difficult to make it the entire way), everyone pitched in to carry our luggage and get settled in for the night. Church isn’t until 3 p.m. today, so we spent the morning enjoying a delicious breakfast (bread, eggs with onions, juice, and strong coffee!) and walking through the town. We saw the school and basketball court where we will be spending some time doing ministry, met some folks along the way, and were able to invite some of the kids and families in town to the church service and Kids Club for this week. Pastor Ninan shared how Polo used to be a bigger town, but eleven years ago there was a bad storm and a lot of flooding that destroyed house and other property in the area. It sounds like things haven’t recovered much since as the flood changed the landscape and what can grow around the town, so many people have left to find work in other areas of the country or left the country altogether. Hearing more about the town gave us great perspective and gives us even more excitement about the ministry we’re invited into this week! We’re looking forward to church this afternoon, both to celebrate Easter and meet families in the community. Pastor has asked the group to do a few songs during the service, so we will have our first (and maybe not last!) “choir concert” together. It’s only been a day since we all met, but we’re already starting to build some new friendships through sharing our personal life stories with small groups. It’s been an impactful time so far, so we’re looking forward to seeing all that God will accomplish through us this week!

All the group!

by Holly M. | March 31, 2013 1:39 PM

Here we are, all together - Whobodies and 1st Presbyterian. We look so dapper in our church clothes!
All the group!

New friends at the court

by Holly M. | March 31, 2013 1:43 PM

As we spent time praying over the week, some boys from the town joined us in prayer and we got to know them a little bit. Hopefully they'll come see us at church and for Kids Club!
New friends at the court

Time is flying by!

by Holly M. | April 1, 2013 3:19 PM

It’s the middle of Monday, and we’re already anticipating how hard it will be to say goodbye to this town! Church was a noisy, full, celebratory affair with lots of singing, sharing, and speaking. Three different church communities from in or near Polo gathered to welcome us to the area, so we were able to connect with many people. Even though we didn’t know the songs, it was so inspiring to be in the midst of a vibrant church singing their hearts out to the Lord. They enjoyed the songs we sang together as well (God of Wonders, Every Move I Make, and Sanctuary) and even asked for us to sing the national anthem. Several pastors, including Pastor Drew from the Whobodies group, spoke during the service, and it was his first time preaching in another language (with Juliet translating, of course). After everything was finished, a woman from the community named Braudilia (or Yulla) came forward and shared that she was ready to give her life to Jesus. She has known about Jesus but had many gods and priorities in her life; while listening to Pastor Drew, she realized it was time to give the rest of it up. Several of the community leaders and members from our group were able to pray with her to accept Jesus! It was an exciting Easter Sunday here in the Dominican! Our day wasn’t finished yet, though. Since we were able to spend time playing with some of the kids earlier, we decided to go and play at the basketball court for a while before dinner. It was a wild time of basketball, keep-away, and dodgeball all mixed together. It was great to be able to build relationships and invite kids to join us for the rest of the week. After dinner, we prepared a little for the morning and then lost power (it happens daily in this town, for an hour to several hours at a time) so we called it an early night and fell asleep to rain and lots of wind. It felt good to rest well and long, but we were a little nervous about the rain as we have plans to be painting all week. In the morning, everything was put into a better perspective. The pastor told us that the town hasn’t had rain since December, and it has been causing the crops to suffer. Last night’s rain was truly an answer to prayer, and the townspeople were calling the group “their angels” who brought the rain. We know we didn’t have anything to do with it, but it’s a blessing to have such favor in the town. With the rain, it changed our plans slightly. Half the group ended up painting the inside of the church a light green picked out especially by Pastor Ninan and Checka while the other half of the group was able to conduct Kids Club in a classroom at the school for a good number of kids. It was a blast! We’re looking forward to doing it with more kids this afternoon, and there are plans to do some priming of the outside of the church so we are prepared to continue the project. Thank you for your prayers – we know we couldn’t be doing this without you! More updates to come!

Singing at Church

by Holly M. | April 1, 2013 3:20 PM

Sharing the Word through song during Easter service.
Singing at Church

Received by the church

by Holly M. | April 1, 2013 3:24 PM

The church welcomes our group with flowers and a few words. Here is Jennie from PPM, Sarah, and Drew from the Whobodies.
Received by the church

Kids Club, part 1

by Holly M. | April 1, 2013 3:25 PM

We opened with a rousing game of "Heads Up, 7 Up"...and Patrick fit nicely into the group of kids!
Kids Club, part 1

Beautiful days in every way

by Holly M. | April 2, 2013 1:45 PM

It keeps raining on and off here in our little town. Yesterday afternoon, it was still raining on and off, so we played games on the basketball court instead of trying to do the entire Kids Club program. Many kids showed up and we had a blast learning more names and sharing American and Dominican games. The evening was a good opportunity to hang out, rest, and reflect on all that we have seen and experienced so far. The electricity was out around 8 or 9, so we hit the sack early again and enjoyed a long sleep. Today has been much like yesterday – lots of rain and sunshine together. We haven’t been able to paint the outside of the church yet, but have been working on what we can inside the church and pastor’s house. Kids Club was at the school again this morning, with even more kids than yesterday. We shared the story of the prodigal son, did crafts, and played many games, including the limbo. It was a hit, with some really flexible kids from the Dominican and America. Tonight we’re hoping to do a Bible study or home visits with the community and church, but some of that depends on the rain. Either way, things are going great here in the mountains!

Getting crafts ready

by Holly M. | April 2, 2013 1:46 PM

Preparing for Kids Club while they sang songs - hard to concentrate with all that cuteness going on!
Getting crafts ready

Hokey Pokey?

by Holly M. | April 2, 2013 1:47 PM

Always a win!
Hokey Pokey?

Limbo time!

by Holly M. | April 2, 2013 1:48 PM

A long session...they went for almost 7 minutes.
Limbo time!

One more day...

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 12:51 PM

Time really flies when you're having fun! Yesterday afternoon was a great play time with the kids at the basketball court. We tried playing kickball and it went pretty well. Many of the kids and some of the youth came to the church in the evening for a Bible study the group put on about making good decisions. They were all really engaged and answered the questions well. Since the lights turned of again, we just hung out and had an impromptu talent show. So much fun! Today, we had only a little rain, so we were able to play outside with the kids and finally paint the outside of the building! It looks great, a nice light blue that complements the green inside. Checka loves it! It will be hard to say goodbye to the community this evening. Who knew that it would be so fun sleeping on the floor and taking cold showers? Not that we prefer it, but it's not so bad after all. Tomorrow we leave Polo for Barahona, where we'll head to the beach, do some shopping, and spend the night before leaving early to head to the airport. We will be seeing you soon!

At Bible Study

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 1:00 PM

Sharing about making good choices.
At Bible Study

Sharing Testimonies

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 1:02 PM

Georgia sharing her testimony at Bible study (with the help of Juliet).
Sharing Testimonies

Parachute time!

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 1:05 PM

It was awesome to be able to play outside again...parachute!
Parachute time!

Blue on blue painting

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 1:07 PM

Starting to look great outside!
Blue on blue painting

A message for Pastor Bill

by Holly M. | April 3, 2013 1:12 PM

Pastor Bill! Georgia would love to speak at the memorial, just so you know. Thank you :)

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Chris Clewett

April 5, 2013 4:51 PM

Very proud of you guys! See you soon! :)

James Edwards

April 5, 2013 10:20 AM

Have a great flight home and travelling mercies on you guys. Can't wait to see you Claire and hear about the trip. Love dad

David Lauermann

April 5, 2013 3:49 AM

Reading your log was so wonderful. The rain, the games, visiting with the church members and children. The lord gave you guys just enough rain to balance your project and spread his word. 1st Pres youth rocks!! Have a safe trip home.

Susan Fletcher

April 4, 2013 4:46 PM

This week has flown by! I hope you are having a great time at the beach today enjoying God's beauty and serenity. The pictures of the church show what a nice difference your work has made. I'm excited to see you all tomorrow when you get home and hear your stories. Have a good trip home. God is good!

Uncle Mike and Marci

April 3, 2013 11:18 PM

Hey Cow Bell, we miss you and can't wait to hear all about it. So proud of all of you - keep up the good work!

Patrick & Beverly Stokes

April 3, 2013 7:47 PM

Looks like you all are having fun spreading the word. We miss you here, but take your time getting back. We are so proud of all of you. Keep the great pictures coming. We love to see them.

Grandma & Grandpa Stefanak

April 3, 2013 3:38 PM

Let your Spirit shine!!

Pastor Bill

April 3, 2013 2:55 PM

Good job on the painting. I hope you've made some good friends and I look forward to hearing about your experiences. Safe journey. And thanks Georgia for letting me know you'll speak at Harriet's service.

Ruth Hauer

April 2, 2013 7:32 PM

Hi Rich (and all) Sorry it's raining so much but I bet it makes the work that much more interesting! We miss you guys and can't wait to hear about the trip. Look forward to seeing you on Friday. We love you Mom and Dad

Kelly Selva

April 2, 2013 6:38 PM

It's so great to get the updates and pictures! What adorable kids (and workers)! Be blessed and be a blessing! So proud of you all!

The Johnsons

April 2, 2013 2:44 PM

Happy to see you all working so hard. The smiles on the kids faces are SO big, as are ours! Keep up the good work. Love and prayers continue to be sent your way! Thank you Holly for the updates!

Chris Clewett

April 2, 2013 2:22 PM

Glad to see you guys are doing well. It's very cool to see you leading the Dominican congregation in some of our worship songs! Way to go!

Susan Fletcher

April 2, 2013 12:21 PM

It's awesome to see you as you work through your ministry! Keep your eyes open for God today. Thank you, Holly, for the updates. We did not expect so much!

Pastor Bill

April 1, 2013 6:27 PM

Oops! Harriet's service is Sunday at 2pm. Jim Plante's is Saturday at 10 am. Sorry

Pastor Bill

April 1, 2013 5:15 PM

Hope day 2 is going well for everyone. You continue in our prayers. As some of you know Harriet Duval who turned 100 in November died this past week and we will be celebrating her life on Saturday at 10 am. Georgia, I remember that you interviewed Harriet for a school project and I wonder if you would want to speak at her memorial? I know you will just be back from the trip. It might not be a good time for you to do that. If you speak, I would ask that it be no more than 3 minutes. You let me know. Now, to all, work on in the joy of the Lord and share that with each other.

The Johnsons

April 1, 2013 4:19 PM

Hi all. What a great picture!! We are so proud of all of you and so happy that you get to experience this amazing trip together. Be safe and know that lots of love is being sent your way!

James Edwards

April 1, 2013 2:34 PM

Proud of you guys, way to honor the Lord through service. Proud of you Claire, you and your team are in my prayers. Have fun. Dad

Pastor Bill

April 1, 2013 12:38 PM

I thought of your experience as we worshiped on Easter, celebrating our Lord's resurrection in a new country with new friends and different surroundings. I hope those "new" things contributed to a growing view of the power of Christ's resurrection, and how He will work through you all this week to proclaim his love to all and challenge you in how to follow him even more closely. Much love from all of us praying for you.

Susan Fletcher

April 1, 2013 12:34 PM

So glad you got to sleep in a little on Easter. We all thought of you and prayed for you at church. So much buzz about the blessings we know you will give and receive. I hope you brought enough paint rollers!

Beverly and Patrick Stokes

March 31, 2013 3:53 PM

Happy Easter! Our prayers are with you, this picture is worth a thousand words. We are so proud of all of you, can't wait to hear all the stories of God's work.(PS Miss by baby)

Valerie Johnson-Redrow

March 31, 2013 12:38 PM

Happy Easter to the best-looking group I've ever seen after a long flight like that! Prayers have been sent out that you have an awesome experience and that your group will never be forgotten by the all the DR children and adult hearts you touch this week. A special hug goes to Jonathan and Jared. Hope your chocolate Easter bunnies didn't melt and don't forgot to give out all the baseball cards and goodies you packed:) Love, Valerie

Annette Goodfellow

March 31, 2013 9:09 AM

Happy Easter! I hope ya'll got some sleep overnight. You are all in our thoughts and prayers as you share your love for The Lord. I know God will do amazing things through you this week! Have fun, stay safe! Love you all

Uncle Paul and Aunt Lola

March 30, 2013 7:59 PM

We are praying for you Claire and hope you have a great trip. We will continue to pray for you while we drive home this week. Love you!

Val Boss

March 30, 2013 7:57 PM

Hooray! You arrived safely and are still smiling beautifully! Easter blessings to you.

Vicki Edwards

March 30, 2013 6:42 PM

God's grace and peace to you. You all look great, such big smiles. What a great photo. Looking forward to the updates as the week goes by. Love you Nuna.

Susan Fletcher

March 30, 2013 1:54 PM

I love this picture! I just prayed for each of your smiling faces. Happy Easter! I'll eat a chocolate bunny for you. Hugs to Jennie and Holly, too!

David and Kelly Selva

March 30, 2013 1:53 PM

So glad you made it!! What a great picture. Hope you got some sleep on the plane. :) Have fun sightseeing, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences in Polo. We love you and are praying for you. Kelly, David, and Melissa Selva

Kay and Lee Harris

March 30, 2013 11:34 AM

The prayers of the whole church are with each of you. Be kind to each other and know that you are loved beyond measure. Kay and Lee Harris P.S. USE SUNSCREEN!!!!!!!!

Ruth Hauer

March 30, 2013 11:04 AM

Hope you enjoyed your flights. Please know we are all praying for the trip and the huge success we all know that it will be. Take lots of pictures so we can share the incredible journey with you. Rich, we miss you :) ....... Happy Easter everyone. Love Ruth and Billy and of course, Will

Susan Fletcher

March 30, 2013 9:50 AM

Praying that your long night of travel brought you all some sleep. We are all praying for you here at home that you will be touched by the people of the DR and embraced by them as you move through their lives this week. Have fun, love, serve, and trust God! Love you all!

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