Tuesday, August 27, 2013

G.O. therefore, and make disciples of all the nations....DR Trip Days 1

I have been stalling on this post, because I don't really know where to begin....so I am just going to start at the beginning and you get to go along for the ride.  I want to make sure and post while this is fresh on  my mind though so I can remember. Remember a trip that changed life, for the better.

I had the amazing opportunity to go to Santiago in the Dominican Republic in early July with G.O. Ministries.  To make this trip more unique and special, I went with 6 of my co-workers and a handful of their kids, nieces so in total we were 16.  I was a little apprehensive going into this trip, because usually mission trips are made up of people from the same church, so you already know each other well from a spiritual level and God unites you in a special way when it is your church family.  Well, what I didn't know was how much MORE it would mean for God to unite a body of believers from the same company.  I have talked about my company a few times on this blog, but just as a reminder, I work for the best company ever.  Christian in its foundations, filled to brim with high integrity, support of family and faith, and an environment where our execs want their people to enjoy what they do and they listen to our needs.

Here is my team.

Leftish to rightish
Back Row: Tammy, Eileen, Ann, Alexis, Chelsie, Rob F. Jalen, Rob W. Chase, John and Kelvin
Front Row: Jalen, Amanda, Tonya, Hannah and Rebecca -- Kimberly is missing from this pic.  No idea where she was.

In the picture below you can see a HUGE black duffle.  Through the generosity of many of my co-workers that wanted to be a part of our trip, we were able to take 9 of these black duffles FILLED with donations.  They each weighed between 50-70 pounds, so we donated almost 600 pounds of clothes, vitamins, games, sporting equipment and medical supplies.  What an privilege.

Probably reflects 1/3 of our suitcases.
God worked out so many little details LONG before we even knew what needs would arise.  Rob W.  "accidentally" booked two first class flights.  Because of that, he was able to take 6 bags up to 70 pounds, so we left the airport without having to pay a single bag fee for all those donations.  What a blessing to save us the $450 in bag fees.

Arriving in the dominican
The remainder of our first day was spent exploring our digs for the week.  GO Ministry is run by a bunch of great people.  The founder has 6 grown kids.  We had the honor of staying with one of his daughter's Samira and her husband Tim.  We literally took over their house.  There were three floors, 5 of them and 16 of us.

Here are some pics we snapped as we explored. Everything was open air, so it was really refreshing.  We did have to deal with moths and some biting gnats, but nothing too severe.  It rained pretty much every night we were there, so the temps would drop down at night.

View from "The Treehouse" where the men slept.  
The Treehouse at the top of the house.

The hut you see is where we ate all our meals and we ate GOOD!  Lots of fresh fruit, lots of yucca and plantains.  It was amazing.  I love Alex's Grandma's cuban cooking, so I was interested to see if this food was similar at all, and it was.  Not as good as Hilda's food, but it was good.  You can't compete with her.  :)

The woman above in the blue is Samira.  Her Dad started G.O. Ministries with a man named Brooks from Kentucky.  She does all the accounting for GO, so her and I hit it off immediately.  She even took me to her office to see where she works and meet the other ladies that handle all the accounts.  Such a sweet woman!

Just arrived - view from the patio of the house onto the street 
View of part of the house and the side yard

Morning Coffee in fancy cups

This was our mascot "Crusty"  She was super sweet.  Zoe is one of Samira's daughters and she named HER Crusty.  She didn't know what the word meant in english, just liked the word.  haha

Our entertainment for the week.  Emi, the blonde, is the daughter of the missionaries, Goody and Mike, that were our team leader.  Her name is Naomi, which in spanish, is Noemi.  How beautiful is that?  The little one is Lily, one of Samira's other daughters.  Samira calls her the silent tornado.  She doesn't talk much but is all over the place!

Sweet Emi

Landon is Mike and Goody's son and was leading morning stretches before heading out to do construction one morning.

On the street on the way to the site.  

Lily and Emi again

Views from the treehouse before a storm rolled in one evening

G.O. Ministries runs a Sports Academy. They recently bought land to build baseball, futbol, and basketball fields.  Along with a seminary, dormitories, classrooms etc.   Baseball is HUGE in the DR and many kids, encouraged by US scouts, will drop out of school to focus on baseball.  Well only 2% will actually make it to the MLB and the remainder end up with no education and no baseball.  The Sports Academy has some very talented athletes that can teach the kids the sport in case they do make the 2% that go on to play professionally, but also requires that finish their education and learn about God.  This land will be a huge blessing to Santiago.  Most of the fields where sports are played currently are being bought out to build homes or are not real baseball fields, but just make shift fields.  I imagine that the next few years I go back to Santiago to volunteer, that is where we will be working.  :)

Few, FINALLY got day one done.  More to come.  Trying to communicate all of this is so much harder than I imagined.

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"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

~Psalm 139:14