Saturday, June 30, 2018

Haiti - June 30 - July 5, 2018 - Leadership

July 1, 2018

Thanks for the prayers!  This morning we went to church at MPCA.  We enjoyed our time with our Haitian brothers and sisters.  The rest of the day we relaxed (caught up on sleep), went swimming, and prepared for our time with the Student Leaders.  Andy and Darren spoke about the importance of taking personal responsibility and how leaders must fill their own cup if they want to serve well.  Ben, Josh, Mekennah, Grace, and Addi helped by showing the Haitian students photos of the exhausted worker and also participated in a dodge ball activity that helped illustrate the main points.  Everyone is doing really well.  Tomorrow we get to work with the student leaders again and paint some chalkboards.  Please keep those prayers coming!

July 2, 2018

Today we worked with the Student Leaders again at MPCA talking about Mission Possible's core values (Christ-centered and Respect).  We also taught on 2 habitudes (Iceberg and The Opportunity Statue).  With these lessons we had many fun activities which included human knots, water balloons, and breaking free from ropes.  The students seemed to love everything and we enjoyed it too.  After lunch we went back to MPCA and painted chalkboards in many of the classrooms.  We even had a few Haitian "helpers."  Everyone is doing well and drinking plenty of water.  Thanks again for the prayers.

July 4, 2018

Grace- Today I gave my testimony to all of the MPCA Haitian student leaders. After I spoke, they all got in a circle to pray over me. Very emotional and touching.

Kennah (duck)- Thanks mom for naming me duck. My name means duck in Creole. All the Haitians quack at me every time they see me. Josh is currently hanging a lizard from his finger. This is definitely a very fun group and we laugh constantly about everything. Also, I have not won a single game of Uno yet.

Addison - Thanks mom for not naming me duck. This trip has been amazing and I am loving every minute of it! Except the cockroaches. Grace, Kennah, Ben, Josh, and I spoke for the integrity lesson to the MPCA Haitian student leaders today. My first time speaking to a big group through an interpreter.

Ben - Today at MPCA, I got my hair forcefully braided by several Haitian girls and then got beat bad by several Haitian guys in soccer. I can't say I'm exactly built for the heat, but meeting the people and experiencing the culture has made up for it. While my French is sub-par at best, it has been fun to practice and attempt to communicate with the Haitians in their language.

Andy - This week has been amazing.  God is certainly at work.  It has been neat to see the kids come out of their shell and really grow in confidence and faith.  I have really began to fall in love with the place my wife fell in love with many years ago.

Josh~ Hey y'all i'm not kidnapped, that probably wouldn't be good.  The trip has been amazing so far, we have built solid relationships among the group and with the Haitian people. The group is very fun and we spend most of our time laughing. Spending time with the Haitian people, especially the youth has been very inspiring; their passion for Christ and community has been very eye opening. I sincerely look forward to the rest of the trip.

Darren~ The group has been doing great this past week.  You should all be so proud of your sons and daughters.  They've been working hard and giving their best at everything they do.  To quote Andy above, "God is certainly at work."  I couldn't agree more!  Your prayers have definitely been felt by the entire group.  Love you Megan and Mia!

July 5, 2018

So we enjoyed our last full day in Haiti.  We traveled to Lahatte and visited the community.  We played with kids in the village blowing bubbles and jumping rope.  They were so excited!  Then we went to see the construction at our Degeance school.  After lunch we went to MPCA again to paint more chalkboards.  Once we were finished, our Leadership Academy Grads joined us for dinner.  It was great to see the men and women that help run the organization.  This week has been life changing for many of us.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

DR - June 16-23, 2018 - Sports/Teacher Training

June 17, 2018

Hey Familias! @billandhiedicorbin and @janet! Katie Corbin and Chloe Jones here. Today marked our first official day in the Dominican Republic. We woke up refreshed after our day of travel to a delicious breakfast this morning made by Char and Sharon! It was soooo good, thanks ladies! After breakfast, we went on a prayer walk with the church located at the school. For all of us it was really eye-opening. We were able to see the living conditions of the people in Barahona personally which adds depth to the ministry we are doing. For me (Katie) it was both frustrating and exciting to hear Spanish and understand some of it and communicate with the kids and church members. When we got back it was a relief to put shorts on again (whoever knew that skirts could be so stifling). Lunch was chicken salad wraps and veggies. After lunch, we did a mix of things including filling up balls for camp tomorrow, playing Dutch blitz, and taking long naps( 3 hours long in the case of Chloe Jones). We also had a team meeting about what we are doing tomorrow. I (KC) am super excited to be translating for Lindsay Norman and teaching the kids Amazing Grace with my Kidway Motions (Muchas Gracias Aunt Amberly!). I (CJ) will be a floater tomorrow, AKA filling in wherever I am needed. After some free time, we had dinner (Spaghetti) prepared by Nathaniel and Keaton… VERY YUMMY! Also, we had garlic bread with our meal and the boys really enjoyed buttering them up, lots of butter… LOTS. After dinner, my (CJ) chore was to wash dishes with Camden and Chloe Miller. At 6:00 PM we had a church service at the Creole church. The service started with music and singing from different people in the church. Many different styles and very enjoyable to dance and listen to. During the service it was hard to follow along due to not knowing the language, but I (CJ) met a goofy little boy who would not stop looking at me. He was probably around the age of two or three and I decided to smile and wave at him. This really caught his attention and started making faces at me. This continued throughout the ENTIRE (one hour long) sermon; we played games that consisted of peek a boo, me mocking him, fist bumps, and wiggling his tongue at me. This was truly eye opening to me because I couldn’t talk to him, yet I was still able to communicate in some way. Once the service ended, we piled back into the three vans and I mean PILED(yes laps were used as seats) and headed back to the school. Now everyone is showering up and playing card games and we will all meet up before bed to talk about tomorrow and do some devotions. That’s all folks from Lake Woebegone! Stay tuned for more to come tomorrow. Please continue to pray for us as we meet the kids and interact with them tomorrow! We love you Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and friends….. and I guess I love you Craig, Chris, Kelly and Chloe (JK give my love to Calvin and Hobbes)! Adios for now!

Our view each morning

Our delicious breakfast

Getting in groups to walk around the community to pray and evangelize to people
These 2 make some mean spaghetti and amazing garlic bread
All piled in to head to church

The Creole Church Revival is ready to start

A dance team performing at church

Katie and Chloe blogging it up
June 18, 2018

Hi all back home. This is Kristi Shaw, one of the teachers traveling with our group for the teacher seminars. Last night we all experienced a very violent storm during the night, so we woke up to wet towels, tables, and chairs, but also to another beautiful sunrise. Our view from the top of this building where we are staying is spectacular! We shared a breakfast of French toast casserole and then started the day. The four of us teachers were taken to the Creole church for the teacher seminars. 45 teachers from this area were in attendance on our first day, and we are expecting about 60 tomorrow! Sharon started the day, teaching about math by sharing some fun ways to teach about polygons. She had a very cute book about the “Munch Monster” and then let the teachers put together and illustrate their own books. Macon explained how to teach art by drawing some landscapes on the easel with pastels. She explained drawing foregrounds, middle-grounds and backgrounds and the concept of perspective. I began teaching some science ideas using the framework of the 6 days of creation. On the first day God created light, so we talked about properties of light, and then went outside to use some prisms in the sunlight to create rainbows. Patti’s time was cut a little short today, but she began an introduction on how to teach children using picture books, with a method called TPRS (teaching proficiency through storytelling). Then we decided to break into four smaller groups with each of us in one group (with a translator in every group of course). This turned out to be a really fun time for all of us to get to know the other teachers better, sharing about our families and asking each other questions. David then joined us to talk to the teachers about leadership, since as teachers they are all leaders. We ended our time with lunch together, then headed back to the school in time to see some of the sports camp still  in progress. A very good first day!

Hello America!! This is a very worn out, but happy Katie Ricketts. Personally, I was woken up around 3:50am this morning by a pretty intense storm that was in my opinion very refreshing considering I’m not sleeping by a window—the breeze from the storm made the room a lot cooler. Before breakfast some of us took time to wring out soaked towels which was an amazing bonding time—who woulda thunk! I grew more comfortable with my Spanish throughout the day. Owen and I performed a skit on the story of Gideon which definitely threw me out of my comfort zone at a high speed. It was extremely difficult to explain the game “Kill” to the students—by the end of the day we changed the game to, “Mono en la Media” (Monkey in the Middle) which was very much enjoyed by the older children to my surprise. By the end of the camp, many of us were visibly exhausted—the heat, the Spanish, and the six hours of doing the same thing tend to take a toll on you!
Also, I’m sorry mom, but I’m pretty sure I lost my towel—it must’ve flown off of the clothesline.. no worries Chloe Jones is letting me borrow one of hers.. so no air drying for me!

Hello all back home, this is Conner Johannigman and I’m here to talk about my first couple days here in Barahona. While the time I’ve spent here has mostly been hot, sweaty, and tiring, what I’ve witnessed so far has more than made up for it. Yesterday was our first day of actual activities and I got to walk around and pray for families in the community. Getting to see and hear about the lives of these families was an eye-opening experience and I am glad that I got to be a part of a group that helped make their lives better in the long run. Today I helped by playing basketball with the children at camp and I really enjoyed it! I didn’t know as much Spanish as Owen, so I had to take a backseat to his teaching, but it’s ok because I still knew more than David. The nights have been fairly cool which is a relief, and most of the guys have found enjoyment in going onto the roof and enjoying the view.

June 19, 2018

Buenas tardes amigos!! This is Chloe Miller! This week has been so fun! Unfortunately, I feel like it is going too fast! It’s good to be back here. I love seeing familiar faces, views, and just experiencing the environment of a different country. On each day of camp, I have been one of the translators. Monday I did volleyball, and today I did basketball. I love it! I never knew that I could do something like this! It is such an awesome experience. I can talk to the kids in regular conversations and joke around with them. Volleyball was a little crazy since the kids loved to hit the ball as hard as they could and it flew around and Tracy Thomas, Dalton, and I had to  chase after them. It was a hot day, and we were all so tired! But it was fun! One of my favorite parts of today was when we first went downstairs. The kids were waiting at the bottom and immediately attacked us with hugs and smiles. The kids were a lot more controlled today since we wrote group numbers on their hands. The groups went smoothly, and everyone had fun! The afternoon was fun with the older kids, too. At the end, all the girls called me Barbie, Conner was Ken, Camden was Rapunzel, and Tracy Thomas was Tinker Bell. They kept matching the boys and girls together and would say we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Everyone was laughing! We are all dirty and very exhausted, but we are ready for a new day! God is good!!

Hola! This is Katie Veenstra! I would like to start off by saying the view here is AMAZING! We are surrounded by a beautiful blue ocean and tropical trees with mountains and cliffs miles in the horizon. God has truly created a work of art! Today was our second day of the camp. I got the opportunity to be a leader in a group of girls this morning. I recognized most of them from yesterday and so they were so thrilled to have me as their leader. All of the stations have their own unique experience to them and I love that because I can see all the kids interact in different ways; however, my favorite has been teaching gymnastics. Yesterday, Chloe Jones and I started an impromptu gymnastics station for the little girls (and some boys) when they were tired of playing one of the games. I showed them some flips and they instantly wanted to give it a shot, so Chloe and I helped spot them some back handsprings. This morning I could feel all the work I did flipping those kids though! I am SO sore! Today, the kids wanted to flip some more so Chloe and I again offered to assist. We even put a little boy up in a stunt! The smiles on their faces were priceless! It didn’t matter if they fell or landed perfect, they were all having a blast. I wish I knew more Spanish, so I could communicate better with them, but they are so patient with me and try to help me learn new words every day! These kids have taught me so much already about how to be more grateful for what I have and how to truly spread the love of God with others! I am so excited to see what the rest of this week has in store! 

Hello from all of us teachers.  Once again we had a wonderful day at the teacher’s seminar.  We started the day with a lesson about symmetry.  I showed them several activities that emphasize symmetry that also included art.  The teachers wrote their name and then decorated the symmetrical shape that it formed.  This was followed by Macon using clay to create geodes.  They love the hands-on activities.  We always try to demonstrate activities that they can easily include in their own classrooms.  Kristi  talked about waves and had awesome demonstrations showing currents and transfer of energy.  David continued his talk on being a leader and influencing people through your leadership.  After lunch, Patti went through the days of creation using her TPRS teaching.  The students enjoyed connecting the words to actions to help remember the story.  That was our day.  What I haven’t said in listing all the teaching activities is how receptive our “teacher students” are to our suggestions.  They show a desire to learn how to improve their teaching and classrooms.  It has been a super rewarding and fulfilling week so far.  I’m looking forward to what God has for us the rest of the week in beautiful DR.  We are so blessed by Him.  Miss you all at home, but wouldn’t trade this week for anything.  – Sharon Newlove

June 20, 2018

Hola! How is everyone doing? Honestly, I never want to leave this place. It’s so beautiful down here. Watching the sunset every night over the ocean might be one of the most breathtaking sights ever seen. Me, Conner, and Owen are waking up early tomorrow morning to watch the sunrise over the ocean and the mountains. Really craving a really cold glass of milk all week, probably going to be the first thing that I have when I get back to the states. Ummmmm well I’ve been told that I should probably talk about my experiences here. My top 2 are probably walking down the stairs in the morning and having all the little kids swarm around you and you have to play tag with basically all of them at once. I’d say the other one is definitely playing sports with the older kids. We can barely understand each other, but it is still a lot of fun and actually get pretty competitive. Well that’s all I have to say for tonight so adios!!! – Dalton

This mornings sunrise

Hola Jeff y Kuenzli familia (This is Brooke and Abbey if you didn’t know)! We would tell you we miss you, but you always taught us to never tell a lie. However, you shouldn’t feel bad, we really don’t miss anyone and could stay here forever (lo siento). This place is absolutely beautiful. We get to sleep on the roof of the school that has an amazing view of Barahona. Every day is hot and consists of a lot of dirt and sweat. The roof is where we like to resort to after long, hot days. All our worries (and dirt) get swept away from the breeze up there. We just finished our third day of camp and are continuing to fall more in love with the children here every day. There are many that we love, but there is one in particular that we will be bringing home. His name is Jeremy, he is two, and he is the cutest little boy we have ever seen. Today was one of our favorite days of camp because we got to take all the kids to a nearby park. The weather was great too, cloudy and even some wind. At the park, we had areas that involved soccer, baseball, gymnastics and even an area on the track where we could race the kids. We were not confident at all with our Spanish vocabulary when we first arrived; however, we are practically fluent now and can have whole conversations – no big deal. Of course that is a joke, but every day we are able to communicate more and more. Mom, it’s Brooke, today I told a little girl about you and then showed her a picture. After seeing you she told me “tu mama esta joven y bonita”. Look it up. It’ll make you feel good about yourself. Sorry dad, I showed them a picture of you and they didn’t have much to say. I’m bringing you some coffee and hopefully that will make you feel good. Dad, it’s Abbey, for the past few days of camp, I’ve been seeing multiple kids with extreme shirts from 2014 with Hempy Water sponsored on their backs. I thought that was pretty neat. Don’t worry, I took a picture. I also ordered you a package of Dominican ground coffee, seeing that it’s one of their major exports and you’re an addict. We have made a lot of new friends here. You should be proud. One of our good friends, Dalton, told us he would make sure he left us a nice surprise in the toilet before we were on bathroom duty tonight. We love our new friends. Not only are we growing closer with the kids here, the people we came here with, but also God. We are beyond thankful for the opportunity to experience this journey and how it has changed us as people. This journey has also made us realize how thankful we are for: flushing toilets, air conditioning, showers with lights, showers with warm water, showers with lavender scented heads (Abbey is spoiled) – she says thanks Jeff, CLEAN/COLD WATER – also thanks Jeff. We could go on forever naming the things we take for granted every single day. You’ve taken enough sarcasm, so we really do want to take the time out of our busy schedules (okay last time) to thank you for all you’ve done and everything you’ve provided for us. Oh yeah and tell my bed I’ll be back soon. THANK YOU, LOVE YOU, and don’t worry you’ll get to see these beautiful faces (okay that really was the last time) soon! – Brooke & Abbey (You’re favorite daughters & no this isn’t sarcasm)

The Morning Camp Crew

The Afternoon Camp Crew

June 21, 2018

Our small teacher crew ended the last day of the Teacher Seminar and feel they were able to teach the Dominican teachers who attended some new strategies and ideas. Our Dominican Teachers were grateful for the seminar and appreciate all the time these ladies gave them.  Thank you Kristi, Macon, Patti and Sharon.
Hello everyone in America! This is Marissa. Just in case you couldn’t tell from what everyone else wrote, we all love it here. The view, the people, the kids, the food, all of it. Despite being coated in dirt and sweat pretty much 24/7, I don’t think any of us really want to leave. Today was the second to last day of camp, and we had blast. I was working in the music station today; the kids are learning two songs that they are going to perform for us on Friday. It sounds amazing. I think some of my favorite parts about this trip so far have been hanging out with the kids and having devotions under the stars. Throughout this trip we have all learned so much and grow closer to the kids, our team, and most importantly, God. It also opened our eyes to the reality of third world countries. Being a Missionary Kid, this trip has brought back so many memories. From the flowers, to the buildings, to the people, it is so similar to Africa. Family back home in case you were wondering, the DR reminds me more of Africa than Nicaragua did. Anyway, I am so excited to sleep and see what the last two days have in store for us!

Hello everyone! This is Tara! Today was the last “normal” day here in the DR. The day consisted of the usual camp for the younger kids in the morning and the older groups in the afternoon. This morning before camp even started the sky decided to start spitting on us and we were very unsure about its plans for the day. However, apparently the clouds had an appointment elsewhere because they left in time for camp and even left us a farewell double rainbow! It was beautiful and lasted for more than 5 minutes, it even got brighter near the end. We were a little worried about the humidity that the water could cause, but the day felt the same as any humid, stinky, bright day. After camp ended at 3:30, some of the kids stayed a little after to play basketball and a few girls stayed to teach us some Dominican hand clapping games. By 4 we were ready to just leave them there and go upstairs or kick them out. Our energy runs out quicker and quicker as the week goes on. The stars are one of my favorite parts about this part of the world. During devotions and afterwards, we gaze at them and try to find constellations  we know. Although, I’m not the only one who misses the comforts of home, most of us would sacrifice them in a second to be able to stay and experience more. I definitely want to come again. Serving the people and kids here has been an eye opening experience that I want to never forget! Hopefully pictures and journaling will keep the memories alive for everyone to enjoy! I love you guys!

This is Juancito (Elliott)! I will be telling you what I did today in the DR. I was chosen to be a group leader for the day. The morning session was very hectic, but it was fun playing with the little kids. The lunch was awesome! It consisted of rice and corn with chicken. After that, I got ready for our afternoon session with the middle schoolers. I love the afternoon session so much more because the kids are easier to handle.  Also, they challenge me to every single game, which is fun for the both of us. I met a kid that is crazy good at baseball! It is awesome watching him play. He can bat both ways, and he has smooth hands for fielding. It is very eye opening to see such a great baseball player that might never get a chance to show his ability. He loves the game with a very great passion and plays whenever he gets the chance. He might likely have to get a job at 15 to support his family. I hope he can make a pro ball player out of himself!

Not sure we will be able to blog tomorrow night at the hotel, so this may be the last post.  Enjoy the photos and don’t worry parents, spouses and friends. This team has been fabulous and we will all be coming home changed by this experience!