Hola from the Dominican Republic!

Buenos tardes!! Sorry it took a while to post a blog, on the base internet has been hard to acquire. We arrived in the Dominican Republic safe and sound Saturday night. Now we have all been at our sites for 5 days and have loved growing in the community of Jarabacoa.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are all growing in our relationships with Christ and enjoying the opportunity to show Gods love through actions to people we interact with at our mission sites. A couple of us are going to share some stories and experiences from different sites that we are at. I, Amy, will start with sharing about my mission site, Genesis, which is the special education school here in Jarabacoa.

I have spent the last five days with students with disabilities between the ages of 2-20.  I am going to share about a boy who is by far one of the cutest kids I have worked with. He is 8 years old and has endless joy! This boy comes to school each day with a smile on his face ready to give each student and teacher hugs.  On Monday, this adorable kid came to me and immediately loved on me. He is not a sturdy walker because of his disability but he loves dancing. So he asked me to dance while he sang Spanish songs. My heart melted and although I am a horrible dancer, I of course danced with him for at  least 10 minutes. Through out the day this little guy gave me hugs, blew kisses to me, and danced. At the end of the day he was sitting next to me and in the warmest way possible asked me if I would come back tomorrow. I said yes and he in clear English said “I love you”. I said it back to him and gave him a hug. Its funny how quickly you can get attached to children! The next morning started off great when the bus came this boy stepped off and we made eye contact right away, and tears of joy poured from him and then he quickly came to give me a hug. Being in this school I have an amazing opportunity to love on students who may not always get the love and attention they need. I am excited to be in the classroom tomorrow and continue to love on them just as Jesus loves us!

Como estas??? Lauren Solito here! For the past 5 days, I have been traveling around with Hannah Dissinger, MacKenzie Bedor, Nathaniel Ryan, Nate White, and Anice from the California group! When we aren’t praying or worshipping with patients, you can find us at one of several communities around Jarabacoa taking BP (blood pressure), HR (heart rate), RR (respiration rate), distributing medication, or laughing at the guys’ faces during pap smears. We have all had a wonderful time learning Spanish and building relationships over a plate of rice and beans. Yum! We love what God is doing in the lives of others around us and hope that some of the loving Dominican culture rubs off on us before we have to head back go the states!!!

It is the afternoon of the 28th, our 7th day here. It’s amazing how fast this week has gone. God is truly evident here at Students International. My site leader, Silvio, is a Physical Therapist who serves our Father by allowing the nationals cheap treatment through an atmosphere that genuinely loves and cares about them . It amazes me how passionate he is in using his gifts for the kingdom of God. I have been fortunate to have been working beside him, his assistant, Christian, a fellow TU student, Miranda, and two other high-school students. I have been greatly involved with all the patients that come in, and on one occasion I had the chance to evangelize to a young boy who had broken his ankle. Another highlight of my week was working with several 7 year olds who had cerebral palsy. It was an amazing feeling to love on these kids and laugh with them as I worked on their legs. God has broken my heart for these kids. There is a joy and satisfaction in serving our Lord through missions that can’t be found anywhere else. This week has been a huge blessing for me and everyone else on my team. I love this team, I love the SI leaders serving here, I love the Dominican people, and I love my God for He is always good. Always. – Zach Hershberger

Daytona Beach, FL

Because Daytona Beach is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in the US, especially among college students and young adults, it houses a great opportunity to witness not only to the local community in Daytona, but also to people from all over. Alongside experienced leaders, Steve and Erika Mortland, you will spend your days on the beach, at a community park, and in and out of various low income and homeless centers in the area. Through simply playing volleyball, offering a beverage and just hanging out, you will have the opportunity to build relationships and discuss Christ and the hope He is to you with hundreds of people from all walks of life.

Daytona Team Picture 2014_edit

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that we would be able to speak the truth to people in need with NO fear
  2. Pray that we would have Radical Boldness!
  3. Pray that we would be able to share Jesus out of sincerity
  4. Pray that we would be unified as a team
  5. Pray that we could dive deeper into what it means to live with a kingdom mindset so that sharing about it is not a formula, but an overflow from our own lives, and who Jesus is to us personally.

Jeremiah 20:9 – But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Memphis, TN

In Memphis, Spring Break Missions and Carpenter’s Hands are teaming up with Service Over Self (SOS) helping to rebuild and improve houses of families in need. Through this ministry, we will help qualified homeowners to rebuild their homes for their families, giving us the opportunity to minister to them by and through this work. This trip, then, is for those who enjoy getting their hands dirty, wearing out every muscle in their body, and having swollen hearts for the families they work with face-to-face.

Memphis Team Picture 2014

Prayer Requests:

  1. Safety as we drive to and work in Memphis.
  2. ‪With a large team of 20 that we could get to know each other quickly and learn how we can best use our skills together.
  3. For our team would be that we are aware. Just that we are aware of ourselves and our surroundings, not only as we minister to people in Memphis, but also as we travel and have fun.

Hebrews 3:4 – “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.”

Grant County

“All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.”-John Calvin

Through partnerships with St. Martin and Gethsemane Episcopal Church, Taylor students are given the opportunity to serve their literal neighbors in Grant County. Through this experience, Taylor students can learn how to better serve the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of those who live right around the corner in Marion, IN. Teams will be able to see the need for Christ through local ministries, housing projects, devotionals lead by community members, and panels on relevant topics to Marion.

Grant County Team Picture_edit

 Prayer Requests:

  1. Grant us a spirit of humility as we consider others better than ourselves.
  2. Grant us energy through our tiring days of repetitive work.
  3. Grant us honesty as we are transparent with our teammates.
  4. Grant us the endurance to remain involved in our community even after Spring Break ends.

Galatians 5:13-14 – “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN is often regarded as a booming metropolis, reaching forward to prosperity in the Midwest. The communities fraught with cyclical poverty and gang violence, however, are easily overlooked. Join us in our servant relationship with Shepherd Community Center as we help engage youth living in inner-city poverty. Whether working with children’s’ minds in the classroom, their relationship with Christ in the church, or helping to improve the environment surrounding them by getting your hands dirty, you can effectively help bring prosperity to an urban community in need through this ministry.

Indianapolis Team Picture 2014_edit

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that we would effectively share the love of Christ through our actions and words.
  2. Pray that we would have open eyes and ears of how God wants to use us and why he has each one of us on the trip.
  3. Pray that we would be able to identify with the individuals we work with at Shepherd and that they would identify with us, being able to move past any potential barriers on either side.
  4. Pray that those we work with would become so dear to us that we would be delighted to share not only the gospel of God but our lives as well (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

Poland

Alongside Polish Christian Ministries, Taylor students will have the opportunity to experience the culture, language, history, and people of Poland. While assisting in a high school English Class or participating in after-school English conversation classes, students will be encouraged to engage youth who don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus. Other involvement will include a service project for a needy family, visiting the Majdanek concentration camp, prayer-walking throughout the city, and sharing in a cultural exchange night with Polish “English” students.

Poland Team Picture 2014_edit

 Prayer Requests:

  1. For the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our preparations, teaching and communication of the Gospel.
  2. To be the hands and feet to serve the Polish people we meet to advance the Kingdom of God.
  3. For energy, health and stamina, travel logistics.

I Corinthians 13:1 – “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Russia

The number 750,000, depending on what context it is used in, can be either overwhelming or unimpressive. In this case, it is the number of children that face their early life cramped in orphanages throughout Russia. Through The Boaz Project, Taylor students are truly given the opportunity to “…visit orphans and widows in their afflictions” (James 1:27). The Russia trip serves to give students a new perspective on this difficult reality by allowing them to serve children through various outlets such as Vacation Bible School, and to build relationships that they will always remember.