A Servant Heart

Every morning our day begins with the wake-up call of roosters, the scent of freshly brewed Dominican coffee and the mountains as our backdrop. It’s been four days and we can all agree that this scene will never get old.

Before we leave for our sites, we participate in an intimate time of worship and devotions. Our journey through the book of James gives us an extra boost of encouragement as we go out to minister in the communities of Jarabacoa.

Each day of this trip has been different from the last and all of our experiences remain distinct. While we are at our sites and immersed in the Dominican culture, we get the chance to experience God in new and exciting ways. Whether it’s through the smile that a complete stranger shares with us or listening and trying to translate the conversations of children who excitingly mumble off sentence after sentence; it’s so evident that God is present here.

Today, while we all went off to our different sites, God worked through some of the challenges that we faced during the first day of our ministry. Many of us struggled with the language barrier and some of us felt a sense of uncertainty with the ministry sites we were placed at. After discussing this at our team meeting last night and engaging in prayer, God took away the doubts and fears that we had. He provided us with the courage to teach a class without the language differences getting in the way. He gave us the strength to minister through a simple game of basketball anddr.JPG the motivation to go out more confident knowing that He is with us every step of the way.

Later tonight, we were all given the opportunity to eat dinner at the home of a Dominican family. We all went to different homes based on our sites and enjoyed a delicious home cooked Dominican meal.  The love that these families showed to us was instantly contagious. As we ate and had conversations, we saw the genuine love for people that they have which made today’s experience worth so much. We came here knowing that our purpose was to serve, but we weren’t expecting to be served from people of these communities.

As we continue our ministry in Jarabacoa, pray that we allow God to work through our interactions with the people we encounter and pray that we are able to shed a light onto the life of someone who needs it the most.

– Team D.R

We lived out Isaiah 52:7!

We lived out Isaiah 52:7!

Our feet touched Dominican soil; we can officially say that we are here! We are grateful to God that are flight went smoothly and we had no issues. After our plane landed we were met by long immigration lines. After presenting our crisp $10 bill to the immigration officers we could say that our mission had begun. We were met by Student International Representatives in buses who escorted us to the base. On this beautiful journey,  we were able to see just a small token of Dominican beauty which included: mountains, indigenous trees and flowers of summery hues, varying fruit-bearing plants like bananas. During this journey to the base, the topic of culture was discussed.  With quite a few internationals students, from Rwanda to the Bahamas, we were able to engage in dialogue about the similarities & differences of the countries.

After arriving on base, we attended various orientations to inform us about Dominican Republic culture, customs and relationships and also the camp regulations. On Sunday, we attended a Dominican church in which we participated in a service that was conducted mostly in Spanish. This is where many of us began to test our knowledge of Spanish which for most of us was nonexistent.

Later that night, we learnt how to dance to Meringue and Bachata; these are typical Dominican dances. We swayed our hips and attempted to keep our movements as fluid as liquid. Some of us we naturally talented such as Nick and Clementine who won the dance competition that night. This placed righteous pride in the hearts of the Taylor Trojans.

Finally, Monday is here! Now, it is time to serve; the thing that all of our hearts are yearning to do; it  is the reason we came here. However, before we serve we must be spiritually  prepared. To prepare each morning we meet at 6:30AM in the Chapel on base. We pray for one of the site’s then we embark on Quiet Time. This time allows us to read a chapter out of the book of James and pray to God. This is great because it stills our hearts and quiets our fears before the attack of the day is launched. Immediately following Quiet time is worship which is includes songs in both  English and Spanish. Following worship we are shipped off to breakfast then it’s off to our sites!

Our sites vary from Men’s Sport to Women’s Social Work. From the hustle and bustle in our room, it can be heard that each sites has it challenges and yet of all of them having proved to be quite rewarding. From the joys of working with little children at the various education sites to the meticulous details of Micro-finances. You should see the faces of the DR team when we arrive at the base at 4PM! We are exhausted but honestly, that is exactly what we want to be! Exhausted for God; for his kingdom; his ministries!

We must admit, we are working hard but we are also enjoying the beauty that God has placed before ourIMG_7773.JPG eyes. You haven’t seen God’s glory until you have been on top of a mountain. It is breath-taking. You haven’t felt God’s glory until you have been on top of mountain with fellow christians who gave up of their spring break to advance the Kingdom of Heaven!

With great team leaders like Jeff and Nick, we are spending our days living out Isaiah 52:7 and we are loving it all: our sites, the camp base, our team members, the Dominican people, food and culture! We are grateful to SI International for this opportunity to serve such beautiful people who are serving us more than we could ever give them. We love the DR and cannot wait to see God’s plans for the remainder of our trip unfold before our eyes.

To God be the glory,

Team DR

 

Come on, Vamos!

Spring Break is finally upon us and the DR team is eager to commence its departure into Indianapolis airport. We’re ready for the sunshine, and all the bliss that comes along with it. However, this trip is more than an escape to warmth. This is trip is entirely about opening our hearts to the Dominicans we encounter, and sharing the love of Christ.

During our trip, we will be immersed in many different service areas, some of which include: dentistry, media, finance, sports and special education. We pray that God moves through us as we prepare to serve our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are excited to be a part of their culture and open to experience new things. We know that God placed us on this trip for a reason and we are anxious to live out his desires. We pray for the courage and strength to make a difference in the lives of the Dominicans. We also pray that our interactions with them will bring new a understanding of who God is.

Next time you read about us we’ll be miles away, but for now, pray for safe travels and a smooth start into Spring Break.

-Team DR

 

 

Meet the Dominican Republic Team!

DR

3rd row L-R: *Nick Cartwright, Ben Rupert, Josh Granger, *Jeff Wallace, Clementine Muteteri

2nd row L-R: Brendan Wallace, Megan Russell, Olivia Brannon, Olivia Miller, Nicole Skandalaris, Leila Vanest, Olivia Jones, Belinda Adderley

1st row L-R: Christy Aho, Emily Welch, Abby Randt, Rachel Davidovitch, Abby Gonzalez, Ellie Perkins, Danielle Barnes, Tiless Turnquest

*Team Leaders

Prayer Requests:

  • Health and safety as we prepare for the trip, for travel, and while serving
  • Energy and endurance
  • Open hearts to hear God’s word and to submit to His will
  • Loving each other well and letting that love be evident to others
  • That our actions and words come from the Lord and everything we do glorifies Him

Team Verse: Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The team will be partnering with Students International: http://stint.com