The Meaning of Construction & Food

Wow! Our team had an awesome and fun day working on the roof and enjoying lunch with our homeowners. First, we start out with our usual routine of eating breakfast, putting on sunscreen, and driving over to our construction site for this week at the Tillmans.

Yesterday was a cold and raining day, for we weren’t able to get much of the house done as we had hoped. Luckily, today we had accomplished a lot with the roof and the weather was much better today with 75 degree weather and sunny. Everyone on our team was having fun and very outgoing.

The first half of our day, half of our team was working on the roof while the rest of us were learning how to grill with John our homeowner. We enjoyed chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs, along with lots of laughter. We laughed about how we accidentally left Bryson at house, and heard about how John and Janet met. We’re thankful that we were able to spend time with John and Janet on understanding what community means to them.

The second half of our day, we worked diligently to shingle the roof and finished landscaping. At the end of the day, we left with sunburns and sweat stains feeling accomplished in our efforts.

To wrap up on our day, we enjoyed an engaging chapel, challenging us to reflect on what we have learned this week. For me personally (Kevin) I’ve learned on how God wants me to keep challenging myself on trying new things and to push me out of my comfort zone. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Memphis this week and I’m thankful that I was able to be a part of this experience. This team has encouraged me to face my fears and make new friends.

We’re excited to wrap up our time at SOS and enjoy the remainder of Memphis!

Writer: Kevin Anderson

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

Memphis Day 4

Here’s to another jam packed day in the books! We started it off with an early breakfast and then we were off to Mr. John and Mrs. Janet’s to put in another hard day of work. We did some more de-shingling and finished the underlayment on half of the roof. Though the weather was cold and wet this morning, it eventually warmed up by the time we were having lunch. Jamming out to “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn (our anthem) helped keep us distracted from the weather and focused on our goal. We made great progress and will be starting re-shingling tomorrow. Looking forward to a warmer Thursday!

After having lunch at the house, we headed back to SOS to have a relaxing afternoon. BUT FIRST, we had to stop at Sonic to get some shakes! (Can’t forget to mention that we left poor Bryson at the house. He was fixing Mrs. Janet’s printer and we forgot about him. But don’t worry he’s here now). Wednesday’s are half days which give the teams here a chance to rest up and explore the area if they are interested. And we were DEFINITELY interested! 🙂

For dinner we headed out to Central BBQ, to finally hear what everyone had been raving about! Now this was some GOOD food, let me tell y’all. The brisket was to die for, the pulled pork was scrumptious and the ribs were phenomenal. We took our time to enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant and relax in the presence of our team.

Our last stop was the world famous Beale Street! It was so fun to walk around, people watch, and soak up the culture of this lively place. Lucky for y’all, I am the groups photographer so here I will include some picture’s to do the talkin’.

Thanks for reading this and please continue to pray for our team as we push through the second half of this week! We hope to make great progress and continue to get to know Mr. John and Mrs. Janet even better!

 

Memphis team at Central BBQ

Exploring Beale Street!

#ILOVEMEMPHIS (left to right) Maddie, Molly, and Jeanine

Writer: Jeanine Aupperle

Nada Es Imposible Con Dios

Wednesday:

We did something today that changed my entire outlook on the world. We were able to go out into the community of Tres Reyes and hear the families’ stories.

This impacted all of us because we saw how different their lives were and how they didn’t have all the material things like we do in America. They didn’t even speak our language. But they had one thing greater than all of those things: the love of Jesus Christ. The most touching part was their knowledge of that truth. We were able to visit each house and pray over them. We crowded around and laid a hand on the families and prayed for their families, their homes, their loved ones. Some of the mothers started to cry because of their gratitude for our prayers. Our small acts of care changed their lives. And we were able to learn a little something about all of these incredible families.

This post isn’t as long today because their are too many stories, too many emotions to compile that I can’t fit it all into one blog post.  (Maybe I’ll write a novel someday.) But by the end of the day, we all teared up within our team and thanked God for this beautiful day.

There’s a large mural painted at the Tres Reyes soccer field saying: “Nada Es Imposible Con Dios,” which means “Nothing Is Impossible With God.” We were reminded of this truth today as we visited the families in Tres Reyes, and it is a beautiful truth. I will ask you all today to remember this whenever you feel discouraged or lost. And remember to ask each of our team members what they experienced today. I’ll bet you they will smile.

Tres Reyes (Or sprinkle, sprinkle, sprout, sprout, SPROUT.)

Tuesday:

Today was impactful.

We were able to serve at the Tres Reyes Community Center built by Back2Back. The center was built for people living in the Tres Reyes community because this community in not rich by any means. Back2Back built the center to bring joy and education to those who needed it, especially the kids.

Before our team was able to meet these kids, we were able to serve Back2Back by cleaning up the center, building brick walls, and raking the soccer field (which was given because Tres Reyes didn’t have a nearby soccer field). These jobs were hard, but good in the end because we realized how much we were helping the community.

After working, we gathered at the entrance and welcomed all the Tres Reyes kids into the center and gave out high fives and welcoming calls. Their faces lit up with joy when they saw the team.

When they all came inside, we each separated into different classes for the kids such as art class, computer class, and gymnastics class. These classes were made to help Tres Reyes kids learn the importance and fun of education.

After this, we ran out and just had fun with the kids.  Ourselves and the kids played soccer as Americans vs. Mexicans (at request of the kids), and others of us played volleyball. It was incredible to see the kids run around and just have fun with each other and with us. I still believe there is no such thing as a language barrier when playing with kids. And my belief was certainly put into action today.

Whenever I think about today, I think about God’s love is larger than language. It’s larger than a different culture. It spans the entire world despite differences. I loved how we as a team were able to learn this truth firsthand. It was hard to impact the kids at first, but once we were able to show God’s love to one another today, everything changed.

We’ll see you tomorrow.

Halfway Point

We have finished the halfway point of our time in Daytona.

The last two days have had a number of similarities to what we experienced on Monday.

Each day begins with the ‘food crew’ heading off to Sam’s Club (and sometimes Walmart) to pick up the supplies we will need for the upcoming day!

Tuesday began with half the team heading to the library park to connect with many of our friends who are homeless. It continued to be a mixture of joy and sadness as we sat with men and women and heard more stories of the harshness of life on the street. Many continued to struggle with the question of how we could possibly share God’s love with them – how to let them know that they matter to the God of the universe.

The other half of the team went to the beach to get set up for another very warm day of walking on the beach. During our time there were lots of games of volleyball – with high school and college students who are spending their spring break running around Daytona. Small groups of the team spent the day walking the beach and getting in to conversations with individuals, families, college students and snow birds. These conversations range from shallow discussions to ones that are deep and surprisingly open. While we can’t arrange the outcomes of these conversations, we enjoy each one, seeking to be present and available to what God wants to do.

The beach is also the place where we get to hang out with our friends from Ocean View. We love sharing a soda (or many, many sodas) with these friends, catching up on their lives and talking about the things they want to discuss. Many of these conversations are fun and light – while some reveal the great hurt and brokenness that the years have dealt them. Most of the day on Tuesday we were ‘serenaded’ by our friend Louis doing a variety of karaoke songs from the 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

Ended the day on the beach doing some beach worship with a wild collections of friends and strangers – always a highlight of the day.

After dinner (with our local friends we met a few years ago – Les and Kris) a number of team members went out on the town to talk with people on the boardwalk and in the town.

Today followed much of the same pattern – with a few changes. Our time at the park with our homeless friends was an wonderfully encouraging time as we connecting with a local group (Four Seasons Ministry) who does a feeding ministry weekly for homeless in Daytona. These wonderful Christians were SO encouraging to us and provided us with a wonderful opportunity to connect with and see the church caring for the men and women on the streets.

The day at the beach was similar to yesterday with more conversations and more encounters where God gave us opportunities to encourage others and also used others to encourage us.

After dinner we were able to do what is typically the highlight of our week as we went to Ocean View and worshiped with the residents at the home. Always great to see James Lewis tapping away as we sing a variety of songs.

Continue to pray for strength over the next to days. The good news is everyone now appears to be healthy (largely) – no significant sunburn, but certainly some tiredness from spending hours in the hot sun.

We really want to finish well during the next two days – pray that along with strength – our hearts will be open to those that we meet and that God will use us to bring his love to the people of Daytona that we are privileged to encounter.