Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Clase de Arte

For the last several weeks, my buddy Jen (fellow missionary) and I have been volunteering at the community center teaching an art class to some little ones. It has been a great opportunity not only for me to work on using my spanish, but to do something outside of my "job title" and work with something I love. Art has always been a huge passion of mine (jen as well) and it has been so awesome to be able to work with these 6-9 year olds and make some things available to them that may not ordinarily be.

We also have the opportunity to share Christ's love with them as we start each class with prayer and a couple songs about God. Then we begin class by letting them know what we are going to work on for the day. Jen, who has more experience teaching kids, comes up with the lesson and I am her 'helper.' We have been focusing on shapes for most of the classes so far. Just showing them how many things are in day to day life that have shapes in them such as circles, triangles or squares.

Below are some pictures from last week's class. Enjoy!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Carmen Dilia's Baby Shower

I had the unique opportunity to join in celebrating a baby shower with the other American Staff. Our friend Carmen Dilia is due next month to have a baby boy and we were all invited to attend her baby shower. It was so much fun going to the store where she was registered and picking out little boy outfits and pacifiers.

The party lasted about 2 1/2 hours and about 30 women were there. We ate Dominican snacks, ate a beautiful Dominican cake and played baby shower games. It was so fun to laugh and share with all of the women, many of them from our church, and just relax and have a good time. Below are a few pictures from the party. I don't look so pregnant standing next to someone two months ahead of me! Enjoy!!!!

Opening presents, these boots are especially cute because Daddy works in construction!

All of the gifts opened!

A little entertainment...

The expecting family!

The Gringas with Carmen Dilia!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

24 weeks!

I know I probably say this every time, but I can't believe it's been 4 weeks already! I am officially 6 months pregnant which seems just totally insane since I found out I was pregnant when I was only 2 weeks along. At times, I feel like it has been forever and times I can't believe that we have less than four months left.

We had another Dominican doctor's appointment today. It went great! Another good bill of health for baby Landon. It was so crazy, that just 5 weeks ago, Dr. Gonell only had to go a short distance on my stomach to see Landon in full. Today, he had to go from the bottom of my stomach all the way to my ribs to get a full shot. He has grown SO much in such a short time. I've only gained about 3-5 pounds (3 on the scale in the doctor's office, 5 on the baggage scale at the airport!). But I think that I had lost some "extra baggage" since the food I eat here is all natural. I'll have to watch myself back in the states.

Landon is approximately 8 inches long and weighs a pound. The heart was beating perfectly and he said that I am in perfect health as well. He took a femur measurement and said that we are right on track for 24 weeks. Landon has been a bundle of movement, especially in the last two weeks. Not only has Mike been able to feel him move, but you can see him kicking around just by staring at my stomach. Pretty amazing. The other night, from 4-6:30am, I couldn't sleep a wink because he was kicking and somersaulting all over the place. I just couldn't help but laugh thinking about what a little baby can do in there for 2 1/2 hours. Praise Jesus for all His provisions and protection. The only thing I am needing some prayer for is MAJOR heart burn. I'm doing what I can to limit it, but I guess it's just a natural part of pregnancy. Below is the latest belly picture, definitely getting a bit more round.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A trip to remember...

It's a little bit hard to convey the excitement and anticipation leading up to this week but all the hype was for good reason and we were not disappointed.

Mike has been making preparations for the IWU Men's Soccer team to come to the Dominican for almost 6 months now. It seemed like the week would never get here and now all of a sudden it is over and they are on the plane back to the "real world." We forgot how exhausting the college age is, even though we were just there not too long ago. But we also forgot what an awesome energy they bring whenever we are blessed to work with them.

The soccer team started their week off right away with clinics in Los Perez. Just like other Dominican-style activities dealing with soccer, almost nobody on our list showed up. But we quickly found replacements as a group of 20 American men seem to draw a crowd. Soccer isn't a very popular sport in the Dominican Republic, which I think is one of the reasons we were drawn to this type of ministry here. A great opportunity to give kids who don't play the other popular sports of baseball, baseketball and volleyball could have another chance at becoming skilled at a sport. We found quickly that the kids (and young adults) who showed up had a natural ability to run, kick and play soccer. Obviously, they weren't the next Landon Donovan or David Beckham, at least not yet! It was such a different experience for the IWU guys as the Dominican children could not get enough of their personal attention and technical lessons. It was mentioned that in the states, the kids at their camps only want to play games rather than learn the disciplines of soccer.

Along with the clinics that the guys hosted, they also played three competitive "friendly's" against Dominican teams. Their first was against a Haitian team that one of our pastors, Romano, coaches. The IWU guys quickly showed their skills as they beat the team 4-1. The second game was against a club-select team from La Vega. This team was matched much closer to the IWU guys and ended up beating the Americans 2-1. The third game they played against was the Dominican U-25 National team at one of their stadiums in San Cristobal. It was obvious after the first few minutes of the game that the National team was definitely here to give the boys a run for their money. This team was very quick and had significantly more skill than the other two teams they played. After a goal in the first half against the Americans, it was back and forth throughout the rest of the game ending in a 1-0 loss to the Dominican National team. The guys played incredibly well and we even had some fellow missionaries from the Santo Domingo area come and support our team. There was a good 600 fans that showed up to support their team and a group of about 30 to cheer on the Americans. It was so fun just to be in that environment and to watch the Christ-like attitudes of the IWU guys shine through on the field, even when things weren't going their way.

The trip ended with a great final "debriefing" where, I believe, the guys became a closer team than they were when they arrived here in the DR. These guys and their transparency really impacted not only the Domincans they worked with, but also our American staff. When we were tired and weary, they gave us so much energy just watching their interactions with those around them. Many guys stepped out of their comfort zones this week and gave their testimonies in front of complete strangers, as well as trying their hats at whatever Spanish they could pick up. For Mike, it was a chance to get reconnected with friends that he has missed so much and for me, it was an opportunity to watch my husband take a leadership role that he was born to take. This definitely was a trip to remember...

Ben and one of his campers celebrating a job well done

Preparing for a good 'ol game of soccer, shoulder style

Campers getting ready to play "Ghostbusters"

One of our younger campers learning passing skills

Tyler encouraging a new skill

Spenser showing off his skills

Camp photo

To view the IWU Men's Soccer Mission trip video, go to: