Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Support a G.O. Kid

This is a show I put together for Emmanuel Wesleyan in Virginia. They were having a special offering taken for children in need. I had the unique opportunity to represent the children that G.O. comes in contact with daily.

For more information on how to support a child through G.O. Ministries please visit:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oops, only a month late

I forgot to post these pictures from my little girl's bible study.  We had a little birthday party for my birthday and for Themis' birthday who happens to share the day with me!  I've met so many September 22nd birthdays, it's crazy.  Anyway, the Schwulst girls made signs for us, I made brownies and we hung out.  It was fun.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eastview Christian Church

I had the unique experience to be part of our annual women's conference this year. It was seriously the best. Not only because I got to be with several of my closest friends (who have also become family) without husbands or kids but because it was all about freeing yourself from things of the past.

We all have a past. But its never comfortable to talk about it which is why this conference was so impacting this year. A lot of the speakers spoke on abuse or mistreatment as well as forgiving the people who mistreated you and allowing God to heal you of your hurts. It was very refreshing to hear women be so open and honest about their situations, whether it be past or present.

The highlight of the weekend away for me was the last 45 minutes of the conference. They had everyone write on a piece of paper things from their past that they don't want to be burdened by anymore. Whether that be something they've done or something done to them. Then when they threw those pieces of paper in the trash the American women who were hosting the conference went around and laid hands and prayed for EVERY SINGLE WOMAN! Not one was missed. And although neither women knew what the other was saying, God knew and I know he was pleased. So enjoy the show. The women's conference part is the second half of the show.

Eastview Christian Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mom and Dad visit the DR!!!

Mike's parents, Joe and Debbie, visited us last week. They are part of a church in Virginia that has been a consistent supporter of Mike and I since shortly after we began with G.O. Ministries. It was such an awesome 10 days with Mike's parents as we showed them many aspects of our ministries and our lives. Below are a couple pictures from their visit to our home. Enjoy...and we hope to see them both in the Dominican again VERY soon!!!

Debbie playing with Yajaira in The Hole

Joe chatting with a little boy

Feeding in The Hole

Joe, Pastor Felix (from The Hole), Mike and Debbie

Pastor Rafelito (from Los Guandules), Joe and Debbie

Landon and Mike with their new G.O. Sports Outreach shirts 
(an awesome donation from a member of the church congregation who does printing)

Joe, Helen and Debbie (one of the kids Emmanuel Wesleyan Church Supports)

Debbie, Bryan and Joe (the other child Emmanuel Wesleyan supports)

Joe showing Bryan how to open the transformer

Landon and I (me making a dirty face as we were broken down 
on the side of the road in Puerta Plata)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wilbert and Lisa...Married!

Well, the wedding is over and it was a beautiful one.  I've been to lots of weddings but I don't always know the bride and groom the same.  Either I'm friends with the Bride and don't know the Groom, or the other way around.  But with Lisa and was special.  I have a great friendship with both of them and was so excited when Lisa asked me to do her photos.  I didn't have such a great experience with my wedding photographer and I was not going to let Lisa miss out on anything.  I remember being so disappointed when I got my photos back and felt like my wedding day wasn't captured.  So I put a lot of pressure on myself to make Lisa's special day last forever...through photos.

I had SO much fun and they were such great "subjects."  The posed pictures even went super fast because Lisa wrote up a list of photos she wanted and we just went down the order, took the photo and moved on.  It was incredibly organized and she knew just what she wanted...which made it easy on me.  Here are a few of the photos from the wedding, I took over 500 so I couldn't post them all.  Enjoy!

Had to post this one just because Landon was crabby all afternoon but when he saw Lisa he just kept giving her kisses...he loves her dearly!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Indiana Wesleyan Men's Basketball

You know when you look forward to something so much and it doesn't turn out to be what you thought it would? Well, that does NOT describe this week. The sports crew (I include myself because I'm a sports crew wannabe) have been looking forward to Indiana Wesleyan Men's Basketball trip all summer. And this week was everything we imagined and much more. There were several things that took place that no one could have controlled but the IWU guys just went with the flow. They did construction, they held a basketball camp for boys from The Hole, they played in a "young talents" basketball tournament and won the WHOLE was just an incredible week. To top it off Will, Audrey, Mike and I were able to see a side of this team that the rest of their campus doesn't. They were real.

One event that really stood out in my mind was on the first day the guys could have had some down time, about 2 hours, to relax before their first tournament game. But five of the guys said to Mike that they "didn't come down here to have a vacation, they came here to work." So Mike took them and they dug for 2 hours until it was time to shower and leave. When Mike told me what was going on I was just totally floored by the awesome servant hearts they had. Instead of rest, they worked.

To end their trip on a high note one of key people on their team accepted Christ. I wasn't there to witness it but it hit me just the same. This is why we do this. I've cried every time I watched their video, not because it's awesome or anything, but because God showed me some huge hearts, in some extraordinary men.

Indiana Wesleyan Men's Basketball from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Northeast Christian Church

I always enjoy when Northeast comes down. In fact, Northeast was the first group Mike and I ever worked with as semi-staff. In March of 2006, we came down to the DR to check out the ministry and Northeast came down on our plane. We worked on the church in Guandules with them and Mike even translated the pastor's sermon after about 10 years without speaking much spanish! It was especially cool because several of those first team members were on this trip. It was a little reunion!

Northeast supports Rafelito and the church/feeding center in Los Guandules. When we are explaining to other teams about partnerships and what they are all about, Northeast is one of those groups that we use as our "ideal example." They partnered with Rafelito, then built him a church and feeding center, then funded and supported ALL of the children in that feeding center. And because all that is left is to support Rafelito and the monthly funding of the feeding center they have begun a new partnership with one of our pastor's in Haiti named Lucnel! How awesome is that! It was such an honor to work with this group and I am always encouraged and re-energized when they are here! (on a side note, the second song in their show is sung by a special musician. His name is Tim Braisted!!!! Mike's brother has his first CD out and the song fit PERFECTLY with this show.) ENJOY!!!!

Northeast Christian Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Garden Park Christian Church

Another group that was here this past week was a group from Garden Park Christian Church. They did construction in our neighborhood working on the houses of Luis Jimenez and Rene Rodriguez. This church is very unique in that they support one of our missionaries, Tim. One of the girls on the trip, Tim held when she was born! Tim's old youth pastor (who was not on the trip) had a great impact on Tim growing up and 17 years later, his church came on a missions trip with G.O.! Isn't God's timing amazing? These youth were very hard workers and unloaded and shoveled TWO huge piles of dirt as well as started digging the cistern of the new Hoya del Caimito church!

Garden Park Christian Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greenview Christian Church

This week we had a great group from Greenview Christian Church. The group was led by former G.O. Staffers, Nate and Angie. They were an incredibly fun group and worked extra hard on the church out at Brisas de Ocampo. More bucket lines of sand, stone and concrete! Pretty much most of my photos from the past four weeks are of bucket lines...but that's fine by me because I know that bucket lines means finishing houses, churches and feeding centers. Plus, it gives me the challenge of figuring out new and creative ways to photograph bucket lines!

This group was unique as it had a paraplegic, a girl with a broken arm and a pregnant woman. All with different circumstances, all wanting to serve the Lord right where they were. It was a great lesson for me in the way of coming to our King with a servants heart and wanting to do whatever it was that He needed. How many times had I told God, "I will serve your kingdom when I get a little more rest" or "I will serve your kingdom after my headache goes away." Wow, God truly spoke to me about attitude and circumstance this week, especially through spending time talking with Chuck (the paraplegic). What an amazing story he had.

Greenview Christian Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pathways Church

Hard-working. That is what I use to describe Pathways Church. These guys were work horses. And they LOVED construction. They worked out at Brisas de Ocampo and they got so much done out there. And they were just over all fun to be around. Mike especially formed a great bond with several of the people in this group. He was almost sad when they left. Thank goodness for facebook!

They also held a medical clinic in Cinco which included an audiology clinic. There were several people fitted for hearing aids and I actually got to witness a little boy hear for the first time. It immediately brought tears to my eyes as I watched the audiologist have the boy repeat sounds with her hand covering her mouth. He didn't have to see her lips and was repeating everything she said. It was so very cool.

Pathways Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Morgantown Community Church

The second group that was here last week was Morgantown Community Church. The support two of our missionaries, Jeff and Vicki, along with Cross Point.

The leader of Morgantown and the pastor of Cross Point are good friends and did ministry together several years back. So it was a fun opportunity for both groups to be together again. It was a great mix of people and it was a blast to have both groups here.

Morgantown Community Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Cross Point Community Church - Trip #2

Cross Point Community Church came back to the Dominican for their second trip. This time led by their head pastor, Pete.

It's really cool to see the great relationship between Moise (Cross Point's partner) and Pete. They have really grown to know each other and enjoy each other's company. Many times on the work site I would see Pete and Moise off on the stairs or sitting on a rock pile in deep discussion. It's just such a perfect fit for a partnership. Cross Point continually reminds me about why partnerships are so important and why they are the number one reason that G.O. Ministries exists. To enable people, like Moise, to work in his community and bring people to Christ. It doesn't get any better than that.

Cross Point Community Church from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Get Real Ministries

Get Real Ministries is an innovative youth ministry based out of Indiana. They meet on Monday nights and discuss real topics like sex, drugs, alcohol etc.

It was also a special group because one of Mike and I's old friends, Brandon, led the trip. Mike and I recruited the Indiana Wesleyan Men's Soccer team to come (which Brandon was on), then he came to G.O. to be an intern last summer and this year he led a team! How awesome is that?

Get Real worked in Hoya del Caimito doing A LOT of dirt hauling for Rene and Luis' houses that are being built. They also did VBS in La Mosca and Guandules and fed the kids in the Hole. They were VERY busy! But they were such an incredible group and had great energy and attitudes. Enjoy their show!

Get Real Ministries from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.


Here's the new promotional DVD I put together for G.O. Golf Outings.

Promotional DVD from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Eastview Youth

One of our most fun and energetic (and incredible singing) groups is the youth group from Eastview Christian Church. There are always A TON of them and they just bring such a great energy to this island. Not only are they fun but they are also AWESOME examples of young people stepping out on faith and moving away from the norm.

This youth group supports one of our National pastors, Indriss. He is the pastor of a Haitian Church in a neighborhood called Pontezuela. So the youth did a VBS there and handed out an awesome love offering at the end...sandals! It was such a great gift and the look on the kids faces were so great. I got goosebumps just watching Drew, the youth pastor and long time advocate for G.O., and Indriss handing out the sandals together. It was such a picture-perfect moment of an international partnership and friendship.

Eastview Youth from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Campamento de Deportes

That's right, we're back in business. Because of all the trouble I've been having with YouTube I found another Video Site through a friend and here is the first of many published on

For over 10 years now, a group of young men and women have been coming down to do a huge basketball camp in our neighborhood, Hoya del Caimito. What started out with 10 Americans and 50 campers has now turned into 45 Americans and 200 campers. And that's just basketball!!! This year we added 50 campers doing volleyball, 50 doing baseball and 20 women doing fitness/yoga. It was so cool this year to see how this yearly camp has grown. It was also cool to see the new G.O. Sports Outreach logo, that I designed, on all the of the T-shirts! So without further ado...THE SHOW!!!!

(Remember if you want to see the show without it stopping every few seconds, hit Pause for a couple minutes and let more of the show buffer, and then hit play.)

Campamento de Deportes from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Perspective

I've been hanging out in the Hole a lot lately and I've just really enjoyed my time there. I'm getting to know a lot of the kids and I've even made a friend with one of their moms. There is nothing more rewarding than walking into that desolate place and hearing "Goody" screamed before I can barely see who's screaming it. There is nothing sweeter. I have truly grown to love these kids. I have also grown to love photographing them. Not to mention, they are so used to my camera I believe they are making my photos better because they know how to pose now! :)

Last week, an old friend was here leading a group and is a camera nut too. I always enjoy when there are people here that love photography because I always learn something new. I sat with him for 5 minutes and learned a bunch of great new stuff on my Nikon D-70. I've had this camera for over two years and I am STILL learning.

So anyway, here a few shots from this week that I've been playing around with. Hope you enjoy!

Always gotta have a photo of the brothers, my photo fiends

Graffiti wall

My Maria, she has a special place in my heart because my sister, Abbey, has Down Syndrome too!

Little Minino


Simon - Nothing like starting the day out in your undies

Finally Caught On Camera

Hooray! There is an intern here with a Nikon D-80 and she shot a picture of me shooting! I love it! (I also took one of her)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Please Be Patient

Hey fellow supporters! I'm so sorry that the last couple shows haven't gotten up on our blog yet but we are having some major trouble getting them up on YouTube. We will keep trying but in the meantime please be patient with us!!! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Quick Pix

Just some quick pics of Mike and I working in the last month.

Me working at Brisas de Ocampo...We worked on this for probably 30 minutes and barely made a dent

Mike keeping track of the list at a Dental/Medical Clinic in Los Perez

Hato del Yaque Inauguration

This is the video I put together for the Inauguration of the Church and Feeding Center in Hato del Yaque.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Little Girl in a Black Hat

I really loved this picture as I was sorting through some photos yesterday. This little girl is named Yajaira. She lives in Hoyo de Bartola (The Hole). One of our pastors, Felix Abreu, started working in The Hole a little over 7 years ago during a time when no pastor wanted to. In fact, a friend of his that was also a pastor told him he was crazy for even stepping foot down there. The Hole is an inactive trash dump where close to 600 families live. In this place it is squatters rights so anyone can build a house there and that is his land. In the Hole, drugs, alcohol, prostitution and abuse seems to be a desperate place.

Although most would definitely use the word desperate to describe the Hole, G.O. Ministries and Pastor Felix began to make a difference there. What began as Felix and his wife, Jenny, just going there and doing children's ministry has turned into a church and a feeding center that feeds 120 children, 6 days a week. The children's bellies are getting fuller as well as their spiritual lives.

I use Yajaira as sort of a representative, if you will, of the Hole. If she even SEES an American she jumps in their arms and gives them a huge hug. Wearing ratty clothes and a huge grin across her face, somehow in this desperate place there is always room for a hug and a smile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hibschman Trip

Another group that was here this week was originally going to be a group of ten. A family from Indiana decided they wanted to come on a trip and were going to bring several members to do it together. After some time this group of ten turned into a group of 53 including several doctors from the family's church, the youth group and other members of the congregation. It was amazing how God grew this trip!

They worked on the same two houses that the other team worked on in Hoya del Caimito, as well as a Medical/Dental clinic in Hoya del Caimito, a medical clinic in Los Perez and a couple VBS's! They were working all over Santiago!!! This team was a great first time group and we look forward to their return to the DR.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hope Springs Community Church

Hope Springs Community Church is always a joy to have here in the Dominican. They are a great example of a solid partnership. Dave, the pastor at Hope Springs formed a special bond with one of our pastors here, Eduard Gabriel. They both have a heart for recovering addicts. Eduard Gabriel is heavily involved with a program down here called Hogar Crea which is a "safe haven" and a place for addicts to come and recover as well as receive spiritual guidance.

It was also unique that the whole pastor's family was down here. Jana, his oldest daughter, is actually interning with G.O. and his wife and two other daughters came on the trip is as well. It was neat to see the great bond between Dave's family and Eduard's family as they spent much time together in this past week.

This group also did some construction on the two future houses of our 10-year veterans of the construction crew. As well as several days of VBS in places like Los Salados and Mao. Thanks for a great trip, Hope Springs, and we look forward to your return! Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beginning of a Building

I just HAD to post these pictures as there are some awesome construction projects that are being started this summer. This week the teams here are working on the foundation of two new houses. Luis Jimenez and Rene Rodriguez have both worked for G.O. Ministries for 10 years as foremen on the construction crew. Their wives also happen to be two of my best friends! So it was a neat opportunity for me to get both families standing on the land where their future houses will be. I can't wait to someday post the final pictures!

Jimenez Family (Yajaira, Luis, Yesica, Hanani, Nehemiah)

Rodriguez Family (Carmen Dilia, Rene, Daniel, Samantha, Samuel, Paul)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Franklin Christian Church

Franklin Christian Church continued our work in Hoyo de Bartola (The Hole) on the new church and feeding center there. It is so awesome to see the progress on this church. All of the walls are smooth and ready to be painted. All the sand has been hauled and ready to be used. Pretty soon tile is going to go on the floor! No more concrete floors for kids to sit on and eat. I seriously can't wait for the day to see those kids eating on a tile floor and then sometime after that on tables and in chairs! Enjoy the show!

Monday, June 09, 2008

River Valley Christian Fellowship

One of the teams that were here this week was River Valley Christian Fellowship from Illinois. Their trip started out with a little hitch as Satan tried to bring them down from the very beginning. With just a few days before this team was leaving for their trip, their team leader found out he needed to have emergency surgery the day they were going to leave for the DR. But God swooped in, lifted up other people to lead the team and this team prevailed over Satan's schemes.

They held a medical clinic at Los Guandules and at Hoyo de Bartola (The Hole) and in the first two days saw over 950 people! It was incredible. River Valley was so incredibly efficient and I have never seen two medical clinics go SO smoothly. God is so good and this team was so awesome as they truly embodied trusting God through ALL situations!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Banta Basketball

We had a great group from Louisville come down last week. They are a "home-schooling" program that meets three days a week and they also LOVE sports. It is so much fun to have this group down as they convey SUPER energy and really bonded with the kids so well. They did some construction, kids ministry and held a two day basketball clinic in Los Salados and just really had incredible hearts of service. Enjoy their show!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Jesus Love the Little Children

Today I was in Hoyo de Bartola with a group doing construction on the church there and was just inspired by these three photos when I got home...and had to post them. Man, can you not see the beauty of this country through the little children Jesus loves?




Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lisa and Wilby Engaged

I should have posted these in the Fall...but, better late than never! Lisa is one of our fellow missionaries and Wilby works with G.O. as well. Lisa and Wilby will be getting married in August of this year and I'm TOTALLY excited to be shooting their wedding. Enjoy the pictures! Sorry this is so late, Lis!