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?