Friday, December 18, 2009

Viaje al Pueblo

For the last day of school before vacations Alberto and I decided to do something special with the kids. The majority of the kids from our school live in the community of Mata Gorda, which is a small rural community about 20 minutes from town. Most of the families only go into town about once a week at most and it is very rare that the kids ever go; only if it is a special occasion or if they are sick and need to see a doctor.

So Alberto and I decided that it would be really fun to take the kids on a 'field trip' into town. We rented a taxi mini-bus and loaded all 22 kids and 4 teachers inside.
The kids were so excited as we began our journey into town, pointing out landmarks that they recognized to show us that they had been to town before. There was also a lively discussion determining who had been into town more than the next kid.

Our first stop was the town park. Now, this is not a playground park like many of you might imagine but more like a town square. In most Latin American towns there is one or many parks like this one always next to a large Catholic church.

Look at these two cuties waiting patiently for instructions. The kids had a blast running around the park and up and down the stairs.
We then bought them ice cream, about 50% of which was dropped on the ground, but they all enjoyed it nonetheless. Next we took them to Doulos Discovery School, which is a very nice private Christian school here in Jarabacoa. They have a really cool playground so we let the kids play there for about an hour.
They especially enjoyed the koi pond with fish and turtles!
To top off the day we took them to Pica Pollo for friend chicken and fried green bananas for lunch. Yum!!

Christmas Party

This past wednesday we had a Christmas party for the kids in Mata Gorda. In true Dominican style, nothing went as planned. :-) The projector that we were going to use got loaned out to someone else, so we had to find another one at the last minute. THanks so much YWAM!!! Then the movie that we were going to show (the Nativity Story) ended up not having Spanish audio so we decided to show The Jesus Film for kids instead, since it was in Spanish. Then I was trying to make stovetop popcorn at the school but the stove was so slow in heating up that I stood there for like 30 minutes without a single kernel popping. Needless to say I was feeling a little stressed and frustrated, but God took care of all the details and everything ended up working great/ ANd nobody really seemed to mind that we were running late because events here typically don't start until at least an hour after the announced time. THe movie was a huge success and the popcorn was ready just in time Once the actual movie started the little school was packed. Many community members showed up for the movie which was wonderful. After the movie everyone was treated to some home-made treats. The party continued with each child receiving a bag full of gifts. The gifts included stuffed animals, toy cars, purses, playdough, puzzles, pencils, candy and a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. The kids were so excited to receive these gifts as many of them would otherwise not get any gifts for Christmas.
The party was so much fun and it make me so happy to see the joy on the kids' faces when they received their gifts. Praise God for the joy He brings us during this season. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to share this joy and His love with the children of Mata Gorda.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A very sad event

This past week we experienced an unfortunate event in the community of Mata Gorda. A women who lives near the school was shot and killed by her abusive husband. She is survived by 3 small children all under the age of 10. On the day of the murder the children came to the school crying after witnessing their grandmother collapse upon hearing the news. It was kind of surreal having the kids with me all day, because I could tell that they were upset, but they didn't quite understand what was happening. It simply broke my heart looking at these kids and knowing that they would grow up the rest of their lives without their mother. Fortunately, the community of Mata Gorda has rallied around the kids and are all pitching in taking care of them. One family is even talking about adopting the daughter, which would be wonderful as they are a strong Christian family.

Please pray for Mata Gorda during this hard time as many are still suffering the after-affects of this tragedy. Especially pray for the children who are now without parents. Pray that they would grow up being loved more than they could ever know and that they would learn to know and love God, their heavenly Father, who is always with them no matter what tragedy strikes.

Semester Student

Here in the DR Students International has a partnership with Bethel College in Indiana. Every fall they send a group of mission minded students down to study spanish, take cross-cultural missions classes and work in our ministry sites. I had the pleasure of having one of those students helping out in my classroom for the last 2 months. Meet Caitlin.
It was such a pleasure having her in my class. She was a big help and such a sweet girl to get to know. She just left this past week to head back home and it was very sad to see her go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have 8 grandchildren... make that 'grandpuppies'

Yep, that's right. Feíz had her puppies.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


As many of you may remember, back in January I got a cute little lab/dalmation/great dane mix puppy. She was the sweetest dog ever and I loved playing with her and going running with her. Sadly, at the beginning of the summer she disappeared. I'm still not sure if she ran away or was stolen but it was very sad for me as I had grown very attached to her. Well, the summer went on, me still missing Felíz and then I moved into a new house in the middle of August. This new house has a nice yard and I was planning on looking around to try to get another puppy. Then, one morning, Felíz miraculously finds her way back home!! I was so happy I almost started crying. It is such a mystery, I have no idea where she was; she was gone for 4 months!! It has been so nice having her back, she is still the sweet, gentle dog that she was as a puppy.

Well, to make the story even more exciting, about 2 weeks ago I started noticing that she was looking a little plump. Not just like I had been feeding her too much, but seriously large. Yep, you guessed it: she's pregnant! So, my thinking is she much have gotten pregnant before she came back to me. Nice that she came back home to have the puppies.... Now she is huge and I think she will have them any day now. Oh joy....


Water is always an issue here in the DR. It is kind of strange, actually, since it rains so much here, but more often than not there is no water flowing through the pipes here in the campo (countryside) of Mata Gorda.

This past week our cistern had completely run dry and there was no water coming from the street to fill it up. This meant not only the school but the entire community was out of water. THere were still dirty dishes from lunch from the day before and the classrooms hadn't been mopped in 2 days, so we decided that it was time to take some action. We called the firefighters in town and had them bring out a truck full of water to fill the cistern.
The kids went crazy seeing the firetruck and had lots of fun watching the fireman fill up the cistern with the huge hose.

Francys even got to sit up in the front of the truck!!

Thank the Lord that we have water again!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Video Post

I put together this video to send to churches and supporters. These clips were taken this first week of school of my new class of 3 and 4 year olds. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A fun science activity

Some of my favorite activities to do with the kids are activities outside. This past week we took magnifying glasses outside to look at all the different leaves on the trees around the school

Then we took the leaves inside and made crayon rubbings of our findings
It was a great activity, as the kids love to be outside as well. And I loved seeing their surprise and excitement as the image of the leaf showed up on their paper. That's what I love about teaching: the wonder and excitement of discovery.

End of the year Pics

next post..... graduation!!!

Cultures Collide

This past team I had the pleasure of not only working with a new team of American students, but also a group of Korean students. A group came from a church in Michigan with a group of mainly Korean exchange students. It was so fun for me to learn a little about Korean culture and I loved listening to them speak Korean amongst themselves. They were great students with amazing hearts for service. The kids at school especially enjoyed when they taught them how to write their names in Korean! Here we are with our names in Korean
Here is Chang Woo writing our names in Korean

My unofficial summer intern

Meet Abby.

Abby is the daughter of one of our Colombian staff members, Daisy, who works at the women's social work site. I invited Abby to come and help me out this summer in my class. She was a huge blessing to me as she is a native Spanish speaker and was able to be a big help to me in my class. And the surprise blessing came when I realized that she was also very fluent in English! She integrated herself right in with the summer teams of Americans that came and went every two weeks. I am so thankful for Abby's willingness to give up her summer vacation to help me and my kids and serve the Lord with her talents and love for children.

Thanks Abby!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Summer is winding down here is Mata Gorda. Both the teachers and the kids were feeling like we needed to change things up here at the school So we decided to put on a VBS for the kids. It was pretty simple, but turned out to be so much fun. The kids split into three groups and rotated throughout the day doing art activities, playing sports and learning a Bible story.

The best part of each day was the end when we would quiz the kids on the memory verse of the day. We had a sound system set up and the kids loved talking in the microphone. It was very entertaining watching the kids stumble through the verses, but even sweeter hearing the Word of God come out of these kids' mouths. I was reminded of Psalm 119:11 that says "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Essentially that is our goal: to teach these kids God's word so that they might choose to follow Him. It was a sweet reminder of the eternal impact of every little thing that we do.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Meri Payano

Meri is the assistant in my classroom. She lives in Mata Gorda right next to our little school. She has been living in the community of Mata Gorda for about 9 years. She came to know the Lord soon after she moved to the community through the work of the local church in Mata Gorda. She has grown into an amazing woman of God and a great mother. She has three children, Frankely, Frannis, and Melany who all attend our school (Frankely has graduated and moved onto the public school). She is an amazing help in my classroom as she works one on one with students who need special help. I am so tahnkful for Meri's hard work in my class and also for her friendship.

Please pray for Meri also when you think of me in prayer. Pray for her financial situation, as her family is one of the poorest in the community. Pray for her education, as she is currently taking classes in the University studying to be a teacher. And most importantly, pray for her husband, who has yet to come to know the Lord.

Sharing the gospel through Art

Two weeks ago we had a group of students come down to serve with us from Bakersfield Christian High School. One of the projects that we worked on while they were here was painting. We continued the project of painting the swingset and play house. This is still a work in progress...
They also added their own special touch by painting murals on our lunch tables. The first one is a picture of the world with the saying "God has the whole world in His hands". THe kids love looking at the map and pointing out the island of the DR on the map
The second table was painted with a scene of Noah's ark. This one was fun for the kids as they identified all of the different animals.
Thank you, Bakersfield Christian, for leaving a beautiful, lasting impression on the school. Thank you for showing love through Art.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mountain Top

I recently took the kids and visiting students from Bakersfield Christian High School on a hike to the top of a hill in Mata Gorda. From you top you can see the whole community, including the school. The kids loved the hike and were so excited as they pointed out the school and different locations in the community. It was fun to share with the kids my love for nature and talk about how God in His love for us created such a beautiful place for us to live. Before we descended the hill the kids chanted “Gracias Dios!” “Thank you, God!” thanking God for His beautiful creation.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This past week I found myself back in California again. After 2 trips home in 10 months, you can bet I wasn't excited about the traveling, but the reason for coming home was well worth it.

I arrived in San Francisco and got to spend a few days with my sister's little family. It was so fun to get to see them, especially little baby Lyla, again.

I then boarded a train, with Leah and Lyla in tow, headed to Mariposa. I got to spend a nice relaxing week with my family and most importantly, the reason of my trip, my dear friend Marissa. It was great to be back in Mariposa with her as we prepared for her wedding. We took a day trip to Yosemite, which was wonderful, as it had been quite a while since I was there. On Friday the wedding festivities started with a trip to the nail salon, bachelorette party and rehearsal. The wedding on Saturday was absolutely lovely and so much fun. It was so special for me to get to participate in this joyous event as Marissa has been my best friend for many years now.


This summer, Alberto and I have decided to try to beautify our school a little bit. In this tropical climate, plants grow very easily, so we have begun planting some flowers and bushes around our school. This is a fun activity for the kids, as they love getting their hands dirty and a great activity for our visitors from the US as they are making a lasting contribution to our school. These beautiful plants truly are a blessing and are really brightening up face of the school.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sum Sum Summa time

Wow! I can't believe that summer is here already. Summer here in the DR is our busiest time. Instead of a nice relaxing summer vacation, our summer is packed full. Starting on Monday our first summer team will arrive and then for 3 straight months we will have 2 week teams one right after the other. Having a team here basically doubles my role here with SI. In addition to the full time responsibility of teaching my kindergarden class, I am handed another full time responsibility of integrating these volunteers into my classroom and my community and ministering to them during their two week outreach. My additional responsibilities also include leading worship occasionally for the team in the mornings and translating (from Spanish to English) Bible study talks given by other SI staff members.

Although as an intern I experienced the craziness of the summer team season, this will be my first summer as a full time staff member. Please pray for me during the summer against fatigue and burnout. Pray that God would bless me with health and the physical strength that I need. Pray that He would give me the wisdom and spiritual strength to be an effective leader to the students who come down and that I would also have the emotional stability to balance my classroom responsibilities with those of ministering to the teams.

Praise God for this busy team season. I am so thankful for each and every visitor that comes down to serve with Students International. Pray also for them, that they would experience God in a new way while they are here and that God would open their eyes to a different worldview.

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayer.

Check back soon for more stories and pictures!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Visit Home

I just got back from a fun, relaxing two weeks visiting with my sister in San Fransisco. The purpose of the trip was to see a baby born, which I did get to see, 3 hours before leaving again for the DR. That little baby came just in time and I was so thankful and blessed to have been able to experience her birth. Also it was great to get to spend two whole weeks with my sister, pre baby.

Marissa came to visit me on my birthday. It was wonderful!
Leah and I, just a few hours before she went into labor.

Finally, it was time for the baby to come. I showed up to the hospital, on a hunch, just in time. I sat outside Leah's delivery room for about 30 minutes, unknown to Leah, listening to the most painful noises I have ever heard. I then heard a nurse say, "Time to push!" Leah, then knowing that I was waiting outside, said, "Tell Katie to come in!" I was so excited and felt so privileged to get to be in the room. It was the most amazing experience to be with Leah during that last hour of labor. And at 12:20 am on Sunday morning, Lyla Mae Davis came into this world. I cannot explain with words how amazing it was to watch a baby being born. But I will say that is was kind of an other worldly experience and it was truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. Here are some pictures:

So, the baby was born at 12:20 am on Sunday morning, I stayed at the hospital for about 2 hours and then headed back to Leah and Jared's house, just in time to change my clothes and gather my suitcases and leave for the airport. I boarded my flight at 6 am and headed back to the DR. It sure was a crazy, emotional way to end my trip, but I am so thankful that Lyla came just in time for me to meet her.