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.