asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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Our Sweet Ribo

Our Sweet Ribo

As many that follow us on Facebook know, our sweet Ribo passed away yesterday.  We are so very sad and are already missing her so much.

Many have asked what happened.  We can only speculate as to that answer.  We think that she ate some leaves that were poisonous on Sunday.  On Monday, she started getting sick so we began medicating her, taking precautions because she was pregnant.  She seemed to be getting better.  Then, on Wednesday, I walked into the goat house to see that she had miscarried.  It went downhill from there.  On Wednesday night, she still hadn’t passed her afterbirth.  A vet was suppose to show up at 8:30 on Thursday morning but never showed up.  Luckily, Mo and Lauren went to the city and found a vet to come out here.  He did everything that he could to help her pass her afterbirth, then told us to wait.  On Friday morning, our sweet Ribo couldn’t fight any longer and passed away.

As sad as I was, I became infuriated as well.  In the states, we would have had a vet at our house as soon as she started feeling sick. We would have had a vet to help IF she had the miscarriage.  She wouldn’t have gone over 24 hours without passing her afterbirth WITHOUT HELP.  It’s so easy for me, an American, to think these things.  The fact of the matter is…we don’t live in the US.   We live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere where we don’t have the same luxuries available to us.  THIS is the place that God wanted this goat project to happen.  His plan is always better than mine, even when I don’t quite understand it or WHY.

This goat project is so important to us.  God placed this on our friend Arden’s heart several years ago, so that it might provide nutrition and/or financial support to widows in our community.  We started with two momma goats, and both of them are now dead.  It’s easy to feel like a failure.  It’s easy to feel discouraged.  We have absolutely fallen in love with these goats, and we truly believe in this project.

These two momma goats have given us 3 nanny goats and 1 buck.  These are the legacies of those momma goats to continue this project.  Next week, the buck and one of the nannies will be going to our first widow to continue this project.  The buck will be used to impregnate all the nanny goats in October.  Please pray for the widow that will be receiving these sweet babies.  Please pray that God gives her the wisdom to carry on this project.  Please pray that God’s purpose in this project comes to fruition.

I also have a selfish request.  Could you please pray for Lauren and I as we let go of these babies, and hand them over to the widow?  We are really struggling with letting them go, especially since we just lost our sweet Ribo and her quadruplets.

Ribo and her girls

Ribo and her girls

The nanny babies

Baby Grace

Baby Finn- our resident buck!

Finn the stud!


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When it’s overwhelmingly hard…

Often, when we get away from our community for a break, I will post pictures of us relaxing on the beach.  It never fails that someone will make a comment like, “Oh yeah, your life is so hard”!

For the most part, we are incredibly grateful to be living here.  We have wonderful neighbors that genuinely love us.  We have numerous beaches within an hour and a half away.  We get to host so many fascinating people that come here to serve our community.  I love working with the kids in the library at the school.  Plus, we have really cute goats, chickens, and dogs.  Seriously, how can we not be grateful for all of those things…and more?

Yes, all of that is awesome.  And those pics on the beach…well…those don’t tell the whole story.  Those are pics of us relaxing…of us “checking out”…of us recharging.  You typically won’t find photos of our “real” life.  Those photos aren’t always very pretty, like when I am sending photos of goat poop to my goat guru, Arden.  Yeah, those would definitely not make for a nice glossy photo.

The thing about living in the middle of nowhere in a 3rd world country is sometimes…it’s overwhelmingly hard!  This week I have had a sadness that I cannot even put into words.  It has literally been a paralyzing sadness.  Sometimes we forget that we live with poverty.  Poverty is not just a state of one’s bank account.  Poverty is a way of life and a way of thinking.  Almost always…Poverty sucks!  Poverty breaks our hearts.  This week has reminded of us of how our neighbors, who have become like family, have lived their entire lives.

First, we are in one of the worst droughts they have had here in years.  When we are low on rainfall, the community typically does not have water.  For over a week, there has not been water in my neighbors’ houses.  Because our church had the money to put in a cistern, my family was only without water for one day.  My neighbors didn’t have that luxury, and we never heard them complain.  They were bathing and doing laundry in what little water was left in the river.  This is something that, because of poverty, they are accustomed to.  We were very glad that we were able to offer jugs of water to them.  However, it still broke our hearts that this is the 21st century, and people are still living, at times, without running water in their homes.

Then we had a situation with a family in the community.  I really don’t want to go into details to protect their privacy.  I will say that it is a situation that literally hurt our hearts.  Mo and the dad were able to sit down and talk, and, hopefully, find a solution.  So much of this could be different if poverty thinking was not in place.  As the saying goes,

“When you know better, you do better”

Please pray that this will be the outcome for this particular situation because our hearts are aching for them.

Then, we had 2 goats get sick.  One of them was our pregnant momma goat.  We have tried NUMEROUS times to find a vet to come out here.  Due to living in the middle of nowhere, no one wants to come help.  We have gotten by fairly well by using Google, books, and texting pictures of EVERYTHING goat to our goat guru in the states.  That was working fine until yesterday, when I walked into the goat house to see four precious little dead baby goats laying all over the floor, with my momma goat confused and trying to care for them.  Then she started getting sicker and sicker.  We frantically tried to get a vet to come help.  About 9:00 last night, a young man in the community found a vet that could come today around 8:30.  We woke up this morning to a goat that was progressively getting worse and worse…and a vet that never showed up.  We tried to call a few vets but they didn’t answer.  We can’t leave messages because our cell phones only work in certain areas in the community.  In order to receive calls, we have to be in those areas, which are not near our home.  We couldn’t take our goat anywhere because our truck is in the shop AGAIN.  We literally felt helpless.  It made me question how many times have our neighbors felt like this because options are limited when funds are limited as well.

The capital city is about an hour or so away from our house.  I asked Mo and Lauren, “Please go into the city and don’t come back until you have a vet.”.  Literally…that was the only option that we had!  After much begging and pleading by Lauren at the Agrovet, we had a vet at our house around 6:00 pm.  He was wonderful and helpful and kind and understanding.  He was our lifesaver…and quite possibly, Ribo’s lifesaver.  She is not out of the woods yet.  He said that the next 48 hours are crucial.  Had it not been for his willingness to come out here, she definitely would have died.

This entire week has been overwhelmingly hard!  This week I have had a difficult time finding the silver lining in many things.  I know God has a plan for everything.  I know that God carried me through the entire week because, honestly, I could not have made it on my own.  I am definitely a 1st world girl learning how to live through these 3rd world issues.   Along the way, my heart is being broken into a million pieces…not just for my family, but all of those that we are doing life with in this community.  My neighbors and friends that live this life every day of their life inspire me to lean more and more into our Lord and Savior for my strength every single day.  Please pray for our community and that our family continues to see life through their eyes.

Oh…and BOTH of our propane tanks just ran out of gas.

Oh my word…what am I going to do about coffee in the morning?…..


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Whatever floats your goat…

goatWe are about to get some goats up in here!  Lauren and I are seriously so excited that we are probably getting on Mo and Lexie’s nerves.  To that I say….”maa-maaaaaa”!

Seriously, though, this project is so exciting…and scary too!  Lauren and I have wanted goats for about 5 years.  The ones that we are getting are dairy goats.  We never realized just how much we needed to know to care for a dairy goat so that it produces a good, quality milk.  We are learning everyday with the help the wonderful woman behind this project…

arden and eddie

Meet Arden.  This is her with her late husband, Eddie, that was killed by a drunk driver in 2010.  When this happened, her world fell apart, and her goats are the thing that kept her going.  The rest of the story would be best told by her…

This is her Facebook post as she was sitting on the plane waiting to visit the DR for the first time.

arden on plane

“I have come a long way in these last 42 months. If you had told me 5 years ago where I would be now, I am sure I would have laughed out loud and told you you were crazy! All the credit goes to my Great and Powerful GOD, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sitting on a plane headed to the community of La Represa in the Dominican Republic. During the most difficult days endured because of the drunk driver that killed my Eddie in May of 2010, God kept laying on my heart that there was something more, something for me to do. To go to La Represa and help a widow. But how can I help a widow thousands of miles away? I don’t speak their language. I am not a theologian that can quote scripture. What I do know is goats. For a while now I have been pretty sure that these beautiful goats that Eddie got me for my birthday in 2006 were Gods divine providence. God knew that on my darkest days these goats would need me to get up and care for them. I’m not sure what Gods intentions are for dairy goats in La Represa. I do know that the people need better nutrition. I am hopeful that the goats can provide some form of revenue for the widow. What do I know is that God has laid this upon my heart. So here I am, in this airport. Here I go *obediently* following a path that God has laid before me. My prayer is that I can be an empty vessel (albeit cracked) that God can fill with His Glory and use me to show a widow thousands of miles away how much He cares.”

We had the privilege of staying with Arden during our recent visit to the states.  We got up early in the very cold mornings to learn about nutrition and milking of dairy goats.  As you can see with her FB post, she loves goats very much, and loves God even more!

Please read her recent blog post—>HERE

You will fall in love with her also…just as my family has!  Please pray for her, for this project, for our family to have the wisdom, knowledge, and ability to carry this project out in a way that will make her proud and will glorify God, and for our community to prosper from it!  us with arden