asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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Care packages

A Panera's bear claw from my sweet friend Regina!

A Panera’s bear claw from my sweet friend Regina!

I used to think that it was so sweet when groups/organizations would put together care packages for soldiers as a way of saying “Thank you” or “Someone is thinking about you”.  I would imagine the soldier, sitting in her camo in a desert somewhere with dust and loneliness covering her, opening the packages and a huge smile covering her face.

But I truly had no idea….

I had no idea how much it made the soldier’s HEART smile!

I had no idea how it filled that lonely place in her heart.

Although I am not a soldier, I now understand what a care package really means.  It means that some selfless person many miles away took a few minutes out of his/her very busy life to pour into her life.  For the sender, it may not seem like much to send a few items from the soldier’s home country that she can’t get her hands onto in her current country (or it cost a gabillion dollars)…but she so desperately misses these things!

Our medical mission team just left…

with them came this…

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Each one of my family members got a box filled with some of our favorite things or things that we can’t get here…as well as a bunch of cards from some of the kids at our church.

I don’t even know WHO to thank.  So I am just going to thank everyone that has ever sent us little goodies, gifts, or cards from “back home”.

Often people ask us what we need.  It’s really hard to ask for stuff that we want or need.  However, one of the members of the medical team put it into perspective for me.   She said,  “Please, let us know what you want.  By doing so, you bless us as well!”

One more lesson that DR living has taught me.

Thank you, sweet people!!!


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One year ago today…

Today is our one year anniversary of living in the DR.  We have prepared a video to share the highlights of this past year.  Enjoy!


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July Mission Team

IMG_6608Close to the end of the week with each mission team, we ask each person to think of one word to describe their time in the DR.  Last week we had an AmAzInG group of high school kids (and adults) spend a week pouring into this community.

My one word for this week would be: RESILIENCE!

The dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover readily from illness or adversity.  It also states that resilience is the power or ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched.  For the most part, I agree that these definitions describe the team…except for one part.

Let me explain…

During this week, we had:  a chipped tooth, a 5.6 earthquake, torrential downpours that caused the upstairs (yes, upstairs) of the house to flood, a few power and water problems (typical for 3rd world living) and a retched stomach bug that periodically took about 5-6 people down at a time…with the final count being 23 people.

IN SPITE OF these things…this team kept rocking it!!!

At one point during the week, I looked at Mo and said:

“What is it about this group that is threatening satan so much?  He keeps attacking, and God’s power keeps prevailing!  Satan is just making a fool out of himself at this point!”

IN SPITE of all of these things, this team:

*Built a wall around our mission house AND Kristi & Keely’s mission house!!!

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*Painted the entire school

july school

*Built TWO goat corralsjuly goat

*Began construction on a shed to store construction supplies for future teamsjuly shed

*Held FOUR Kids’ Club activitiesjuly team kids club

*Held a ministry for the young women in the village and discussed purity and modestyIMG_6637

*Held a baseball game in which anyone that wanted to play was welcomedjuly softball

*EACH team member sat with members of the community and just talked, laughed, and cried about life and love…and GOD!IMG_6613

*EACH team member poured into, not only this community…but into each other as well!  THIS team rallied around each other with hands held tight and protected the GOOD that was happening!IMG_9617

*THIS team felt God’s presence and love wrapped tightly around each one of them, and they were blessed to truly understand God’s word in Galatians 6:9:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

God never promises us that following him and doing HIS work will be easy but it will always glorify HIM.

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, we welcomed a new sister into Christ!  Emma accepted Christ and was baptized in the ocean on our beach day!july emma

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, this group was moved for Christ in ways that most could not understand.  Many stated that they are forever changed.  july mission team

When defining resilience, the part about “returning to the original form” cannot apply to THIS team!  See…satan was threatened because he KNOWS  that THIS group has been chosen to spread God’s word in ways that while rock this world…

…kind of like the earthquake that we felt!

Good job, team!

…and Good job, parents, for a job well done raising such AmAzInG children of God!!!


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Six months in…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On July 29th, we will hit the six months mark of living in the Dominican Republic.

It has been amazing to see how our family has changed and grown.  Both girls are speaking Spanish rather fluently.  Watching the ways in which they are overcoming insecurities and challenges has been quite inspiring to me.  We are seeing an increase in their self-confidence and a maturity in the way that they see the world.  Some of the things that they have seen and experienced have been very difficult for 12 and 14 year old children.  They have definitely learned that the world is not always fair, but that it can be quite beautiful.

They have been working hard on developing a plan to care for the animals in this area and figure out a way to control the pet population.  They found a veterinarian at one of the universities in Santo Domingo that is willing to come to our community with a few of the vet students and neuter/spay 15 dogs.  They have opted to spay 15 female dogs.  They decided that the females are the ones that have the puppies so that is a good place to start.  Mo and I have been very impressed with their tenacity toward this project.

The girls also teach English to a small group of girls in our neighborhood.  Right now, they are working on colors, names of animals, and some adjectives.  I know that seems a bit random but I love that they are “developing their own curriculum”.  It seems to be working.

Mo has such a special way of touching the lives of the people in this area.  He has made several very good friends, and makes a point to spend quality time just sitting and chatting with them each day.  He has inspired me so many times to just sit and talk even if the language is difficult.  He is continually working with someone in the neighborhood on some sort of project or another.   He is still “preaching” a 10-15 minute sermon every Sunday at the church.  He has been talking to several of our neighbors about getting a couples’ bible study started.  We are very excited to get this going.

Mo inspires me in so many ways.  I have stated it numerous times but he has such a servant’s heart.  It is so easy for him to just serve and give of himself.  Where I have a difficult time trusting people, he trusts to a fault.  Luckily, God gave us each other to balance that out.

Our entire family has fallen completely in love with the family across the street, Fernando (the barber), Alexandria, Fernelli, Jeffrey, and Rue.  They have been so kind and accepting to us.  Most nights, we just sit on their porch and talk to them.  They are very understanding of my challenges with the Spanish language.  They will speak slowly and help me to understand words that I don’t know, and correct me when I say things incorrectly.

It hasn’t been easy for any of us to adjust to a different culture.  There are things that we absolutely LOVE about this culture and its people, they are things that drive us absolutely bonkers, and there are still things that we don’t understand at all.  God has been so good to our family and has really given us the strength to trudge through the hard times.  There have been times that we have just “broke”.   We have zero privacy.  People are constantly walking into our yard, and peeping in windows and doors.  They are constantly calling our names.  We actually have people look in our bedroom windows when we are sleeping or just taking an afternoon rest.  Because it is hot and we don’t have air conditioning, we cannot close our windows or doors because we need the air.  This has been one of the hardest challenges on us.  Please don’t take this as complaining.  We understand that we are here to serve this community.  We just need a little privacy every once and a while.  The mission team coming in a few days will be building a fence for us and the new missionaries that are here.

Luckily, we have several missionary friends that have listened to our concerns and have/have had the same challenges.  We have been told over and over and over…MAKE SURE THAT YOU TAKE TIME AWAY FROM YOUR COMMUNITY!  So, a few weeks ago, we took 3 days and went to the beach.  It was so nice to be in a place where we could just be!  We came back refreshed and not grumpy anymore!  We HAVE to make ourselves get away so that can be more effective for the ones that we serve.

God has suddenly started opening up many doors for us.  The girls and I have been helping to organize the Children’s Ministry at the church.  There have been about 10 girls in the community that have come forward to offer their gifts to teach small groups.  I really want to reserve a post just to share this ministry with you.  We are super excited to see how God is going to use this ministry for the children (and future) of this community.

As with my previous post, we have the chicken house done and have 3 chickens that are laying eggs.  We still don’t know where this project will lead.  It may just be a way to provide eggs for our family and for us to share with our neighbors.  The children of the Dominican Republic are so low on protein so we are really hoping that this grows.  My hope is to educate people on how to raise chickens for eggs and the kids are getting more protein in their diets.

Our church sent two new missionaries to our community on Tuesday.  Their names are Kristi and Keely.  Kristi is 24 and Keely is 25.   They will be teaching at the school that my church helped build here in the area.  One of our jobs is to be a host family to these ladies.  We are excited to have them here and want to be available for them.  Mo has, of course, taken on his daddy role immediately!  I can already see how having these ladies here will be a valuable asset to the community and our family, especially my daughters.  What a wonderful example of following God’s guidance in your life!

We have a HUGE mission group coming on Saturday so we have been quite busy preparing for them.  There will be a total of 55 people including translators, cooks, and leaders.  We have lots of projects planned, a kids’ club for the kids in the community, a baseball ministry for the boys, a crafts ministry for the girls, and a teacher workshop.  LOTS of stuff going on!!!

One of the projects that we will be working on is a goat corral.  A lady in our church felt God lay it on her heart to help to start a goat ministry in this area to help widows provide food and financial support for their families.  This is another subject that I would like to reserve for an individual post in the future.  Needless to say, the girls and I are super excited because our family will be getting 2 goats of our own so that we can learn how to raise dairy goats.  We cannot wait to get started!

Lately, I have been struggling with a few of my own challenges and unbeliefs.  I can feel Him right beside me trying to smooth over those rough places of my heart.  Throughout all of the challenges, fears, and difficulties, God has been so good to us.  He has given us strength that could only come from Him.  He continues to guide our family into leaps of faith.  We are learning to lean on him more than ever.  He has comforted our hearts in many difficult situations.  We KNOW that He has exactly where He wants us!  He has been so faithful!

Lastly, we would like to thank all of you for all of the support that you have given our family.  We also would like to thank each of you that has helped support us financially each month, or with one time donations.  As you know, we are Faith-based Missionaries,  which means that we have faith that God will provide financially for us monthly and for the work that we are doing here in the DR.  You cannot imagine how much your donations, kind words, prayers, and support mean to us!  It definitely makes it easier to deal with the heat and challenges of living in a third world culture!  Thank you!!!!


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When God comes in the form of squirt guns and Barbie dolls

Life in the DR has been quite busy for the past month or so.  We have had lots of friends, family, and pastors visiting.  It has been so nice to be able to show everyone WHY we moved here and how God has been using us in various ways.  There is so much that we want to share with everyone, and have felt blessed to have been given the opportunity.

We also have so much that we want to share on our blog.  It took me a bit to narrow down today’s post because I just want to share everything all at once but…”Ain’t nobody got time to read all that”…so I will start here…

Our wonderful sending church, New Vision Baptist Church, has been working with this community since 2007.  It is amazing the changes that have occurred in that short amount of time.  One of the biggies is the private school here that is run by Sonia, Pastor Thomas’ wife.  The name of the school is Fluir de Alegria.  Below is a painting of what the school looked like when our church first came to the community:IMG_5995

This is what the school looks like now:IMG_5997

The partnership between our church and the community has been so good for this school…and most importantly, its’ students.  As a former inner-city elementary public school teacher, I know how necessary these partnerships can be for the teachers.  In July of 2012, I sat with the teachers of the school and a few teachers from the states to discuss the needs of the teachers.  We did this again in March of this year.  Many of the teachers expressed concerns about the students’ behavior.

Sonia, the teachers, and I met a few more times to develop a discipline program that was both effective and positive.  First, the staff came up with 6 overall school rules.  These are the rules that every student is expected to follow, and they are now posted in every classroom and throughout the school.

IMG_5970Then we created a “card system” very similar to many classrooms in the US.  Basically, if you break one of the school rules, then you pull a card with consequences for each card.  I really enjoyed meeting with the teachers for a “workday” to create these boards for their classrooms. It gave me an opportunity to get to know the teachers better.  Here’s what it looks like:

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Now for the fun, positive part…

Students can earn tickets for:

1) Staying on their green card

2) Completing homework

3) Good behavior

4) Being on time to school

Then…

the students can use their tickets to buy prizes from the treasure box!

IMG_8548It has been so wonderful to see such a HUGE improvement in the students’ behavior.  They have been so proud of their tickets.  It is so sweet to see the kids hand over a stack of tickets that they have earned with their behavior!  It has also been wonderful to see smiles on the teachers faces!  They appear to be happier, less stressed, and are taking more pride in their classrooms and their lessons.

Mo and I have prayed many times and asked God to show us how we could help…asking Him to use us.  Sometimes we feel like we are not doing enough, and really want to be open to hear where He wants us to help.  Sometimes He asked us to use a gift that we neatly tucked away MANY years ago…and we reluctantly pull it out, blow off the dust, and say “Oh, this old thing…it can’t be of much use…”

Then God shows you in the form of smiles…IMG_8604 IMG_8541

…and Barbie dolls…IMG_8587

…and squirt guns…IMG_8592

That maybe…

…just maybe…

You are helping!

Sometimes God just needs you to do the little things…

…to show how BIG His love is!

Oh…and I wanted to add…

Mo has been wonderful about getting all of the NEW bulletin boards hung in the classroomsIMG_5973

And…helping with the treasure box…IMG_8603


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Life-changingly Amazing!

We have had a lot of guests lately.  During each visit, we ask each of them to write a guest post for our blog when they get back to the states.  Below is the post from our friends, Chris and Ashlie Brown, who spent their honeymoon pouring into our sweet little community.  Thanks, Chris and Ashlie!!!

Enjoy!

As we woke up at 3AM to make sure we had everything, kissed and said our “see ya soons” to the pups and made our way to the airport, we were overwhelmed with excitement as we were preparing to descend into a 3rd world country to help others and see friends. We made it to the airport 2hrs early just to make sure that all our donations that we had effortlessly received from some amazing donors were able to make the flight with us.  We had made such a simple request, via Facebook, for any softball/baseball equipment that friends and family were willing to part from so that we could donate them to the village and children of La Represa. After 2months of receiving donations we found ourselves parking on our driveway B/c our garage was over abundantly filled with cleats, bats, helmets, jerseys, gloves and balls that would not allow us to park in our 2car garage. Man, we felt blessed by our friends!

Thanks to the airport skycap we were able to get our entire luggage on the plane. We were allowed (1) bag under and (1) bag on top with no charge but we had so much to take that we were going to need the “at the most” luggage acceptance that Delta would allow which was (2) bags under and (1) on tops. That is where  First United Methodist Church came in. Because of their generosity they allowed us to take a total of (6) bags between Chris and me. They paid for the extra luggage, the luggage was checked and we were on our way….here is where the story truly starts!

luggage

We arrived in Atlanta, we waited, we went through customs and we caught our final flight to Santo Doming.  We arrived in Santo Domingo and we went through luggage, and we turn the corner to see those Lovely Ludlams who welcome us with hugs and smiles. I don’t think Chris and I realized at this point that our lives would be truly changes. We ate a pizza covered in corn and shared our short and effortless travels. We load into the Korean truck which also pairs as the village ambulance (I will get into that later) and we head to La Represa, aka District 12. We drive the coast and see the amazing beautiful water and landscape…STILL WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE IN STORE. We drive through the crazy Capitol and down landscaped filled highways until we turn off to the right to gravel road. The smell was a little unsettling at first but after a while it becomes a norm.  We again take another sharp right and coast down this long hill, avoid hitting other vehicle, and make our way down the winding roads until we come upon free range cattle and dirt road. We go through the town and over a bridge and down the road and we are home! 

We get out of the vehicle only to be greeted by complete adolescent strangers with smiles on their faces and our hearts melt. We bring the luggage into this beautiful dwelling we call our home for a week….now what do we do? That thought only lasted a moment because it was like we were in a family setting. Tamara, Mo, Lauren and Lexie made us feel at home. We ate and talked and caught up on the months we had been apart. At this part I was a bit worried for my husband as he did not understand Spanish or grow up in Southern California like I did where Spanish is our 2nd language. He had a little anxiety but that was soon omitted the next morning on a bike ride, thanks to Mo, through the village. He was so shocked that though a language barrier was present that everyone in the village would still speak to him in Spanish, with a smile on their faces and a hug at hand. Who are these people? They aren’t like people back home. They welcome strangers into their homes as if you are family, the children take your hand and want to practice their new english with you…I don’t think we are in the US anymore Toto!

In the week that we spent in the village we experienced so much. We witness so much while we were there that I feel a list form may be needed to share just a 10th of what we saw…

We Witnessed:

*What we Americanos call housewives and the DR call “Lovers of the Home” tend to their little ones in the morning, and then shoosh them out of the house until dusk or dinner time. Yep, children still play outside all day.

*Carpenters in the shape of little boys manufacture their own means of entertainment, with what we know of as toys, with just a plastic bottle, tire and a stick.

 *Tween boys who mocked the game of marbles with rocks that lined their roads.

*Men leaving the village to travel to the Capitol to work through the week only to travel back home Friday or Saturday to be with their families until they had to leave again.

*Free range horses, pigs, chickens, cattle, goats (that was our wake~up call every morning) and that pesky rooster that coincidently sounds as if it shouts, “Put Your Pants On” roam the open land.

*Love and compassion and respect in every age, sex and stature from everyone for everyone.

*No hate or evil will towards anyone by everyone

*A faith in God that is so strong and a lack of faith that is being built everyday by The Ludlams and Pastor Thomas and his wife, Sonja

*Pedestrians who walk with machetes openly down the road with the intent to cut down brush and not to use maliciously.

*Patience with the  natives when speaking to either my husband who didn’t understand a lick of Spanish other than “si” or the universal work “No” or with myself where my Spanish was rusty when it came time to verbalize in Spanish what I was talking about.

*The way a group of women who have one priority in the village, to the home, came together to form a softball team with a little help from donations and a curiosity.

*The neighbors…Alexandria who cooks with love and you taste it in her food to her husband who has mastered the straight blade that my husband was NOT sure about and now misses so much to the daughter who is well mannered and beautiful to the son who is an amazing kid and equally amazing ball player. Chris can’t stop talking about how he misses seeing Jeffrey at the back door asking him to throw with him and to teach him to throw a knuckle ball.

*That even if the women of La Represa lost to the ladies of La Cuchilla…twice and by a lot…could still hug and laugh and joke after the game instead of throw a fit and stop off mad.  AND that the towns shut down so they could cheer both ladies’ teams on…how cool is that!!

 *The act of sharing brand new gloves and bats with strangers KNOWING they were going to return when the Americanos (my husband and I) feared they would be stolen B/c they are new and we are used to that in the States.

INSERT: This reminds me of the blog Tamara posted about the “missing laundry” that was in fact not missing at all but was folded neatly in the washer thanks to the neighbors who saw the rain coming and the dry laundry hanging…she spoke about condemning before believing….GUILTY! But after being with these amazing people of the DR…well, Chris and I have taken a vow to TRY and believe in others before condemning. 

*A group of boys who play American’s Past Time Sport so effortlessly and compassionately. They practice everyday to perfect their passion. The coolest moment with these gentlemen were when they received their jerseys and the amount of joy they had as they politely said please and thank you and then as we were leaving they all ran from the far end of the field all the way to us to say thank you and good~bye as we were leaving that day. I was so caught off guard with great emotion to receive such a heartfelt thanks and safe travels.

*The respect and cherished loved for the elders like Ramon and Amelia who, by far are amazing abuelos and can sing like song birds! Once you meet them you are forever in love with their love for each other and life…and coffee, haha!!!

*A man who is liked by many in the States but treasured by all (except for those pesky motorcycle cops in the Capitol, haha) in the village. A foundation for his family and a rock for the village. His watch-less tanned hands help the village and his Spanish translating ability help the Americanos. His “without thinking” ability to help with the sick and his coffee and breakfast making skills did NOT go unnoticed! Mo, thank you for helping Chris communicate and sharing your family and time with us.

*A woman who homeschools her children, who washes and line dries the laundry, who helps with accommodating the school of La Respesa with her knowledge in teaching, guiding abilities, and teaches her daughters every day to get out and experience the events that cross their paths. Who falls down during a softball game and, while laughter erupts, gets up and curtsies to the laughter to show her daughters to brush off the hurt or possible embarrassment and roll with the punches. Not to mention she is one heck of a pitcher! Tamara, thank you for your words and insight during our girl time!!

*An almost 14yr old (at the time of visit) Americana whose curiosity for softball grew into a full time position on the La Represa Lions. And even thought she was heckled in the beginning and hurt by her insecurity to fail…she didn’t give up and is growing EVERY DAY as a Lady Lion…we are so proud of you Lauren!

Not to mention she is one amazing translator!

*A young lady Americana who sees no embarrassment or obstacle she can’t climb, no cup song she can’t tackle or slithery snake she can’t imitate..whose comments are hilarious and off the wall and whose heart is still so pure at her tween age. We are so proud of Lexie and her accomplishments in the DR.

The Ludlams shared their world with us for a week and we could not have been more blessed. We look back now and think how a honeymoon cruise or resort trip would NOT have been a ¼ as cool and memorable as our DR trip was. Don’t get me wrong…we were able, thanks to our donations from our wedding reception, to go to the resort for a couple days and bring the Ludlams with us…but Chris and I would have been fine to spend the last couple of days in the village. We knew that the resort would be a great break for our host family and it was a honeymoon~like experience for us. We enjoyed our honeymoon with family time at the pool, during meals and snorkeling the Caribbean. We had a blast and are soooo blessed! Thank you Maurice, Tamara, Lauren and Lexie for opening your home, opening your hearts, and sharing your thoughts and stories with us! We have been forever changed for the better! We even fiddle around with the idea of becoming DR residence…Oh, and you will hear us say on a weekly basis, “Well, that would have NEVER happened in the DR!” 

I leave this blog with a passage I was reminded of by a friend that reminds me of our experience, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses (Proverbs 28:27 NIV).  We, Chris and I, were the poor and the DR and the Ludlam’s welcomed and loved us eyes wide open and for that…we are FOREVER grateful to you all!

Hope to see you all soon!!!!

The Browns

Chris and Ashlie


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Programa Especial

Prayer journals

Prayer journals

Lauren, Lexie, and I work with a small group of girls at the school.  This group is called Programa Especial.  The group is divided up into a Tuesday and Thursday group.  We initially began this group by making prayer journals.  (See the above picture of one of the groups with their journals.) We have discussed how important it is to spend time with the Lord each day.  We have discussed the importance of prayer, spending time in His word, and journalling.  I have talked about how, when we spend time with God, He will speak to us.  These are the things that they can write in their journals.  If they want to share what they write, they can.  We also learn, from memory, one bible verse a week.  They have asked to learn it in English and in Spanish.  We begin each group time with prayer and reciting our bible verse from the week before, then writing the new one in our journals.  These girls are AMAZING!  They warm my heart each week as I hear them individually reciting their bible verses in both languages.  They LOVE speaking God’s word in English, as well as their native tongue.

Painting rocks

Painting rocks

Then we do an activity.  It is either a craft project or we sing songs, and we will soon be practicing for a play that we will perform for the July mission team.  They seem to enjoy doing all of these things.  I love seeing the smiles on their faces.  Photo on 5-14-13 at 2.57 PMOn Tuesday, as we were working on a project, I observed several things…

1)  Conversing is very difficult.  We don’t speak the same language.  My Spanish is still very limited.  One of the girls in the group speaks a little English.  Somehow though…all of the discussions and activities above seemed to be understood by everyone.  My prayer each week is that God will bridge the language barrier and speak through me to these beautiful girls’ hearts.  I WANT to make a difference!  I WANT to tell them how wonderfully, fabulous and loving our God is.  Something tells me…they already know this!

2)  When we first started this group, we had no trust.  Neither side trusted one another.  During the first session or two, many of our supplies were taken. Our hearts were crushed to think that these girls would TAKE from us when we were trying to GIVE to them.  However, I now understand.  They didn’t trust that we were coming back and that there would be additional supplies and activities.  Typically, mission groups come into a place, give supplies and of themselves to the people, then leave.  (This is not a slander to mission teams.  It’s just the way short team missions work.) This is the first time that this particular village has had missionaries that LIVE here.  By showing them consistency, they are slowly opening their hearts to us.  They are slowly trusting and allowing a relationship to form.  Right now, it is a small sprout.  Each week, our group time is like water…and fertilizer…and sunshine…that is allowing the sprout to grow.  As an American, I WANT IT NOW!  Slowly, they are teaching me to relax and grow with it!  These young ladies are teaching me so much!!!

3)  Their culture is much different.  They laugh openly AT one another and speak openly ABOUT one another IN FRONT OF one another.  In the states, it is considered rude to laugh AT someone.  Much like this culture, people in the states talk ABOUT others.  However, most people do this BEHIND one another’s backs.  Right or wrong, it is truth.  Either way, it is hurtful.  This culture seems to take it in stride.  They don’t hold grudges.  They let go easily and move on!  Once again, I have SO much to learn from them!!!  What I am trying to encourage these girls to do, though, is not laugh at one another and to use kind words with one another.  As we are trying to speak our verses in English or creating a project, they will openly laugh at one another and call one another’s project “feo” (which means ugly).  This hurts my heart!  Each time, I see the girl, who is being laughed at or being made fun of, sink into herself.  I see her not wanting to trying to speak this crazy language called English.  I see her not wanting to express herself through her art.  I want to explain to the group how much this destroys not just that girl, but our group.  I want us to speak kindly to each other, encourage one another, and HOLD EACH OTHER UP!

Sllllowly, we are trusting.  Sllllowly, we are understanding one another better.  Sllllowly, we will come together as a group to encourage and strengthen one another!  We just have to remember that this is in God’s time, not ours!!!  We have to be patient!

However…

Photo on 5-14-13 at 1.59 PM #2Do you see these smiles?  Do you see the creativity?  WE ARE BEGINNING TO SPROUT…AND TRUST..AND HOLD ONE ANOTHER UP!!!  Don’t you think that this is something that EVERY group of women can learn from????

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17