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Most Wonderful Time

July 2, 2023

We think of Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year, right?

For me, this week has been a close second! I'm so proud of our students and staff in Haiti for working so hard this year. Congratulations to the class of 2023!

There are plenty of reasons to give up. Today in Haiti, the courthouses have no judges, crime goes unchecked, gangs are ruling, vigilante justice is rising, food prices are exaggerated, the supply chain is failing, and change is seemingly beyond hope. Yet the Gospel brings a hope beyond hope. The church is praying and the LORD is responding.

Will you rejoice with me over what these pictures represent? The hoping against hope, the Good News that God is not done with us, He knows each of us by name, there is nowhere to hide from HIM, darkness CANNOT overcome the LIGHT... This is all Good News that we have heard from God's word. And we see HIS hand at work in our students.

Just as the LORD is intervening in their lives, HE is involved in YOUR life, too. HE cares about the things that really matter to us - our families, our ability to provide for our children, clothing, shelter, health, growth... HE cares about what concerns you. HE provides for your every need.

This week I was truly blessed to witness God working through our friends from Chair City Church, here in the Dominican Republic. Personally, I enjoy having my own space, my own time, my own goals... Each of these people chose to set aside their own desires and comforts for an opportunity to follow Jesus into a different culture. I am grateful to God for Ron, John, Khysha, Matt, Serena, Kaylee, and Krista! What a joy and privilege it has been to serve with each one!!! And a special shout out to Taran, who stepped in to lead the team!!!

Kaylee raised extra funds in order to purchase a keyboard to bring to Luperón with her. We were so blessed, as she helped to start our days well by leading us all in a song of worship each morning before breakfast. She also blessed the village children with her talents.

The team worked hard each day. We visited three villages during their stay. They shared love with adults, as they assisted Nurse Marlouse with the Community Health Promoter program.

They shared their affection and care with the children through group activities, snacks, and one-on-one interactions.

Tuesday was a big day for the team. We started very early in the morning, laying PVC pipes before the concrete pour started at the new home site for the Haitian Baptist Church of Luperón. The team worked all morning alongside volunteers from the church to hand-pour the concrete. It was so fulfilling for the team to be able to work on the project for which they had raised funds.

That evening we had dinner at one of our favorite "hang-out" spots, Fricolandia. They close at 7pm but Frico and his Dad, Julio, always welcome us to stay and enjoy the quiet beauty of the sunset and the ocean right into the dark of night.

We had several team-building opportunities throughout the week, including game nights and some site seeing along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Our evening debriefs were held in various places - even in the pool!

Friday was a mission house project day. The team finished painting the chainlink fence, put ladders on the bunk beds, and built two beautiful picnic tables with benches!

Nurse Marlouse's children helped with the painting. They enjoyed the reward at the end!

It was pretty special for team members who sponsor children in Haiti to have the opportunity to chat with them!

Lex and I are so pleased to be able to share other parts of the country with Hope Encounter teams coming to Luperón. When we first started working in Haiti, we always encouraged teams to take a day "off" to enjoy a different part of the country. Teams would go to the beach or a hotel in Jacmel, go cliff "diving" (really jumping) at Bassin Bleu, or even go on a historical tour in les Cayes. But as security throughout the country declined, we had to limit our teams to beaches in Grand-Goave. Our teams sweat a lot and work hard. We're thrilled to see them enjoy some fun, too! This team chose to visit the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua in Imbert (about 30 minutes from the mission house and just down the road from the village of La Grua) and then ride the cable car up to the top of Torrez de Isabela Mountain. They worked hard and they played hard!

It amazes me how much can be done in one week! I'm grateful that we were able to serve with this Hope Encounter. I encourage you to join a Hope Encounter, too. There are so many ways in which each of us can invest in others. Don't sit back and watch others. Take part!!! You're not too old. You're not too young. Families are encouraged to come together. Request more information here.


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