Monday, August 1, 2011

Building a Bridge

There is "building a bridge" in a figurative sense, and then there is "building a bridge" in a literal sense.  A few weeks ago, the Escuela Caribe staff and students helped to build a bridge, LITERALLY.  How fun is that? ("Amazing and super fun!" I hear you say!)

The students spent several days working alongside an incoming mission team building a bridge across the river for a little community outside of Jarabacoa.

This project involved hauling rocks across the river (assembly line style), mixing concrete, wading in the river, etc.

How often can a teenager (or any adult or regular person) say that they helped to build a bridge?  There have been many unique opportunities for service this summer, and it has been amazing to witness the students work so hard for others!  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Boys' Pico Photos

The boys returned last Saturday after a week long trip climbing Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean.  They had great weather all week and enjoyed their time!

The female students are currently climbing Pico, and their photos will be posted upon their return.

Here are some photos from the Boys' Pico trip 2011.

Getting ready to hit the trail . . . .

Hitting the trail . . . .

Crossing the river . . .

Cooking dinner at base camp . . . .

Awe the glow of the campfire . . . .

Ready to set out on the trail day #2 . . . .

Behold the view  . . . .

Up, up and away . . .

Hello down there . . .

Those boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do . . . .

The view from the top of Pico Duarte . . .

Apparently there is a lazy boy recliner rock at the peak . . . .

The "little men," ages 5 and 6, at the top of Pico!

Heading down to the valley . . .

Or more like up to the valley, then down to the valley, then up to the valley, then down to the valley . . .

With some beautiful sights along the way (like wild parrots).  Wild parrots not pictured.

The edge of the valley in view . . . .

A very refreshing bathing hole . . . 

For a much needed splash/bath . . . 

Making the most of this day . . . .

Chillin' and sunnin' and relaxin'

Panning for gold . . . 

One last shin dig in the valley . . . 

One more beautiful sunset . . . .

Alas:   escuela sweet escuela!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer = Full Steam AHEAD!

We have just completed our third full week of the MVA summer program, and it has been packed full of good times alongside two incoming mission teams who landed on the Escuela Caribe campus: Kingdom Builders Ministries and Sungrove Youth Group!  Wow, what a blessing these two teams have been to the Escuela Caribe staff and students!  They poured into us as we have walked out our first few weeks of summer.  The pictures below are just a snapshot of a few of the summer highlights! 

For the summer, the students begin each day with a little hike (10 minute walk) at 6 a.m. to do group devotions at a beautiful spot that overlooks Jarabacoa.
I don't think that this photo does the devo location justice, but you get the picture.  

During the first week of MVA, Kingdom Builders Ministries (KBM) led a special youth group for the students complete with a time of testimonies, singing, praising and coke floats.  It was a beautiful thing to watch the college aged, discipleship students of KBM interact with, pray for and touch the heart of our students in a powerful way.  We ate together, talked together, wrestled together and prayed together.

Wrestler Justin Wren (and Kingdom Builder Ministry student) getting ready to school Alex in some wrestling maneuvers and then tie them into his testimony about his own wrestling with the Lord.  Good times.

Food and fellowship is always a good start!
The power of prayer . . .

The Sungrove Church Youth Group came midweek and immediately jumped into putting on a Vacation Bible School for local, Dominican children with the aid of the Escuela Caribe students - also a beautiful thing!  Behold:

What happens when an incoming mission team (like Sungrove Youth Group) breaks out the face paint during VBS for local Dominican Children!
Or when face paint is handed to Marcel!

Sungrove preparing to get a game going.
A community movie night for the local Dominican community (kids, shoeshine boys who work in town, etc) happened on the first Friday night. The students and staff served our Dominican guests popcorn and juice and provided transportation to and from the school for those who lived in town.  It was chaotic, loud, and a learning experience (and hopefully a blessing to our guests!)

She found her seat in the middle of Dominican children and staff children.

Dominican Shoe Shine Boys Ronnie and Jesus before the movie started.

We had around 100 people with the mission groups, Escuela Caribe and local Dominicans!

Emily, pretty as a picture, with the Geyers at the movie night.
During the second week of MVA, the Escuela Caribe students led a youth group for Escuela Caribe, Sungrove, and KBM.  Let me just tell you, the Escuela Caribe students did AWESOME!  Their hearts were to serve the other teams who had both poured into them so much.  Jay was the MC for the evening and did a fabulous job of keeping things moving, introducing speakers, and keeping everything light-hearted.  Many of the students, Nina, Nancy, Lauren P., Melanie, Cody and Marcel, chose to share their testimonies, which was HUGE for many of them.  Their stories were such a blessing to the group and many of the visiting team members commented on how touched they were.  It was an amazing night!
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos on this night.  I did take a video on my ipod from the casita road in front of my house where you could hear praises ringing from the inside of my house, but I can't get it to load right now!!! What you need to know is that this night was a VERY SPECIAL night!

During that same week, Escuela Caribe staff and students along with the Sungrove youth group headed off to San Cristobal, where we served a local church by cleaning up and painting for them in their conference center.  It was very hot and tiring, but our students did amazingly well!

We painted one of several dormitory areas for the conference center.

Sarah found her "happy place" in the conference center kitchen.

Lauren and company on their way to deep clean an outdoor kitchen.

Emily and Sam take a break from the rakes!

What happens when you paint in close proximity to a large group of people all in the same area . . . 
 We also visited a Haitian batey, which involved lots of playing, piggy back rides, etc. for Haitian children.

Volunteer Iris Bock and new friend.

Sarah Geyer and her friend :)

Melanie and Cody and their new friend?  Might I add that they were totally amused that they could lift that pigs ear up and it would just sit there?

Mr. Raposa being very Raposa like along with Nancy and Lauren.

Grant Anderson and friend

Actions can often overcome language barriers, as displayed by Steve and Leah Cofield.

Sungrove Youth Group and Escuela Caribe walking thru the batey.

After that we headed to a local beach, Playa Palenque, where we enjoyed some big waves and good times in the caribbean!
Built in bench on the Playa Palenque beach outside of San Cristobal
On the last day of the trip, we visited one of the former Dominican dictator's (Rafael Trujilo) castles/homes.
The boys in the parking lot of the Trujilo home.

There is a very good reason why Sarah Geyer has a disturbed look on her face.  There were several parts of this tour that were hard to swallow.

For more information on who the Mirabal sisters were, click here.

Wow.  The paintings on the walls were incredibly detailed and authentic.

The view from the top was of all of San Cristobal and Santo Domingo in the background.

It was really bright up there!  This is everyone from Escuela Caribe who was on the trip to San Cristobal.

Ms. Hundley and Ms. Wittrig


Jay really wanted me to take this photo to look like he was escaping from the Trujilo fortress.

We had an interesting tour and were reminded of how freely we have lived.  Click here if you would like to know more about Trujilo.

For the beginning of the third week, Escuela Caribe took a trip to Sosua beach, meeting the Sungrove youth group there.  Lots of vitamin D was received and everyone seemed to enjoy fun in the sun.

Ready to snorkel!
Eventually she concocted a special raft for her arm so that she could float around worry free!

Sungrove Youth Group led the last youth group this past week right before their departure.  Games were played.

The Sungrove team left us with encouraging words and bible verses that were especially significant to them during their time in the D.R.  They lifted us up in prayer and loved on us!

Thanks Sungrove Youth Group!  We heart you!
Only a few weeks into the summer, the staff and students of Escuela Caribe have already experienced so much!  In fact, each of these events could and should be their own separate post! (My apologies for letting the activities build up and then having to smush them into one gigantic post!)