Thursday, January 19, 2012

The construction team had an amazing day today! First of all, there was no rain - the first time all week that had happened. And, they had pizza for lunch! But the best thing that happened:

The church is almost complete! There was a little shortage of tin, which will be delivered tomorrow and the roof will be complete. The Haitians have been helping our team build their church. It has been amazing to watch the building grow from a pile of dirt to a building with concrete floors, wood walls, and a tin roof. It has been only through God's grace that He has given the team the strength, endurance, and perseverance to do this much work in such a short period of time.

The dental team had a good day also. We were in Pastor Ortiz's church again, which helps when we don't have to figure out how to set up. Some patients today came down from the mountains. We treated several children, including a 5 year old who was braver than many adults.
God watched over us today since we had only one dentist. The patient flow was steady but not overwhelming all day. We are looking forward to tomorrow, when we will be back at Don Pedro.

Rainy days

What a day! If this is the dry season in the Dominican Republic, the rainy season must be REALLY wet. Today the dental team moved to a new site, a more urban site than we've had the past two days. Our clinic for today and tomorrow is at Pastor Ortiz's church. It's in a neighborhood with a lot of gangs, drug activity, and prostitution. This pic is right outside our door:
We did see many more children at this clinic. We did not treat this little boy, but he is 5 years old and is HIV Positive. Pastor Ortiz has taken many of these children under his wing.
So far, the dental team has seen about 200 patients. Today we did mostly fillings and extractions. We will be down a dentist, as Dr. Anton and his two sons will be returning to the U.S. It was a good day for the dental team!

We're posting several pictures from the construction team to show their progress. They have done a tremendous amount of work in a short time! They have been hampered by the rain but have continued to work. Today, despite the rain and power shortage, they got the framing done and the roof trusses up.
This is the site as work began. The following pictures are the work in progress. The building is 20x40, with a concrete floor, wood walls and a tin roof. 

At the end of the day, the team was blessed to see a double rainbow!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

Today we were able to hit the ground running. The dental team was set up in the same place, at Pastor Nicholas' house, so when we got there we were able to start working right away. It rained off and on all day but it did not stop the Haitian's from coming out to get their dental work done! It did not take long for a crowd to gather. It was wonderful to hear Delores telling Bible stories to those waiting. It was all spoken in Creole, but you could pick up a word here and there that gave us hints as to what she was doing. She told them about Cain and Able, and Abraham and shared several verses from Romans.

The Haitian's had many extractions done and some had fillings placed. One man had several fillings on his front teeth and it was a transformation to see him smile afterwards. That's why we are here to plant the seed for someone else to sow, so that the transformation of Jesus in their lives can take place. After lunch, our electricity went out and did not come back on for over 2 hours! We were limited to cleaning and extractions, but we never slowed down.

The construction team completed the forms for the foundation and waited for concrete to arrive this morning. While waiting, members of our team received help from some of the Haitian children in "landscaping" around the outside of the forms. This consisted of moving rocks and leveling the sand on the path beside the church building area.

The children also taught us a song today in Creole. The meaning of the song is translated to mean something like "Pass on by Satan, pass me by, I'm a child of the good God and he will block your way". The pastor's son taught us this song, and after some intensive language practice, we sang the song many times. This precious child's song rang true today, because we had several bumps in the road before we could start pouring the concrete.

While we continued to wait, we built the frame for the walls. Finally, late this afternoon, the concrete was poured. The Haitians jumped in to help spread the concrete, and we left they were completing the final section. God blessed us today by clearing the way to accomplish the goals set for today's project.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spanish/Creole/English Worship

 Today was an interesting day! It started with worship service in Spanish, Creole, and English. There was lots of singing, praying, and worshiping the Lord before a message by Pastor Nicolas, encouraging us to follow wherever God leaves us to serve, and to be joyful and blessed. People kept coming and coming to the service - we were sitting on seats pulled out of the bus, out in the road - wherever they could squeeze in.

After church, we had a light lunch and headed downtown for a walking tour. Santiago is a very old city - founded in the 1400's - and very hilly. There are mountains surrounding the city, and it was beautiful. Because it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed.

We did, however, find a McDonald's.

Santiago is a beautiful city - so different from Haiti, yet still filled with lost, hurting people. Praying we are able to bring a little of God's light!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We're here!

We arrived safe and sound. Sam picked us up in the big yellow bus, and delivered the guys to Pastor Nicolas's house. The women are bunking with Sam and Delores. Pastor Nicolas and Pastor Ortiz are very excited about us being here to help them minister to Haitians - and we are ready to work!

Pray for health for our team members. More tomorrow!

Here we go!

We are at the Miami airport, waiting to board for Santiago, D.R. I am typing from my phone so this will be short! Pray for safety, health and boldness as we minister to Haitians living in the DR. I will try and update daily.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

God's hand

Some of you may know that this trip originally started as a mission trip to Haiti. So why are we now going to the Dominican Republic? I wanted to share the 'back story' with you so you can see how God's hand has been on this trip from the beginning.

Initially, we were planning the trip through the BGR (Baptist Global Response). We were to stay at the Haitian Baptist Convention compound and work with international missionaries Sam and Delores York, on loan to the BGR. BGR was in Haiti in response to the earthquake of 2010, helping build - and re-build - homes destroyed in that quake. In early September, I received a phone call from the CFO of BGR telling me that with the retirement of Sam and Delores, they were closing the compound at the end of 2011. I was given a couple of options on places to stay in Haiti, but there would be no one to facilitate our work. No one on our team knows enough Haitian Creole to communicate well enough to take on that responsibility.

In all honesty, I thought the trip was going to be cancelled.

But God had other plans for our team. Delores York asked me to consider bringing the team to the Dominican Republic to minister to Haitians living there. Delores and Sam will be in the D.R. for a few months, and she would do what she could to help us. She put me in touch with a couple of local pastors, and they were very excited about the possibility of a team coming. It’s fairly easy to find those with dental needs, and the pastors also had a construction project they needed help with. The construction team will help begin the building of a chapel for the Haitians living in the D.R. to worship in. Right now, they are worshipping in what is basically a lean-to with a patched (leaky) tin roof and dirt floor.

If we had gone to Haiti, I knew that teams going under the BGR umbrella worked with supplies purchased through BGR funds. Teams going through IMB missionaries (as we will be) are expected to use their own funds to purchase supplies and materials. We were unaware of this in planning the trip, and as you can see it is an unexpected expense. With a little research, we found that it would cost about $5000 to build a chapel the size we were asked to build. Sometimes it’s hard to know when God is telling you not to do something, or if He is asking you to trust Him.

Our team met and decided to trust God would provide the funding for the chapel. Instead of staying in a hotel, we will bunk with the pastors and missionaries. The money we save on our hotel will help purchase supplies – and, with God's provision and generous donors, we now have enough to build a chapel with a concrete foundation.

The Lord also provided an oral surgeon for the dental team. Now instead of one dentist, we have two - which means we can treat twice the number of people! Dental supplies are expensive, but because of God's financial provision we have enough money to cover those costs too.

God has had His hand on this trip before we even knew we were going to the D.R. I cannot wait to see what He does while we're there!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Less than two weeks!!!

My, how time has flown! In 11 days, we will be in the Dominican Republic, getting ready to minister to both Dominicans and Haitians.

We have 11 Heights members, along with 3 from another church on this trip. It is a two-purpose trip: we are building a chapel for Haitians who live and worship in the DR, and we have a dentist and an oral surgeon leading dental clinics.

This is God's trip - we thought we would go back to Haiti, but God evidently had other plans because He has had His hand in the planning from the beginning.

We can't wait to see what He does! We should be able to blog from the DR - subscribe and keep up to date. And please pray, pray, pray!