Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In New York... waiting for the connecting flight

We are sitting in the airport, getting some dinner before our next flight. We are all exhausted but doing ok. No one is actively sick right now. Everyone made it on to the plane this morning.

We will board in about 10 minutes. Some of us are still nauseous, but we are hanging in there!

God's timing is perfect... even with our sickness. We didn't get sick until we "had time" (after the last program was finished and just until 15 minutes before we had to get on the bus to go to the airport!) :) Praise God for sustaining our health and strength through the week and for miraculously bringing all of us to a point of being able to come home as a complete team!!! We are so thankful!

Looking forward to seeing our families and to sleep in our own beds tonight!

Thanks for praying for us. We have a great God!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Return Flight 411

We will be leaving Monte Plata first thing in the morning. Our flight is at 1:10pm, Dominican time (9:10am CA time). We are scheduled to arrive into New York at 4:26pm (1:26pm CA time). We have almost 3 hours in New York to clear customs and to find our connecting flight. We will catch our final flight at 7:15pm (4:15pm CA time) and arrive into LAX at 10:40pm (2:40am Dominican time!!!).

Please pray that we will all be healthy enough to travel, that we will make all our flights, that we will be able to sleep on the planes, and that our bodies will adjust quickly to the time change!

Can't wait to see you all!!!

A Bit Under the Weather...

We have a prayer request.

Some of our team members are sick today with flu symptoms. They are very uncomfortable and have been vomiting today. Please pray:
1. that the bug would pass quickly.
2. that they will feel well enough to fly home comfortably tomorrow.
3. that those of us that are healthy will stay healthy and will be able to help in any way;

The ones that are hit the hardest right now (in order), are:
Misha, Kaylee, Rebekah W, Dan Martin, Allie S, Taylor, and Elizabeth R.

Please continue to keep our team in your prayers. Thank you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phew... it's Monday!

After a whirlwind of a weekend, we are very thankful to have a "quiet day". Today is our work day. We've been working all morning at the school - painting, repairing the roof, and a few other odds and ends things.

This afternoon, we move to the school to stay for the remainder of our trip. We've been staying at the camp, outside of town. This is a good move... Matthew's and Dan's phones can get text messages out (and sometimes receive e-mails!) for our updates!

Everyone is high spirited and pumped after Speechless last night! It was fun to creatively pull off all the technical aspects of the presentation! If you were at any of the Speechless presentations in CA, you would know how lighting intensive some of the pantomimes are. Well, we found all kinds of lights (including some colored lights) all over town and made the show work! There were "light techs" all over the standing room only auditorium. Everyone hit their light right on cue and the effect was great!!! Kudos to all the actors, stage hands, sound techs, lighting techs, and all the runners!!! God was honored and glorified by all the hard work!

Alex, the young man that Matthew referred to on his text yesterday, is a 17-year-old boy that had left the orphanage and church about 5 months ago. Ramon, Rebekah and the rest of the staff had been worried about him and praying fervently for him. Alex woke up on Sunday morning, feeling a deep need to get right with God. He came to church last night for the Sunday evening service (that had stopped a few months ago - but Alex didn't know that), and walked right into Sin Palabras. What another direct answer to prayer!!!

In the next hour or so, we will be heading over to the orphanage to spend some time with the kids and to prepare for the first "Date Night" for one of the house parents. We are excited to be able to minister to the house parents in providing them with a meal, entertainment, and childcare :) We pray that they will be blessed and refreshed (a little bit) after this evening!

Thanks again for your prayers! We love you!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sin Palabras - Speechless

Got a text update from Rebekah regarding Sin Palabras (or Speechless) tonight:

Sin Palabras was a great God honoring success! Electricity was strong (not always the case in Monte Plata!) - lighting and sound were good. More importantly, the response was phenomenal from both the believers and non-churched people! Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Matthew's text:

Went very, very well. Great response. Kids worked super hard - were dripping with sweat - but did great! One visitor, Alex, had left orphanage and church, but came back to the church tonight. After Speechless, he told Ramon that he knew that he had drifted from God and was convicted that he needed to be right with God. Lots of other good stuff...

Praises, Praises, and more Praises!

Our team arrived in Santo Domingo safely on Friday afternoon with ALL our luggage except the projector screen (which was delivered on Saturday morning). We were received and welcomed to Monte Plata by about 150 people in the Friday night church service (triple the amount of people that usually attend the service)! Rebekah said that the service and the folks there were energized by our presence! Despite how tired we all were, we were excited to be there and to start our "mission"! It was a wonderful time for us to meet the men and women that have been praying for us and that will work alongside us this week.

On Saturday morning, when Ramon (the brother in charge of the orphanage at Monte Plata) saw the projector screen set up, he exclaimed "Hallelujah!!!". We found out that the church had been discussing how to creatively address the screen issue before we came -- they were going to paint a white square on the wall so that the images can be projected and seen. What a direct answer to their prayers when we arrived with a screen and that it arrived safely and on time :) Hallelujah indeed!!!

Vacation Bible School:
We held a half day VBS for the children ages 5 to 12 on Saturday morning. We (and the church) had been praying for a good turn-out of children, but not a number that would overwhelm us... and guess what? God answered that prayer directly as well! We had prepared and packed 150 kits for VBS and 150 children came! God is soooo good to us! Each child had materials to make the crafts and participate in the program. The puppet show was a smashing hit!!! We were told that they had never seen anything like it and the kids (and grown-ups) just ate it all up!!! Our sore arms were a very tiny price to pay to see the faces of excitement and wonder on the children!

Painting Projects:
On Saturday afternoon, our team was split up into two groups. One group went to paint at the church and the second group went to paint at the house that Rebekah is living in. After working hard painting, we took a short break to pass out invitations door-to-door in the neighborhood for Speechless on Sunday night. Some of the kids from the Monte Plata youth group came out to help us. It was fun to get to hang out with them a bit. We were very brave in using our Spanish :)

Saturday Night Youth Group:
The youth group for the Monte Plata church met on Saturday nights. Matthew did a great job preaching in Spanish and the Worship Team was excellent in leading us in songs and praise. We were told that about 30 kids come to a typical youth group night, but this Saturday, there were about 100 of us there! We played the Animal Game. What a crack up! It's great that some of our games are trans-cultural and that we can all still have a fun time and fellowship without language!

Sunday Morning:
It's interesting to wake up to the sounds of the jungle :) Dan preached this morning. He preached on Romans 1 -- about being the God of your own life. We are enjoying worshipping with the saints in the DR.

Speechless is tonight... 7:00pm DR time, 3:00pm CA time!
We are working hard at finishing the last minute details and making sure that everyone knows their lines... well, timing, places and motions, actually :). Pray that many would come and that God will be glorified in our presentation!

We haven't had a chance to play baseball yet. That's on the agenda tomorrow :)

Thank you all for praying! We are confident that the Lord hears them all and is working mightily in the DR because of your prayers! Please continue to pray for us... for sleep, for our health, for communication, and for His work in our hearts and lives, and for the people and saints here in the DR!

Sending a big tired e-hug and lots of love to all:
Did you get it???

Friday, November 7, 2008

We've arrived!!!

Matthew's Text at 1:00pm our time:

We have arrived safely. Tired - but everyone is doing well. Bekah greeted us at airport and looks healthy. Ate lunch in airport. Jolene found out no free refills.

Thank you for your continual prayer for the team! Please continue to lift them up to our Almighty God as they minister to the people in the Monte Plata area. I (Alice) will update this blog as I receive communication from the team (most likely via text messages).

May the Lord be blessed and glorified as our team works together (as tired as they are and will continue to be). May He be pleased with their efforts and our prayers for the next 6 days. SOLI DEO GLORIA.