Vamos al rio!

17 Jun Muscle man

Cakito and I are working on team building with the teams. To do this, we thought it might be fun to bring the teams to the river! We told the Tamarindo teams to meet us at the play at 2:00. Today at 1:15 I had 5 kids waiting at my house asking me if it was time to go yet. LOL.

We left to go to the play and within 10 minutes we had 17 kids waiting for Chris to show up at the play.

As we filled up the truck, the boys stared cheering and singing. It was so fun to listen and watch them get so excited.

When we got to the river we had a BLAST. The best way to show you the fun we had is a good ol’ fashion slide show: ENJOY!

 

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Ice Cream Treat!

17 Jun IMG_0428

The Tamarindo boys learned their scripture verse in ONE afternoon. We were so proud of them that we took all the kids who knew the verse out for ice cream.

We were quite the site to see. About 20 boys and me and Cakito all invaded this mans little ice cream shop. (I am sure he was PSYCHED to have so much business!!)

In case you can’t tell by the pictures, the boys LOVED their ice cream!

Great job boys!!

La liga de futbol

17 Jun Hansel is excited for practice

Skills and Drills

Last year Makarios had a wonderful group of interns serving here for the summer. They had started a few great programs and we are continuing the good work that they started last year. Anne Marie and Johan are teaching ESL in the villages and Cakito and I are continuing a soccer league.

Staying hydrated is one of our top priorities

Cakito and I have 5 teams of boys ranging in ages between 7 and 12. (Don’t for a minute think that the 14 year olds didn’t try to tell us they were 12….) After determing who was eligible to play, we formed the teams. Tamarindo has 2 teams with 13 players each, Pancho Mateo has 2 teams also with 10 players each and Chichigua has one team of 10 players.

He's not quite old enough to play yet, but he was having a great time hanging out with us!

Every day Cakito and I hold practices for the boys. We visit each village twice a week and then the kids have games on Wednesdays. As a part of the practice we teach the boys a scripture verse and pray with the kids. This week we learned Isaiah 40:31. “But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow tired. They will walk and not be weary.”

Praying after practice

En espanol: “pero los que confían en el Señor renovarán sus fuerzas;  volarán como las águilas: correrán y no se fatigarán,  caminarán y no se cansarán.” It was so great to hear the boys recite their verse with hand motions to help them remember and with such excitement.

Hansel is excited for practice

The boys are having a great time practicing. And in case you were wondering, Cakito and I are having just as much fun as the boys.

Tamarindo team #2 (my money is on this team to win it all)

Summer is here!

17 Jun IMG_5340

 

 

 

Well- there is no doubt about it. Summer has arrived and it is VERY hot.

The other day when I was walking in Tamarindo, this is what I came across! You know how in cities they open up the fire hydrants and play in the water? This is just like that, only DR style.

The black thing you see on the roof of the house is called a tanaco– basically a holding tank for water. When we have street power, water is pumped up into the tanaco to fill it. The other day, Nayelis and her neighbors let their tanaco overflow and played in the water!

They had so much fun!

Definitely a smart way to beat the heat!!

I secretly wanted to join in…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teaser…

28 May IMG_5200

A few pics from the last day of school.

Water Day!

25 May IMG_9833

I have to admit, ever since I was a baby I have been a “water baby.” I was that kid who never wanted to get out of the pool, was on swim team and LOVED anything having to do with water. I took long showers, loved vacationing in Maine because our backyard was a lake and would spend countless hours hanging out in the water. Thus, I have been pushing for a water day for the kids for a few months now. The teachers were just as excited about it as I was and decided a water day would be a great idea.

Now, water is a hot commodity in the DR. In order to drink the water, we need to buy these big bottles of “clean” drinking water. People catch rain water in buckets and use the river to do most of their washing and bathing. Therefore,  a “water day” was kinda a big deal. We filled tubs with water, made water balloons and took full advantage that we have a hose.

To say, THE KIDS LOVED IT would be an understatement. They loved getting sprayed down with water and in fact, most of the games included just dumping water on each other. Not something that would have flown in the states as being ‘hours of fun,’ yet here, it was!! We totally went with it, embraced the excited squeals of the kids and matched them smile for smile.

Manuel and Camila’s body language yell, “bring on the water!!”

Ruth turned a tub of water into a private swimming pool!

Isaac being Isaac.🙂

Loving it!

Yosmeiry is our PK3 teacher. She said, “this was a crazy day! A GREAT day!! I will never forget it!”

What you don’t see in this picture is Yomo is standing to the right of them getting ready to dump a bucket of water on them! Do they look excited to you?!

Pure joy.

The first graders did some relay races with the water balloons.

Yes, they LOVED it.

See!

And what water day would be complete without a water balloon toss??

Waiting to play with the water balloons!

Trying to catch a water balloon!

We truly had a great day. As Yomo said, it was crazy!!! but the kids LOVED it. It really makes you thankful for the things that we take for granted back in the states.

“Behold, I make all things new”

28 Apr IMG_4919

In my last post I briefly mentioned the work that God is currently doing in Benllina. Above is a picture of Benllina during one of her MANY tantrums. Insert the wailing coming out of her mouth and please notice that she kicked off one of her shoes during this particular scream fest.

However, today? God is moving in wonderful ways. Today I took this picture:

She is a different child!

In Ezekiel 36:26-27 it says, ” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

God is working like crazy in the heart of this family. Just earlier this year, Lisela, Benllina’s sister, was presented the gospel during Bible time in her class and asked to pray with her teachers after school. During this time, Lauren and Marnelia talked to Lisela more about who Jesus is and that He is God’s only son who died on the cross as a payment for our sins. Lisela at this point trusted in the Lord! More so, she went home and started telling her PARENTS about who Jesus is and how he loves them and died for them and that because of this they can stand before God, forgiven of their sins in heaven. Lauren Widman (Lisela’s teacher) wrote about this in her blog:

She said, “This past week, the Makarios School had an Open House. Parents came, visited with teachers, asked questions, and explored their children’s classrooms. Lisela’s mom and I sat down together and talked about Lisela, and as I brought up the topic of Jesus, Lisela’s mom began to tell me how she and her husband had become Christians! She said that one day last fall, Lisela came home a different child, a changed child, and that Lisela began singing songs about Jesus that her mom had never heard before. She said Lisela would come home from school and talk to her parents about Jesus. Her mom told me that after a few months of this, she realized that she was proud of her daughter for being a Christian, and she knew it was time for her to walk in her daughter’s same path. So, she and her husband took their kids, went to church, and confessed that Jesus is Lord!

The vision for Makarios is that we raise and teach children that are not only educated but also Christian leaders in their communities. We pray that these students will go back into their homes, serve their friends and families, and share Christ. Often times we persevere knowing that we are “planting seeds.” We hold fast to the truth that God will do a good work in these children’s lives and in this community even if we don’t see it. Hearing Lisela’s family’s story is a great blessing from God – a reminder that God is doing His work! He is real! Alive! At work! Despite what weakness I bring to my classroom, despite how tired I am some days, despite my often grammatically incorrect Spanish, God is showing His face to these students. He is calling to His children, and they are hearing His voice!”*

Praise God He is at work in the lives of our students. He is changing hearts, touching the lives of our students and families. I pray that God’s glory would continue to be told of throughout the streets here in the villages that we serve. I thank God that we have the opportunity to serve these people and show them the love of Christ.

*quotes taken from Lauren’s blog: http://laurenwidman.blogspot.com/ Please read it for many other great posts

Three weeks of school left– still a lot of love to give.

28 Apr IMG_4933

Time has flown by. It is ridiculous. I can’t believe that I have lived here for almost 9 months. Where did the time go? There are only 3 weeks of school left. This is a very bittersweet sentence. Three weeks left of school and only 8 more weeks of me living here. I can’t believe that in 2 months I will be heading back to life in the United States. I don’t quite want to think about that yet so I am going to focus on what has been going on at school. Just as you expected, much of the same thing: Here at Makarios we play hard and are learning so much. There are a lot of sweaty kids outside at recess and a lot of learning still going on in the classroom!  Here are some snapshots from this week.

Benllina (pronounced Ben/Gina) has become a little snuggler lately. This is much better than the tantrums that these snuggle sessions have replaced! This is another amazing transformation that God is doing!!

Ruth in all her glory at recess. Her sassy side has become more refined as she was displaying an amazing booty dance the other day at recess. (I so wish I had captured it on camera… Imagine her shakin’ her thang while walking, talking and moving her hands in all directions.)

Once again, Benllina enjoying her recess!

Emely got her hair did for semana santa! (holy week) She looks adorable and she KNOWS it. Call Top Model… We’ve got one in the making here at Makarios.

I stinkin’ love Yasmeidi and Ruth’s face in this picture. I love candid shots.

Camila and Ruth playing a make believe game.

Paola and Benllina playing the same game.

Praying before school starts.

Like a child

28 Apr One of our little friends, Kelvin.

The streets in Pancho are dusty, dirty, and filled with the ho-hum flow of life. On any given afternoon when walking around the village you will find women washing clothes, braiding their friends hair and sorting beans. Men are playing dominos in the shade and the children run around, without shoes on, on the dirty streets. When we walk by, the children immediately run to us. They want to be held. Loved on. Picked up. Carried. Talked to. Listened to. It is a hard scenario to describe because on one hand it feels good to be known. I love to hear their sweet voices yell down the street “KREEEE” (which is my nickname in Pancho) followed by the sound of little pitter patter feet running down the dusty road or out of their house. They then proceed to embrace me in a HUGE hug or leap into my arms or onto my back. I love the smiles that take over their faces and how they giggle when I play them. But, in the same breath, it hurts my heart because these children crave this love and interaction because they don’t always find it in their adult circles in the village. The other day Lauren Upton and I went for a walk around Pancho and stopped to talk to a few adults.  With each house we stopped at, the number of children following us doubled, tripled and quadrupled. They just wanted to be with us. This is not an abnormal occurence. In fact, it is commonplace for us. Lara and I the other day had a completely different group of children following us. Same situation though. The further we walked, the number of kids grew.

The children immediately leave their houses to follow. They don’t know what we are doing. They don’t know where we are walking. They just want to walk with us. They eagerly take our hands and follow. 

The disciples were like this with Jesus. They gave up everything they had to follow Jesus. They didn’t know where He was going. They didn’t know what He was doing but they wanted to be with him. Near him. 

These children remind me how to follow Jesus. They remind me how to love. They teach me how to find JOY in the little things. They remind me how to be a child. 

Jesus says in Matthew, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” I am sure that the children in Jesus’ day looked very similar to the faces we see in Pancho. I bet they ran into Jesus’ arms and embraced him fully. I bet they put their arms high in the air and asked Jesus to pick them up. I bet Jesus did. I bet He laughed with them and loved on them and snuggled with them. 

One of our little friends, Kelvin.

One night during my short term missions trip here in June last summer, one of my friends said, (paraphrasing) “The children here follow us just as we should follow Jesus. They don’t know where we are going but they know that wherever we go, it will be good.” It is such a true statement. The children here follow eagerly and with anticipation. They enjoy the journey. They enjoy the friendship. They enjoy the relationship. I pray that I would have that same mindset everyday with my walk with the Lord. I don’t know where He will lead me, but I know that wherever we go, it will be good.

Raidi

27 Mar Oh, Raidi.

Raidi is in Lauren’s kindergarten class. He is a LOVE of a kid. For sure Raidi’s love languages are physical touch and quality time. He LOVES to be held and if you are not watching out, he will jump on your back when you are not looking. He also loves to just hang out with you. Many days at recess he will plop himself down next to me even if I am not doing anything.

Now I know the golden rule for teachers is to not have a favorite… but he is definitely one of my favorites. Raidi comes from an extremely sweet family in Pancho Mateo. They have many kids. In fact, I have lost count. I believe there are five of them… but I could be wrong. I know for sure of two older brothers who play soccer with me every Thursday, an older sister who just turned 16 and his baby sister who just turned 4. They are all very, very kind and they LOVE a good hug. The other day (in the middle of a soccer game) his brother, Nanael ran up behind me and gave me a HUGE hug. While their family has a lot of love, they do not have much financially.

Another reason why I have such a heart for him is he is struggling in school. I tutor him twice a week. (When he comes to school.) We are currently working on letter recognition…

I wish you could all spend a day with Raidi to meet this sweet, little man. But for the meantime, here are some pictures of him at school.