February 4, 2018

Sunday, January 28

We all made it home to Portage safely! 

Jim got to the hotel in Chicago at 10, Kevin was there by 9:30 so we were on the road before 10:30 and got by 1PM

The travel portion of the 2018 mission is over but the work continues.

Please continue to pray for the team.


February 3, 2018

In Reflection

Now that we are home I want to share some questions from "Helping Without Hurting in Short-term Missions" and some of my answers.  Take time to reflect on your personal experience during all the phases of this trip; travel, at the guesthouse, work days (medical and construction), evenings, interactions with team members, support staff, Dominican staff, etc.  C

*Have you had any hard or strange (awkward) moments now that you are home and possibly back into your normal routine?  What or why were they hard or strange?
   -for me the hardest time I have is going back to work, I work in receiving at Walmart and my job is to check in vendor products (such as Pepsi, Coke, Frito Lay, etc) and go through reclamations (food products that either customers have returned, got damaged during unloading of trucks or stocking, or will no longer be on the sales floor).  It has always been hard for me to due the later part of my job as it such a waste of food, we can not donate any food that a customer has returned or the packaging has been opened and food exposed so it has to be dumped into organic dumpsters which are picked up and turned into either pig food or fertilizer.  Knowing that there are people who have so little and do not even have the option to purchase things like I have to dump makes it hard to see the waste.

*Is there a moment or person from our trip that you have found on your mind more often than others?
  -how much more relaxed Pastor Enol was this year vs last year, my conversations with Hector about his ministry to kids within the same age our ministry at Grace Bible focuses on, how close some of the communities we went to were to San Juan yet help seemed too far 

*What were some of the physical, spiritual, and social assets you saw in the communities?
  -most seemed to be positive with what they have and supported one another, my favorite part of the workdays was lunch and after as we had more time to talk and play with them.  I can still see the smiles and hear the laughter from the adults and children of the communities and team.  What encouraging moments these were to me, and hopefully others

*Think about the poverty in your community, is there way your experience on this trip can help your view of the materially poor within your community?
-it has started conversations at my work about waste and how can we better do what we do without so much waste and has opened my eyes to how much I waste (food, money, and time)  

So what do we do with our reflections?  Honestly, we think on them, pray about them, share them with our support team so they can pray and think on them to, and when praying ask for guidance in what God would like us, you, to do and grow from this experience.  

Psalms 139
"O LORD , You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high I cannot attain it.  Where can I go from Your spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts or the sea, even there Your hand shall hold me.  If I say, "Surely the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!  Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.  For they speak against You wickedly;  Your enemies take Your name in vain.  Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?  And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.  Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

January 27, 2018

Update from Friday 1/26

We all made it to the Fiesta hotel in Santo Domingo this afternoon. We did stop in the Colonial Zone for lunch, souvenirs and good photo ops.

Our team will take the bus to the airport tomorrow and hope to be in Chicago by 9:30 tomorrow night.

Please pray that we are able to make our connections and come back to the weather that is probably very different than the sunny 90 degrees we have here ;-}

We are packed up and ready to get on the bus. It is sad to be leaving “home” again but we have had a wonderful time and made more new friends.

The Wisconsin contingent will fly into O’Hare tomorrow, arriving about 9:30 PM. Most of us will stay overnight there and come home Sunday morning.

Thank you for your prayers! They made a huge difference.


 Praise and glory be to God for the work He has done in the lives of those the missions team have ministered to over the last week or so, for His presence with and protection of our brothers and sisters to have them be used to His glory and returned safely home to their families and to us. 

Update for Wednesday 1/24

Catching Up
Both Medical and Construction have been busy at work all day and with activities at night.
Construction continued their work at El Cercado finishing up the cabinet and countertop as well as making great progress on the cistern pump.
Medical had two days of busy barrio clinics and we were able to go on 4 home visits/house calls with Pastor Enol.

We saw 124 patients in this community center.
I was able to visit several families and we gave a Bible to a woman who almost in tears thanked us and said she would try to find someone to read it to her.
Most of the adults that we have seen in these very remote villages cannot read. Many of the villages, including this one, have no school so the children must walk to a neighboring village.

Friday-Saturday, Jan 26-27 2018

We made it back to the Fiesta hotel in Santo Domingo yesterday afternoon.  We stopped in the Colonial Zone for lunch, souvenirs, and good photo ops. 

We will be take a bus from here to the airport about 11:30am and hope to be in Chicago by 9:30 tonight.

Please pray that we are able to make our connecting flights and adjust to the weather that is different from the sunny 90 degrees we have had here.  :-} 


Thursday, Jan 25 2018

Today is our last work day and we are off to a small barrio, La Luz de Juan Herrera, about 20 Dominican minutes from the guest house.

Dr Daryl is going with the construction crew to do electrical work a the clinic in El Cercado, so it will be Dr Boris and myself to see patients.  Yikes!

 the outside of the catholic church

the table in front of the door is triage and bench is where patients are waiting for pharmacy 

Dr Boris and I are on the platform seeing patients, those on the bench are waiting to be seen, Matt, Scott, and Lydia are drawing on the pharmacy bags

We set up in a catholic church which was not much more than a small room with a raised platform at the front.  We saw more frail, sicker, deformed patients than at any place so far.
My heart broke for 3 patients in particular; a 17 year old whose only family was her father who was not happy about the pregnancy, a nine year old who had second degree burns over 50% of his upper body from 6 years ago that was not treated properly, and a 27 year old man with HIV who was severly depressed.  In fact I was almost in tears before lunch.  Pastor Enol prayed with me and I could feel the oppression of the place (the catholic influences?) fade from my heart.  I still felt down when we returned to the Guesthouse but the fellowship of the team soon brought me back to reason.  We are not here to fix things.  We are here to have God to work through us.  Only He can fix the essential problem.

January 23, 2018

Photos from the field 1/22

A Monday in the life of a short term missions team. (Received from Roxanne via email.)

Jim in his natural habitat.

Our wheels :-}

Mikayla teaches youngsters how to brush their teeth.

Artist using natural materials.

Dominican version of a drive-through pharmacy.

Day is done.

Patients patiently waiting to be seen.