September 7, 2018

Fall Details and Dates

We had a fruitful meeting on August 19, going over our "win", going over some logistics, and setting some dates.

Our win: 
Showing God's love by serving

What is a win and why is it important to have one?  A win is a goal that you can celebrate and explains why we do what we do.  At Grace Bible Church we are going through the book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry and each ministry has been working to define their win as a team and then their individual win.  

Logistical matters:
*we will be checking in 1 bag each as the first checked bag is no longer free
*our focus at GBC will be gathering medicine and medical supplies needed for the trip 
*checking out flights we more time between connections, means we may have to go through Miami or Atlanta vs New York

Dates to remember:
*September 23, next team meeting after Sunday School (noonish) at Grace. Bring:
  • questions/concerns
  • note paper
  • enthusiasm
  • ideas
  • an appetite
  • a copy of the picture page of your passport
*September 30, deposit of $200 needs to be made by those on our traveling team
*December TBD packing parties
*January 18, travel to Chicago leaving for the DR on the 19th
*January 26, travel home from the DR

Please think about simple songs we can learn (in English) to sing before we open clinic each day, like Jesus Loves Me

It would be a good idea to memorize our mission verse:
1 John 4:19 "We love God because He first loved us."

For the brave at heart try to memorize it in Spanish:
1 Juan 4:19 "Nosotros amamos, porque El Señor amó primero."

July 17, 2018

January in July

I hope that you have all made plans for our next mission to the Dominican Republic. Current plans are to depart Grace Bible Church, Portage on Jan 18 and return Jan 26.

I would love all those local to Portage to meet face to face in the next several weeks. I know summer is super busy but we need to get going with our planning :-}

Please let me know:
1. Are you planning on joining the travel team for 2019?
2. Would you rather serve as part of our home team and support us from the States?
3. What dates would work for a Team Meeting in July or August?
4. Can you give me input on our Team Logo and how we will “brand” this, i.e. hats, sweatshirts, Tee shirts, travel bags etc.?
5. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions for our team?

In His Service,

Our pharmacy window in Las Matas de Farfan, San Juan
First day of clinic, January 22, 2018

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.  :-}