August flew by! We ended up extending our two weeks in the States by a few days so we could attend my Aunt Joy’s funeral. After our flight back to the DR, we experienced a tropical storm, Freedom inservice, Bible Institute, 2 kiddos’ birthdays, FOUR families moving to the field, a building dedication, and much more. Enjoy these 31 pictures from this past month!
I finished just one book last month, but I really enjoyed it! David McCasland traces the life of Oswald Chambers from his childhood in Scotland to his journeys around the world. In one sense, Oswald couldn’t “sit still” – he traveled to Japan, England, and the US (where he briefly taught at the Bible college my parents attended). During WWII, he found himself in Egypt where he served as a YMCA chaplain until his death. This godly man was certainly devoted to the Lord. His wife was completely committed too. Because of her tireless work, many of Chambers’ lectures and sermons are preserved to this day.
As always, some of the quotes that stood out to me this month are listed below!
“Hudson Taylor said last night that Our Lord’s words ‘Have faith in God’ really mean ‘Have faith in the faithfulness of God,’ not in your own faithfulness.”1
Holiness is not an attainment at all, it is the gift of God.... He makes holy, He sanctifies, He does it all. All I have to do is come as a spiritual pauper, not ashamed to beg, to let go of my right to myself and act on Romans 12:1–2. It is never ‘Do, do and you’ll be’ with the Lord, but ‘Be, be, and I will do through you.’1
The world is very wide and God is reigning.1
One of the blessed things about this life is that a man carries his kingdom on the inside, and that makes the outside lovely.1
He looms large tonight. Nothing is worth living for but just Himself. I see churches and... movemements all tagged with His name but how little of Himself? I wish every breath I drew, all speech I made could make Him come and seem more real to men.1
A man who would live for Christ in a turbulent world must draw his life from the depths of God himself, not from the froth and foam of surface experience.1
Oswald’s approach to the future was simple: “Trust God and do the next thing.”1
He sounded a constant warning to people who said, “Thank God I’m saved and sanctified, now it’s all right.” The result of resting on experience, according to Oswald, was “fixed ideas, moral deterioration, and utter ignorance of God’s book. Always beware of the danger of finality.”1
“What we need,” he concluded, “is to begin to walk in the way we already know.”1
“There will come one day a personal and direct touch from God when every tear and perplexity, every oppression and distress, every suffering and pain, and wrong and injustice will have a complete and ample and overwhelming explanation.”1
It is in the years of peace that wars are prevented and that those foundations are laid upon which the noble structures of the future can be built. But peace will not be preserved without the virtues that make victory possible in war. Peace will not be preserved by pious sentiments expressed in terms of platitudes or by official grimaces and diplomatic correctitude....2
1Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, David McCasland 2Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert
Another month of photos coming at ya! July was… hot. Our team spent a lot of time in the villages over the past 4ish weeks as “village school” and modified VBS programs continued. The new school year at Freedom should start come the end of August. Stay tuned for updates on that front!
While we plan on waiting to take our normal month-long furlough until 2021, we’ve made a quick, 2-week trip back to the States to see our families. It’s been good to soak up a little time with them. Thankful!
We’re spending two weeks in the States with our families! We didn’t reach out to many people because of the quickness of the trip and the current state of the world. Whenever I’m back, I always make some store runs to pick up some items we can’t find in the DR.
My first stop this year was Dollar Tree for some teacher supplies! I like to hit up that treasure trove for items I can use as gifts/incentives for our Dominican teachers who go through the teacher training program we’ve started. As I was hunkered over in an aisle sifting through bulletin board border and classroom organizers, a lady and her two children walked by. A neat interaction ensued.
“Are you a teacher?” she asked me.
“Well, sort of! I’m a teacher trainer! I like to look for things my teachers can use when they have their own classrooms someday.”
She responded without hesitation. “Now, that’s something I can get behind. Let me help you out. I want to give you $20.”
“Wow! That’s so kind of you. How very thoughtful! I actually don’t live here in the States. My family has helped start a school in the Dominican Republic where we work with children who live in the sugarcane villages.”
A few more details were shared, and she left me with the money and some other kind words.
I had walked in for a routine shopping trip, and I left blessed by a complete stranger. Isn’t it amazing that the the Lord allows us to experience such unexpected blessings?
One year ago today, I was in Lima looking for some of our students’ parents. As I walked amongst the rows of identical, green houses, I saw this little guy, sitting all alone in the dirt. He had no pants on, and he was filthy. I asked some kids running by if they knew his name. Leo, they told me. I knew nothing else about him, but I remember leaving the village thinking how wonderful it would be to see Leo at Freedom one day.
Guess what? This week, Krista delivered Leo’s very first sponsor letter to him right there in front of his house! He didn’t completely understand what was going on, but he paused and gave the tiniest of grins when he saw the picture of his sponsor family.
I’m excited to see how Leo’s little life will be impacted in the months and years to come. While he’s undoubtedly endured some hardship already in the few years he’s been alive, he’s also got a lot of people in his corner. Sponsors, missionaries, and teachers are already advocating for him in some special ways.
Maybe in another year or two, I can share his adorable, round face again. We’re praying this sweet man learns what it means to love God with all that He has.
Sunday marked twelve years of marriage for Scott and I! Wow. My cliche saying of choice is “time flies,” and I use it pretty much every day. I decided to get out the family photos this year, and I thought I’d share a few here!
The following pictures may show smiling faces, sundry memories, and varying lengths of hair on Scott’s part, but there have been hard times, too. Both the good and the difficult have drawn us closer to each other and to the Lord. Looking forward to the next 12 years!
We’re excited to start a new series on the family blog featuring… the kids! We thought it’d be neat to show the world from their perspectives. After all, they’re just as much a part of the ministry as us adults. So without further ado, here’s Noah’s very first entry!
Hi! My name is Noah. I’m 9 years old, and I live at Freedom, a campus close to the town of Ramon Santana. I like living here, but sometimes I miss the United States. I’ll tell you the story of how I got here to the Dominican Republic.
I was born in Virginia and lived in the States for a year and a half. My mom and dad raised support and moved to the Dominican with me and my brother. Leyton was 4 months old when we moved.
We moved into a tiny house at first. It was hard work to move in. Our backyard was full of trash. Our bathroom was a mess. We fixed it up a bit and made it a home.
During the days, our family went out to the villages and played with the kids. I don’t remember it very much, but the kids liked to play with me. After that, we’d come home and play some more as a family.
I lived in that first house for about a year and a half until….
Check back for my next blog post to find out where we moved next!
We’ve crossed the halfway point of 2020! This past month, our team was excited to get back out to the villages as restrictions have begun to lift oh.so.slowly. I personally spent most of my time behind my computer screen as lesson planning continues, but the boys have been in the bateys each morning helping with school – social distancing style, of course. Here’s our June in 30 photos!
Less time to read this past month, but still thankful for each minute!
I started another book that was gifted to me for my birthday: Cilka’s Journey. This sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz follows the experiences of a young girl named Cilka, a secondary character from the first book. While Cilka was a fictional character who dealt with a ton of trauma from her experiences, my mind often wandered to those who actually endured these horrific atrocities. Cilka was shipped off to a Siberian worker camp the day everyone was liberated from Auschwitz. I think I would’ve lost hope. To be honest, Morris is not my favorite author – her writing style and excessive use of language are simply not my cup of tea.
If you’re not a history buff, you probably won’t enjoy this one. I’ll admit – it took me awhile to “get into it.” There’s no way I’ll remember all the historical details that were presented in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee with just one read-through, but I’m glad I finished it. Wow – much bloodshed, lies, and deceit on both sides of the battles that took place between the Indians and the whites who were moving westward. Hard to reconcile the wonderful ideals upon which our beautiful country was founded with the terrible actions of many of the men in the government and the military – even clergy. I loved that each chapter opened with a page of important events and facts from around the world. It helped me “fill more holes” in my understanding of history. I also appreciated the occasional glimpse of men from both cultures valuing and loving others even if it meant sacrificing something important to them.
I moved forward in a few other books as well. Here are some thought-provoking quotes that caught my eye!
"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good," wrote Solhenitsyn.1
It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises...2
Oh, my brothers, the Almighty looks down on me, and knows what I am, and hears my words. May the Almighty send a good spirit to brood over you, my brothers, to move you to help me.2
There was no hope on earth, and God seemed to have forgotten us... -Red Cloud2
When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream...2
One fault, one crime, and one crime only, can rob the United Nations and the British people, upon whose constancy this grand alliance came into being, of the victory upon which their lives and honour depend. A weakening in our purpose and therefore in our unity - that is the mortal crime.3
We do not war primarily with races as such. Tyranny is our foe, whatever trappings or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must for ever be on our guard....3
...I have recorded two characteristics of his which seemed to me invaluable in those days: first, his power to live in the present yet without taking short views; and secondly, his power of drawing from misfortune itself the means of future success.3
"When the heart sees what God wants," Oswald used to say, "the body must be willing to spend and be spent for that cause alone."4
I'm going away from my home now, like a bird leaving an old nest.... Here I have drunk in God, here I have prayed, here I have wept, here I have worked, here I have agonized, and now, Farewell home! I smile because of all you know and have seen, God has known and seen too. How grand, you'll never tell the secrets whispered by me in the ear of God, and God's whispered words in mine....4
1Cilka’s Journey, Heather Morris 2Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown 3Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert 4Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, David McCasland