More than an “Intern”

Our interns are the best. Hands down.

We often talk about how the word “intern” isn’t good enough to describe a person who spends a school year at Freedom.

Because of our interns, the ministry continues to function. Lesson plans are written. Construction projects are completed. Classrooms are managed, grades are taken, and academic concepts are taught.

But, you know, our interns are more than just people who fulfill important duties. They do more than make copies for teachers or take selfies with cute kiddos all day. By and large, our interns make themselves available to be used by the Lord in whatever capacity He asks of them. Obviously, that manifests itself into things like making play-dough and organizing papers. But it also means correcting little ones with patience. It means passing out hugs and kisses – sometimes to students who don’t know how to accept love and kindness. It means joining alongside parents and missionaries as we try to disciple students to live in a way that glorifies God.

We’re grateful that our interns carry a big part of the workload here. But even more than that, we’re thankful for their big hearts and for their willingness to look at things from an eternal perspective.

Being an intern at Freedom is hard. Sacrifices are made – difficult days are experienced. But I think most of our interns would say – even in the middle of the mess – that investing in these little lives is so completely worth it.

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Today was Leah’s last day with her 4-year-olds. She will be so missed!

Thank you, Leah, Becca, Sanna, Amanda, Hannah, Kayla, and Nic – for being more than “just interns” this year! Thanks for investing in the eternal! We appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!

Angel’s Week

The Lord is so good. He continues to provide individuals to keep things moving forward here.

Some people volunteer their time from the States.
Others have joined our ground team for the long haul.
Some sacrifice by giving financially.
And others spend a short time with us here – usually just a week.

We’ve been asked before, “What good could someone possibly do in a week?”

“No offense,” they say, “but isn’t it a ‘waste’ of money, time, and resources?”

In July, a group from Illinois came to stay with us for seven days. A lady named Angel joined her church for their first trek to the Dominican. Angel admitted that the whole time leading up to the trip, she questioned why she was coming and what she had to offer. Even as she sat on the airplane, she was unsure of why she was on her way. But the Lord had been impressing on her to just “show up”. So she did.

She didn’t have to wait long for God to reveal Himself to her.

Monday morning, Angel and the rest of her team stood in the breezeway and listened as our principal, Toni, called out the names of the 3-year-olds they’d be working with that day. Suddenly, Toni paused.

“Guys,” she said, “I’ve got one little man here who needs some extra love and one-on-one attention.”

Without skipping a beat, Angel said, “I’ll take him!” As she looked down at the slip of paper that Toni had handed to her, she read the name of the little guy she’d be interacting with for four hours.

Angel.

His name was hers. And she knew that he was her “why.”

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Later, Angel poignantly shared with us that each moment in the classroom with Angel was such a blessing for her. She was able to interact with him in a special way. And he seemed to respond to her as well. When she was willing to let go and just show up, God provided a unique opportunity for her to see Him in a bigger way.

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Angel plans on being involved in little Angel’s life in the years to come. I like to think that their relationship will deepen as time goes by. I pray that as Angel grows up, he’ll come to know the love of His Savior. He doesn’t yet understand the impact of that week on his life. He doesn’t recognize how the Lord miraculously orchestrated circumstances so that the two of them would meet. But what an incredible way for Angel to start his first year at Freedom!

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So when people ask me if I think it’s worth it to come for a week, I say, “Absolutely.”

In our context, at least, a week can be worth eternity.

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Another week of progress

This morning we said goodbye to the biggest team we’ve ever hosted here on the ground! We enjoyed doing life with 33 high schoolers and their chaperones this past week. Their days were full of leading VBS programs in Batey Piñones and Batey Cabeza de Toro, working on the land, and teaching small groups in the classrooms. Last night, the team members shared their thoughts on their time here and talked about what God’s been teaching them. The Freedom team is praying that this week wouldn’t just be a parenthesis in their lives but that they would use their time and experiences here to gain a bigger picture of the Lord.

Not only were the high school students impacted by their experience, but our students also benefited greatly. The individualized attention was huge. Sonia is so close to reading. Anllelo and Nicol and Alejandro didn’t get left in the dust – they had people by their side who desired to keep them focused and learning. Javier has been having a rough couple of weeks, but he responded positively to some guys on the team.

Overall, this week was another step toward seeing some serious change in the lives of our kiddos. Excited for the continued progress!

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