“God has been opening a lot of doors…”

Isaias Gabriel, the master rapper, checks in from the D.R.:

God has been opening a lot of doors through music, there have been happening things that I never expected to happen in my life. There has been so many people inviting me and my whole youth group to perform songs and dramas; it has been hard to believe. All these activities we have performed are free, we are not charging money or anything like that and somehow God always provides when the money is need it.

Also it makes me proud to see how our youth group has become the youth group that all the churches look up to; like our youth group has been acting with a lot of leadership everywhere we go, and I can see that other youth groups have been appreciating that. They really have become role models, and I’m proud to say that.

I really hope you guys can come down here sometime in a mission trip or just to visit me because I want you all to see with your own eyes what I’m talking about, it’s really cool to see it happening.

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Wanna mint?

Quanamenthe? Ouanaminthe? Quanaminthe? Ouanamenthe? Just Googling these spellings of the Haitian town will demonstrate how much confusion there is over an OFFICIAL spelling. Any ideas why there are different spellings for the same location?

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Go:Haiti 2006 – Through the eyes of the Tods

The following is a movie slideshow created by Alec and Susie Tod of their 2006 experience. Many of these faces may look familiar to you, too. How great would it be to go back this year and greet some of these children BY NAME! If you remember names of these kids, post it in the comments.

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Dare You to Move

Jeff Rogers from G.O. put together this touching little snapshot of the D.R.:

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Ariel Kelley: 3rd most famous Dominican rapper

And here’s why:

No doubt, amigos.

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Trabajar

Drew, Nate and Pete get stumped trying to tell Pastor William that they met “yesterday”. Drew thinks to tell him that “we met before tomorrow,” although no one knows “before” either. And Nate’s just got “trabajar”. Sad.

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“Let us not become weary…”

A February update from Jen Goodenough of G.O. Ministries:

No week has been the same in February.

DR ArtWe finished art class in Hoya del Caimito with a trip to the museum. Many of the kids have a real talent. I gave each participant a set of paints and brush at the end of the classes. One of the students I saw at church and he wouldn’t shake my hand. I finally got him to tell me why. It was because his hands were all dirty with paint. His mom then said that ever since the class he has been painting all day long. DR ArtLater on in the month I had the opportunity to teach a paint class in Santa Lucia, also known as “La Mosca”. There is a link on this page about La Mosca that I hope you will enjoy. I am really excited about the opportunity to reach the children using a talent that I enjoy, but the most important part is teaching them who the greatest artist in the world is…Dios. This wonderful artist created them and loves them more than any other creation. I hope to be able to teach this truth through art more extensively.

There was a baseball camp this month. The team that came was from Kansas City Bible Temple. They did a great job working with Jose Luis who is the Dominican in charge of baseball ministry. He is the one with the boys every day mentoring them. Some of the boys that go to the camp are from the church and or good homes, but many are in very difficult situations. They are in neighborhoods where theft and drugs are prevalent and rarely is there a good male role model in the home.

DR BaseballDuring baseball camp I was translating for a team. There were a couple of days where I would get choked up, but I wasn’t sure why. It all surfaced as I was praying for my team to win. I don’t usually pray for my team to win, because somehow I don’t think its fair, but I was praying for this team to win. There were several boys on the team that had already made some pretty bad life choices. So, I was praying silently for them to win, but the prayer became more and more fervent in me and I began to even cry for them. I prayed “Please God, can’t they just win this game? They never win at anything. Life is so cruel to them. Please let them win!” I was thinking of one boy in particular. His mom used to live next door to me and she was almost always high on drugs. He had been adopted by another family so He doesn’t live with her, but he looks exactly like her and everyone knows she is his mom. The adopted family, judging by appearances is good provision and shelter, but not necessarily a loving home. So I asked God “How is he supposed to make the decision to follow you? Nothing in his life points to you. Its not fair. Now he is angry and making poor choices. Why does he have to suffer at the hands of others?” At that moment it was as if God lifted my head to see the whole field. I saw all the role models that had come from Kansas city to teach baseball, but also to share the love of Jesus. I saw Jose Luis investing and caring for them every day.

God is making opportunities and he wants to use me and you to bring them.

Haiti KidsI had the pleasure of going to Ouanamenthe, Haiti for five days to help with a team from Indiana. The team did children’s events and construction to build a school. It was a blast! We ate meals in the orphanage so we got to spend a lot of time with the children there. But again, I found myself wrestling with questions as there were children without all around and we only had enough to give to some. Even what we gave wasn’t all that they needed. How is it possible to meet this need? And even if we brought enough “stuff” for everyone it wouldn’t change the poverty they have come to know as everyday life. Poverty is deeper than material things. It seeps into the very thought pattern of a person’s being. Once it grips you it never lets go. Myself and many of you have known poverty at times in our lives, but it is a different poverty when not only are you struggling, but everyone around you. A poverty where you cannot turn to the government or the church or anyone because they are just as poor as you are. There is a strange numbness that comes with this poverty.

During an evening devotional a teenage girl from the team said that she saw the “opportunity for hope”. I milled that phrase around in my head over and over. She didn’t say she saw hope, she said that she saw the opportunity for hope. Part of me wanted to say “where?”. Again I looked up and I could see what she saw. Arcenio is the Haitian we work with in Haiti who oversees all of our ministry to Haiti. He is who started the orphanage and the school and who is there everyday investing in lives for a better and different future that doesn’t come instantly or without trials.

So the month of February has been a month of remembering why we do what we do.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity,let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
~Galatians 6:9-10

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