Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friends and Laughs

The last two weeks I've been feeling pretty crummy with a nasty cold and cough; something I brought back with me from the Dominican Republic. It really hit me hard once I made it back to Friday Harbor. When I get sick, I can really suck into self. Thus, my blogging was halted for a week. The title picture now up on the blog was taken at Bahia de los Aguiles, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, in my opinion. It is located near Perdonales in the D.R., about a 3 hour drive from Barahona. Willi and Miraldo decided to bury Collin in the sand and the laughter was plentiful during the process. I love the fact that the laughter is contagious. See the photo of Austin and his seaweed hair and Rambo dangling his pink shoes over the front of the boat. Both of these scenes generated a ton of laughter amongst all of us. Gershon and Manuel climbing the coconut tree for fresh coconuts at the Casa also provided many laughs. I still don't know how they do that, amazing! Laughter on a daily basis is something I really miss in the Dominican Republic. The people are so joyful and seem to take life a little less seriously. Yesterday in the barber shop CNN news was on and there was anything but laughter there as we were bombarded with the news of the theater killings in Colorado. This hit me like a ton of bricks and sadness swept over me like a dense fog. The seriousness of life, and the reality that life is short and precious is in my conciousness today.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

more and more amigos

Sitting here listening to almost four hours of thunder clapping above us in the sky, causes me to reflect on the Dominican Republic again and my friends there. The type of thunder we are experiencing around Friday Harbor is very unusual; more common in the D.R. Our Dominican friend list is exhausting, which is very cool. I have even started in on our new American friends who visited us this summer. That will be another blog awesome what God has done this past summer, knitting our hearts with others. Shooting the basketball is our friend Leo, the Casa handy-man/helper, who stays at the Casa five nights a week. He has become a great friend, practicing english and spanish together, playing dominoes in the evenings, greeting me in the mornings when I wander down to the kitchen to get the coffee going. I miss the morning laughter with him that began every day. Standing in front of the new basketball basket are Nando and Franklin. They are two young guys I've known for four years now, who live in Los Robles. Both of them are in the COTN university program. Franklin's english has improved a ton! They are both young leaders in their community and I'm encouraged by their life and faith every time I see them. Alejandro is a driver and mechanic who works for COTN. He has also become a great friend. On the side, he makes beautiful jewelry with larimar, the blue stone that is only found near Barahona in the D.R. Willi, Rambo, Renso, Juanchy and I gathered together for a photo the day before we left. All of these guys, young and old, have helped our family out in many many ways over the years. Juanchy is the lead translator, and has helped us with team, communication and learning spanish. Rambo also translates, drives and helps out, Willi is just a fun young guy who is a helper and Renso is a driver who is studying to become a lawyer, attending night classes. Our cooks, Manuela and Iris are pictured with Carly in typical form, laughing and singing while preparing awesome meals in the kitchen. We love them! Pictured in the blog banner are Monique, Mikaela and Magali, a couple of young ladies who Monique tutored in English in Los Robles. Their meetings were informal, yet very productive because they had more one on one time together. Monique got help from them with her Spanish too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Friends and more friends

Monique and I are home now in Friday Harbor, thanks to friend Mike Martin who went beyond the call of duty to pick us up at 12:15 a.m. at SeaTac. Thanks so much Mike! I continue to reflect on friendships in this blog and on Facebook. On the way to the airport yesterday we got to do something I've wanted to do for three years now. My brother Jim is a professional baseball scout working in So. Calif. for the Boston Red Sox. Here in the Dominican Republic, baseball is the number ONE sport. All the kids play baseball and dream of being in the Liga Grande one day. (MLB) In the Dominican they do not have a draft system like in the U.S.A. A prospect is discovered by a private scout, who acts as an agent for the player, taking the kid in to his baseball school and developing him, so that one day the agent might sign him to a professional contract with one of the major league teams. All the major league teams have baseball academies near Santo Domingo. Yesterday, thanks to David Cuevas, COTN-DR Venture team coordinator, and a lover of baseball, we visited the Boston Red Sox academy and saw a game before flying back home. I'm pictured with David and his son in front of the academy office. We had a great time! The next photo is with my friend Pablo. Pablo and I, along with others, have gone into the bateyes to tell our fatherhood stories and we've seen God open the hearts of the young people to share their stories too. We find healing together in the love of Jesus, and lean into the Father's love for us. Monique and I are pictured with Franklin. He works in the COTN office and invited us to his church last summer. This summer we were invited to do a marriage conference there. The conference spanned over three evenings once a week. Franklin did all the translating and also helped us out by translating all of our other conferences. He is a great friend of our family. After our marriage conference at Templo Biblico, we had a photo taken with Julio and Maritza and a young couple from the church. Julio is the pastor and his wife Maritza is the director of Happy Little Faces, Felices Caritas, a school for handicapped children in Barahona. It is the only school of its kind there. Last but not least, the girls are pictured with Manuela, our dear friend and cook at Casa Batesada. She is a special friend, someone who has served our family in so many ways.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

More friendship photos


One of the beautiful things we see here every year is the friendships the develop and grow. Sometimes the friendships are new, sometimes they are acquaintances that grow into real friendship. The new photo on the blog is one of Fred, CJ and Rambo. Rambo was one of our translators for the basketball camp. He very hard with Fred during the teaching sessions and they have become friends. The following photos show other friendships that are beginning and or growing. We look forward to seeing our team again and growing friendships within our team in Friday Harbor. We will do this by opening our house for "Casa Nights" throughout the summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blessing a family

One gift God had for me while our Friday Harbor team was here working on cement floors in Altagracia, is seeing our guys and gals experience the joy and thankfulness a family had for the work of laying a cement floor in their home. Here is our team with a family in Altagracia. Some of the guys from the community help us too and they are pictured with us. Ellie, Carly, Lizzy and Monique entertained the kids who always swarm around the project to see the Americanos.

Team in Altagracia

We took this team photo in front of the "Hands" Austin and Jordan Nash painted last year in Altagracia. We had just completed the cement floor work there.