Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dominican Vacation

After our time of ministry, we ended our trip with a little family vacation. The Dominican beaches are so beautiful. I'm a little spoiled by them actually! Sam and I laugh all the time and say, "You know people come here for their honeymoon, right? We do this every summer!"

I don't take it for granted that we get to vacation in the Carribean. I am so thankful that we are able to do it! 

We spent some much-needed family time together. We were completely unplugged from the world around us. It was just us, the turquoise ocean, unlimited fruity drinks, and amazing food!

This resort was great! Sam and I love having a variety of restaurants and food choices and this one did not disappoint. We had Mexican... delicioso!

Japanese Hibachi grill & sushi. Isaac loved the sushi. He ate it better than he ate the whole time in the DR! So funny!

We also had Italian and "American"/Steakhouse food. Everything was so good.

We loved watching the show every night. It's definitely put together for tourists, but it's very entertaining and usually hilarious!

We loved our time in the Dominican. Sam has passed his love for this country onto a little four-year-old boy. Michael cried the night we got home saying that he missed it. It was heartbreaking to see him so sad, but Sam also felt a little joyful knowing that his son is just like him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doing Ministry Together is Sweet

We took both boys with us to the Dominican Republic this year. This was Michael's second time and Isaac's first trip. We flew out on Michael's fourth birthday - July 9 - and met Sam at the airport. He had just finished the basketball mission trip and was ready to dive into another one. This trip was our family trip - Sam's parents, his uncle, three cousins, a family friend, me, and the kids. Also, some great friends of ours from Indiana joined us. There were 15 of us in all!
A roof-view from the church
We partnered with our pastor and friend, Quina. She is amazing! She oversees four churches and constantly has a heart for ministry. Whoever needs help, she is there to offer it. She also cooks amazing food for our team while we are there! Yum! I'm craving some of her rice and beans now.

Sam and Dan (he's from Indiana)
We started off each morning with VBS for the Dominican kids. We taught Bible stories, sang songs, played games, and did a craft. Our theme for the week was how God is our helper. We told the stories of David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions' den. I loved seeing the kids in our family interact with the Dominican kids. They used what little Spanish they knew to communicate, but it didn't even matter. Smiles and love are universal and they shared God's love without reservation!
Michael playing one of the VBS games - pass the baseball glove!
Michael helped teach the Bible stories and songs. His favorite part was playing a sheep when we acted out David and Goliath. He was so proud of his little acting moment. Michael became great buddies with David, the son of our friends from Indiana. They were partners in ministry! Every morning, they would sit outside and watch the motorcycles and people-watch. 

Isaac did great, but had some rough moments. He was a little timid with the new people he was meeting. He also needed a nap during VBS every day. Thankfully there was a bedroom with a fan at the church! It was hot and it wore him out. Here's how our mornings looked....

Isaac also made a friend. Her name is Cristina. She was Isaac's little caretaker during our trip. She loved him and she loved taking care of him. Isaac had many moments where he would get frustrated with her because she wasn't his mommy, but he also had some very sweet moments playing with her!

Our afternoons consisted of hanging out and loving on the Dominicans. We played sports, shared some popsicles, and just shared life.

Our trip was good. It was definitely uncomfortable at times and was not easy with small children. But it was so rewarding and good for our spirits. Our kids had great attitudes and were so flexible. I love that they can experience other cultures and be thrown out of their comfort zone so early in their life. We are so blessed and I am thankful that we have the opportunity to bless our friends in the DR. They end up blessing us so much. The Dominicans are so loving and hospitable!

So, I will leave you with this....
One of the churches that we visited is Haitian. We have a special love for this church, the pastor, and for the people there. The children performed the song "Yes, Yes, Lord" in Creole, the Haitian language. It was beautiful.

Dios le bendiga! (Google that!)

*Disclaimer: I stole most of these pictures from other people - Dan, Monte, Marcia... gracias!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Basketball Mission Trip

The Dominican Republic is a country that is close to our hearts. Sam has been there many many times and I have joined him on several trips. Sam has had two dreams when it comes to mission trips in the DR- He wanted to facilitate a basketball mission trip as well as a family mission trip. Both of his dreams came true this summer.

Sam worked with some friends of ours from Indiana. They taught mini-clinics for young Dominican boys as well as played in basketball tournaments with the Dominican semi-pro teams. They were able to share the love of Christ all while playing sports! I just love that these "cool American guys" were able to demonstrate how it looks to be a man of God - a man of courage, integrity, and honor.

The pastor that we partner with, Quina, was at all the games to cheer for her boys. She even wore her Bethel t-shirt to show her support! She's the lady in the blue t-shirt...

This trip was so life-giving to Sam. He was in a place that he loves dearly, playing a sport that he loves, and sharing about a God that he lives for. It's pretty amazing how everything came together. Hopefully this trip will happen again.

After the basketball/mens trip was over, the kids and I boarded a plane with Sam's parents to join him in ministry.... Stay tuned for the next post!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating being FOUR and the FOURTH!

Happy Fourth of July!!

We spent this past week with my dad at his cabin. We started by enjoying the Independence Day parade in the town of Blue Ridge, followed by an incredible fireworks show that night. Isaac was too young last year to remember the fireworks from last year, so it was entertaining to watch him. Michael loved them, as usual, and watched through his "binoculars". Blue Ridge always does a nice job on the Fourth of July!

A few days later -on the actual fourth- We celebrated Michael's birthday a little early with G-Daddy and Mimi. This little man is going to be FOUR in just a few days. By the way, the picture on the top right is Michael's face when the parade ended. He was a little disappointed! He loves parades.... and the candy that they throw at him.

We enjoyed the rest of the week in the mountains just relaxing, taking it easy, drinking Yoo-Hoo, throwing rocks, and gem mining. Michael has never mined for gems before. He loved it. He thought he was looking for "treasure" like a pirate. We found lots of good treasures for sure! Isaac loved watching his brother have so much fun. He'll get to find treasures of his own next time.

We enjoyed our time in the mountains. It's nice to slow down and be away from home and do fun things with Grandparents. We didn't escape the heat though - it got up to 106 degrees! That's when you head in and drink a Yoo-Hoo....