Well, it was a busy summer and a great time in the States for Em and me (Dustin), but we've arrived back home in the DR and have already been caught up in some exciting things! This past weekend I participated in Christian Surfers Dominican Republic's National Camp-Out, and Emily spent it translating progress reports on how the students are developing socially, personally, and educationally and being transformed by the gospel in her school.
Christian Surfers DR Campout
When we started Christian Surfers in the Dominican Republic back in 2009, we had no idea the amazing things God would do. Seven years later we celebrated our sixth national camp-out with over 90 surfers camping out together and hearing the good news of Jesus Christ in conversations, worship, and messages. The thing that excited me most, however, was seeing the local leaders of the ministry step up and organize the event while loving on all these surfers. The majority of our leaders came from backgrounds where substance abuse was normal and was even a requirement to be a surfer. Now, this group of guys, who have all radically changed through their encounters with Christ, symbolizes the hope of Jesus for a new generation and we're seeing more and more young surfers put their faith in Jesus because of these guys' testimonies. This year we held the camp out at the location where we just recently relaunched our Santo Domingo chapter. Praise God for what he's doing in the Dominican Republic with surfers.
Kids Alive Progress Reports
One of the main components of Kids Alive International's sponsorship program is the annual progress report. Each year, the teachers fill out progress reports on their students' growth over the past year and any concerns they have about the student. They also share prayer requests for each student. This is an opportunity for our Christian teachers to share with the students' sponsors about how God is using Kids Alive to educate and raise a God-fearing generation here in the Dominican Republic. Emily translates nearly 150 of these reports every year to send to child sponsors in the US and Canada. One of the stories we'd like to share with you is from Emily's co-worker, Jesus. Yes, Emily has a co-worker whose name is Jesus. One of the girls in Jesus' 4th grade class has historically caused lots of issues at the school. She wouldn't do her work in the classroom, would distract other students, would get in fights a lot, lacked respect for pretty much everyone, and has been that way since she entered the school 5 years ago. And yet this year, Jesus was proud to report that she has become social, playful, has a better self-esteem, and that her behavior has improved a lot. She has been able to remain calm in situations which would have caused her to fight in the past, and she has made excellent strides in her classwork. We praise God for stories like this about lives being transformed in Caraballo!
We would also like to say another huge thank you to all of you who hosted us, shared meals with us, listened to our part of God's story, committed to supporting us, prayed over us, and encouraged us while were in the US last month. We were blessed beyond what we could have imagined. Thank you!