Life lately in pictures

We hit the ground running in 2018 and thought we'd give you a quick update on what we've been up to for the past two months.

January:

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Dustin started an online MBA program at Temple University, kicking it off with a one-week residency in Philadelphia.

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Emily went back to work at the Park Care Center two days a week. Under her new title as "Teacher Coordinator," she is leading twice weekly professional development workshops for the teaching staff. This is a really exciting opportunity for growth toward academic excellence for the school!

February:

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The 8th annual Christian Surfers Dominican Republic surf contest happened at our local beach, with over 80 competitors.

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Pictured here with Dennis Leon, three surfers from Latin America arrived in Costa Rica for the annual Spanish-speaking Christian Surfers Internship! They are learning about the foundations of Christian Surfers in a hands-on ministry context to prepare them to be Christian Surfers leaders in their own countries.

We participated in a training led by several Kids Alive Guatemala staff on Trauma Competent Caregiving. Trauma competency is an area that Kids Alive DR is just beginning to focus on, but it's a critical area for us as nearly all the 2000 children we work with have experienced complex trauma. We look forward to more extensive training in the next few months.

March:

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After almost 10 years of living in the DR and 3 years of bureaucracy, we finally received our government ID cards and temporary residency cards here in the DR!

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Dustin was confirmed as an elder at New Life Church. So now we all have to listen to him preach more often... but we are excited for this opportunity for him to serve the church in a new way.

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The Spanish Surfers' Bibles are finally arriving across 16 countries, and we picked up a carful (literally) of them last week! Thank you to everyone who gave and prayed for this project. We hope to see many surfers encounter God through these Bibles.

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Brennan turned 6 months old in February and continues to steal everyone's hearts. We love being parents and are so thankful for him!

Profe, are you a millionaire?

Believe it or not, one of my students asked me that question not long ago! I bribed promised my students a party when they could read independently for 15 minutes without losing focus, and right before Christmas, they earned their party! I've put a few photos in this post that give you a glimpse of what our room looks like during our daily "Read to Self" time.

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For me, spending $15 to throw my students a party does not qualify me as a millionaire, but my ability to do that is a luxury in this country. So I assured my students that no, I am not a millionaire, and then I got to explain to them that I, like them, have sponsors who support me while I work at the school. So just like their sponsors help them go to school, my sponsors help me do things like buy new books for our class, get to and from school every day, and throw my students parties! Since our school has a strong child sponsorship program, my kids understood what I meant. 

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Their response? "You should be sure to say a BIIIIIIIIIG THANK YOU to your sponsors!"On party day, the kids came into school and I told them that we were going to watch Curious George. I then proceeded to tell them what I had brought them for their party: cookies, apples, juice, and a homemade cake. Their eyes got wide, they cheered, and one little boy asked, "Profe, are you a millionaire?" "No, why do you think that?" "Because you brought us SO MUCH STUFF for our party!"

IMG_4609After 6 1/2 years on the mission field, I am well aware that I literally could not be here if it weren't for you, my supporters, who faithfully give financially and uphold me in prayer. Living on support means learning to be a good steward and living within a small budget because we want to be responsible with your gifts. But it also means that when the opportunity arises to encourage others and invest in their lives, we are able to give (or throw a party!) as we feel led by the Holy Spirit because God uses you to provide for our financial needs. So thank you. A BIIIIIIIIG thank you! From my students, who are impacted by your giving in more ways than you know, and from me and Dustin, who are honored that God uses us to serve and uses you to send us.

And now, just for fun, here's a photo shoot that we'll call "the many feelings of 2nd grade" - enjoy!PicMonkey Collage