Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Program Pics

4th Graders in PJ's

"Santa" under the mistletoe

4th Graders Singing

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas in the D.R.

So, it's been a while since we've blogged. Not only have we been busy with finals, Christmas activities, etc., but our personal lives have been pretty hectic too. The Chases left a few weeks ago to return to the States, after Steve's dad died of cancer. 3 other staff member are leaving JCS as well. (We still need a French and Social Studies teacher!) One of our cats was sick, the other we just got fixed. (you wanted to know that, didn't you?) We had our new invertor hooked up, and Daniel hooked up the Tanaco. Leah moved to the Chases house, so we are currently without a next-door neighbor, until January. :(
Anyway, that was a very brief update. But, I thought people would be interested in what Christmas is like in the D.R.
Christmas here consists of:
-Lots of music (Christmas carols at 4:45 in the morning)
-Lots of fireworks (at any time of the night)
-Ginger tea (although we have not had any this year)
-Gummy candies
-Warm weather and palm trees
-Alegria en Las Montanas (a popular Christmas Carol)

We also had a fun Christmas program, in which my students sang "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause." I was mommy, and Daniel was Santa, of course. :)
In less than one day we'll be in the States!!! Hopefully we'll update more later.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Belated Thanksgiving (and lots more)

Written November 26 – posted December 2

Starting a week ago Sunday, after church we went for a hike/picnic by a river with some JCS’ers and people from church. We had fun swimming around and shooting a “movie” on somebody’s normal digital camera. Tuesday, the jr/sr high students went on a field trip to the Mirabal Sister’s museum. If you’ve heard of the book/movie “In the Time of the Butterflies,” it’s about them. The museum is in their family home and is full of historical items and pictures. We even got to meet the one surviving sister (Dede) who was the main source for the book/movie. That night for our Tuesday night dinner we made a 3-course crepe meal and it was sooooo good. Dylan (Leah’s 6-year-old) even helped make some of the crepes.

Wednesday, Teresa’s class took their field trip to a bottled water place and saw the filtration/bottling/testing process (I’m sad I missed out), toured a plant/nature reserve, and went hiking/swimming at the same place we were at on Sunday. They had a blast and from all I heard the trip went great.

Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving starting at Leah’s house for cinnamon rolls and watching the Macy’s Parade. Then we used the Chases’ house for Thanksgiving dinner (even though they were in the States) from about 12:30 to 3:30 with JCS staff. After that, we went to the school and met up with some other folks and played some American football and ultimate frisbee. It felt so good to run around and do sports. Even though Teresa and I run now, we don’t do nearly as much game/team sports as we’d like and it felt so good! After that we gorged ourselves some more on dessert.

Friday morning we headed off to the beach with Leah, Dylan, and Regan. We went to Cabarete and all stayed in a condo-type room. The beach was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun in the sun and ocean. We ate dinner at a restaurant on the beach and it was beautiful. In the morning we ate at a bakery and had a couple hours at the beach before we had to get ready to leave. On the drive back, we had a major delay from some people setting up a roadblock and burning a tire in the road. Nobody would tell us what was going on as traffic was stopped and people were walking back. We kept hearing “Esta muy malo.” As we saw the tire and boulders by the road, the police came running by our car (with weapons at the ready) and then we were able to get through. We didn’t see anything more on the road or in the news later. We were going to ride an air-tram over Puerta Plata, but it was closed to replace the cables, so we just continued on to Santiago for shopping and dinner.

Today we had planned on going to a baseball game in Santiago with some Dominicans we know, but we were just too tired this morning. It has truly been a day of rest including 2 naps for me and multiple hours of us just bumming around. It was much needed and we’re both much more energetically ready for school tomorrow than if we’d gone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Homemade Bagels

They may not be worth it if you can buy bagels. However, in a country where bagels do not exist (at least not as far as we've seen), it is definitely worth it to make them! Mmmmm... Posted by Picasa


...And still sleeping...
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Fall Festival

Daniel in a pie eating contest

Making Scarecrows

Wheelbarrow races

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Noche de Otoño (Autumn Night)

Last night (Saturday) was a very enjoyable evening. After a birthday party of one of my 4th grade students- I helped with pin the tail on the donkey, and her family has satellite TV so we watched Notre Dame score a touchdown- we went to a violin and piano recital. There is a violin teacher and a piano teacher here in Jarabacoa, and this was the first recital that they put on with their students. It was so good to hear live classical music. It ranged from beginners (young students and even adults) to very advanced players. There was even a violin quintet made up of 4 students (1 from our school) and the violin teacher. The theme was Autumn and the concert went well. It opened with the Phantom of the Opera song, played by the teachers, who are both outstanding musicians. It made me realize how much I took classical concerts at Taylor for granted, and how much I miss playing bells. All-in-all, it was fun to experience a “cultural event” here in Jarabacoa.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Weekend of Change

Sunday night at Bible study we got some quite shocking news… Steve Chase’s father has terminal lung/liver cancer, and so they’re planning on not finishing the year here so they can be with him. They were going to move back to the States after this summer, but now they’ll be going back at Christmas and staying. All this came out in a span of 3 days, so it’s been an emotional roller coaster for them and all of us. They were planning on moving to Marion and working at New Horizons there, but now they’ll be going to Ohio to be with Steve’s mom. Even further complicating travel is that Erin is pregnant with their 2nd child and will be due late next Spring. All this is even harder on Steve because his dad does not know Jesus. Please be praying both for his dad and the Chase family.

Aside from missing our friends when they leave and grieving with them, the Chases’ early departure has some major influences on us. Since we were planning on staying for the summer, we will now be helping to host the teams that will come down from the States to help us build a new building for the school. That means we’ll be arranging their lodging, meals, transportation on the island, etc. It will certainly be new ground for us and will be testing the limits of our Spanish, but we both feel peace and excitement (along with some anxiety) about it. Since we’ll be here helping and may not have jobs, our financial needs will be greater in the upcoming months. Please pray that God will provide. On a similar note, we will be buying some things from the Chases when they leave because it’s the cheapest way we’ll get them. The big things will be their inverter and batteries (for when the power goes out) and their mountain bikes, along with a few items planning for the not too near future of us having a baby here (REPEAT, NOT TOO NEAR FUTURE). We were planning on buying an inverter this Spring and their used one will be much cheaper and more powerful than buying a new one. Similarly, the cheapest new mountain bikes we’ve seen here are 3x as much as they’re selling their better ones for (and they're selling theirs for very inexpensive).

With the Chases leaving, there are also a myriad of other possible changes involving where certain friends will live and uncertainty in that. So, yeah, please be praying for us as well that we would be supportive of our friends and open to God’s voice and guidance.

P.S. We are in dire need of a 5th grade teacher for next semester. If you are interested or know anyone who may be interested, PLEASE let us know!

A Weekend of Fun

This past weekend was one of the most enjoyable we’ve had in a long while. It was full of time with friends and each other, and we were able to get done what we needed. Thursday night was a potluck barbecue for any missionaries in Jarabacoa. I would guess there were about 100 people there from various ministries all gathering just to hang out and get to know each other. It put names with faces we’ve seen in town and answered the nagging question when we see a white person, “Is he/she American or Dominican?”

Friday night we had some fellow JCS staff (some American and some Dominican) over for a game night. It was a lot of fun trying to explain games in Spanish and hoping we were getting the point across. We went from Uno (crazy Czech style) to Set and finished with some euchre. Saturday morning Teresa supervised Saturday School while I did shopping and ran errands. We went for a run at 2:00 on a sunny day and ran about 3 miles to the river, cooled off in the water, and then ran back. It was definitely hot, but a lot of fun. Saturday night we stayed in and watched Emma (A&E version) and just relaxed. Sunday after church we had a Dominican teacher and her husband over for Italian food. They’d never had a real red sauce and meatballs before. They know some English and we know some Spanish, so we have fun trying to communicate. We have a lot of fun with them and enjoy hanging out together.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Cat!

We did it. We got another cat. We wanted a bunny, but none were available. However, our friends had a cat they no longer wanted, so we took him home. Chai’s initial response was not very encouraging (not that we expected it to be). She pretty much spent all last week hissing. By the end of the week, though, the two cats were acting playful, even if Chai still did hiss some. Throughout the weekend they took turns following each other around. Last night and today we let them stay together in the house (not one locked in the bathroom) and they seemed to do fine. They’re actually getting along faster than I thought they would.

Anyway, about the new cat.

Mishu (pronounced Meeshew) is a 1 year- 1 ½ year old male cat (about Chai’s age). He’s is very sweet and likes to snuggle. He also likes to eat. We don’t know how to keep him away from Chais’ food (but we’re trying!). Most of the time when Chai hissed at him, he ignore it and looked at her as if she was strange. We named him Mishu, because that is how the children of our friend called him. They said it was a typical way to call a cat here. Anyway, we like it better than his name, Fluffy, so we’re sticking with Mishu.

We think he’s adjusting very well to life here in our home.

Cat Pics!

Isn't he cute?
Getting Closer
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A week ago some teachers from JCS set out on a mini missions trip to Constanza. We visited last Spring (posted April 12) to visit some family friends working on an orphanage. We returned to help paint the second house (the first house already has kids!) We left after school on Friday, taking 3 vehicles, and set off on a very bumpy ride. Once we arrived, we went to the team house (where we stayed) and had a wonderful Dominican meal. We also met some kids sitting outside the convenience store across the street. In the evening we had a great praise and sharing time. The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and set out to paint the house. The children from the 1st house joined it (I’m not sure whether they hindered or helped more) and we had a great time getting covered in paint. We broke for lunch and returned later to do the second coat. (Another teacher and I, however, went with Nancy Lewis to buy some groceries before returning to help finish the second coat.) We reluctantly said goodbye to the children that lived in the orphanage and went back to the team house to clean up and eat another wonderful dinner. That evening we talked more with the kids across the street, ate snacks, and went to bed (and slept very well!). Sunday morning we had a pancake breakfast and another praise and sharing time. Someone brought up the analogy of comparing us to the children painting with us. We tend to think that God “needs” us- that we are doing something so great and wonderful and that we’re necessary. I wonder how many times God looks at our job and wonders if we’re helping or hindering more. However, He loves to use us and wants us to help Him, even if he could do it better on His own. It’s humbling to think about that- and encouraging to know that it’s ok if we mess up- God expects that we will and is ready to handle it.

After the sharing time we set out on a hike. The Constanza valley is beautiful and more open than ours. Afterward, we had lunch and set out for home.

It was a great refreshing weekend to hang out with the teachers, serving God in a different way that we normally do. :)

The first house (where orphans already live) Posted by Picasa

The house we painted Posted by Picasa

The team Posted by Picasa

Green noses! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pencil Sharpener

If anyone would be willing to send a good classroom, crank- mechanical pencil sharpener, I would greatly appreciate it. I only have mini hand sharpeners that keep breaking and it creates quite a disturbance when students want to sharpen their pencils. Mechanical pencils would be great too, they're expensive here.
Thanks much!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Note of Irony

At this moment, we currently have:
no power
no water (since Thursday)
no gas (in the city)
BUT, we DO have internet! :) hehe
Oh wait, Daniel just told me our water just came back. yay! Time to do dishes...

More pics of the Beach

Katie and Me

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Laguna Gri-Gri

Lunch Time!
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Pics from Rio San Juan

The beach at Rio San Juan
Rock Formation
The natural "pool"
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Report Card Week and the Beach

Life has felt very fast paced lately. The week after being sick, Daniel and I spent most of the time catching up, since we were way behind. On top of that, we had to have our grades done for report cards, so that meant lots of grading. Luckily, we’re borrowing some season DVDs of Remington Steele and MacGyver that we watch while we grade to keep ourselves sane. :) Daniel then had to work Friday night on a grad paper, and then another one on Sunday night.

The day after report card day (Saturday), Daniel and I took a day trip to the beach with our church. We had a wonderful time. We met more people from our church and spent the day relaxing and “playing.” Katie, her parents, and Regan came as well, since they also go to our church.

After we arrived, the first thing we did was take a boat to the Laguna Gri-Gri, for about $3 per person. On the way, they showed us a natural pool, cool rock formations, and beautiful coral. The Laguna itself was made from a freshwater spring. It was full of Mangroves, white birds, and vultures. It was very beautiful.

When we got back, we ate lunch. Afterward, Katie and I spent most of the time swimming around or burying ourselves in the sand. There is another little beach from the one where we started to which we could swim. Later, Daniel joined us and we used snorkels and masks to look at all the coral around us. It was a much-needed day to rejuvenate and enjoy life. :)

On Sunday, after church, we went to the home of a Dominican couple that we know through JCS. We enjoyed wonderful food and company!

This week also flew by and we are looking to a weekend of getting work done around the house and relaxing.

As for other news, we bought our tickets to return home over Christmas! We thank God for a wonderful, and unexpected blessing of help in that area. :) Thank you (you know who you are)!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chai found a new resting place
Fast asleep...
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The hike
Playing in the River
Jesse playing catch
Taking the Plunge!
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A Week of Typhoid

It started like a regular cold. Many people in the school were getting sick, so I (Teresa) figured I had caught a cold from one of the students or another staff member. By Friday evening I knew I would be sick, but I was still hoping to fight it off (most of the time my colds go away before they really begin). So, on Saturday Daniel and I went ahead with the hike we had planned. We went with some friends from church, and some kids from the Ark, to Magote, but took a different path than the very difficult one we have done previously. I was grateful for this, as I was feeling a little bit out of it. We walked along for about ½ an hour, until we came to a gate. Daniel and I, Regan, and Allison, a girl who is working at the Ark, went on a little further before turning back to join the rest of the group. We then had a quick lunch and drove to a nearby river to do some swimming. We only stayed for 10-15 minutes, but we had a great time! The activity made me feel much better, and my energy had returned. By Saturday night, however, I had a fever. This surprised me, as I rarely get fevers, and have only had another one other time that I can remember since I was a kid. I stayed home from church Sunday and rested. Daniel was a wonderful help- making me comfortable and taking care of me. That afternoon we got ice cream and took a motorbike drive down to the Confluencia just to cool off- it’s been so hot! On Monday my throat hurt and it was difficult to talk, but I decided to try going to school anyway. I was encouraged by some teachers to get a blood test, just in case, since another teacher had been sick with a type of typhoid. So, on Tuesday morning I missed my first class (another teacher took over) so I could get a blood test. I am very thankful to friends who are willing to help out! Sharon Branson, a missionary and doctor, explained what I needed done, translated the results for me, and told me what medicine I needed. As it turned out, I tested positive for a type of typhoid.

For those of you who know anything about typhoid, this is not “the typhoid fever.” Thankfully, I’ve had an immunization for that, and do not ever want to get it. This is a relative/ strain of typhoid which is not as serious, but still annoying, and there is no vaccine for it. I was told to take Wed. off from school, which I did, much to Daniel’s relief (he wasn’t happy that I didn’t take off on Tuesday). Daniel was very sweet, and visited me during his lunch break. By Wed. night I still didn’t feel better, so I stayed home yet another day (though I was not happy about it). However, I am now glad that I did, as I feel much better and more rested. I am, however, very much looking forward to going back to school tomorrow.

As annoying as typhoid has been, God had definitely shown me how the body of Christ pulls together to help- it has been so encouraging and humbling to know that others have been taking on extra classes, etc. to give me time to rest, as well as praying for me and supporting me. And, of course, I am so thankful for Daniel’s help and love, as he has had to do lots of extra work during this time. Praise the Lord for friends and family! And praise the Lord that I am finally getting better! J

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


For some reason the whole post from yesterday did not get posted, so we just updated it. :) Oh, and the Chinese food turned out very good!

Quite a Week!

School is school, full of its usual stresses and joys. One of Teresa’s students had a tough beginning of the week, but after some discipline and encouragement, he has turned around well and was all smiles by the end of the week. She will also be getting a new student who was here last year and was going to move to the States with her mom, but she’s still here and going to start school now. This brings the number up to 19. Quite different than the 11 she had at the beginning of last year. Her new student also has a brother in 7th grade who will be in my math class.

Another addition to the busy schedule is that Teresa is currently tutoring a high school student 1.5 hours after school on Mondays and Tuesdays. This will only last for 6 weeks, and she is enjoying it. On Wed. and Thurs. evenings, we will be meeting with a Dominican couple for one hour each time: 1 hour to work on Spanish, and one to help them on English. We are looking forward to it!

Our mail just came last week, and with it a bunch of things for our house. The most exciting is a rug we mailed down and sits wonderfully in the main living room. To me, the next most exciting thing is a large battery-powered light in our pantry so we can see what’s there when the power’s out. We also now have more books and school supplies. It was like Christmas opening it all!

Because of the mail delay, I wasn’t able to start one of my grad classes until a week late. It made last week pretty hectic trying to catch up, but it’s all good now. One of our teachers is not going to be staying at JCS, so the two 2nd grade classes are being combined (to make 22). The combining included tearing down the wall between them and reorganizing the whole room. Teresa helped the two teachers on Saturday, while I made Teresa more cubbies to hopefully make it easier on her students packing up after school. So Saturday ended up being: get up at 7:00, run from 8-9, spend our personal time with God, do grocery shopping and the week’s baking, eat lunch, work at school from 1-6, go out to dinner with some other teachers, and then Teresa hung out with a new teacher while I did grad work. Sunday was much more relaxing. We went to church, had lunch with some friends, and then spent the afternoon and dinner together relaxing (and Teresa made granola), and had our first Sunday-night couples Bible study of the year.

More interesting news- we are very seriously considering buying a new motorbike. It belonged to one of last year’s teachers who bought it new, so it seems to be in good shape. It has a much bigger motor and a transmission, so it’s really a motorbike and not a pasola (mo-ped). On top of that, ours is not in good shape at all and seems to be dying under heavier loads and turning into a money drain. We also want to buy a new mattress to save ourselves from back pain and discomfort and, at the moment, we’re not sure we can afford both. Please pray for wisdom and a clear sense of God’s will.

Tonight we’re going out to the new Chinese restaurant for our date night. Our first trial was far from extraordinary, but we think we know the better menu items now (and they didn’t have any egg rolls then).

Feel free to post or e-mail us any prayer requests or praises!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I (Teresa) received an email survey and actually did it! So I thought I'd post it here so everyone could read it. :)
Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. JoAnn Fabrics (exciting! ha!)
2. Teacher Aid at a Special Needs School
3. Teacher in the D.R. Yay!

4. camp counselor!! Loch Shloi! (sp?)

Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. The Princess Bride
2. Star Wars
3. Veggie Tales

Four places you have lived:

1. Wheaton, IL
2. Dallas, TX
3. Upland, IN
4. Jarabacoa, D.R.

Four TV shows you love to watch:

1. MacGyver
2. Remington Steel
3. We have no other
TV seasons on DVDs
4 and we have no TV :)

Four places you have been on vacation:

(All in the past year!)
1. Samana, D.R.
2.Sosua, D.R.
3. Santo Domingo, D.R.
4. Wheaton IL, USA

Websites you visit daily: (or semi-weekly)

1. gmail
4. Blogs

Four of your favorite foods:

1. Rice and Beans hehe!
2. Italian Food
3. Angel Food Cake
4. Asian Food

Four places you would rather be right now:

1. Up on the mountain
2.Down by the beach
3. In Santiago
4. In bed
Friends you think will respond:
Since I'm sending it to the two people that sent it to me:

1. No one. They were the "pre"sponders. I am the responder. :)