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)!