the end is near.

12 12 2012

 

 

(This space is me obviously ignoring the fact that I haven’t blogged in like a year)

 

OK, so I know it’s been a while. Like a LONG while. But I’ve got some news that we wanted to share with everyone, and I thought this would be a great way to do it. First, we had another baby in July, Anniston Grace. (Surprise! Nobody knew that, I bet 🙂 ). And secondly, we’re pregnant! (NOT! Please don’t spread that rumor. It just seems like the only time I use this blog is to announce that we are procreating.) Enough jokes, now onto the good stuff.

The end of January marks 3 years since Evan and I (a family of 2 at the time!) left the states for language school in Guatemala and then consequently moved to the DR. Our lives have been so richly blessed by our time here in so many ways. We have made some really great new friends; gotten closer to some old friends; grown as a family, both physically and spiritually; and seen God do some really awesome things here in the DR through the lives of people around us. Being a missionary is serious business, and it’s DEFINITELY not always the easiest job in the world, but I would be willing to bet that’s it’s one of the most rewarding.

One great thing about mission work is that it encourages you to depend on God to lead you and guide your decisions, both big and small. In this case, the decision is big. When Evan and I decided to extend our 2-year commitment here in the DR into an indefinite-amount-of-time-commitment, we basically said that we would stay until 1.) We felt like the school was well-established and could carry on in our absence, and 2.) God was bringing new people to fill the void that we would leave when we moved back to the states. By the grace of God, we feel like those two goals have have met, and it seems that our time here has come to an end. All that is to say that this December will be our last month in the DR. 

We are both excited and sad, both relieved and apprehensive that this day has come. Most of all, we feel at peace with the situation. In and of itself, that is a huge affirmation of this decision, because we have prayed for months for God to grant us peace about this. Even though there are so many people we are leaving behind that we are (seriously!) going to miss, we feel like this is the right thing for our family right now.

Evan and I feel so blessed to have been a part of this mission team here in the DR. We feel humbled that God has been able to use us in the place to (hopefully) make a difference in the lives of some of these kids that we love so much. And we will continually be looking for a way to stay involved in the ministry here, as well as in the lives of our team members and students. What we’re asking for now is that all of you will keep us in your prayers during this time of transition, as we are looking for jobs and trying to re-establish our life in the states (Chattanooga, to be exact). Similarly, pray for the team here as they adjust to all the personnel changes (us leaving; Jeff Reese, the Lambs, and the Werts coming on in the next few months). Finally, thank you all SO much for the many ways you have supported us over the past 3 years, whether it be through prayers, visits, or financially. We love and appreciate you all! Thanks!

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First day of classes at MCS: Success!

5 09 2011

I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting word on our first day of school today. So here it is! Most of this post will be pictures, but let me just say that our first day went better than anyone could have expected. Our students were excited about being here, they participated in class, and they adjusted well to all the changes we threw at them. Thanks so all of you who have been thinking about us and praying for us over the past days and months. God definitely blessed our first day here, and we’re all excited to see what this year has in store. Without further adieu, here are some pics from today.

Excited about the first day of school!

 

All together!

 

Our students singing the Dominican national anthem, which we'll do every day.

 

Breakfast

 

Nataniel and Cristopher enjoying their first school breakfast 🙂

Evan with his English class

Audrey with her English group

 

Connor's first day of school!

Has it really been a year since we decided to do this?! Can't believe it's finally happening 🙂





Supplies and facilities: Finished!

5 09 2011

One of our finished classrooms. All ready for students!

 

 

Uniforms, notebooks, backpacks, planners... ready!

 

Food for the month... ready!

 

Classroom #2

 

Teacher workroom... listo!

 

These are just a few teaser pics. More to come on the first day of school soon!





love bug.

16 08 2011

Maybe it’s the gorgeous backdrop. Maybe the Dominican hospitality and good cookin’ bring out the best in visiting team members. Or, more likely, maybe God’s just at work here, but  the Dominican Republic has an impressive resume when it comes to bringing together great Christian couples (Evan and I included!). This post is dedicated to another couple to have recently been bitten by the Dominican love bug. This past Saturday, Audrey Parker and Jordan Crow, two of the newest members to our DR team, got engaged. We are so excited for them as they get ready to start out their new life together (they’re getting married in December!). We love these dear friends so much and know that they will share an incredible life of service together. Here’s a few pictures from the exciting day!

 

 

 





absence makes the heart grow fonder.

26 07 2011

Although I do believe that in many situations absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, the title of this blog is more of an excuse for my recent bloglessness than an indication of what I’m writing about today. It has been 3 months and 7 days since I last blogged. I know this because it was right after my sweet Connor entered the world. And boy, have we been busy since then. 🙂

This summer has been an eventful one in many ways, and as it draws to a close, the excitement and apprehension about our upcoming school year is really starting to set in. Last week we picked out uniforms – it doesn’t get much more official than that! Overall, I would say that through many different avenues, the theme of the past few months has been affirmation the mission of our discipling program is from God. As our 23 students have been involved with the groups this summer, we have witnessed tremendous growth in their linguistic abilities, their openness to the Manna team and visitors, their maturity, and their spiritual mindedness. This is a huge affirmation for our idea that the more time we are able to spend with our “disciples,” the greater the impact our Christian influence will have on their lives. Another huge encouragement has been the arrival of 3 new team members this summer. We added Jill Rhodes in January, and since then Audrey Parker (from Texas), Jordan Crow (Arkansas), and Glenn Weaver (Tennessee) have all joined our team. Seeing the Manna DR team grow like this has been such a blessing to all of the existing Manna team members. On the reverse side of that coin, it seems that Satan has been after us this summer, through a break-in (everyone’s OK), a life-threatening allergic reaction (of a visiting team member – she’s fine now), and various other personal struggles throughout the team. However, I can honestly say that these experiences have been growing experiences for the DR team, as we are prayerfully looking at these experiences as confirmation of the spiritual impact this program could have on our kids’ lives. We are told in James 1 to “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Throughout all the ups and downs this summer has brought, I truly believe that we are being affirmed in our direction with this ministry, and I am so thankful for that.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been and continue to support this ministry… we are so blessed! And I ask that you will keep us all in your prayers as we tie up all the loose ends to get our program up and running on September 5.





Connor’s Here!

21 04 2011

We are so excited to announce that our newest “team” member has finally arrived!  Our baby boy Connor Evan was born on Monday, April 18th, at 8lbs and 19 1/2 in. long.  Connor was born at HOMS Hospital in Santiago, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Since the birth was scheduled in advance, Rachel’s parents were able to fly in for the arrival of their newest grandson.  Thanks to a lot of prayers and the grace of God, everything went great, and both momma and baby are doing wonderfully. We know that so many thoughts and prayers went up on our behalf, and we are truly grateful for all the love and support that we have been shown throughout this entire process.  We know that Connor is an incredible gift from God and we are so excited to see all the amazing plans He has in store for him! Now on to the important part…. the pictures!
!





School supplies

25 02 2011

Here are a few pictures of all our new school supplies… All of this came in with the Northside group a few weeks ago. Desks, books, and tables came from a drive Cheryl Mynatt helped put together at Boyd-Buchanan.