the future of Manna DR

23 01 2011

The DR team has exciting plans in store for the future of the Dominican Republic ministry. In order to give the most in-depth explanation possible of what we are planning, I have copied a post from the Manna DR blog site. It’s if you would like to keep up with our team that way! Here it is:


Most of us remember the old adage, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life time.” How true is this in the Christian life? Even though the Great Teacher was known to give some people a fish or two every now and then, He never stopped at that. No one who ever encountered Christ walked away without learning something. That is the mark of a good teacher. It’s safe to say that we have given out plenty of “fish” in our day, but now we are ready to disciple. And what better way to disciple than through a Christian school?

The Lord has put it on our hearts to show the people of this country how amazing the love of God truly is. To do this, though, we need to build deep/long relationships so that He can show that love through us. Our challenge: being able to spend enough time with our kids to form an intimate relationship and actually make a difference in their lives. Our solution: have an intensive discipling program in the form of a school.

We call this a “new” ministry, but it is really just an extension of the ones we already have. The inspiration for this program comes from the kids in our existing Manna DR ministries – the Angel’s, Ranger’s, Estefany’s and Rosmery’s. These are teens that you may already know, and they are searching. They are searching for love and attention – and many times – in all the wrong places. We feel that God is calling us to minister to these children in the Jesus-style of teaching, which will encompass not only their academics, but every other aspect of their lives. We believe that dedicating 40+ hours a week to the spiritual well-being of these students/disciples will allow them to receive that love, attention, and intimate training they so badly need – from a God who loves them unconditionally. That being said, although the plan for this program includes teaching our children “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic,” if that is the only thing these children learn from us, we have failed miserably.

Our plan is to open Manna Christian School in the fall of 2011, with anywhere from 15-20 high-school students. In the future we may look at offering this program to younger children, but for now, we feel that we are most called to mentor to our high-school-age participants. We will use Manna’s existing facilities in both Bobita and Rio San Juan as grounds for the campus. We are currently in the process of building a team (more on that later), putting together curriculum, working out the issues of accreditation and diploma, and retro-fitting our facilities for this project. Needless to say, there is much to be done!

For the benefit of both our students and supporters, MCS will be an all-English school. For the students, this will provide an incredible economic advantage and wider range of job opportunities after graduation. In addition, it will allow greater possibility of involvement for our U.S. counterparts. After opening the school, we plan to have volunteers (individuals and possibly teams) come down to give English, bible, and/or trade classes in a specific area to our children. We know that so many of you love and support both the children and the work here in the DR, and we want to keep you involved as much as possible. Thus, a plan for week-long workshops taught by people like you!!

For the long-term and to create an exit plan for these kids, we would eventually like to start a young adult ministry in the Santiago area. If students from Rio San Juan would like to achieve higher education, they have to do so outside of the area, in a place such as Santiago or Santo Domingo. One of the best universities in the country is located in Santiago, and for this reason, we have plans to set up a campus ministry there. As our students graduate from our program, they will be able to go on to be supported and disciples this ministry, both as “tellers of the good news” and encouragers for those around them.

As you can see, this is neither an easy nor a short-term goal for our Dominican ministry. However, we are so excited about where we feel the Spirit is leading us as a team here in the DR. There is much more to come on the details, but we can’t wait to see how you’re going to be involved! Please join us! We have a large vision document which we are happy to share with you if you’d like more details. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support,

The Manna DR team


back to life, back to reality.

11 01 2011

I decided to make a separate post to recount the goings-on since we have returned to Rio San Juan… this one is not for the faint of heart. Ha.

So, we were in the states for 3 weeks. Evan and I ended up coming in to the states on two different flights (I came in a couple of days early), and apparently (not that I’m casting blame here) someone forgot to lock the door securely as he left the house. Apollo (our 70-pound Weimeraner), stayed at the house while we were gone. Ronald and Rosi went to our house to feed him everyday, and, since we have a fenced-in yard, he just slept (in theory) on the porch by our front door. Apparently he got bored or mad on the first night we were gone, and he pushed his way into the house through the not-securely-locked front door. What ensued was apparently mass chaos, involving a bottle of red acrylic paint, 500 yards of red and green yarn, 2 pairs of my shoes, and other various items. Bless Ronald and Rosi for coming into the house the next day to try and clean up the mess. However, our apartment was in total disarray Sunday night when we got back… including red paint on our only set of clean sheets. Ha.

Probably the most unfortunate part of this story, however, is the other critters who entered the house while the door was open overnight. Upon closer inspection of our guest bedroom, we realized that there was rat poop literally ALL over the room. Leo, being the brave 5-pound dog that he is, marched into the room and started sniffing around the mess. Much to our dismay a huge rat comes out from beneath a pile of clothes, runs to the kitchen, and climbs in the back of the stove, with us screaming like little girls in pursuit of it. At this point, we let Apollo into house, and he then proceeded to chase the rat out of the (2nd floor) window. We thought we were safe. Well, yesterday morning, I went into the kitchen to see what kind of food we had to eat for breakfast. I open the cabinet door to find another sizable rat eating velveeta and staring at me, looking like I was the one out of place. Another scene similar to the night before ensued, and the rat escaped the house, unscathed. Apparently we are not really brave warriors when it comes to this type of battle.

Anyway, after all that excitement, we spent the entire day yesterday washing every dish and sheet and article of clothing that we own. We swept, mopped, scrubbed EVERYTHING, and threw away probably half of our food supply (which had been chewed on by the rats). It appears that we have finally returned to some semblance of normalcy. So there it is – an incredibly rude awakening from the past few weeks!

a blessed furlough.

11 01 2011

For those of you who don’t know, Evan and I just got back from furlough on Sunday. We were able to spend the holidays with our families in the states, and it was awesome. We probably didn’t do much different from what you guys do around Christmas (EAT, sleep, be with family), so I won’t bore you with all the details… but I do have to hit the high points! 🙂

We had a great baby shower in Jackson right before Christmas. Connor really racked up on the goodies. I think we’ll have to change his clothes every 3 hours for the first few months just so he can wear all his new stuff. Thanks so much for all of you guys who helped put that together, and came to the shower, and brought gifts for the baby! And also thanks to the Northside church (where Cory and Laura Beth Lamb are working now) for bringing down all the loot in a few weeks. We appreciate all of you!

As per tradition in the Gilmore family, we spent New Year’s in Gatlinburg with the whole Gilmore clan. Evan was able to go to the (heartbreaking) Music City Bowl in Nashville with his family on the 30th. Being in Gatlinburg involved way too many Krispie Kreme doughnuts than I care to admit to, but we did have a great time. On the 4th, we left for Disney World with Evan’s family, where we stayed until early Sunday morning, when we came back to the DR. It was awesome to have a little bit of a vacation. The next few months look like they might be especially busy, so I’m glad we got to rest up a little on furlough!

Anyway, we were so blessed to be able to spend some time with family and friends over the holiday. It was an awesome experience… now we’re back and ready to get back to work! And definitely enjoying the warm weather after seeing the snow in Chattanooga on Christmas day!