Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lessons from Silvia...Faith, Hope and Love ❤️

Our First Picture with Miguelina and Silvia in 2011

As many of you know, on March 1st we lost a very special member of our family, sweet Silvia.  She lived right around the corner and for years has been a “permanent fixture” at the MAK House.  As soon as we moved here in 2012,  she became like a daughter to us.  We loved having her around and she was a constant companion for Margaret- willing to help in any way or tag along for a few quick errands.  And she could often be found at our kitchen table doing her homework with Paco.

On March 1st, she suddenly passed away after spending a short time in the hospital.  Although God did not answer our prayers the way we had hoped, He sees the big picture and answered our prayers of healing in a way that would bring glory to Him. We miss her every day, but are thankful for the ways God has used her life and death for His eternal purposes. God has shown his kindness towards us in countless ways the midst of our pain.  On the night before she passed away as we were leaving the hospital, Silvia said, "I love you like a mother and a father" and we responded, "You know we love you like our own daughter." This wasn't the first time she had said this, but we are grateful for our final words to each other, especially since we had no idea this would be the last visit we would have with her.  What a gift from above...

In these past weeks following her death, we have given thanks to God for using Silvia's life and death to remind us why God called us to the Dominican Republic.  "God teaches me to view pain as a holy invitation to know Him more so I can share Him more."  -Katie Davis Majors

We had the privilege of sharing a few things at her funeral and memorial services, and wanted to share them with you, as well.  

Here's what we shared:
There are so many things that we will miss about Silvia...
  • -We will miss hearing her greet us, “Hola Margaret, Hola Paco”
  • -We will miss hearing our window slide open at the Mak House and hear her shouting, “Margaret...Paco.” 
  • -We will miss her helpfulness around the house.  She was always asking, “Can I help?”   She loved helping get ready for a team, washing dishes, sweeping...she always wanted to help Margaret.
  • -We will miss her birthday reminders.  She had an amazing ability to remember everyone’s birthday.  One year, we had a team in town and I (Margaret) COMPLETELY forgot Paco’s birthday- Silvia thought that was hilarious and she never let me forget it.  She loved reminding me of the story.  Every year following this mistake, she would help me remember when March 16 was approaching.
  • -We will miss her coming over to do her homework.
  • -We will miss her generous spirit.  She loved to share what she had, and loved getting things for others instead of herself.
And we will miss her hugs...she loved to give big hugs.
Out of a thousand things, these are just a few of the things we will miss about her, but we are also grateful for the lessons her short life taught us.  Silvia had a difficult life, but she loved her life...it was the life God had given her.  In the midst of a difficult life, Silvia embraced 1 Corinthians 13:13..."Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love."

Faith
Silvia had faith.  Even in the hospital, during her greatest trial, she would ask her sister and others to read the Bible and sing worship songs with her because her faith didn’t waiver in the midst of suffering.  Because of her faith in Christ, we know she is with now with Him.  1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son, has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life...”
Silvia has eternal life because of her faith in Jesus. As you think about Silvia and her faith, consider Jesus and the gift of eternal life that he offers to those who believe in him.

Hope
Silvia had hope.  Her life was a struggle, but she rarely complained.  She knew what it meant to persevere through trial.  James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Silvia knew how to persevere.  If you spent one minute with Silvia, you witnessed her hope and joy.  She was full of joy and had a smile that would light up a room.  

Love
Silvia knew the love of God, and she was loved by SO many people.  She valued relationships and impacted so many lives by just being herself.  Silvia might have lost her biological parents at a young age, but she had many moms and dads who loved her like their own.  God also surrounded her with people who loved her...and she loved people!  She was always asking if she could FaceTime someone she knew from the US just to talk.  She never met a stranger and was a friend to everyone.  Silvia knew how to love, because God first loved her.

Silvia had big dreams for her future.  She wanted to be a teacher and a flight attendant- we have no doubt she would have been successful at doing both.  However, God had bigger plans for her life.  While they were not our plans, we trust in God’s Sovereignty.  We know God is good.  We know He is merciful, and We know He loves Silvia more than we ever could.  And although we miss her terribly, we can rest knowing that that God will take care of those of us who are left behind, and we look forward to spending eternity with her.  


May Silvia’s life and death draw many people into a closer relationship with her Savior.  As we remember Silvia, we remember these 3 words...Faith, hope and love...but the greatest of these is love.  Thank you and may God bless you.




So many of you have reached out to us and have prayed for us.  Words cannot convey how much we appreciate you walking with us through this difficult season.  We are so very grateful that we are able to grieve with HOPE.  Please keep us in your prayers.

In the midst of our pain, we know we are blessed.

Love,
Margaret and Doug




Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Silvia Batista- Feb 2, 2002 - March 1, 2018

This picture was taken in December when she graduated from English school.
If you’ve ever been to Makarios, you know how much
Silvia has been a part of our lives personally...and has been a part of the Makarios Family.  She lost her parents when she was an infant, and so Makarios and the church have played a significant role throughout her life.  After battling several different ailments for the past few weeks, her little body just couldn’t fight anymore.  At the age of 16, she went to be with the Lord on Thursday.  There’s so much we want to say to honor her precious life...and WILL say, but right now, the grief and pain are too raw. However, we do want to take a moment to say, “Thank You.”

Thank you to Lucia , who helps at the Mak House, and her entire family who ministered to us in our deepest grief.  On Thursday, when we told Lucia and her son, Abrahan to pray for Silvia, she called her husband to go to the hospital so he could pray for her.  He showed up in God’s perfect timing- just a few moments after Silvia passed away.  He was able to minister to her friends and family who had just received the devastating news.

Thank you to Abrahan, Catalina, and Elisabeth, our dear friends (and Lucia's children) who comforted us at the funeral and showed up at our house 2 evenings in a row to offer their gift of presence.  They also showed up the next day to prepare a meal and clean our house...just because they care.

Thank you to Jenna, Kiki, Adrienne, and Emily- our Mak Staff Friends- who prepared a meal for us after the funeral and came to our house to minister to us.  We truly felt loved and cared for by these ladies.

Thank you to Odilsia, our school cook, who made coffee for the countless people who showed up at Silvia’s house for the viewing.  She stayed throughout the night so others could come and pay their respects.  She also made arrangements for the gathering at Silvia’s house after the burial and served refreshments, even after staying up the entire night.  What a selfless servant.

Thank you to Cory, Ashly, Aldo, Bella, Nicole, Benja and our other Makarios Staff for making so many of the funeral arrangements- too many to list.

Thank you to Bernabe for driving me and Milka around to find a dress for Silvia to be buried in.  God led us to the perfect store- we found a beautiful dress in the first store we walked into.

Thank you to Benjamin for waiting for hours with Doug as he waited to pay the bill at the hospital.

Thank you to Milka, who was with her the morning she passed away, and thank you for being there to comfort me during my greatest trial.

Thank you to Daribelto, a Makarios teenager, for the kindest gesture.  As I stood by Silvia’s graveside grieving, he silently handed me the flowers he had brought to the cemetery to place on her grave, so that I could place them on her grave instead.

Thank you to Templo Biblico and my Makarios Family who did so much for Silvia...both in her life and in her death.  I appreciate it more than words can express.

Thank you to the pastors at Templo who have loved and cared for Silvia long before we moved to the DR.

Thank you to her sponsors- Chris and Erika, Cyndy, Jordan and Bridget who loved Silvia like their own.

Thank you for her sister, Miguelina, and her friends, Lily, Delidio, and Guadalupe who took such great care of her and spent the night with her while she was in the hospital.

Thank you for the literally thousands of group members from the States who have loved her, prayed for her, and played with her throughout the years.  It seems like everyone has a “Silvia story.”  She LOVED our Makarios teams.

Thank you to our friends, families, and supporters who have reached out via email, text, and phone calls to express their condolences.  We have been blessed and comforted in significant ways.  We can’t thank you enough for loving us through this painful time.

Thank you to Richie who shared the gospel with her on March 18, 2016.  That was the most important decision she ever made and was confident in her salvation.

I’m sure in our grief we have forgotten to mention others by name who have played an important part in Silvia’s beautiful, but painful story.  Please know that God sees...and we are grateful for the entire body of Christ who has played a role in Silvia’s life and death.

And last, but certainly not least...Thank you to our Heavenly Father who gives us hope...therefore we can rejoice in her death.

It has taken a village, but what a beautiful legacy she left.  Our loss is great,  but her victory is greater...and in that promise, we have hope.  Please keep us, her friends and family in your prayers as we grieve.

“I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Snapshots and Highlights...

There are way too many Summer highlights to list, but here are a few that stand out:



Our Summer Interns
Teaching Vacation Bible School in
 4 communities throughout the summer

Milka and her 2 precious kiddos!
Milka is our newest staff member with Group Ministry
and has been one of God's greatest gifts to us this summer

Ministering alongside some of our
favorite churches and group members


Hosting 3 new churches

Evening Outreaches for youth and their families

Using our NEW outdoor dining area
Hosting Soccer Camps for local adolescent boys

Hosting Basketball Camps for local adolescent boys



...And serving alongside 198 people who served with Makarios and stayed at the Mak House this summer!
There are thousands of moments and photos we could have shared, but these are just a few.  What an amazing 9 weeks!  Not to us, but to God be the glory!

Thanks for joining us on this journey.  

We are grateful...
The Becks

"Let us consider how we can spur one another on towards love and good deeds."  Hebrews 10:24

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Logos Prep is in the House



We were delighted to host Logos Prep for the 3rd time this past May.  Our partnership with this school has been such a blessing and we appreciate their commitment to being a part of the Makarios family.

Outdoor Movie Night
for our neighbors
For the first time ever, we hosted a "Movie Night" and invited those who live around us.  We made several pounds of popcorn and showed the movie on a big screen under our newly constructed (and recently finished) patio.  The gospel was shared and many Bibles were handed out.  It was fun night that was full of energy and such a blessing and a treat to our neighbors and friends. 

Fun was had by all at the 3rd grade pool party at the Mak House.  Logos Prep sponsors the 3rd grade class at Makarios and so it was awesome to see the students from both schools interact.  They played in the water, ate lunch together, played a giant game of Jenga, and even played a game of "telephone" in English and Spanish!  If interested in finding out more about a classroom sponsorship, click HERE.



One of my personal highlights from the week was seeing the interaction between one of the students on the trip and her sponsor student.  A student's family from Logos Prep sponsors Emmerson, and she was able to meet him during her trip.  Emmerson was so excited to show her his class, where he sits and where he keeps his school supplies.  After school, they walked to his house where she had the opportunity to meet his dad.  It's partnerships like this that speaks to the heart of what Makarios is all about and what we are called to do in the Dominican Republic.

 


Our greatest need right now is sponsorship for our local Dominican and Haitian teachers.  If interested in learning more, click HERE to see which teachers need to be sponsored.  This is such a great investment.  Doug and I sponsor 2 teachers and have been blessed to be a part of this sponsorship program.  We have AMAZING teachers who invest deeply in the lives of the Makarios students.  What a great investment!

Logos Prep was also instrumental in helping us prepare for the summer teams. They cleaned, painted, moved furniture, did yard work and so much more.  They helped us accomplish things that have been on our list for several years that we just never have time to get done.  It was a great feeling to finally mark those things off our list.

Thank you, Logos Prep, for loving and caring for the staff and students of Makarios.  You are like family to us.  We are grateful for your partnership and look forward to seeing you next year!

Love,
The Becks

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58


POOL PARTY AT THE MAK HOUSE for the 3rd graders




Friday, March 24, 2017

Hug A Dentist Today!




We had the privilege of hosting the Dental Team again this year.  Dr. Bud Neeley and Dr. Laurie Bradley (Barton Oaks Dental),  and Dr. Josh Tomasik (Tomasik Family Dental) are amazing dentists from the Austin area who always bring an incredible team to minister to our students and staff.  This was our 5th year to host this team, but Dr. Bud has been offering his dental services to the Makarios Family since almost the beginning.  One thing that is extra special about this team is that they have many returning members each year, so it’s like hosting a little reunion of friends every time they come.  They have quickly become treasured friends and are such a blessing to us personally. 
This year, Doug and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary by getting our teeth cleaned.  You know what they say, “A couple who flosses together stays together.”


Here’s a video that they put together about their week here. 
Thank You, Dental Team! 
We appreciate all that you do to keep the Makarios Family and School healthy! 
See you next year.



Video Credit:  Daisy Tabarez

We love you guys and appreciate your prayers, love and encouragement from afar.  Thanks for joining us in the journey!
Love from the DR,
The Becks

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Back In the DR!

Home, Sweet, Home!  
After being in the States for 4 months, I (Margaret) received a clean bill of health and we finally returned to the DR on January 6th! Hallelujah!

This picture makes me so happy.  It symbolizes so many things that I love here.
The people, the culture, God's creation!
I couldn't help but try to capture this moment as I went up to get Silvia's laundry.


It has been great to be back.  The day after we returned, we began doing what we love- HOSTING!  We've had people in our home since the day after we got here... and it's been awesome! Cole & Win (former summer interns) and Stewart (our nephew) and Sharla (founder of Makarios) were in town for a wedding and it was fun to have people back in the house.  
Cole & Win with us at the wedding
As soon as we dropped them off at the airport, we picked up Silvia who has been staying with us for over a week.  She has been a complete joy to have in our home and she will be here until Thursday. 

The Dental Team arrived on Saturday, and they've been busy doing what they do best- providing excellent dental care to our students, staff, and community members.  Stay tuned for another post with details about their time here!
Cole, Win, and Stewart- Looking like tourists!
Me and Silvia

We are grateful for a new year and new beginnings!  Thanks for your love, prayers, and support, not only throughout our journey in the DR but especially during this past year.  And we especially want to thank everyone who prayed for my health and gave towards our medical needs.  We are truly blessed...and grateful!

Love,
The Becks

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Friday, October 14, 2016

An Update from the States



We are grateful for a quiet place
to rest while in the States.
"My soul finds rest in God alone."
Psalm 62
As many of you might already know, we have returned to the States to address some of the health issues Margaret has been facing since last January, and we thought it was time for an update.  We continue to be encouraged by the news we are receiving from the doctors regarding Margaret’s health, although she is not out of the woods yet.  Margaret continues to improve and is having more good days than bad, so we are thankful.  She will have more tests in November, and will see her endocrinologist and infectious disease doctors in November and December.  Depending on the reports we receive from her doctors, and the condition of her health, we are tentatively planning on returning to the DR in January, but we will wait to make that decision until we have more info.  Thank you for all who have prayed for us.  Even in the midst of this season, we are constantly saying to each other, “The Lord has been so good to us,” or, “The Lord has protected us,” or “The Lord continues to provide for us.”  So, although this season is not ideal, we are grateful for the countless ways we see the Lord’s kindness and goodness. 

We are also thankful for the Lehrs who are continuing the Lord’s work in the DR in our absence. They are hosting teams in the Mak House and are holding down the fort while we are away. Having them in the DR has given us great peace as we work on our health issues in the US.

Before we sign off, we wanted to share with you some insights from Elise.  Elise is a senior at Cedar Ridge High School and has been to the DR several times with Fellowship Round Rock.  May you be encouraged by what the Lord taught her this summer.  Elise, thank you for sharing your experience with us!


Elise in Pancho Mateo
"Each year, I have flown into the Santiago airport thinking about the impact I will make when I get there. And each year I leave reminded about the impact the Dominican Republic has on me.

     We visited Makarios the last week of soccer camp, meaning that at the end of the week, there would be a competitive soccer game between two of the four teams. Watching the game is always bright and lively, exciting and celebratory. Each boy playing on the field has a blast, and every fan watching has equally as much fun. The sun’s rays are constantly on the back of our necks, exhausting our group, but never stopping the boys from playing at their full potential. Since it is the championship game, the boys receive medals and trophies at an award ceremony that takes place directly after the game. As the game comes to an end, the blue team celebrates their victory and both teams rehydrate. I slowly walked back to the school, drenched in more sweat than I’ve ever been before. I took a seat on the cold, cement floor in the back of the school cafeteria. The boys shuffled in excitedly and took their seats, eager to receive their awards. Parents, siblings, and friends of the soccer players scrambled in as well and found a chair. The room buzzed with small talk, victory cheers, and an overwhelming amount of joy. However, in that moment, I felt drained. I was unable to notice how evident the Lord’s glory was shining in that cafeteria. I sat in the back, hoping no one would approach me to try and start a meaningful conversation.
Elise and Her Sweet Little Friend
Glancing around the room, I noticed the sweet face of one of the boys’ sisters, about eight years old, sitting in the lap of my friend. We made eye contact, and she lifted herself off my friend and scooted next to me. She grasped my hair and braided it gently. Then she plopped down on my lap. She began to make silly faces at my friend and I, causing us to laugh hysterically. She hugged me then rested her head on my shoulder. My heart softened. Of course the Lord knew exactly what I needed in that moment. I was so oblivious of the obvious joy around me, so He sent that little bundle of joy my way. Her love and compassion for me when I stopped pursuing the mission I was there for was such a sweet reminder of the constant love and compassion God has for me when I forget to pursue Him. I’m so thankful for a God who extends such grace toward a sinner such as I."


May you be blessed!  We love you and thank you for joining us in the journey!

With Love,
The Becks