Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Group #6- Austin Stone Community Church

Austin Stone brought a team of 18 who swept in just at the perfect time to bat “clean up!”  After a full summer of soccer camp, summer school, recess, taking Makarios kids to the beach, working on projects around the school…this group came in and worked like crazy to get the school ready for the new school year.  

Walking in Pancho Mateo- one of the
villages that Makarios serves
Playing in Chichigua- one of the
villages that Makarios serves

After overcoming many of the “normal” obstacles that we face on a daily basis (no power, no water, etc) they were flexible and persevered through challenges and their accomplishments were a testimony to their hard work. They built a trash cage, organized the office after a remodeling project, moved the library to a new location, helped teachers prepare their classrooms, painted desks, and completed some of the other unfinished projects from the summer.  They were led well by Wes and Kyle and were a hard working team who served with joy.

Here are some pictures that capture the joy of our village visits!  We play soccer, basketball, paint nails, give piggyback rides (known here as caballito rides), let the kids braid our hair, and just have some good old fashioned fun...loving on kids!

Trash Cage in Progress

Trash Cage Complete

On the last night of the trip, the leaders of the group asked if we could take communion and invite all Makarios staff.    As we sat on the roof under a star-lit sky, surrounded by group members and fellow staff members- Americans, Dominicans and Haitians-I couldn’t help but think that this was a perfect ending to a perfect year.  We were breaking bread together as we celebrated what the Lord had done among us in this place.  Such a powerful moment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Each team that came this summer was such a blessing to us personally and to the ministry.  We are humbled and grateful for the amazing teams that the Lord assembled this summer to come and serve alongside us.  We feel like we have made some lifelong friends- literally from coast to coast- from Texas to Canada, Florida to Washington.  We are blessed.

Love from the DR,

Margaret and Doug

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Group #5 Colonial Baptist Church from North Carolina and Austin Ridge Church from Texas

This past week, we hosted a combined group from Colonial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC and Austin Ridge from Texas. This group accomplished quite a bit for their size.  They were small in numbers, but not in their undertakings.  They organized countless shoes, supplies, constructed cabinets, helped put up a ceiling in our office, played with kids at recess, and helped with the week long soccer tournament.  What a tremendous help this team was to our staff and school.
The Soccer Team at the Beach!

Along with our time at the school, we also spent an afternoon in Chichigua, which is a Haitian batey where many of the Makarios students live. We sat with the men, women and children while making bracelets and sharing smiles and light hearted conversation.  One of the group members spoke Spanish, and used this gift to carry on meaningful conversations, which was a tremendous blessing to all.

The Children Making Bracelets and hearing about the Gospel
 On Wednesday, we invited the Makarios students as well as their friends in the neighborhood to come make a bracelet and hear more about Jesus.  In the afternoon, we walked through the village near the school and invited every kid we saw to join us in our activity.  Over sixty five energetic boys and girls filled the cafeteria after school.  We used different colored beads to explain the gospel and the plan of salvation while also teaching them a few basic English words.    It was the last day of summer school, so they were quite boisterous and FULL of energy.  It was a great time of organized chaos, especially knowing that God’s Word doesn’t return void.

On a personal note, we were thankful to have a veterinarian, Jackie, as one of the team members.  We have tried very hard not to acquire any “pets” while living in the DR.  In the short time we’ve been here, we have eagerly gotten rid of a rooster, 4 puppies and 2 rabbits (and one unwanted cow!)  However, after our best attempts at getting rid of a little kitten that showed up at the Mak House we were not successful- she just kept coming back.  So, we now have a new kitten called, “Kita.”  Previous to knowing Kita, we were not very fond of cats, however, Kita has a spunky little personality and has warmed her way into our hearts.  Jackie came at the perfect time because we had her less than a week when Jackie arrived, so she was a huge blessing in helping us learn how to care for a small kitten.   You just never know when, where or how your gifts will be used...Thank You, Jackie!  (Kita "thanks" you, too!)
Soccer Teams Praying before Championship Game
Loving on some kids!

The teams who have come throughout the summer not only bless the Makarios kids, but they are a blessing to us, too!  Thank You, Austin Ridge and Colonial Baptist!

Love from the DR,

The Becks

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Group #4- Miami Vineyard and Austin Stone Youth

What another amazing week! God continues to bless us beyond what we could ever ask or imagine!  We had the Austin Stone Youth and Miami Vineyard visit Makarios last week and it was a joy to see God at work among His people! ...And boy were they a fun group who knew how to work hard.

We welcomed this group with a great sense of relief because we had an eventful week leading up to their visit.  The week before they came, our power lines were cut so we didn’t have power for one whole week!  Take one minute and imagine what that might be like.  No fans to keep us cool, no light after 8pm except the lights from flashlights and lanterns (but we couldn’t recharge our lanterns, so once they went out they went out!), no food in the fridge, etc.  But we (Doug, the interns, and I) learned that we are pretty resilient because we really did get along just fine and made the most of what had been given to us.  Bible Study and eating dinner by candlelight was a daily routine.  We learned that electricity is a privilege.

Fortunately, power returned to the house on the day they arrived, so that was an added blessing.  These two groups followed the same routine as the previous groups and worked as unto the Lord.  Scott and Chelsea Frazier and Gwen Mercado led their groups with such servant leadership. It was a beautiful example of the body of Christ at work- two different churches, from two different denominations, from two different states coming together to worship, serve and glorify the Lord.  
Nothing like Dominican baseball in the summertime!
They worked hard helping Cakito and Kelvin at soccer camp, as well as helping us finish up the maintenance shed and completing the paint on the remainder of the wall.  It’s amazing what a difference it made!  From grey cinderblock walls to yellow and cream- it looks so fresh and clean.

One day during recreo (or recess) the students were transformed into princesses and superheros. 

But, check out the Texas Longhorn Mascot
in the background intimidating the princesses!

It was such a hit that this became a part of recreo for the rest of the week. The kids loved putting on costumes and assuming the appropriate role.  It was a joy to watch them play around in the school yard with their newly acquired personality!

Once again, we were blessed beyond belief.  We made lifelong friends who we were sad to see go.  However, we are hopeful we will see them again in the DR.  This trip was life changing for so many…here’s a  post on Facebook from one of the girls who was on the trip.  

"I was so blessed to work with Makarios International this past week.  It was by far the best experience of my life, and being able to minister to the Dominican Republic changed my life forever..."

Thanks for joining us on the journey!
The Becks

Here's a few pics of Miami Vineyard.  

They let some of the best hairdressers on the Island do their hair!

They also gave great piggyback rides which the kids LOVE!

More pictures of the team hard at work...

Austin Stone Group Shot

Miami Vineyard at the Airport