Friday, August 21, 2015

Teams #6 Crosspointe Church in Austin, TX and Sagemont in Houston, TX!

Our Final Summer Teams!

A Craft from VBS

Summer 2015 ended with a bang! We had two churches- Sagemont from Houston and Crosspointe from Austin- join us for our final week of group ministry this summer.

The Sagemont women and the team from Crosspointe combined efforts to help us finish out the playground at school, projects at the Mak House and conducted 2 VBS activities for our neighborhood children. These teams worked diligently to help us finish strong! Both teams did an incredible job teaching and coordinating VBS at the Mak House for approximately 40 (or more!) children each day. The kids loved the crafts they made and both teams had a creative approach in teaching God’s Word. The children who live around the Mak House do not attend the Makarios school, so we are always encouraged when teams reach out to those who live in our community.

the Sagemont men led an outreach in Chichigua for the men in that community centered around the film Courageous. It was a huge success as older men as well as younger guys showed up to hear the message that was preached over the course of four evenings. 
                                                           For the final night of this outreach, the families of the
Making the Tool Boxes for the Outreach
men were invited to come for dinner and worship. 
The purpose of the outreach was to empower the men to use godly tools to be good husbands, dads, and men. To illustrate this, Sagemont built 40 toolboxes and filled them with tools they can use to find work. 
Completed Tool Box

These were given to the men who attended the outreach all 4 nights. The pastor in Chichigua will follow up the men who participated in the outreach and we are excited to see the fruit from this week. We’ve already heard one encouraging story from one of our young students. He told his teacher at Makarios that his dad had been staying at home at night which was something that he had not done in a long time.
On the final night of the Men's Outreach, the men who
attended all 4 nights received a certificate, and
each wife received a rose.

It was a jam-packed 8 days to say the least. Included in our final week, in no particular order, were: significant flight delays, severe migraines, seesaws made from tires, lost luggage, sharing the Gospel with 40 kids, an emergency appendectomy, repairing toilets, building 40 tool boxes, taking our 45 soccer camp kids to the beach, painting our iron gates, flat tires, family emergencies back home, wonderful worship from our Dominican staff…and the best part is that God was glorified through it all!

Repairing Toilets
The Soccer Camp at the Beach!

On a personal note…during this final week, we had a huge answer to prayer! Our beloved friend and watchie (security guard) Miguel became a new believer in Christ! After years of praying for him, he recognized his need for a Savior and that he was not good enough to reach Heaven on his own. Late one night, in the carport, Miguel put his trust in Jesus for the first time. He has always been a dear friend and the hardest of workers, and now we share the common bond of Christ. Thank you to all who have prayed and/or talked with him in the past about our Lord! We have already seen significant changes in his life and can’t wait to see his impact for the Gospel in our community.

Thank You, Team Crosspointe and Team Sagemont.  You were an amazing blessing and we are thankful for your service to the saints!

What an amazing summer!  Not to us, but to God be the glory.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. 

We are Blessed,
Doug & Margaret

The Crosspointe Team!

The Sagemont Team!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reflections From A Hospital Bed

A Rainbow Outside the Hospital on the Day We Were Leaving!
A Reminder of God's Promises!
There's a first time for everything. After serving in the DR for 3 years, and hosting 1000 people at the MAK House, we had our first trip to the hospital with a team member. I knew this day would happen eventually, and I'm thankful for the outcome. Once again, the Lord put us in a situation where we had to completely depend on Him for wisdom- and we are grateful.

Meet Nicole Cox- a precious 16 year old from Austin. On her first night in the DR, we rushed her to the hospital because of severe abdominal pain. After blood work, scans, and a sonogram the evidence was clear...she needed to have an emergency appendectomy. The doctor's words were not what we were expecting, nor was it what Nicole or her parents (who were in the States) wanted, but she was not in any condition to be flown home and she needed surgery immediately.

I'm so thankful for the body of Christ! We had 2 churches staying with us during this week and God provided exactly what we needed. The teams were amazing and stepped in to fill in the gaps. We had a nurse (Jenny) from the other church who helped with Nicole's care as well as a translator (Claudia) who was a huge help at the hospital and provided a great sense of comfort to us all!  Jeanette, from Nicole's team, took great care of her and was a blessing to me (personally) at the hospital. We had friends (thank you Ryan and Courtney!) and amazing interns helping us host the teams while I was away, and we had friends from the DR (Perla & Jody) come to the hospital from 1am-3am to translate for us to make sure we weren't missing anything. God is so good!

I'm thankful that God does not waste the pain. Just a few days after Nicole was released from the hospital, this is what she wrote:

August 6, 2015
I would say that mission trips, as well as most other things in life, never go as planned...Even when the past 3 months were spent to do just that- plan.  My idea for this trip turned into something I absolutely never imagined.  I started off the first day with a home sickness pain in my side, which later that pain turned into an infection in my appendix.  My first day in the Dominican Republic also turned into my first surgery.  I couldn't find a good reason why God would fly me all this way to sit in a hospital bed.  After I realized all the support I had in a place with no family, and doctors who spoke little to no English, I knew God was showing me how important it is to give to someone in need, even if all you can do is sit by them and talk, or watch Judge Judy (Margaret!) I've come back to the Mak House to finish out the rest of my trip.  I can't do much, but I know all you need to give in a place filled with this much love is your best.  I can't thank Margaret and Doug enough for creating such an amazing environment.  This place really showed me that family isn't about blood, but it's about the unconditional love you share in the most simple of things, you do them together as a family, a big Mak House family.
-Nicole Cox

Me, Nicole, and Jeanette

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Team #5- Austin Ridge

Austin Ridge returned again and this time they brought a group of 36- We had junior high students as well as a team of families serving together during this week.  We had a blast with them and it was so fun to see familiar faces. So many great conversations took place over the week and we were truly blessed by this team.  Manny, Jenny and James led the charge once again, and we LOVED having them back.  I can't tell you how much it blesses us when we have friends (who feel like family) return to minister alongside us.

This week for our blog, we have Hannah sharing about her experience while visiting the DR.  THANK YOU, Hannah for coming to serve and love on this community.  We loved having you here.
Hannah with Mercedes

My name is Hannah Terry and I am going to be a senior at Lake Travis High School next year. I absolutely love serving others and using the gifts that God has blessed me with to bless others. When I originally asked if I could go on a mission trip, my parents said no because they didn't think we had any time to do it over the summer with being busy with my job, and other summer camps. When I kept asking about it, they decided that they would look into it, which is when we found out about the trip to the Dominican Republic. My brother had gone on the same mission trip several years before it and had come home with great memories and a greater view of the world, so I was thrilled when my dad told me that we were going, along with my younger brother Daniel!

During our week in the DR, I served on the Vacation Bible School team. Makarios had been running a VBS program all summer and our group was there for the final week of it. These kids turned out to be some of the sweetest, happiest, and most energetic kids I have ever met! Before the trip, I had taken 3 years of Spanish at my high school, but I was not anywhere near being conversational. To my surprise, I was able to communicate with the kids with what little I knew. The first two days I was helping in the Bible lesson of the VBS and it was so cool to see the kids react to Benjamin (Dominican staff member of Makarios who oversaw the VBS all summer), and what he was saying about the Gospel. On the third day of VBS we had pre-school and kindergarten, and I helped with games. Those kids had so much energy! They were so much fun to play with and hear their giggles and laughter as we playing the spanish version of "Simon Says" and "Red light/Green light" -- which were chosen in order to reinforce that day's lesson about listening and obedience.

Over the course of the summer, Makarios has a new group come to serve every week, so the kids were used to seeing new Americans every week come to their VBS/soccer and walk through their villages. To me, having a new group of foreigners walk through your community to see how you live seemed a little intrusive, but Makarios has established such strong relationships with the people that live there that they are welcoming to us. As soon as the kids saw us hop out of the guaguas (vans), they immediately tried to grab each of us for their own, like we were their best friend for the afternoon. It was a joy for me to get to play with the kids and hear their sweet laughs and see them smile wider than I could ever imagine just because we were there to play with them!

Although we went a week with out some of our comforts like having to take cold showers (which by the way were wonderful after a long hot day), electricity that went in and out, no air conditioning, rooster crows to wake you up at dawn, and trying to position yourself under the small fans so you could cool off before bed... I would not trade my week there for anything! I learned that the true value is not in the material possessions and comforts that you have, but rather in the way that you live your life without them. We could have sulked about not having AC or having to wash dishes for 40 people with no dishwasher, but when we were working together to get it done, it didn't seem like work. Not to mention, we actually got used to not having AC and it was hilarious to watch everyone's face as we walked through the doors of the airport and the AC hit them. IT WAS COLD!

I am so blessed to have been able to go on this trip! This past week was full of laughter of sweet children whose language I barely spoke, whose smiles could light up the whole world, whose energy could power New York, and whose love could change the world. I encourage you to go look into what Makarios is doing for the wonderful people of the Dominican Republic. They have many opportunities to sponsor the amazing kids in their school, or support the staff who are there to serve the Lord and the kids at the Makarios school.

Just another beautiful sunset at the Mak House

Thank you, Hannah for sharing your story!  

If you want to join in on what God is doing in the DR through Makarios, we are always looking for others who want to partner with us.  You can click here to begin that partnership.  GRACIAS! credits go to Hannah Terry and Jamie Hatcher.  :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Summer Team #4- Austin Stone Youth

Our 4th team of the summer was a group of 33 high school students and 4 leaders from the Austin Stone. Their youth pastors, Scott and Stan, have come on previous trips and have become like family to us. They brought several returning students, so it's always fun to have familiar faces return!

We did a lot of the same activities that we have been doing throughout the summer: VBS, Soccer Camp, and Projects. However, we wanted to highlight 2 of our favorite activities that happened this week: a basketball game and baptisms.

Basketball Game

Makarios hosted a basketball game in one of the communities where we serve- Pancho Mateo. Cakito, who is our chaplain, lives in Pancho and coaches a local team. It was so fun to see the community come out to cheer their hearts out! It was an amazing night and definitely one of our highlights! The night was full of energy, enthusiasm, joy and competitiveness! It was a highly competitive game and Pancho Mateo edged the American team 47-45.  Needless to say, it was exciting.  At halftime, Nathan (a high school student) shared about his life and some of his struggles, which were similar to the struggles that are faced here. Many of those who heard his story could relate to his situation. Nathan didn't just share about his struggles, but he also shared about the hope he found through putting his faith in Christ.  
Nathan Sharing his Testimony at Half Time

Margaret Baptizing Chloe

We had a meaningful end to the week. Three students who came on the trip asked to be baptized! One student placed his faith in a Christ for the first time, and the other 2 had never been baptized as a believer and while in the DR, through their devotional time with the Lord, decided that they wanted to make that public declaration. On Friday, we had a special time of worship on the beach led by the students, followed by 3 baptisms. It was a powerful moment. Stan, the youth pastor, summed it up beautifully by saying, "Our time of worship and baptism on the beach was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced in student ministry. To see this group worship Christ for the new life He brings to us, as well rally around Hanan and celebrate for him was unbelievable."
Chloe after she was baptized

One of our personal prayers when we moved to the DR was that we would create an environment in the MAK House where those who came would experience God in new and powerful ways. It's been encouraging to see God answer those prayers throughout our time here, and this week was no exception. To God be the Glory!  

Thank You, Austin Stone Youth for an unbelievable week!  See you next year!

The Beck's

Look at our new FUN playground for the little kids!
This team helped us paint and position the tires!

Crazy Crew Cheering at the Soccer Game!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Team #3- Austin Stone

Jenny at VBS with some Mak Students

We were blessed by our 3rd team of the summer! Austin Stone brought a group of young adults who were passionate about serving! They blessed us tremendously and their desire to serve was CONTAGIOUS! They worked mightily around the Mak House, school, church, and soccer field! They never stopped! We were so encouraged by how they blessed this community and the US missionaries who are on staff with Makarios. This week, we asked Jenny Hinojosa to write about her week with us. May you be blessed as you read!

Austin Stone Team #3, Thank You for your love, encouragement, and friendship. We will see you soon!

The Becks

Austin Stone's visit to the DR was a life changing one, to say the least.  From the moment we arrived at the airport, we were cared for, loved on, and watched over. Our host family, Margaret and Doug, showered us with kindness and love during our entire stay in the Mak house. Jesus' love shines so brightly through their loving actions, warm conversations, and daily smiles and laughs that they so freely give.

Our team participated in VBS with the Makarios students and taught them about Jesus through lessons, songs and crafts. First of all, these children are oh-so-stinkin'-cute. It brought my heart so much joy to see how God has blessed these children with a rich knowledge, love, and desire to know more about Him at such a young age. One of my favorite moments from VBS was watching a sweet 3rd grader boldly lead his class in prayer. I thank Jesus for the work He has done in the hearts of these children, and I pray that he continues to draw them closer to Him everyday.

Our team also visited three communities where many of the Mak students live- Pancho Mateo, Chichigua, and Tamarindo. We quickly realized that the children LOVE "caballito" rides! The strong sense of community as well as the love and joy the people have towards one another was such an encouragement to see. The way they share, love, and care for one another with abandon is a beautiful representation of Christ's sacrificial love towards His children. Jesus teaches us to love others above all else. It was evident that the people living in these communities love, and they do it VERY well.

The Makarios organization is bringing such glory to God through their service in the DR. Their devotion to bringing God's kingdom to this earth has served as a catalyst for change in my heart. They have learned the secret that joy is not found in the things of this world, joy is found in our one and only true savior-Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Lord, may you continue to use Makarios to glorify your son Jesus Christ. To you be all glory.   - Jenny


If you'd like to be a part of what God is doing in the DR, we are always looking for others who want to partner with us.  If interested,  you can donate here.  THANKS!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Team #2- The Fellowship, Round Rock

We were blessed once again by The Fellowship in Round Rock, Texas!  This is their 4th trip and it's fun to welcome back friends who feel like family.  They brought down a team of 25 high school students and leaders who came ready and prepared to serve in our communities.  They were hard at work hosting a Vacation Bible School, participating in soccer camp, completing several much needed projects at the school, and loving on kids in our communities.  This was the 3rd trip for Spencer Engelke, and for
this week's blog, he's sharing his story. One of the things we often share with groups is that while they are here, we want them to focus more on the relationships instead of the projects...and especially their relationship with Christ.  It's our desire that we create an environment where group members can encounter Christ in new and fresh ways!  I have a feeling that you will be encouraged, challenged and blessed as you read about Spencer's experience last week.

The Becks

A great big "Thank You" to Spencer for sharing what God's been doing...Enjoy!

Spencer and one of his buddies!
Hello my name is Spencer Engelke and really want to share my experience of Christ in the DR! I am a member of The Fellowship Round Rock and have been blessed to go to the DR three times. The Dominican Republic is an amazing country, the people in it are such an encouragement to me personally, and God has his hands on and in the midst of the Makarios ministry. The Lord has used their loving with reckless abandonment to further my relationship with Christ and the church. What I mean, in saying loving with reckless abandonment, is loving expecting nothing in return, without the fear of rejection, and just loving because they were first loved by Christ. This is so evident when you go to the DR, every single person on staff at Makarios is excited to meet you and invest in you. Even if you will only be there for a week the staff pours into you, whether that be with words or just a smile and a hug. As well as the children there, the kids just want to play and love you because you’re you, not because you earned there love or even built a relationship. They just love and it was so amazing to witness love like that. After seeing and experiencing that love three times The Lord has really changed my heart on the way I see people in the states. He has touched me deeply to love with reckless abandonment and understanding that amazing love can’t come from me, but only through Christ’s love. This experience of Christ has affected many aspects of my life such as, the way I view a bus ride with a random stranger, investing in people that most likely will reject me, and how I
Vacation Bible School!
long for acceptance. Especially with the view of acceptance, The Lord revealed to me that if you’re loving people for acceptance than heartbreak and envy will come sooner or later. Understanding that The Lord sent his perfect son to die for our sins and give us Christ’s righteous as an acceptance that exceeds everything else on this earth. Knowing that

the Creator of the universe loves and accepts me because what Christ did is so freeing. I am free to love because when judgment comes on this earth I know that I have a Father in Heaven that sees me as one of his children.(John 1:12) All this was revealed to me because God used other broken people to show his love. “ By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) The Lord changed my heart in a big way in the Dominican Republic and all I can do in response is praise His Name and make it famous.

Volleyball Game in Pancho Mateo!

If you are interested in helping out financially with our ministry with Makarios, you can give here!  THANK YOU! 

***THANK YOU to Will Nickle who took most of these pics!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Team #1- Grace Bible Student Ministry, Dallas

Our summer is off to a great start! The student ministry from Grace Bible Church of Dallas was our first team of the summer and they came ready to serve! They kicked off our VBS, soccer camp, and summer construction projects- and even managed to get in a soccer game at Chichigua which ended in a tie! (For those of you who know anything about Chichigua and soccer…the locals ALWAYS win, but not this week!) Grace Bible Student Ministry- the students and their leaders- were a blessing to host! Here’s what they had to say about the week in their own words…

Benjamin in his element at VBS
“Benjamin, a staff member at Makarios has a special way of connecting with the children (at VBS.) Throughout the last few days he has shown us through his dramatic gestures and grand stories how much he cares for the kids and their spirituality. We were informed by our host couple that Benjamin was telling them that after VBS, 3 of the Makarios children came to know Christ.”

“Thank you for your incredible hospitality…Extraordinary things are going on at Makarios in the DR and it would be foolish to look at your ministry and see anything less than the supernatural. Above all, let all the glory and honor be given to our one Lord, our Heavenly Father.”

”Honestly, it feels impossible to capture in words what this week has meant to me…I cannot say enough about
Makarios as an organization. The work they are doing for the kingdom of Christ is inspiring. They are feeding, educating, mentoring, and discipling some of the poorest children in the area. Taking kids who have very little chance for a positive future and changing their lives. They partner closely with the local churches, invest in training Dominican leaders, and have a remarkable staff from the States. We have been blessed to partner alongside them this week for the sake of Jesus Christ.”
Soccer Game in Chichigua!

“Thank you so much for giving us such a great opportunity to serve and learn more about our God.”

As always, it’s our desire that group members encounter God in fresh and new ways and it was encouraging to host this team for a 2nd year in a row and see such growth. We are looking forward to next year…

If you are interested in helping out financially with our ministry with Makarios, you can give a special or monthly donation by clicking here.

Thanks for joining us on the journey…we are so blessed by many.

The Becks
Hard at Work Staining New Benches for the Scho

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Welcome the DR Interns 2015

Cole, Jonnah, Jacob, Kelly and Win

We are so excited to have 5 new interns this summer!  We spent 5 days with them before our first team arrived and we could not be more thrilled with this family that the Lord has assembled together.  We are SOOOO blessed!  I'm looking forward to ministering along side them this summer.  Please be praying for their time with Makarios in the DR.  Here's a little bit about each one...

My name is Cole Bland. I was born and raised in Austin, TX. After 18 years spent in Austin I decided to venture out for once and I chose to attend Texas A&M University. I will be entering my senior year in the Fall majoring in Construction Science. I wanted to be a Makarios intern this summer because I have seen how God uses this country and the people here to change lives and I'm honored to be apart of that.
Fun fact about me: I went to the same school from Pre-K through 12 grade 

My name is Jonnah Baker and I am a recent college graduate from Cedarville University.  I will start work full-time this fall as a mechanical engineer at Cummins.  I enjoy zumba, soccer, music, art, and taking care of my pet turtle, Joe.  I'm excited to serve this summer with Makarios and hopefully long term in international missions in the future.  To God be the Glory.
Fun fact about me: I really want to get dreadlocks.

Jacob is on the left!
My name is Jacob Jordan. I am a senior Chemistry major at The University of Texas at Austin and currently serving as a DR Makarios Intern for the summer of 2015. I first heard about Makarios when I attended a short term mission trip to the DR with my church, The Austin Stone. While here, I felt moved by the way in which Makarios loved, served, and worked with the local communities as well as their devotion to remaining Gospel centered. I enjoyed my time with them so much that I began praying over possibly interning with them during the summer. One thing led to another and I ended up packing my bags, and coming back for another 2 months!
Fun fact about me: I love running and applesauce

My name is Kelly Brown and I'm from Spring Texas and currently attend the University of Texas in Austin. I'm studying bilingual early education and will graduate in two years. This is my first time with Makarios and am so grateful for this opportunity. I enjoy playing games, hiking, dancing, and exploring. I am excited to see what God has planned for this summer!
Fun Fact about me:  I was on Project Runway

My name is Win Porras and I am the soccer camp intern for the summer. I'm from Plano, Texas  and have been living in Austin for the past 5 years while attending The University of Texas. I recently graduated with my Masters in accounting and will be moving to Houston in the fall to start work with Deloitte in their Tax Practice. I wanted to be involved with Makarios this summer after working with the soccer camp last year on a short-term trip. I am excited to be part of such an awesome ministry and see how the Lord uses this time to do some awesome things!
Fun fact about me:  I have a secret love for, and consider myself an expert in identifying various plants, flowers, trees, and shrubberies.

Here's to a GREAT summer!  Thanks for joining us in the journey!

The Becks