Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Andrews and their Sponsorship Story

Mike, Nancy, Lizzy and Dominic Andrews with the 3 students they sponsor at Makarios

Meet Mike and Nancy Andrews.  They visited Makarios during Sponsorship Weekend in April with their 2 children, Lizzy and Dominic.  We had such a great time with them and appreciated their heart and all the ways they have loved, supported and encouraged Makarios.  We LOVED having them here and can't wait for them to return.  The weekend impacted their whole family and we wanted to share with you their experience.  Thank you to everyone who is a part of this journey...I hope you'll be encouraged by what God is doing as you read how God is working among us.
Love from the DR,
The Becks

"My grandmother gave me the nickname.  It means 'Little Head'," says Cakito responding to our question as to the origin of his name.  Whether or not he has a little head is debatable, but not the size of his heart. Cakito is a big part of the Makarios school, serving as chaplain and primary disciplinarian.  It wasn't that long ago he was one of its first students too.  He guides us through the streets of a Batey called Pancho Mateo, his place of residence and site of where Makarios originally first offered classes.  He shows us exactly where it once stood over a decade ago.    Nothing about the original building remains, but its influence is felt all around us.  On a nearby basketball court on one of the walls surrounding it is a painting of the Makarios logo.    Kids pass us by on the street as we walk and call out to Cakito. 
Tour of Pancho Mateo with Cakito
on the way to Son’s house
He answers back something encouraging, drawing a laugh or a smile from them. He is some of the first fruits of the original Makarios school, having been invested in for years, he is now returning that by pouring into others in the school and in his own community.  A fact that deeply impacted us and was echoed by Doug and Margaret Beck -- our host couple -- during our time there.  When you see and walk through the surrounding towns that are poverty stricken it's human nature to want to solve it.  Fix it.  Have some sort of plan for it.  Doug and Margaret emphasized that there are no easy answers.  It takes years and years of investing and pouring into the lives of young men and women until you eventually see young men and women like Cakito rise up.    It's what we needed to see and hear, but it was also something we didn't expect to see so close up and personal.  Then again, we didn't know what to expect on our first sponsor's trip.    

Our family had been talking about taking a trip to Makarios for some time. We felt that our youngest of 8 years, was finally at an age that a trip like this would be impactful – so when I saw the email announcing the Sponsor Trip, we signed up right away. We had no ideas or expectations about what this trip would be like, except that we would get to meet and hang out with the kids we sponsor. That after years of praying, writing letters, reading updates, we would finally get to MEET them, hug them, experience them. Our kids, ages 12 and 8, were very excited. After much prayer and planning the day finally arrived. With passports in hand, together as a family we left the USA and started a journey that would draw us closer to each other and closer to God.

Lizzy with beautiful Pancho Mateo girl
who walked up and just wanted to hold Lizzy’s hand
We met our hosts, Doug and Margaret Beck upon arriving at the Mak House. They were warm and friendly, genuinely delighted to have us there. Sometime that first evening they gave us an overview of what our trip would look like. It was obvious that each item on the schedule was carefully thought out with the purpose of getting to know and learning more about our sponsor kids as well as emphasizing through the testimony of others how much of an effect sponsorship means to the children. From time at Makarios, sharing lunch with the children, playing, ice cream, walking through and learning about the villages in which Makarios ministers, ending with a day of fun at the Mak House with the children and their families – it could not have been planned more perfectly. The greatest honor was the privilege of being invited into the homes of the kids we sponsor, meeting their parents, hanging out, talking, and praying for them.

 Lunch with the sponsor kids
And then there was the 4pm hour, the unexpected pleasure of the neighborhood kids knocking on the gate of the Mak House, wanting to come in and play. We came to truly look forward to this time of day and found joy in being able to laugh and play with the village kids and communicate with them in the universal language of “play.” This time of day at the Mak House was so impactful as it made us realize the far reaching ministry that Doug and Margaret have around them, making the Mak House much more than a place to stay. It really has become very much like a light on a hill in the local neighborhood.
Dominic leading prayer with the families before they left.
We haven't stopped thinking about our trip since we returned. The smiles and laughs of those children we met are still etched in our minds. The passion that Doug and Margaret have for their ministry was inspiring and contagious. The opening of our children's eyes and hearts to the reality of the world that exists outside the U.S. is a precious thing and a catalyst for deep and meaningful conversations and urgent prayers for those that are in great need. We have great memories from our trip, memories we believe will last a lifetime. 
We hope to all be back again to make more ...

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