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!