Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God Is So Good

Cruz loves singing and doing hand motions so that part of VBS was his favorite.  At the end of the week the volunteer team set up a table of the leftover VBS supplies they didn't want to take back to the States.  I picked up a few things and one of them was the DVD that had all of the music for Cruz's age.  Yeah!  We have since been playing it at home and he sings his little heart out.  There are some great songs on there and definitely songs I want him to plant in his heart.  Here's a short video of him singing with his MK friends in the Dominican Republic.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Parasailing

Here are some photos of Cruz and I getting to parasail while in the Dominican Republic.

The place we used was about a 20 minute walk down the beach from our hotel to a public beach area.  We waited until late in the afternoon to go so the sun would not be so bright.   After we arrived and paid a small boat picked us up on the beach and drove us out into the ocean to meet the larger boat that we used for parasailing.  Then when we finished another smaller boat came out to pick us up and take us back to shore.  The boys thought the boat rides were a lot of fun.
me and my boys waiting on the boat to pick us up

our first boat

David and the boys on the boat.  Look at Cruz grinning.  That boy was excited!

When we got into the larger boat the driver let Ben "help" him drive.  I think they both enjoyed that.


Captain Ben

Cruz getting his gear on

getting strapped in

off we go...


I wasn't sure how we would be sitting but I expected to at least be touching Cruz.  Instead he was strapped independently in front of me.  It did make me a little nervous although he loved it!


He did not stop talking the whole time.  He was just amazed and has talked about it numerous times since we have returned.  I am sure that is a memory he won't soon forget.

At one point he said, "mama, the sharks can't get me from up here!"


video
Here's a short video of us coming down.


As soon as we landed Ben started saying "me go up!" "me go up!"  He cried- very loudly.  The workers felt sorry for him and asked if we would let them strap him in for a moment.  We had time to kill while we waited for the other boat to come get us so of course we agreed. 
Poor little Ben wanted a turn too.

They put all the gear on him even though it was quite large.  They were very sweet to him.

strapping him on

He's not crying now.  They just let him dangle and swing back and forth.  It was enough to appease him and he was very happy.

video
Here's a short video of Ben.



riding back to the beach

Cruz on the boat ride back to the beach

Once back on shore we walked back to our hotel, got something cold to drink, and spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.   What a fun way to end our trip to the Dominican Republic!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Trip To The Dominican Republic

How do you take a 10 day trip and combine it into a blog post? That has been the question on my mind for the past two weeks and the main reason for my lack of blogging. Where do I start??? I finally sat down and made a few collages out of my photos and decided to give it a try. This will be a long one, but it will give you an overview of our wonderful time in the DR.

In case you were wondering here is a map that shows you where the Dominican Republic is.  It is in the Caribbean Sea and borders the Country of Haiti.

We flew in to Punta Cana and then took a short 20 minute bus ride to our resort in the town of Bavaro.

This is where we stayed.  It is a beautiful place!

We were there for a missions conference with our IMB missionary families that serve in Central and South America.  There were around 250 families there.  We would spend our mornings in worship, Bible study, and prayer.  I mentioned in my last post that we had David Platt with us to share each morning.  He was simply AMAZING!  We were all blown away each day by his wisdom, passion for Christ, and the way he would challenge and encourage us.  It was by far my favorite part of the whole trip.  It was just amazing!

Most of our afternoons were spent in breakout sessions.  We were able to pick which classes we were interested in.  A few of my favorites were Homeschooling, Being a Mom and Being Involved in Strategic Ministry, and Raising Emotionally Healthy Kids on the Mission Field (my favorite of all).  

While we were in class all day our boys would be in VBS.  Their theme was Lifeway's "Agency D3".  I would get so excited each day to go pick them up and see what they had learned and made.  They both had a fun time (despite Ben crying every.single.time we dropped him off).  At the end of the week they did a program to show us what they had learned.  It blessed my heart to see all of the kids singing and praising the Lord.  There were A LOT of kids there.  I didn't hear a count of the young ones but I know we had 95 youth.  I am very thankful for the time the missionary kids had to be together.  They all made lots of new friends.

We would finish everyday around 5:15.  Most days we would change and go let the boys swim a while before supper.  They loved that!


enjoying some pool time

Isn't the beach beautiful!!!  We enjoyed spending some time there as well.

fun in the ocean

One afternoon there was a Ladies Tea for all the women.  The theme was "Unmasked".  We were all assigned a group and table to sit at.  Each table was decorated differently by our group leader.  We had snacks, heard testimonies, shared and prayed around our table, and just enjoyed the fellowship of being together.  It was a nice time.  We were each asked to bring a coffee mug/ tea cup with us to exchange with a prayer partner.  Mine is from Chile.  I use my cup in the mornings and it reminds me to pray for her.  I love that idea!

Most of our family's meals were buffet style in large dining rooms.  At night there were several reservation only places that we could choose to eat at but it was formal dining with dress codes.  Not exactly the best choice when you have small, rowdy boys.  We did eat one night with the boys at a seafood restaurant and then another night a family volunteered to watch the boys and we ate alone at the steak restaurant.  Other options there included a Japanese, Mexican, French, and an Italian restaurant.  Most days it just seemed easier to do the buffet.  Plus the reservations filled up quickly so if you didn't have one you were out of luck. 

David and I on our date night in the DR

We got to enjoy several beautiful sunsets

Of course we took family photos.  This picture was taken on a pier that was decorated for private romantic dinners.  It was pretty.

our family in the Dominican Republic

more family fun

Each morning we took up an offering for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  Our goal was $100,000.  As of today $271,507.92 has been given!!!  That is a miracle in itself and a huge sacrifice on our part as missionaries.  But, praise the Lord it will go to help reach the lost around the world!

During our last service there on Sunday morning we had a time of baby dedication.  We had signed up Ben to be dedicated and were excited about it.  Cruz was dedicated at our last mission meeting back in Antigua, Guatemala in 2011.  I love that both of them were done at mission meetings on the field.  That is a special memory for us.

Our last afternoon was free time so we decided to take a walk down the beach and go parasailing.  We wanted to do it back in June on our family trip to Gulf Shores, AL but didn't.  I said if I got another chance to take Cruz that I would.  We got a much cheaper deal in the DR and they let David and Ben go with us to take pictures (something they did not allow in Gulf Shores).  He LOVED it and I wouldn't trade that memory with him for anything.  I'll share more of those photos in another post.  It was FUN.

Cruz and I parasailing in the Dominican Republic

We flew back to Guatemala last Monday.
Cruz and I on the bus back to the Punta Cana airport and the boys on the flight to Panama. 

It was a pretty amazing week.  We loved the fellowship with our colleagues.  We loved our kids getting to play with the other MK's.  We loved the teaching and training we received.  We loved the down time to enjoy our family.  We just loved it all!  It was a nice reminder of the big IMB mission family that we have and the great support system our mission provides.  I love that we don't feel like we serve alone.  There are hundreds of others serving alongside us that want us to succeed, challenge us, encourage us, and love us through the highs and lows.  It's a great mission family and we are honored to be a part of it.  We are grateful to Southern Baptists everywhere who make events like this possible for our family and others.  Blessed!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Traveling to the DR

Our travel day to the Dominican Republic got started about 2:15 a.m. on Saturday.  We got up, dressed, caught a taxi, and were at the airport by 3:15 a.m. for our 5:00 a.m. flight.  The boys slept in their travel clothes the night before.  We waited until the last minute to slip on their Crocs and carry them to the taxi.  We moved Ben into our bed and stripped the sheets from up under them and neither one woke up.  They were sleeping good.
 sweet dreams before we woke them up and threw them on an airplane, ha


me and the boys at the Guatemala City airport about 3:50 a.m. - all smiles

the boys watching our plane being loaded in Guatemala City

Cruz peeking out the window at the beautiful sunrise

We traveled with most all of the other IMB missionaries serving in Guatemala.  We had a short layover in Panama City, Panama.  There we caught up with a group from Colombia and we were all on the same flight to the Dominican. 
David and the boys at the Panama airport waiting for our connecting flight 

As we neared the Dominican you could see the ocean.  I got soo excited to look out the window and see the blue water.

 Arriving at the Punta Cana airport in the Dominican Republic
Most of the buildings had thatched roofs and the inside was open air.  There was a nice breeze though.

David and Cruz walking to get our luggage

We had about a 20 minute bus ride to our hotel and an easy check in to our room.  The best part about having to get up soo early was that we arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Because Saturday was a travel day for everyone there were no scheduled activities.  That meant we had the whole afternoon to explore and have some fun.  The boys had slept on the flight so there was no chance of an afternoon nap so we kept them busy the rest of the day.  We started with a late buffet lunch and then walked down to the beach.

the water here is gorgeous!!

 

After putting our feet in the ocean a bit we changed into our swimwear and walked to one of the kiddie pool areas to let the boys swim.  They spent around 2 hours playing and having a blast.  




Look at that smile.   That pretty much sums up how we are all feeling about being here.

We left there and went back down to the ocean for a swim.  The water is very warm.  We enjoyed a buffet supper and then called it a night.  Within minutes of getting into the bed they were both out!

Cruz told me "I'm just going to lay here and watch cartoons a while".  I looked back over and saw him like this.


It had been a long day.  In spite of traveling with little ones our day was very smooth though.  Both boys traveled very well and made us proud. 

We are having a pretty amazing time already but what has been the most amazing thing so far is the hugs, hello's, and how you doing's we are getting with our IMB colleagues from all over the Americas region of the world.  We are seeing lots of familiar faces and already met some new ones.  We had an amazing praise and worship time this morning led by a praise group from Florida and heard an amazing, challenging message from David Platt.  He will be sharing with us every morning. 
David and I with David Platt on Sunday morning

We have a busy week ahead but it's going to be a great one y'all.  I just know it!
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