Author Archives: Elizabeth

Another week in Jarabacoa before heading to “Almost Haiti”

So, in the middle of our second outreach of the summer, lots of exciting things going on. As we get to the site every morning, the simple question of “how are you doing, what are you thinking/feeling?” has taken us into deep places in the lives of the four fabulous students who are with us these two weeks. Our mornings at the site have been spent trying to find refuge from the hot summer sun as we’ve been working on murals on Biblical murals on canvases that the last few Fridays when we don’t have students at the art site, we’ve been going down to a poor community by the river called “El Pozo” which means “The Puddle” to share a Bible story with them, sing songs, etc.

As this outreach comes to a close in a week, a well-known worship leader in the Spanish-speaking world is putting on a conference at my church here next Saturday. As the students head on planes back to the States, I’ll be attending the conference, have Sunday to relax & felowship at chruch in the afternoon & then Monday morning will be heading to an area called Elias Pina on the border of Haiti where I will spend a week & a half helping a group from Seattle Pacific University who will be on outreach there for six weeks. The way things have worked out, Fran & I don’t have any students at the art site the third outreach & so I will be helping the group adjust culturally, find their roles in ministry there, and to help truly share the vision & mission of Students International with them. I’m incredibly excited to get to know more of this beautiful island & it’s people that I love & to be personally stretched without a doubt in ways I don’t know how to expect, as well as to be able to be with this team for a crucial transition time. After a visit to this area a couple weeks ago my director describes life in Jarabacoa as a five star hotel. I’m excited at the priviledge to see what God has been doing there, be a small part of it, & in the future continue to see what He will do… beyond what we could ever ask or imagine!

It’s not about me, it’s all about Jesus!

That’s our theme from the summer. The first outreach was a blessed time of being met by our faithful Lord exactly where we are & diving into life. Fran & I had four fabulous females with us & as our site was hit by sickness in a big way, it was an incredible two weeks of seeing the Lord work in & through us!

Right now in the beginning of the second outreach, I feel expectant at what He’s going to do in me, in & through the art site, & in the 56 students from the states who will be joining in the ministry of our different sites for the next two weeks.


So, I am very sorry & slightly ashamed to realize how long it’s been since my last update here, & since there are a few people who actually check this site to see if I’m still alive, I’m going to skip the excuses, say, “I’m sorry,” & try to be better starting now.

I’ve now been living in the DR for over six months! I can share with you from experience that God’s faithfulness is unfailing. That while life may not always be easy, to be living in the will of the Lord makes it all worth it & comes with the blessed assurance that no matter what happens, “It is well with my soul,” & I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It is proven that the first six months on the mission field tend to be some of the hardest simply because life’s ups & downs continue, but there’s the entire element of it all happening in a different culture, one’s support network completely changes, and who knows what there will be to confront in one’s own life, in the world around us, or in attacks from the enemy who would like nothing more than to devour us.

I open up & share my heart with you all in that my transition to life in the DR has been smooth in most senses. I feel exceptionally blessed by my family & friends here who have just adopted me whole-heartedly into their lives, my family & friends in the States who have been encouraging & supportive beyond what I deserve. At the same time, for those of you who don’t know, it’s not been altogether easy either. My computer’s had to be back to the States twice for repairs. I was without a working cell phone for about a month. I’ve had “Scabies for Jesus” twice, as well as other parasites. Unexpected & not so inexpensive problems with my vehicle. Everything that goes with building new relationships. Most recently I was hit with a huge income tax bill that I was not expecting in anyway & while the check’s been written to the IRS, am now in a hard position. My family & community here have also been hit with sickness and hard times again & again. Needless to say, I join in with Horatio Spafford’s hymn in the midst of losing his children.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance control, that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, it is well, with my soul. And Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so it is well with my soul.

Praise Jesus & may He alone be glorified & His will done on this earth as in heaven.

Where has January gone?… Holy guacamole- forgive my negligence!

So, as I’m realizing that in a few hours it will be March of 2005, I deeply apologize for the fact that I have not been keeping all my dear friends and family updated as I’d hoped & still would like to. While my computer returned safely from repairs in the States in the middle of January, I’m waiting to hopefully “soon” have internet access readily available in my apartment, and that’s definitely been a huge hindrance to my communicative abilities. Enough with excuses however, time for the updating…

The last month especially has been an incredible time of growing into my family here. Right before Christmas I spent about five days down in the capital with my cousin Kirk’s family, returning back home late on the 23rd. Christmas Eve is the big night for the family to all be together. I spent the evening with Francisco & Yeimi’s family (I knew when I was here for my interview in June that Francisco & I would get along working together, but his wife and I have become great friends & his three kids like my nieces & nephew) where we feasted on a huge Dominican style smorgasbord. The 25th is more the day where everyone’s out in the streets with neigbors, friends & family.

A week later I brought in the New Year with brothers & sisters here at the church some of our staff attends, Amor a Quisqueya (Love to Everyone). There was a big all church potluck including roasted pork (a popular dish for the holidays) before a talent show which ended around 11:15pm where we brought in 2005 in worship & prayer before going outside to see the fireworks being shot in various areas of town after midnight.

January 10th brought us new staff. Brian & Sissy Entrekin & their two little girls joined us (which has been a huge blessing to me as I got the blessing to know them at training in Colorado). Over the holidays I was made aware of an apartment closer to the center of town which came furnished for a reasonable price, & on January 15th I moved. For a week my neighbors included our staff pastor’s family across the street in the furnished house where they have lived since they arrived two & a half years ago- needless to say, the Lord works in interesting ways & in the search they were doing to help prepare for the Entrekin’s arrival, they found a house perfect for ministry opportunities, moved there, and now Brian, Sissy & their girls live across the street from me.

The last few months have brought so many other thoughts and circumstances that I desire to soon be able to share with you. I leave you here for tonight however. As soon as I have hi-speed internet connection I will go crazy posting some pictures finally, and in this week hope to have some time to catch you all up on other news & prayer requests.

Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad!

Happy Valentine’s Day with love from the island! I’m very excited to post that I now should have regular internet access (that is when there’s electricity here on the island)! Praise Jesus!

Life here is in full swing. There have been quite a number of new students attending the art classes. My prayer is that each student, visitor, or whoever it may be that enter the door of the art site may come to know the Lord in His way & His time! Fran & I both desire to truly get to know our students, their families, their stories, & to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to how best minister to them as the hands & feet of Jesus.

Since January, another big focus of my time & energy has been the English classes I’m teaching to our Dominican staff who are working towards English proficiency. As ESL is not my highest passion in life, it is sometimes the biggest battle to sit & prepare lesson plans. It is also a huge blessing to see so many excited to use what they learn & to keep in grasp somewhat of how huge of a blessing it is & will continue to be to those staff as well as the students soon to come from the States as their learning English is enabling ministry.

I’m just to about complete three months since my move here to the DR, and while life’s not all roses (it wouldn’t be interesting that way) that the Lord has continued to be faithful to maintain in me the blessed assurance that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Make sure to check out the prayer page, I’m going to try not to duplicate info too much on both pages, but am going there right now and covet your prayers. Thank you for the part you play in this ministry, even just in your interest enough to read these my random &/or organized ponderings & prayer requests 🙂

Christmas… a season of traditions?

It´s amazing how we are creatures of habit. Even those of us who love change & adventure! Not being in the blistering midwest cold adorned in a wool sweater & socks with the familiar Christmas tunes repeating in the background everywhere just makes it difficult to realize the season we´re in. When I stop to think about it, maybe being somewhere completely different from the ¨norm¨ for a holiday supposedly celebrates the birth of our Lord (along with all the cultural & pagan things we mix in) truly helps to strip away all that this celebration is not really about.

Jesus, Emanuel – God with us, wasn´t born on December 25th necessarily! Did he grow up celebrating his birthday in snow with chestnuts roasting on an open fire with jingle bells all around? My guess is no. Don´t get me wrong, I´m not condemning tradition, I´m just currently in a place where with those traditions stripped, I´m drawn to reflect more on what we celebrate as well as how.

I´m struck this year by the profound truth that Jesus is also named as I previously wrote, Emmanuel – God with us. I feel at a loss of words as I desire to understand more than I ever have what that means & pray it may sink in.

It´s mere days before Christmas & I´m down in Santo Domingo, the capital, spending some time with family down here (my mom´s cousin Kirk, his wife Melisa & their daughter Iandra Marie). Last week up in the mountains was quite rainy & chilly- there´s no real weather man around to say the temperature of how ¨chilly¨it actually is, but i piled on layers & layers of clothes at night & in the morning until it warmed up mid-day. Now down on the coast, it´s more than easy enough to be warm & entering the air conditioned mall where I´m using the internet for the first time in almost a week, it´s a refreshing change from the heat of midday here. For those of you enjoying all those traditions I grew up with & who are maybe in the middle of a little too much cold, may your holidays & time with family be filled with the warmth of the Carribean in your hearts! Love & prayers to you as we celebrate with great joy that God is with us!

Now known as the local “fotografa”! What’s in a name really?…

In the newsletter I recently finished I wrote about feeling like I’m in a place where I’m blessed to be able to grow & flourish in who God’s made me to be. Well… I never expected that to include becoming known as the photographer of the art movement that’s starting here in Jarabacoa! Part of my personality (ENFP for all those who know Myers-Briggs personality types 🙂 is that I don’t like to be put in a box or to put people in a box. In which, I feel humbled to be known as an artist as I sit & draw in the art school helping with classes there, known as the photographer (now with the assigment to shoot the paintings of the real artists around the area & my friends wedding this Saturday), & then again, I don’t know anyone who lives as an ex-patriot from their home country who likes to be known by where they come from or the color of their hair (gringa, norteamericana, rubia, etc. are words I often hear as I walk down the street). I like to be known as a child of God, simply because that’s all I can ever be sure of!

Life in the DR has been good this last month though! Ups, downs, all-overs, but where can you go to escape that universal reality? As I’ve been slowed down more than one would expect with the temporary loss of my computer currently being repaired in the States, I feel like there’s so much to share (& so many pictures I wish I would be able to post…) that I’ll just have to take it all as a lesson in patience & share as circumstances allow.

This weekend starts our vacation time over the holidays. As I already mentioned, a friend of mine is getting married on Saturday (she’s one of the students at the art school & I have more to share with you about dear Nila at another time), and then I will be going on Sunday to spend a few days with my cousin & his family in the capital, Santo Domingo before returning to Jarabacoa right before Christmas & the New Year.

Happy Holidays & know you are in the thoughts & prayers of this daughter of the King who goes by so many different names 🙂