Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Once again we find ourselves in desperate need of prayer. We spent the Christmas season in Michigan with our families and it was a great blessing. During our last week home Sandy started getting headaches again. So bad that we canceled all of our plans for that week. We waited and prayed and waited and prayed and she was getting worse, not better. Well, we were supposed to fly back to D.R. on January 8th, 2007 but instead we found ourselves in the ER with Sandy on the morning of January 7th. For those of you who do not already know we have decided to extend our stay here at home to try to get some answers. Right now the plan is to stay an extra month. Sandy is seeing a chiropractor three times a week and we are seeing doctors in the meantime. Like the doctors in the D.R. the doctors here are concluding that Sandy is struggling with migraine headaches. Sandy is trying a migraine medication called Imitrex right now, and she has been on it for about a week. The first four days brought excellent results and we were hopeful that we had found a solution, however, the last two days she has really gone downhill again. Please pray for Sandy! Pray that the Lord our God would heal her. Pray for the doctors that will be treating Sandy. Please Pray! Thank you
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Donald McCullough – Waking From The American Dream
Dehydration, heat exhaustion, Dengue Fever, migraine headaches, CMV, and 5 days in a Dominican hospital. . .our weakness has never been more evident. It would be easy to focus on our many weaknesses looking back on our first 3 months here in the D.R. However, in this time of such great weakness, I have realized that God’s strength has never been more evident in our lives than it is right now. His grace has captivated us, His love has embraced us, His power has sustained us, and His faithfulness has not failed us. We have not suffered. . .we have only been made stronger.
The needs are great in these communities and Sandy and I have struggled with how to go about making a difference. Well, I am excited to announce that we have brainstormed an exciting plan of action. Up to this point we have just been visiting the children and trying to get to know them, their families, and trying to become a familiar face. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that relationships are the perfect building blocks for any foundation of ministry, but we are desperate to do more for these kids. Many of them are wearing the same clothes every time we see them. Their living situations are horrible and we want to help. I hope you will be as excited as we are to see this plan start to come together.
We are going to bring home two empty suitcases this Christmas and fill them with things like: underwear, socks, shoes, clothes, notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, folders, etc. Oh, and don’t forget candy. The idea is to start meeting some of the basic needs of the children. Here is how we’re going to get started. We have a list of about 35 memory verses that we are going to start challenging the kids with each week. Each child will have the opportunity to learn a simple, yet impacting verse from scripture every week. Each week we will give reward bucks for learning the memory verse. Finally, every few weeks, we will have a time when the kids can use their bucks to purchase things from our stash (remember the suitcases we want to fill up?). We are hoping that two suitcases full of stuff will only be the beginning. I hope that you will pray for us as we set this plan in motion.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
You are my favorite teacher because you are the most beautiful teacher. I hope you feel better.
This is one of Sandy's get well cards from her students, and yes, most of the boys in the class mentioned how beautiful she is.
We just wanted to let you know that Sandy is feeling great lately. She is not quite 100%, but we are grateful for the progress she has made. Each day she is feeling better and better. . .praise God! He has been so faithful to us. These first few months have proved us weak, but we have seen God's strength in our weakness! Thank you for your prayers and support, we love you.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Last Thursday, shortly after I left the post asking you to pray for Sandy, we had to rush to the hospital. Sandy's headaches started to become more intense, the pain was moving down to her neck and shoulders. At first we were very scared and I was ready to get Sandy on the next flight home for some quality health care. However, as we prayed together and tried our best to listen to God during such a stressful situation, it seemed that He was making it very clear that we ought to stay put. As we headed to the hospital I was preparing for the worst. You see, we have visited some of the public hospitals here and they are not exactly the type of place I wanted to see the love of my life trying to recuperate. Let me tell you that God continued to show Himself faithful, time and again, as we went through this difficult situation. Sandy was placed in her own private room with air conditioning, television, mini fridge and a private bathroom. This was such a blessing because Sandy ended up staying in the hospital for 5 full days. The first couple of days we did not see any improvement and it was hard to trust that the doctors here had a clue. Each day we thanked God for Sandy's private abode and expressed our desire to go home for proper health care and each day there was something that encouraged us to stay. I can't explain how much it meant to us to have so many of you praying for Sandy through this time. I know that your thoughts and prayers have been with us regardless of illnesses but this past week your prayers were felt in a new way! I am happy to report to you that Sandy is home from the hospital and on her way to a full recovery. The doctor concluded that Sandy had possibly gotten some sort of virus that was giving Sandy the headaches early on last week. However, he believes that those headaches snowballed into intense migraines by Thursday, which is when we had to bring her into the hospital. Today is Sandy's birthday and she is feeling better than she has in almost two weeks. She still needs your prayers because the pain has continued to come back at times. Please pray for a full recovery as we trust God to take care of Sandy. We love you guys so much!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I love kids. I love to see them smile. I love to hear them laugh (even if it is at me). I love spending time with them and I love being a part of their world. This passion has not only followed Sandy and I here to the D.R. but it has intensified as we have seen the plight of the children here. We have spent much of our time here trying to build relationships with the children in the poorest areas of our city (La Vega). And, we have often wondered how effective we can really be without the ability to speak Spanish fluently. Will we make a difference? Is our broken Spanish getting anywhere with these kids? Will people think this is worth our time? The list of questions could go on. However, it is no coincidence that we have had our doubts when you look at these questions. They all have to do with us. I think the reason why many of us have doubts and the reason why many of us have fears is because we ask the wrong questions. If we learned to ask the right questions, our doubts might just disappear. Will God make a difference? Is God able to speak to these kids even though I cannot? Does God care if others think this is worth my time? You see, the answers to these questions are obvious. There is no room for doubt when the focus is taken off of ourselves and shifted to our God. My ability to build relationships with these children, in fact, has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with Christ in me. It has everything to do with love. I am not talking about Valentine’s Day love; I am talking about cat of nine tails, crown of thorns, cross bearing love. I am talking about a love that says, “Grace is not just the prize that comes with your Cracker Jack faith, grace is what reached out and saved you in the first place!”
Just the other day I was walking through Arinoso (an area Sandy and I have committed to visiting weekly) with some of the same doubts and fears I shared with you earlier. I was looking for a particular girl by the name of Maria. The last time that we were there visiting she was insistent that we return the following week. So insistent that she had said, “No viene, te mato (If you don’t come, I’ll kill you).” I was worried that I had missed her when all of the sudden I looked up to see her bolting from the front door of her cinder block home. She nearly tackled me with a bear hug that easily rivals any I have ever received. My broken Spanish was not an issue in that moment. In fact, all of my doubts, fears and sins were not an issue in that moment. God’s grace and love had prevailed over all things right there in that hug and I learned an important lesson. This has nothing to do with me!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
"I'm so glad Jesus didn't suggest they group all the children together for a sort of general blessing because He was tired. Instead He took time to hold each child close to His heart and to earnestly pray for them all. . .then they jofully scampered off to bed. One is tenderly reminded of a beautiful messianic passage from the prophets. 'He will feed His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arms, He will carry them in His bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young' (Isaiah 40:11). I think there is a lesson here for anyone who would seek to set any kind of false condition concerning just who should be the recipients of God's grace. He blessed them all."
Robert Frost - Our Heavenly Father
Friday, October 13, 2006
Life here in the D.R. has taken some adjustment this first month. The language barrier is an obvious one, but we do have some help, and we have been learning a lot. We didn’t realize how amazing air conditioning was until we got here, the heat has taken some getting used to. Sandy even suffered from some heat exhaustion after the first couple weeks. The electricity is another thing we took for granted at home. Oh, we do have it here, but you never know when it will be on. We find ourselves celebrating when we come home at night and have lights! Our water situation is better than most, there is a pump on top of our house, so we can usually count on having water. Many people here have to fill up jugs to take showers or to do dishes. The garbage truck comes whenever it wants, I think we’ve seen it once so far since we’ve been here. You never know what you will find when you walk down the road. Perhaps an entire family riding on one small scooter, also trying to carry a gas tank or furniture, a herd of cows in the middle of the road, or wild dogs lying around. It has been an interesting first month!
We started teaching at La Vega Christian School two days after we arrived. We both teach classes for the school’s afternoon English program. Also, Sandy has been teaching Physical Education a few days a week. On top of that we are working to establish a sports program for the school. Right now we are holding practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays for all ages. The school has been a significant challenge for both of us. With our limited ability to speak Spanish, it is often difficult to explain what we are teaching and it can be quite frustrating. Please pray for our teaching abilities and also for our students, we believe the Lord will help us as we continue to do the best we can there.
Our most favorite opportunity so far has been working with the children in the outskirts of La Vega. These areas are desperate for basic human needs and the love of Christ! Two places we have been spending a lot of time in are called “The Rails” and “Arinoso”. Sandy and I both enjoy serving the Lord in these areas. Already we are visiting the children weekly in both of these communities. We are desperate to do more with these children, they are starved for love and attention. Pray for us as we attempt to be a vessel of God’s grace and love pouring out on their lives. May the Lord grant us this desire!
“The Rails” and “Arinoso” are not the only two communities in La Vega in such desperate need. Unfortunately there are many more. I tell you this in hopes of your prayers. Every day that we are here, Sandy and I feel more and more drawn to these communities. We are praying that we would be able to build relationships with the children in these areas. We are hoping that those relationships will begin harvest entire families. We are also praying that our efforts will be pleasing to God and that His grace will always be with us. Thank you for taking the time out to read, please take a few more moments to pray. Pray for these children, and pray for us.