Slavery — END IT

Join in the fight for FREEDOM. Spread the truth — bring hope from bondage.

DR 2012 — July 8th (Journal #10)

This morning we worshipped and had devotions on the beach! It was so magnificent to stand and sit in that magically beautiful landscape and thank You for it. Kiersten led devotion and talked about how we experienced Your joy and celebrated daily what You have done in us together. We reminded one another that though the Β feelings may leave, the trip and Your goodness is still very real and can still be life-changing. Thank You for that reminder!
After devos while the other girls played in the water, I sang some more with Kyle and helped him finish writing a song from the Psalms (and Isaiah). It’s a great song!
Father, grant me rest as we finish this plane ride and get on the next one. Give us all energy and patience as we go through customs in about an hour. Bless the airport employees so that it is swift and easy.

11:30 pm
Wow, you really did bless the airport security and employees! It took literally 5 minutes to go through customs. Thank You!! We finally just boarded our second flight! We were supposed to leave (and return) two hours earlier, but our plane was delayed from Chicago. Grant me rest on this flight, Abba. I probably won’t get home until 3:30. πŸ˜›


*This is the last journal entry I have from my trip to the DR. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask and I’d love to answer them! In fact, if I get enough questions or involved questions, I will do another post to answer them in further detail. πŸ™‚

DR 2012 — July 7th (Journal #9)

1:25 am
Today was SO beautiful. We left TIME around 10 to come to the resort. When we got here, we found out how neat it is! We can get drinks, all the food we want, swim in the ocean or in a pool, borrow towels, and everything is included! I loved playing in Your picture-perfect creation
I also got my hair braided! πŸ™‚ Only $25, too! They put blue and white beads in and I ended up with 42 braids. How cool is that?! I’m excited.
We met and worshipped on the beach in the starlight tonight. It was SO awesome to be surrounded by Your glory in that way. Then we came back and met in Bob and Marilyn’s room. Marilyn challenged us to share what God’s shout-out to us was this week. If we share these kinds of things out loud, God can use that to hold us accountable.
Each of us has a story to share, and our story can often be the most influential, persuasive way You can bring others to You through us. Remind me of this often and help me to listen to Your voice to know when to tell who and what.
Help me to build a community of believers to truly FELLOWSHIP with at NWC, Abba. No matter where I go there will be hurting people who NEED You desperately. Help me to shine Your light of hope into their lives and to love each person as You call me to love.
Long day of travel home tomorrow!

DR 2012 — July 6th (Journal #8)

6:20 pm
Today was fun! We were able to sleep in a litte bit, which was amazing, and we worked on the benches and preparing for the next group this morning. I wrote the last update with Kyle, too, about yesterday at the chapel site.
For lunch today they took us out to Pizza Hut. It was yummy having pizza in the DR! We saw Cathedra Primera de las Americanas (The First Cathedral of the Americas), too! The ceiling was gorgeous and they had beautiful flowers inside as well. When we went to the fort we found stairs to a closed-off part and climbed them! πŸ˜› Fun!
This evening we went to El Mercado (the market) where we were able to buy souvenirs and barter with the vendors! I got Reed a machete and Jenna a painting, a bracelet that says “Dios es amor” for myself, and a little switch knife for myself, too. πŸ™‚ All for $24!! I think Reed would be pretty proud of my bargaining skills. πŸ˜‰ I still have money left for getting my hair braided, thankfully!

11:45 pm
The banquet tonight was so fun and so moving. The boys individually escorted us to the food line since we were all dressed up, which was pretty sweet of them. πŸ™‚ The lunch ladies made abolutely AMAZING food! They made rice pudding for dessert, too, which was SO good!
They the Dominicans put on a show of songs, dance, and worship for us. Angely sang, Noe and his brother, Beker, sang (they are very, very good. I think they could sing opera!), and they sang a really fast tongue-twister type song. When Beker played his keyboard and sang English worship songs, Noe told him to have my come sing with him and Harold. So I did, and it was really fun! Not to mention that YOU were in that place and we WORSHIPPED You, Abba!!
To finish the night we had an open mic to share how God has worked over the week. I will write more later about how You worked and taught our team, after our final debrief at the beach resort tomorrow!
WOW, I am going to really miss my new Dominican brothers and sisters. I pray we can stay in contact, but I think I’m going to leave part of my heart here. Please, send me back here, Abba!
I LOVE You, Abba. SO much. Thank You for Your community of disciples!!
❀ Andrea Joy ❀

DR 2012 — July 5th (Journal #7)

10:45 pm
Today we built the whole chapel! πŸ™‚ Wow, that was SO fun. We worked with the Dominicans, laughing and enjoying each others’ company. We only had one injury (besides little scrapes) and that was when the penultimate roof panel started to fall in, causing the last truss to collapse inside the chapel and almost pin Chris, the missionary, underneath it.
When we got back we ate amazing chicken soup Dominican-style. πŸ™‚
Tonight I led devotion. I decided to talk about prayer and communication with God. I explained “praying in color” (drawing my prayers instead of using lots of words) and we each did it individually, sharing the experience afterwards. Many in the group said that it was a wonderful, new way to pray. Thank You, Abba, for reminding me of that and giving me an opportunity to share.
The interns shared their testimonies with us tonight, too. Thank You for the ways You have worked in the lives of Ross, Ashley, Kailey, and Rachel. Father, You have particularly touched me through Rachel and the way we can relate to one another. Bless all of the interns and give each one of them strength and endurance for the rest of the summer here.
We get to sleep in tomorrow, Abba! Thank You for rest, Abba!! Goodnight. ❀

DR 2012 — July 4th (Journal #6)

(Ephesians 5) Father, thank You for cherishing me. Help me to love others as myself (by first loving myself in a healthy way). KILL my pride. Help me to care for the interest of my teammates above my own interests and draw closer to them. Mold and change my heart, Abba. ❀

7:15 am
(Matthew 5:9-12) Father, give me strength in my weakness to do all I have, all I am, for You. Give me energy to work hard today for You even though I’ve gotten a cold. Work Your grace in my heart and mind. Yes, as Your people we will be persecuted, but Your plan, the goal, is ever so much better.
Thank You for life. ❀

2:25 pm
I just finished writing little letters to Ricki, Angela, and Carmencita! They are women from Cercadillo that made the 2 headbands and small bag that I bought for me, mom, and Jenna. I can’t WAIT to play with all the children at Cercadillo and hopefully meet these and more wonderful ladies. Bless our time with them this afternoon.
I love You so much, Abba. πŸ™‚

8:00 pm
It turns out that we couldn’t go to Cercadillo because it was pouring this afternoon. :/ You had a plan, though, Abba. We went for ice cream at Bon and stopped at La Sirena (which is similar to Walmart). I bought mom two neat potholders, Dominican vanilla, and a black, white, and green shirt for Reed.
We packed the truck for building tomorrow, too, and we will maybe hear the interns’ testimonies tonight as well.
The kitchen ladies were so thoughtful to make us a classic American dinner in celebration of the 4th of July! Cindy (the wife of the American missionary, Chris) even made an American flag cake with 50 blueberries, which we sang the Star-spangled Banner to! πŸ™‚ It was really fun.
Father, I love it here! I love the people and the food, the children, Dominican interns, and places we’ve been. I have soaked it all in so far and enjoyed it all immensely. Working with Harold today was such a blast. We joked around, laughing at the mistakes each of us made in our respective foreign languages.
I found out from Noe that Spanish doesn’t have a word equivalent to “stubborn”! Hehe, I applied that to JesΓΊs because he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer at dinner tonight. πŸ˜›

9:50 pm
I played with Elda and sang a little with Ashley and Kyle tonight! We get to go to bed a little early, too, because we get up at 4 tomorrow to go to the chapel site! So excited!! πŸ™‚ We finally put up Your House, Abba. ❀
Bless our sleep and multiply the time to re-energize our bodies. Amen. ❀

DR 2012 — July 3rd (Journal #5)

(Matthew 5:6-8) Father, give me the hunger for righteousness that You have with Your great mercy. Give me a pure heart, for I WANT to see you. ❀
Father, break my heart for others, especially at the village with the women tomorrow (Cercadillo). I bought a headband from Ricki, a woman who was in the story that Ina told us.

6:15 pm
This morning I painted the window pieces sky blue during construction. It was FUN! πŸ™‚
After lunch we went to the beach! We just got back. This beach was very nice, but crowded. The water was warm and the breeze was very nice. On the way back I started to feel bad: sore throat, headache, and chills. :/ Abba, I really want to go to ministry tonight. I know, though, that if I am sick that it is not what I want to do, but what You want to do in me. Please do Your will in my life, Abba. ❀ I love You!!

9:45 pm
Ministry tonight was so beautiful. They start their service with prayer requests and follow with questions that they answer with Scripture from memory. I think we should do those things! πŸ™‚
Kyle and I sang tonight, and it went so well. They worship was powerful. You were glorified in that place. ❀ My mime went well, though it was longer than usual.
After we did our ministry part, eight girls in the church did a dance with black lights to music. It was absolutely beautiful! I was in awe of the talent and gracefulness that You have given them to move so beautifully.
When the service ended, many of the women came to hug us and thank us for coming. The children swarmed us, wanting to touch us, play hand games with us, ride on our backs, or play with our hair. I met two beautiful little girls (a 4 & 5 year-old) that really touched my heart. I picked them up and spun them around in the air, hugging them as they giggled. They loved it. Please work in their lives for GREAT things, Father!
Abba, I realized tonight what an influence each one of us has. I mean, not only do the little kids we’re ministering to look up to us, but many children back home at ARC watch us all the time. They watch our actions and words to see if they line up, and they notice a lot more than we might give them credit for. We influence our peers and even adults, too. Father, that is a responsibility that I can’t carry by myself. Give me the strength and integrity to live a life worthy of influencing others for Your Kingdom. ❀

DR 2012 — July 2nd (Journal #4)

9:30 pm
Today was an adventure! We (Kyle, Andrew, Lisa, Miriam, Brandon, Daniel, Kiersten, and I) left for the foundation site at 4 a.m. On the way there Crismery and I talked. One time we were talking about the word “broken” and she asked if it’s used for food. I laughed really hard and said, “No, only for things. Use “spoiled” or “rotten” for food.” πŸ™‚
We started the foundation by measuring the circumference, then digging a 6-inch wide, 18-inch deep trench for the concrete along the edge of where the chapel will go. That was probably the hardest because there were lots of rocks (big ones) in the way. After that J.J. and Benjamin taught us how to mix concrete to fill in the trench. That took about 5 hours. After the concrete there are cinder blocks put level on top. Then we filled the blocks with concrete. That was the last step. Two wonderful ladies fed us amazing fried chicken, rice & beans, and papaya, mango, and pineapple. Nothing like fresh fruit from the DR!
On the way home I sat next to JesΓΊs. He speaks literally no English, so it was really hard to understand, but I got better with practice. I asked him if I have a bad accent πŸ˜› and he said that it is better than one of the summer intern’s! She has taken lots of Spanish and knows way more vocab than I do, but apparently I speak what I do know well.
Tonight Ina came and shared with us about her ministry with women and children. They women make bags, headbands, and jewelry that Ina sells to make a living for them. I can’t WAIT to meet them on Wednesday! I want to meet the lady, Ricki, who made my headband. πŸ™‚
Abba, thank You for Ina’s story. Through her You reminded me to dream big and follow Your lead, for You WILL provide. ❀
Β‘Buenas noches!

DR 2012 — July 1st (Journal #3)

1:45 pm
Church this morning was really fun! I understood much more than I thought I would, considering the Pastor (Noe’s brother) spoke REALLY fast when he got excited. πŸ™‚ They have the congregation bring their offerings and tithes forward during the offertory song. I thought that was really neat and that we should do that! It brings the body together more and shows how supportive the community is.
Lunch was really good and after that I talked with J.J. He tested my Spanish memory verses from Romans and teased me when I messed up. πŸ˜› It’s not like he had any memory verses in English to back himself up, though! πŸ˜‰ It was pretty entertaining, anyway.
Kyle and I are going to write a song! πŸ™‚ In Spanish, hopefully. We’ll see.

10:20 pm
Tonight at ministry in Hatillo I gave my testimony! I even gave it in Spanish. πŸ˜€ Es muy divertido! Kyle and I sang 2 songs in Spanish as a duet, too, instead of our group doing the puppets (this ministry was more geared towards teens, not little kids). That was pretty powerful, and the Dominicans really liked it. I liked that during their worship the words were on the screen this time so that I could sing along! A girl I met named Sylvia really seemed touched tonight. She hugged me afterwards when we said goodbye.
Father, be with those teens. They need You, especially during the summer when they don’t have a lot to do and could get into trouble.
Tomorrow half of our team gets up really early to go do the Foundation! πŸ™‚ Help us to sleep really well!!

DR 2012 — June 30 (Journal #2)

7:10 am
Father, thank You for Noe and his insight. I am poor, Father. I feel inadequate to do what You call me to do. I don’t speak Spanish well. I can’t always relate to others. Give me words and the ability to relate with the people I meet today.
Abba, give me compassion and a tender, moldable heart to be open to Your will and to the people and situations I meet and see today. Give me Your love and help me to see them the way You see them. Break my heart.
Father,Β give me humility and help me to see Your big picture. Show me just a small glimpse of Your plan to put me in my place, to give me truth about who I am and who You are.
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for blessing me; continue to bless me and my life. I give my life to You for Your purposes.
I love You, Jesus!!

1:06 pm
This morning we started building panels for the chapel! I cut wood with Kiersten all morning; it was really fun! I really enjoy the building. It’s been a blast to learn more Spanish and get to know Crismery and the other girls, Perla and Ange. Perla and I traded Bibles this afternoon and tried reading verses aloud to each other! It was really funny to hear how she said certain words, and I’m sure I sounded pretty funny, too. πŸ™‚
We have eaten really good food thus far and I think we’ll go get ice cream tonight!
Abba, thank You for new friends and beautiful language.

4:25 pm
We went to Tres Ojos Caves this afternoon; they were really pretty! I talked to Crismery on the bus there and back; my Spanish is improving quite a bit! πŸ™‚ Tonight we will do ministry and have fun with kids! Yay! πŸ˜€ So excited!!

11:00 pm
Abba, thank You. Ministry was absolutely amazing. When we first arrived, there were kids swarming the bus. We played games with them and asked all their names. I played a hand game where they count numbers but skip numbers with “8” in them. I messed up the first 2 times because I didn’t understand how to play but I finally understood the 3rd time how the game worked and I ended up winning (with another girl)! Most of the little kids don’t know all of their numbers yet… that’s probably why I did so well.
Those people worship like I have never seen before! They dance and shout; the children shout at the top of their lungs! They have no books or screens, so they know all of the songs by heart. They have so little, yet they know that they have God. They don’t just sing the words; they sing with their hearts and truly mean everything they sing. Their joy is so apparent and visible on their faces and in their voices even though we can’t always understand the words.
When we did our mimes, they were completely silent and riveted on our movements. Everyone was mesmerized by them. Father, the weight of all those things, the signs I was carrying in the mime… I understood tonight. Abba, as Brandon (Christ) lifted each one off of me, I felt the weight lifted. I knew what it was to let You take the worries, cares, sins, and burdens from me. I know again intimately what it is to give You all and let go of these burdens and silly things that I meditate upon. Remind me when I do that to give it over to You. You are more than capable and willing to take it ALL for me! Amen, LORD Jesus.
As we left, the pastor said something that stuck in my mind:
“The President doesn’t come here. The mayor doesn’t come here. The government doesn’t come here. You came here. You are not here by chance. God sent you here because we need help. He always provides.” Thank You for sending me, Jesus. It’s a high calling, an honor.
Man, I LOVE my new Dominican sisters! Perla just stopped to say “hola” and give me a kiss on the top of my hair. πŸ™‚
Goodnight, dear Abba. Te amo. ❀

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