Welcome to the 2011 Onalaska Church of Christ Dominican Republic Missions Ministry web log. This site is to keep you informed about our mission, preparations for our trips and communications with the missionaries in the Dominican Republic.

Our vision is captured in the messages on our flag:

viajar - Servir - madurar
to go - To Serve - to grow

Levante las Velas y Adelante al Horizonte (LLV y AAH)
Hoist the Sails and Onward to the Horizon

Blog updated March 5, 2011
The OCC - DR blog is being updated to provide information about the 2011 trip and the planned visit to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2012

Accounts from our activities on Thursday, February 17 are now posted.

This Site
This Welcome section and the Current News section that follow have their permanent homes here at the top of the blog. Starting with this update, posts will follow in order written immediately below the Current News. This means that all posts will be available in this window or through the archive list that can be accessed in the Blog Archive menu at the bottom of the right hand side bar.

What time is it in the DR?


Current News

2011 Visit to the DR
The team for the 2011 visit occurred between February 16 and February 22. Reports are being provided in new posts, one post for each day of the trip. We will soon be making plans for our next visit to the Dominican Republic, tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2012.

Day 3: Saturday, February 19

Did I mention the curiosities of driving in the Dominican Republic? It doesn’t much matter as I’m going to delve deeper into the subject anyway. It should probably come as no surprise that stop signs and yield signs are treated with a certain degree of disdain. More than mere suggestions, I believe that when people here encounter one of these intrusions into their vehicular progress, they don't just see STOP or YIELD. They see, "I double dog dare you!" This is a place where you can be fined for driving without your seatbelt buckled if in a car or without a helmet if it’s a motorbike. However, if you are one of the ten or twelve people in the back of an open pickup truck, well then you can pretty much do what want. I’d suggest holding on. Tightly.

Today was the day we were to go up to the mountain camp at Palo Alto. Gracesqui came in his truck and we met José Luis. José had attended a Bible college in Costa Rica, studying missions. He has been helping out at the camp and would be there with us for the weekend. Carmencita was with us too, it being the weekend which meant she did not have to work.

The ride up was, as usual, a jolting experience with off and on rain showers thrown in for good measure. For as much as it had rained, the road was, however, in pretty good shape.

Rainy Ride up to the Camp

José and I rode in the back and conversed as well as we could with the limited knowledge we had of each other’s languages. There is going to be a board appointed to oversee the camp. One of the things they will work on is the mentoring of younger men such as José to take on leadership positions. José would like to be involved in the work in the mountain community.

Gracesqui and Ramona's House at the Camp

José-Luis at the Camp

We arrived in time for lunch and had a chance to meet some of the young boys and girls who are always around. The yo-yo's provided a chance to have a little fun, especially as I offered my rendition of the "around-the-world" trick.

Ramona Has Lunch for Us...

...and Coffee on the Stove!

Don Rafael Enjoys Some Café Organico

It Did Not Take Him Long to Get the Hang of it

After looking over progress on the camp buildings and staking out sleeping quarters, we enjoyed an afternoon visiting with Gracesqui, Ramona and other friends we have made over the years. There seems to be focus on getting the camp equipped to handle retreats for larger groups from surrounding communities.

The New Dorm Building

It Didn't Rain ALL the Time

There was considerable activity in Ramona’s kitchen – in addition to her keeping us supplied with good, strong organic coffee; the coffee is grown, dried, roasted and ground by people living in the general area around the church and camp. The goal is to find a way to earn income from this resource. Anyway, most of the activity was directed at cooking big bowls of rice and chicken and others of salad and loading them into Gracesqui’s truck. After he delivered the food to the church, he came back and collected us; “us” meaning Ramona, Jeff, Carmen and I along with some rather large number of young boys and girls for the ride to the church and the community dinner.

It was cool and damp and this kept the number of people attending the dinner down. Still, there were about 60. We helped serve the meal and learned that you start with the youngest then move up the age scale. The plates prepared in the kitchen were targeted at the ages being served, so the helpings got progressively larger. Gracesqui had some welcoming remarks and there was loud music playing throughout the meal. Everyone was engaged in conversation and enjoying the meal.

People from the Community Enjoying the Saturday Fellowship

In the Kitchen of the Fellowship Building

Serving. Literally.

After the meal, the group retired to the church where Jose-Luis offered a message as a young man prepared to be baptized. When everyone was ready, he and Gracesqui went into the shallow pool in the small addition connected to the rear of the church. Everyone crowded around the door to catch a glimpse of this glorious event.

Baptism at the Mountain Church

The Lights of Santiago from the Mountain Church

We rode back to the camp in the dark and drizzle. After another long day, we made our way to our sleeping quarters using head lamps to light the way and turned in to our church-pew cribs for a cool, comfortable night of rest.

Carmen's Crib

No comments: