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 4: Sunday, February 20

There’s this a concept that is rendered in German as Fingerspitzengefühl. Literally, It means “fingertip feeling” and it refers to the ability to maintain an accurate and detailed mental picture of a complex, ever-changing situation. Just so we are clear on this, I do not posses the ability. This becomes painfully obvious on mission trips. Witness the obvious, and well-placed, concern that Sharayah had about my ability to keep up with the team during the trip as reported in the account of Day 1. I made it through the travel day in pretty good shape, although I did walk away from my backpack after passing through the customs screening upon arrival in Santiago. Jeff made a good catch on that one.

So perhaps that explains how it was I incorrectly attributed the sandwich making to Saturday evening as in the original post for Day 3. I'm sure that the sharp eyed readers that you are, you’ll notice that the report of that activity is no longer in the Day 3 post, but appears now where it should. Here. In Day 4.

Sunday services are not until 2:30 and we took advantage of the chance to sleep in. It wasn’t too late though before I got up and went down to help Ramona deal with all of the coffee she had made. This is when I found Gracesqui, Ramona and a few young helpers already busy making the hard roll, salami sandwiches to be given to the congregation after the services. After making a few dozen, Gracesqui would put them in bags, 2 sandwiches in each along with one lollipop.

Working on Small Meal for after the Sunday Service

Sandwiches are Packaged and Ready to Go

We had carried up about a hundred canvas bags to use to distribute rice. I don't know when it happened, but as the crew was making the Sunday snacks, William pointed out that there was a large sack filled with the smaller bags which were already packed with rice!

Bags of Rice Marked Iglesia Cristiana

After a while, we realized that Carmen had not come down so I went up to check. And that’s when I had the en-cow-nter that you can read about here: Cowering.

After the sandwiches were all made and packed, we had a chance to have a long conversation with Gracesqui. He told us a lot about his ministry and some of the needs in the mountain community. The congregation is encouraged to share their faith and to invite their neighbors to services. The occasional meals that are served during Saturday fellowships and the regular snacks offered after Sunday services do attract people to the church. There are Bible studies during the week that are hosted by congregation members. The host family provides hot tea and Gracesqui and Ramona bring crackers and sugar for the tea.

The camp has hosted groups for a session of the Authentic Masculinity series and a women’s retreat. One group of women came from over 100 miles for a 5 day get-together at the camp. Right now, the camp can host groups of up to about 50. Getting the dorm buildings done will allow for larger groups.

After lunch we headed up to the church. William’s sermon was on the “Love that goes Beyond” and, for our benefit, he invited Carmen to translate as he preached. She did an awesome job. During the sermon, William touched on the concepts of faith, hope and love – the same as on the rice bags. After the service, we helped pass out the sandwiches and then, a little later, the rice.

The Mountain Church Before the Afternoon Service

William Preaches, Carmen Translates

After-Service Snack

Paito with a Bag of Rice

Our plan was to leave for Santiago immediately after the service. Carmen needed to be back for work on Monday and we were hoping to go to the Haitian service with Juan Jr. However, a message had somehow been delivered to Gracesqui that he was needed to transport a young lady who was very near to delivering her baby. We took a side road to get to her house. Now you have to imagine this… the main road is dirt, rutted and, with the rain, muddy in places. This side road was all of that and then some. We got in about a mile or so, then stopped. Gracesqui pointed out a house about a quarter of a mile away. Her house. We could go no farther so we were waiting for her to walk to the truck. She and another lady and a young (4 – 5 years old) girl were with her. Everybody got in the truck and we headed back.

Walking Back to the Camp
This is after we got the call to go pick up the young lady to bring her to the hospital in Santiago. Most of the people who we were taking back to the camp jumped out and walked as we went off on a side road.

Waiting for our "Patient"
The young lady we came to pick up lived in the house in the distance and had to walk to where we were waiting in the truck.

I was in the back with a couple of young boys and the little girl. She just laughed as we bumped along, periodically shouting out “Beep, beep!” When we got to the main road again, we stopped and the little girl jumped out and went running down the road towards the church. All by herself, just running along, saying “Beep, beep!” No one seemed the least bit concerned. In fact, we just drove away. She was, I am sure, going to meet someone at the church who would care for her. The community of believers that Gracesqui talked about.

We made it into town and it seemed evident that the baby was not quite ready to make an appearance. If it been any closer, the trip down would have sealed the deal for sure.

Virginia had dinner ready for us and we enjoyed a time of fellowship before taking Carmen back home then returning to turn in for the night.

Dinner at the House in Santiago

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