I would like to personally thank each and every one of you that participated this year on the mission team. This year's trip seemed to be more relaxed, less stressed, and more God centered than some of the past. I'm certainly not knocking any of the prior years events, but this year we all seemed to have such a good time, that I would have to categorize the whole endeavor as a combination mission trip/retreat. Sherry and I had such a great time all week long that we had to stop and reflect on all that was accomplished. We have heard from many of you that the trip was very enjoyable, not only in the sense of accomplishments, but also in helping each of us mover closer to God.
This is the second year that the two homes were totally framed in and ready for siding. Thanks go to Eusabio (Maestro), Frances, and the whole community. I will be the first to admit that I was hesitant to embrace the whole concept of turning most of the building responsibilities over to the community, but it has worked out fabulously. Having the foundations in, floors finished, framing done, and roof on seemingly leaves little for us to do--but it allows us much more time to focus on the God things like Bible stories, bible crafts, fostering friendships, showing our love, sharing our faith, and interacting with the communities that we work in. At first I was worried that trip participants that had volunteered to help would wonder why we needed so many hands when a lot of the work was done ahead of time--but boy, was I wrong. Everyone seemed eager to find their place on the team and jumped right in and helped whenever asked. It was a true team effort. Edelbis did a terrific job with the Bible Stories in Spanish and Jean Paul translated for 15 kids at the same time. I'm sure Gustavo appreciated that, too. In fact I didn't hear him get mixed up one time this year and talk to us in Spanish when translating.
When someone decides to go on a mission trip it is because God calls them to do it. Just like He called you--and you answered that call. It took awhile for that to soak in for me because I could not understand why God would want ME, let alone want to USE ME. I hope after spending a week with the Dominican people each of you has your own story to tell about God's reason for specifically choosing you. Everyone contributed this year, especially during our down time. Existing friendships were strengthened and new friendships were made. We taught the Dominican people a few things, and by my count they taught us a whole lot more.
I would also like to thank everyone that has taken trips in the past, everyone who has contributed money or materials or prayer, as they have helped to lay the groundwork for where this mission stands today. And I think everyone that has ever taken one of these trips would agree--we owe a debt of gratitude to our hosts. THANK YOU GUSTAVO and BIEN. If you wouldn't have answered when God called you to uproot your lives in 2005, none of this would have happened. NONE OF IT--NADA. Your hospitality to the group and your work in the community year round is not only deeply appreciated by us, but even more so by the community you serve.
All this leads us to the biggest thanks of all--THANK YOU GOD for orchestrating each of these trips, for laying it on people's hearts to go, for providing the funds, and for allowing each of us to work with YOU in the Dominican Republic. It was a real privilege.
Rick and Sherry
Going through customs
Please click on the movie icon below to view a 5 minute slideshow of this year's trip
This year the gals came up with great ideas for crafts based on bible stories. Led by the animated and accurate story telling of Edelbis Uldriks, the gals along with Jean Paul first assembled the kids in groups, told the story, and then helped guide the kids with their crafts. Tammy Skidmore, Michelle Cooper, Val Finnerty, Linda Nichols, and Sherry Raymond assisted the kids in assembling Noahs Ark and on another occasion Daniel in the Lions Den. The kids loved it, the parents loved it, and the team loved it. After the project was completed we treated the group of over 100 kids to Popsicles. So many children turned out for Noahs Ark that the kids had to be divided in to age groups as we only had 48 kits to complete. While crafts were completed, some of the other children played games with team members.
Bracelets were made, games were played, and everyone had a great time making new friends. A special thanks all week to Jean Paul Cortes and Edelbis for helping with translation services.
Dave also came up with a great idea for the guys. He made a pattern for a homemade tool box, Jack cut them out, the kids found sticks for the handles, and then we all helped to assemble them. They were a big hit.
48 kits completed in all
Join the Motley Mission Crew
Building, crafts, food and clothing distribution, bible stories, crafts, devotions, building friendships, and doing whatever else God has laid on our hearts to serve the people in the Dominican Republic.
If you are interested in joining us in 2015, please contact Rick Raymond at 269-963-1368.
250 Dresses Distributed
This year the Motley Mission Crew was fortunate to have Linda Nichols join the group. Linda and her friends have a great passion for making dresses and distributing them around the world to orphans and kids who need to have a smile put on their face by receiving a new dress. Their dedication to this calling is a very compelling story in itself as they have made thousands of dresses and distributed them. When Dave & Linda Moore hooked us up with Linda and she agreed to make some dresses for us to distribute, I asked, "Why don't you come along with us and get some of the joy out of delivering them personally?" I'll just call it a joint blessing, but I'll let Linda tell the rest of the story.
2 Homes Built
This year two homes were built. The construction crew was comprised of Mike Willbur, Sam Mcguire, Dave Finnerty, Jack Malone, Jerry Cooper, Jean Paul Cortes, Bob Eaton, Marty Uldriks, and Rick Raymond. Actually, the team was responsible for siding both of the homes and everything else was already completed by the community by the time we arrived. The first home was built for the Martinez family of six. The family assisted with preparation of the land, foundation, cement work, and framing. For those of us that have been on multiple trips, we agreed that the prep work was probably the best we had seen. Around 250 people attended the home dedication on Wednesday and we were so overwhelmed that we could not pass out the treats and drinks that we had purchased for the event. We returned later in the week to distribute the treats and meet with the family.
The second family did not have a home of their own. They were staying in a one room house in Los Gomez with two other families (a total of 17 people). The house they shared was smaller than a one car garage with a dirt floor. When I went through the house I thought, "They must have slept standing up."
With less work to do, we all had a blast messing around with the kids of Los Gomez . We were rained out the first time we tried to have the house dedication, but still managed to get the furniture and furnishings delivered, despite all the mud. We returned the next day and showed the Jesus for Kids movie.
Memories and Thoughts from Sam
You asked for some feedback points from my impressions of the trip. Here are some of the memories and thoughts that I have of the trip.
Focusing on the commonalities of God's people instead of the differences - whether that be among us on the trip, or with the Dominican people with which we were in contact, or with the Adventist church service.
Psalms 127:1--and the crowd joining in when you recited it during the dedication of the first house. Wow, what a moment.
Deflection of the gratitude shown by the Dominicans from us to God. We were blessed to be given this opportunity to show God's love to a neighbor - be it a far-away neighbor.
Fellowship among us at the house was powerful and inspirational. Especially the devotionals by Gustavo, but also the other discussions.
Gustavo and Bien's incredible hospitality that they showed to us.
The apparent incredible amount of work by you and Gustavo to plan, organize, and make it come together year after year. In my opinion, the logistics are much, much more work than the labor done while we were there.
The friendliness and happiness of the locals, especially the adorable children.
Last but not least, and as I've said before, I feel honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to participate and have been enriched by the experience.
Thanks Sam. Your thoughts and impressions are appreciated and I am sure they will be helpful for others who are considering next year's trip.