Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 3 - Sunday

Today was an excellent day of rest.  We had pancakes this morning for breakfast and then went to Ebenezer church for Sunday school.  Teresa and Beth led us for the VBS activities with the kids.  There was coloring, copper ‘imprinting,’ and even lollipops for the kids.

We came back and had lunch.  Then we all went to the beach at Punta Cana.  The water was cool and clear.  Several of us went shopping at local vendors and should come back with some mementos!

Came back from the beach, had dinner, and then went back to Ebenezer church to join their service.  There were several songs sung, including ‘Amazing Grace’ led by us.  However, the highlight was Pastor (‘Reverend’) Mike Oliver’s sermon to us all.  He did a great job sharing the Word with the church group.  Plenty of pictures for all of the activities – please enjoy!

- Jeremy

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 2

Today I went to the construction site. I can tell you that I am tired from a long day of work. However, my soul is full. 

Two years ago I was with our mission team when we completed building the Ebenezer church. I met their amazing Pastor Ramon back then and I saw him again today.  I still don't speak Creole or Spanish. He still has no English. Still, there is a bond that connects us beyond language.  That bond was felt today.  

The model for starting churches that the folks we work with here are using is a good one. Church deacons who are called to be pastors are trained and then given the opportunity to pastor a new church start. The hope is the church will have a strong start, get on its feet, and grow. Ebenezer certainly has come a long way. Back two years ago they were meeting in a side street under a tent. They dreamed of a church building and then a school. It hasn't been an easy process for Ebenezer,  It is, however, a remarkable story of faithfulness that inspires.  The church was completed and we helped dedicate it two years ago.  Now, the school is under construction.  The church has a heart for community service. They are developing a water purification system for the people around the church.  They are planning on the school operating in the morning for grade school children.  In the evening the school will open for adults to learn life skills and better prepare for employment opportunities. Earlier this month they baptized seven new members.  

Today was a full day.  A day of hauling water and mixing concrete and unloading trucks and passing cinder blocks--lots and lots of cinder blocks. Others from our group served in VBS ministry with children and some in medical ministry to adults.  It was a full day.  It was hot.  We are tired.  But our souls are full.  Relationships were made and strengthened.  God is working  We are partnering with folks whose work is a model of sustainable ministry.  

Tomorrow night I will preach again at Ebenezer.  I plan to preach on the phrase, "upon this rock I will build my church."  I have seen a lot of rocks today.  Rocks of faith in Pastor Ramon and in in the lives of our folks from Trinity.  I think of your faith back in Madison that makes our church such a strong supporter of community and global missions.  

Pray for us as we worship and work tomorrow.  You are in our prayers as well. 

Grace and Peace to You,

Pastor Mike

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 1

After waking up bright and early, we got ready to head out to our first day on the mission sites. We started our journey by taking a 45 minute bus ride through the sugar cane fields, where our driver expertly parallel parked the bus. Then parked it again. And again. And again, until it was absolutely perfect. We stepped off the bus to discover that the batey we would be working in was much nicer than some that we had seen. Medical was specifically set up in the school's lunchroom. Residents would start off getting their blood pressure taken by either Mike or Samuel Oliver. After blood pressure, they patiently waited for one of the two local doctors to assess their symptoms and prescribe what medicine we had to help. Jake Perkins, my mother, and myself would then get a list of medications that we would have to fill. At first, trying to fill these medications was a slight challenge, on account of the list was in Spanish. With the help of  translator named Edwin, who was very patient with us as we asked the same questions quite a few times, the day ended up running efficiently and smoothly.

     -Ryan Colson