3o Days in 30 Seconds [Video]

To keep up with the fast paced trends of technology, Plankenhorn Posts offers you 30 45 Days in 30 Seconds!

Check out this super-short video update for traveling pooches, mission teams, summer camps, anniversaries, late working nights, new classroom construction, and all the back-to-school good feels!

 

Bonus: Here’s a family pic that we included in our ADOPTION HOME STUDY that was just finalized this week! 🙂  Keep praying as we still have a lot of work to wrap up, and are applying for grants and scholarships.

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Thanks for watching!

 

 

Wondering what’s up with the Planks?

If you get our email updates, you may have already read this post (BUT, you should definitely scroll through the pictures we added!) If not, keep reading to see what we’ve been up to. Comment with your email if you’d like to be added to our list. We’d love to hear a reply back from you, too! 

Hi lovely supporters, friends and family! We are more than three-quarters through this school year, and I am really proud of the accomplishments that have happened this year all for the glory of God! Gosh, if we don’t say it enough, THANK YOU to all of you who continue to support the work we love and do here in the Dominican Republic. We couldn’t do anything without you, and you are truly impacting lives and leaving an eternal impact. Here’s an update of what’s been going on both with ministry and our family life.

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  • Enrollment for 2016-2017 Our school is in such a state of growth that we have a long waiting list of applicants for classes that are completely full for next school year! This is a good problem to have, so pray with us as we expand and grow. We both got to accompany our scholarship coordinators on home visits as we interviewed and assessed families that have applied for the scholarship program next year, as well as follow-up visits for our current families. I loved getting to see where our kids come from and saying to them “you are loved and cared for.” We accepted 15 new students into the scholarship program for the upcoming school year!
  • New Building The construction on the new classroom building is in motion! Trevor is working long hours with the contractor (who is one of our scholarship student’s father) and making progress. Trevor’s dad, brother and a few others are scheduled to come down and do a section of the project. It looks like we’ll be set for the grand opening in August.

**If you didn’t catch our blog update in March about Trevor’s new role as Managing Director for Doulos Ministries, read here.5.18.16 - 1.jpeg

  • ACSI Reaccreditation The mission of Doulos is specific in producing servant leaders that will create a revolutionary impact in the Dominican Republic. We want our students to have access to the highest quality education. Because of this, we value accreditation status that ensures this quality and grants them access to higher education both in country and in the U.S. We are proud to announce that our accreditation status was renewed for another five years!
  • We need teachers! We still need teachers for 2016-17 school year. Is this you or someone you know? This is the best decision we ever said “yes” to! Please help us share the word on Facebook or IG or send out some emails to people you think might be interested! Go to doulosministries.us for more info.

 

  • Happenings on Campus
    • We ended our first year of After School Program in which we served over 60 families with quality programming and safe after school care.
    • Our amazing art teachers hosted a beautiful art gallery with student work for the community.
    • Families gathered on blankets under twinkle lights with flashlights and hot chocolate for our 6th bi-annual Reading Under the Stars event. Every family got to leave with a book for their homes.
    • We held our first ever Spelling Bee! (P.S. We may have a 2nd place winner in our family, but who’s bragging? Go Emily!)
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Luke’s jellyfish painting (right) was featured in the Doulos Art Show!

OUR FAMILY…

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  • Emily’s Baptism PTL!!! Emily has decided that she wants to commit her life to the Lord and express this through baptism! We are scheduling this soon and can’t wait to share pictures with you all! Please pray for her as she is beginning a new journey!
  • Adoption Home Study We have our home study date scheduled for May 25-26th! This was one of our big prayer needs and it has been answered. Trevor and I have been working fervently on paperwork and education requirements to make this happen. God has blessed us financially to make our first payment installment and we are so grateful to those who were lead to give! Our caseworker from the agency will be flying to the DR for lots of interviews with our whole family and a home inspection. We will need our second payment installment to complete the home study and then we will be ready and approved for a child match! After the completed Home Study, we will be eligible to apply for scholarships and grants. Please pray for this process to go smoothly and quickly!
  • Summer Plans Our summer trip is quickly approaching and we can’t wait to see you!  We will be in Florida the middle of June and in Illinois the beginning of July.

Thanks for walking alongside us as we continue to serve here. We love you and care for you deeply!

Love,

Trevor, Kathy, Luke and Emily

Trevor’s changing roles and some Doulos highlights

IMG_6499.jpgChanging Roles

When we first announced that we were moving to the Dominican Republic to be full-time missionaries, we no doubt shocked a lot of people. We were bombarded with questions to which we knew very few answers.

“How will you learn Spanish?”

“How long will you stay?”

“Who is your sending board?”

Wait.

What?

Being the first that we knew, we had no idea what the life of an overseas missionary actually looked like. We had a lot to learn. One thing we learned, is that missionaries are often asked by their organization to make a time commitment ranging from 1-5+ years. They know that if you truly want to make an eternal impact, it is going to take time to overcome language and cultural barriers.

But as a result, missionaries are in a constant state of welcoming the new and saying good-bye to the old. As our initial contract period is coming to an end, we began praying about our next steps. At the same time, the director of Doulos Ministries is in the same stage. Mike and his family started Doulos in the same year as us, and we absolutely adore their family! But as Mike is being called away from the DR to start a new chapter, Trevor was presented with the opportunity to step into the interim managing director position for the next school year. After much contemplation and prayer, he accepted!

His job roles will include business and operations management, missionary care and bridging together Doulos and U.S. stakeholders. Also, Trevor will continue to head up the classroom construction projects. (The school director in charge of educational areas will remain the same. Phew.) This is a major honor and we recognize that this is not a job he can accomplish on his own strength!

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A short-term mission team making improvements to our campus.

Some Doulos highlights

We are so proud to have a role in the big things God is doing at Doulos. Here’s a look at a few cool things that have happened recently:

  • Last month, we hosted Dannah Gresh, well known Christian author to speak to our middle and high school students.
  • Then we followed up with Spiritual Emphasis week, in which the students considered what it means to be “consumed” by God.
  • We had our library’s grand re-opening in which we presented to the parents and community the largest most well-organized library in our town with books in English and Spanish. This is a major blessing to our community!
  • In my classroom, we are beginning to explore farms and where our food comes from and giving thanks to our heavenly provider.
  • Trevor and his men’s bible study hosted a lock-in style event for the boys’ basketball team on Friday night and it was a cool way for him to get out of the office and personally invest time in our teenagers’ lives. And let’s be honest, it was a great workout, too!

For all of this, we humbly thank you for your continued support and prayers!

We look forward to a time of respite this holiday week, and wish you a Happy Easter!

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Kathy and the Pre-K kids having chapel in the new library.

Our family is growing!

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Here’s a letter we wrote sharing an exciting announcement! Without further ado,  please read about our upcoming adoption here:

Dear family and friends,

We want to share some exciting news: we will be adopting a child from the Dominican Republic!

Why write a letter? We chose to share this news in a letter to give you some time to digest it. We’re also sure that you will have some questions. We hope to answer several of them right here. If you have any others, please ask!

Why are we adopting? This is not a sudden decision. Many of you know that shortly after Emily was born, Kathy was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called, Essential Thrombocythemia. While she is currently very healthy and maintaining excellent levels, she continues to take an oral chemotherapy medicine. It is advised that she not become pregnant again, as the medicine could pass through the placenta and be toxic to a growing baby. Furthermore, the bible commands us to care for orphans (James 1:27). We have put a lot of thought, prayer and research into this decision, and now we need your support.

Why Dominican Republic? We have discussed several different options, but feel that the Dominican Republic is the right choice for us. With 200,000 orphans in the DR, it remains one of the more difficult countries to adopt from due to the 4-6 month length of the stay the adoptive parents are required to remain in country prior to the finalization of the adoption. This makes it unrealistic for most people to even consider adopting from this country. While we currently reside in the DR, this is obviously not an issue for us.

Another important factor for us to choose the DR, is that the DR is also protected under the Hague Convention. The Hague certification aims to prevent human trafficking that could occur during the adoption process and works to ensure adoptions are in the best interest of children.

But we ultimately chose the DR because our hearts are deeply rooted here. Our hope is that our time spent living in this country will allow us to be a part of preserving and celebrating his/her culture as he/she grows.

How does the process work? The adoption process will take time. We chose our adoption agency (lifelinechild.org) because our friends who adopted their child last year recommended it.  Our first step is completing our home study. In January, we met with our American social worker, who will complete a report on our family. She will travel to the DR again in the next months to do this. After our home study is complete, our agency will send the package (called a dossier) to the Dominican Republic government. After the dossier is sent, we will wait for a match. A compatible match for us might look like an infant between 0-18 months old, with the possibility of a mild special need (treatable medical condition, etc.). This time frame is unknown. Once we have a match, we will have to remain in country for 4-6 months before we can finalize the adoption. Most of that time will be spent with the child in our home.

How can you be a part of changing the life of a child? International adoption requires the services of a lot of professionals – social workers, attorneys, translators – and the expenses add up. We estimate the entire process to cost $41,000. This feels like a lofty goal, but when you look into the eyes of your own child or of a child in need, you will quickly realize this is a small price for a precious and valuable life. We will be working hard to save what we can, and apply for grants and scholarships which can greatly reduce our out-of-pocket costs.

We trust that God will provide the funds needed to complete this adoption. One way, is through people like you. Please pray with faith that God would move mountains to bring our son/daughter home.

We urge you to consider giving to this child in need, in which you can have a direct and active role in providing a safe and loving home. We have set up a dedicated page on our personal blog that will give up to date information on our needs and how you can make a tax-deductible donation. Please visit https://trevorandkathy.com/adoption.

Can we count on you to stand behind us as we move forward with this adoption?

Thank you for taking the time to let us share our journey with you!

Love,

Trevor, Kathy, Luke and Emily

On Family and Living Abroad

There’s a scene in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest and Lt. Dan are out on the shrimp boat and Forrest gets a call saying that his mama is sick. Without thinking he jumps in the water, swims to shore and the next scene shows him running full sprint back to his childhood home where his mama tells him she’s dying.

As missionaries, Kathy and I have experienced this exact feeling several times. Kathy lost two dear sweet grandparents since we’ve lived overseas and I’ve come back to sit with my brother and now my grandma as they’ve battled major illnesses and surgery and spent weeks in ICU. We feel so far away and all we want to do is jump in the water and swim home.

On Thursday when I found out my Nana had complications from lung surgery and was in the ICU, I struggled with the decision of whether or not to go. I knew that I wanted to be with her and be with my mom, but I couldn’t help thinking that if she got better then I didn’t need to have come.

This is one of the hardest parts for us as missionaries. We beat ourselves up for wanting to come home to be with family because of a lack of finances or we might feel we should be stronger. We worry that the work we’re doing will stop if we leave it to go be with our family.

For me this is the wrong attitude to have. I’m so glad to have gotten to spend this time with my mom and grandma. Whether you live and work in your home country or overseas, we live in a world that is more connected than ever before. Travel is less expensive and more accessible.

Praise God that my grandma is recovering. In the three days I’ve been here, she has made huge steps. We are grateful for your continued prayers for Nana.

On Loving Kids, Baptisms and New Church Buildings

To be honest, I struggle with what to write about when sending the monthly missionary update letter. I totally understand that our supporters, friends and family want to know what’s going on with our family. They also want to know how to pray for us and what needs we have. I sometimes wish the work I did more easily translated to these types of updates you see all the time. Here’s a picture of me loving on some kids. Here’s a baptism in the river. Here’s the new church building we renovated full of people for the inaugural service. Funny thing is, we’ve actually done all of those in the last year (the baptism was my own son ::smile::), but that doesn’t represent the majority of my time as a missionary in the Dominican Republic.

Kathy’s day is much different than mine. Kathy loves on 4 year olds every day. Half of her class of 20 are in the Doulos sponsorship program, where this year the families earn an average of $491 US per month, with the lowest income families earning less than $200/month. She’s teaching them to read and write…in English…and Spanish…and how to get along with their new friends and how to walk in a straight line and go to the bathroom in the bathroom. She offers them an option every morning before they come into class of a “hug, handshake, or high-five,” and I don’t have the actual numbers on this, but most of them opt for the hug. It’s truly the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

My day is very different from that. For example, yesterday I spent every minute of my day finishing up fiscal year end budget reports for the school. I have to prepare them for this month’s board meeting and they have to be accurate. That meant combing through a years worth of transactions (in Spanish) and making sure they were properly categorized and accounted for. I then had to turn that information into a narrative about the financial health / success of the school. For a highly analytical (nerd) person like myself, it was a long task with a great feeling of accomplishment at the end. It’s also a job that’s really difficult to communicate with any sort of emotion or story. But I’m going to try and pull some nuggets from my “financial year in review” to share with you guys.

Doulos Discovery School (where Kathy and I are both missionaries) operates on a budget that comes partly from tuition fees and partly from donations for the students in the sponsorship program. Half of the staff at Doulos are missionaries from the US and Canada and the other half are Dominicans. The average cost of “Educating and equipping servant leaders through Christian discipleship and expeditionary learning to impact the Dominican Republic” (our mission statement) is $139/month per student. By comparison the public school system in the USA spends $1,000/month per student. That’s crazy. One of the ways Doulos can do so much with so little is because of our missionary staff. All of our missionaries raise their own support through their family, friends and churches back in the US. If Doulos had to pay these salaries from it’s budget, we would have to spend almost $600/month per student to operate the school.

Knowing that Doulos has limited funds available is key to this next part. The School Director and I just finished meeting with all of our local Dominican staff this week. We were so honored to tell them that salaries were increasing for every single staff member. We also got to share with them that Doulos will be covering 100% of their private insurance costs and that all of their school-aged children can now be a part of our scholarship program and their cost for that is 100% covered. In the past three years, we’ve increased total Dominican salaries by 40%. So not only is Doulos giving back to the students in the community, but we’re working hard at making it the best place to work in all of the Dominican Republic.

We also made significant advances in our resources available for students this last year. We added 10 iPads, 24 laptop computers and we now have a projector for every classroom. I’ve built new schools in the US and so I know this is commonplace for schools there, but for the DR and Doulos this is huge. Our students are learning to work with technology that has for years escaped them. We just had a meeting last week where we discussed the 2-3 year plan for the technology curriculum and it’s only going to get better.

These are the wins that I get to see on a daily basis. If you dig through the numbers and can understand the significance of what’s happening here, it’s truly special. But it’s 100% not possible without the generous support from you guys. Kathy and I have struggled becoming fully funded and we still need to raise and additional $800 in monthly donations. If you’ve ever considered supporting our work as missionaries would you commit to donating $50 or $100/month? The future of our work here depends on raising this support. If this is something you’d like to be a part of you can click here to set up a monthly tax-deductible gift online or mail checks to:
Doulos Ministries
PO Box 3080
Burnsville, MN 55337

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The musings of an English speaking preschool teacher in a Spanish speaking country

The average four year old can stand on one foot for 9 seconds, peddle a tricycle, count 10 items and has the capacity to acquire 4 to 6 words per day, given access. They are learning everything from how to sit still for longer periods of time (we’re talking 10-15 minutes), how to wipe their own bottoms and quickly undo their pant buttons and how to do it in time.  They are finding out how to open their own juice boxes and insert the straws without creating an apple juice geyser, and how throwing rocks at their friends seems fun but can also hurt someone. They must learn that writing on the walls and not following the rules comes with consequences. They are learning basically everything through trial and error.

 

Teaching ABC’s and 123’s in English to Spanish speaking toddlers comes naturally to me. We are forever singing catchy songs and playing fun games. After just a few weeks of class, almost all of the children can respond to the question, “What is your name?” with “My name is (Fernando),” can rote count to 10, can recognize their own names and can recognize several English letters. They have already learned many vocabulary words like boy, girl, same, different, backpack, and classroom.  A few have even started saying word phrases like “a girl” or “my backpack.” It is truly amazing!

 

My name is Rachel.

My name is Rachel.

But a source of constant frustration for me as a second language teacher, is not in the academics, but in the area of the heart. It comes when I want to talk about the why, but my Spanish abilities sometimes end at the what.

 

I can communicate, “please don’t hit Camila!” but what I’d like to say is, “How sad Camila must feel when you hit her! You must be feeling very angry with her. How can you show Camila that you are angry without hurting her?

 

Instead of only knowing how to say, “Oh, no! Please don’t touch the plants!” I want to say, “Oh no! How can we keep our school looking beautiful for all the children to enjoy? God’s creation is so awesome and He wants us to take good care of it.” You get the idea.

 

There is a cliche that pops up often in the missionary world that says, “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called.”

 

God is equipping me in these heart matters in three ways:

 

  1. He sent a bilingual woman of God to be at my side everyday. Rosalina is my teaching assistant and she is such a blessing with these matters. She has a beautiful way with the children and they love and respect her.  She can remove a child from a sticky situation and have those longer-deeper conversations that I so very much want to have, but simply can’t. Her heart breaks for the children that so desperately need to know that they are loved and cared for. While we still have much work left to do, she completes me in the ways that I lack.
  2. He provided Spanish lessons. This is an answer to prayers! This year our school administration and missionary board is providing all staff with language lessons! So Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I have Spanish lessons with a small group of other missionaries.
  3. He gives grace. Period.

 

And whether it is in preschool or marriage, parenting or the office, His grace is always enough.
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Week 1: From Monday to Sunday

On Monday, the kids started their first day of school in the first and second grades.  While I am so proud of who they are becoming, I can’t help it– I cry every year! But they are adjusting well to their new classes and it helps to know that both of their teachers are superb. Bless.

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On Tuesday, we came home to our water sistern having run dry. We only get water from the city on Thursday-Saturday but that water hasn’t come in for weeks. They say it’s a city-wide problem, yet we’re the only ones we know that are affected by it. Our drinking water comes in 5 gallon jugs- so it was cold sponge baths in a bucket that night and a sink-full of dirty dishes. And this went on for another day. Fan-tastic.

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On Wednesday, I started my first day of teaching Pre-K4 and I feel so in my element. I love how God has prepared me for this work long before I knew about Doulos! For years, I taught preschool at church on Sundays- both at RPC in Florida, and at our church here in Jarabacoa. Since then, RPC updated their preschool curriculum– meaning that the curriculum that I taught was now being unused. So it has come full-circle that I will be using the same material that I taught to the littles of RPC about Jesus to the littles of Doulos. Love how supportive our home church is. Chill bumps.

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On Thursday, I received news that my Grandpa Gene had passed away in his sleep. I felt sadness. I felt pain. But I also felt a sigh of relief for him. For our family, it has been about a 10-year-long good-bye. He developed dementia that worsened each year. In the past few years, every time I would leave him, I would cry. Telling this to a beautiful friend inside and out, she asked me, what is your favorite memory of him? I hadn’t let my mind go there– it was so long ago. But when I did, they all came flooding back, and so did the tears. Riding on the handlebars of his bicycle. And turning the crank of the old ice-cream maker in his OshKosh bibbed overalls, and what an honor it was as a kid if he asked you to take a turn at the crank. That’s what I told her, but there are so many more. Helping in the garden, and learning to play cards. He was always reading a book with a cup of coffee, and would grab any kid within arms reach for a bear hug and to rub his whiskers on your face. He loved kids and he loved his family. A few weeks ago, we had a big family get-together with Grandpa Gene complete with homemade butterscotch ice cream.  The perfect send-off.

 

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It’s been an exhausting week. But today, today is Sunday.

 

Why you should definitely say yes to hosting an exchange student [at least once in your life.]

Our family family has gained an new member this semester. Meet Walton, a seventeen year-old junior who’s come to study abroad in the tropical DR at Doulos for six months. He comes from the oh-so-exotic location of…

Atlanta, GA! 😉
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It’s an incredible opportunity for him, and maybe even more so for the two Domincan students that Doulos sent to study in the states for a semester. But I think it’s a great experience for our family, too. Here’s why.

We are more intentional in our community. Because we want to share as much Dominican culture with him as possible, we asked our neighbors to come cook Dominican cuisine and dine with us once a week. And Adolfina’s a really good cook. Need I say more?

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We are more intentional in our sense of adventure. One of the things that helped our family adjust when we first moved here was the never-ending opportunity for adventure and exploration of the natural beauty and native people. It somehow made up for that which was lacking. After a while, the busyness of our lives kicked in and we [unintentionally] stopped being so adventuresome. But in effort to give that same experience to Walton, we revisited some of our favorite places and even checked out some new-to-us places like a ride on the only cable car in the Caribbean to the top of a mountain overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

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We are more intentional how we eat. Let’s face it, there are times when I am just not in the mood to do the “going-to-vegetable-market-washing-and-soaking-produce-rinsing-bugs-out-of-pasta-rice-oatmeal-you-name-it-cooking-everything-from-scratch-washing-dishes-by-hand” kind of things a developing country demands of the nightly dinner routine. But because I would feel bad serving Walton pancakes for dinner as often as I maybe (or maybe not- I’m not telling for sure) once did, I have gotten in a much better routine with going to the vegetable market and cooking legit. And we even learned how to make tostones (fried plantains) together!

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We are more intentional about how we treat each other. It’s crazy how keenly self-aware you become of how you sound when you know someone else is listening. If none other, I pray this change is one that sticks long after Walton goes back to the land of peaches.
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And not just all that. We are just blessed to have him. He is so sweet and we are having a blast getting to know him. Keep him and us in your prayers as he faces the joys and challenges of living abroad.

And so the adventure continues!

A Caribbean Christmas in Pics

DSC_0787Our second Caribbean Christmas season is coming to an end, and we cherish the memories with mixed emotions! We did our best to recreate some old traditions and we count our blessings for the new ones that were born. There’s nothing like being surrounded by family around the holidays, but perhaps the solitude made the quiet times with our family of four just that much sweeter, the gratitude for our Dominican brothers and sisters that much deeper, and the message of Christ’s love that we bring to the people of this town that much more powerful! It was a special time for us, and we hope you will enjoy as we share the moments we cherish the most:
 
10. Give Thanks. We were blessed to have Trevor’s parents, brother and future-sister-in-law, and Nana come to visit for Thanksgiving. Last year, we shared Thanksgiving with our Dominican neighbors, and we continued the tradition this year. Mimi and Pawpaw even got to serve at Doulos in Luke and Emily’s classrooms.
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9. Ballet. Emily has enjoyed learning the disciplines of ballet, and what proud parents we were at her first recital! Her teacher is a high school student at Doulos, and we are so grateful for the opportunity. I’m sure this video has already gone viral, but in case you missed out this performance, you can check it out here. 😉
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8. Expedition Night. We got to experience our first Expedition Night and it just confirmed what a truly special school Doulos is. We may be biased, but the highlight of the night for us, was when Luke perfectly executed his lines, both in English and Spanish! He was originally asked to memorize his lines in English, but two days before the show, his teacher decided to challenge both Luke and the Dominican girl who had learned the lines in Spanish, to switch parts! On the first run of the program, the little girl got nervous, but Cool Hand Luke was not affected by the pressure, switched his lines back to English, and saved the day! And then, on the second run of the program, he switched back to Spanish again! Unfortunately, we were in Emily’s class during the second performance, so we didn’t get that on video, but his teacher said it was flawless!  We were proud of them both! It is a great honor to have two fully bilingual kiddos!
7. Navi-Christmas. The Navi-Christmas program at Doulos was so sweet! So glad we invited our friends from church and our neighbors to get to share in this fun program. One of the most precious moments was Silent Night sung in Spanish by the third and fourth graders by candlelight. Luke and Emily rocked the house in Jingle Bell Rock!
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6. Santa came to town! And you’ll never guess who played the part!? Yours truly, TREVOR!!
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5. The Padrino. We love the crazy mixture of our cultures that we have created with our neighbors. It’s always an adventure when they invite us to share in something new, because we never have any idea what to expect.  Like a few weeks ago when they asked Trevor to be Ada’s padrino, or “sponsor” for a graduation ceremony for a medical program they completed for the past 12 Sunday mornings. Apparently, here, going to graduation “stag” is not an option. In fact, your padrino is required to accompany you across the stage. Other than the mortarboards, not much resembled a typical American commencement. Did I mention the ceremony was held in a night club? The girls had ball gowns under their cap and gowns, and after the ceremony was a night of dancing! It was a night to remember. 🙂
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4. Blessings for all. We love being a part of our small house church which serves so many precious kiddos and families by the Rosalia family. This year we had a meal served by the hands of our members, and hand-decorated bags filled with clothes and toys for all of the children! It was possibly our most favorite moment of Christmas. It was a blessing for us just to be able to be a part in this vertical blessing for others.
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3.  Actividad de Navidad. A friend and fellow staff member from the Doulos cafeteria invited our family to their church for their Christmas program. It was filled with singing and dancing. The next day, they invited our family to their home for dinner. You’ve never felt so welcome to a church or a home of friend until you have been to one of a Dominican. This definitely makes the highlight list.
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2. A four-course meal. The best way to beat a Blue Christmas is to surround yourself with great people! What a blessing to be a part of the Doulos family Christmas progressive dinner. We celebrated at four different homes, and ended the night around a fire. It was the perfect ending to Christmas day.
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1. Sleeping under the stars. What is a Caribbean Christmas without sandy beaches and palm trees? We have seen a lot of beautiful things on this island, but the jagged cliffs surrounded by turquoise sparkling waters of the Samana Peninsula is #1 on our list so far. We got to spend time with some great brothers and sisters in Christ, bond as a family (tent camping is a great way to get close! lol), and just be in awe of His creation.
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Much love and blessings to you all for 2014!