Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Trip To The Dominican Republic

How do you take a 10 day trip and combine it into a blog post? That has been the question on my mind for the past two weeks and the main reason for my lack of blogging. Where do I start??? I finally sat down and made a few collages out of my photos and decided to give it a try. This will be a long one, but it will give you an overview of our wonderful time in the DR.

In case you were wondering here is a map that shows you where the Dominican Republic is.  It is in the Caribbean Sea and borders the Country of Haiti.

We flew in to Punta Cana and then took a short 20 minute bus ride to our resort in the town of Bavaro.

This is where we stayed.  It is a beautiful place!

We were there for a missions conference with our IMB missionary families that serve in Central and South America.  There were around 250 families there.  We would spend our mornings in worship, Bible study, and prayer.  I mentioned in my last post that we had David Platt with us to share each morning.  He was simply AMAZING!  We were all blown away each day by his wisdom, passion for Christ, and the way he would challenge and encourage us.  It was by far my favorite part of the whole trip.  It was just amazing!

Most of our afternoons were spent in breakout sessions.  We were able to pick which classes we were interested in.  A few of my favorites were Homeschooling, Being a Mom and Being Involved in Strategic Ministry, and Raising Emotionally Healthy Kids on the Mission Field (my favorite of all).  

While we were in class all day our boys would be in VBS.  Their theme was Lifeway's "Agency D3".  I would get so excited each day to go pick them up and see what they had learned and made.  They both had a fun time (despite Ben crying every.single.time we dropped him off).  At the end of the week they did a program to show us what they had learned.  It blessed my heart to see all of the kids singing and praising the Lord.  There were A LOT of kids there.  I didn't hear a count of the young ones but I know we had 95 youth.  I am very thankful for the time the missionary kids had to be together.  They all made lots of new friends.

We would finish everyday around 5:15.  Most days we would change and go let the boys swim a while before supper.  They loved that!

enjoying some pool time

Isn't the beach beautiful!!!  We enjoyed spending some time there as well.

fun in the ocean

One afternoon there was a Ladies Tea for all the women.  The theme was "Unmasked".  We were all assigned a group and table to sit at.  Each table was decorated differently by our group leader.  We had snacks, heard testimonies, shared and prayed around our table, and just enjoyed the fellowship of being together.  It was a nice time.  We were each asked to bring a coffee mug/ tea cup with us to exchange with a prayer partner.  Mine is from Chile.  I use my cup in the mornings and it reminds me to pray for her.  I love that idea!

Most of our family's meals were buffet style in large dining rooms.  At night there were several reservation only places that we could choose to eat at but it was formal dining with dress codes.  Not exactly the best choice when you have small, rowdy boys.  We did eat one night with the boys at a seafood restaurant and then another night a family volunteered to watch the boys and we ate alone at the steak restaurant.  Other options there included a Japanese, Mexican, French, and an Italian restaurant.  Most days it just seemed easier to do the buffet.  Plus the reservations filled up quickly so if you didn't have one you were out of luck. 

David and I on our date night in the DR

We got to enjoy several beautiful sunsets

Of course we took family photos.  This picture was taken on a pier that was decorated for private romantic dinners.  It was pretty.

our family in the Dominican Republic

more family fun

Each morning we took up an offering for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  Our goal was $100,000.  As of today $271,507.92 has been given!!!  That is a miracle in itself and a huge sacrifice on our part as missionaries.  But, praise the Lord it will go to help reach the lost around the world!

During our last service there on Sunday morning we had a time of baby dedication.  We had signed up Ben to be dedicated and were excited about it.  Cruz was dedicated at our last mission meeting back in Antigua, Guatemala in 2011.  I love that both of them were done at mission meetings on the field.  That is a special memory for us.

Our last afternoon was free time so we decided to take a walk down the beach and go parasailing.  We wanted to do it back in June on our family trip to Gulf Shores, AL but didn't.  I said if I got another chance to take Cruz that I would.  We got a much cheaper deal in the DR and they let David and Ben go with us to take pictures (something they did not allow in Gulf Shores).  He LOVED it and I wouldn't trade that memory with him for anything.  I'll share more of those photos in another post.  It was FUN.

Cruz and I parasailing in the Dominican Republic

We flew back to Guatemala last Monday.
Cruz and I on the bus back to the Punta Cana airport and the boys on the flight to Panama. 

It was a pretty amazing week.  We loved the fellowship with our colleagues.  We loved our kids getting to play with the other MK's.  We loved the teaching and training we received.  We loved the down time to enjoy our family.  We just loved it all!  It was a nice reminder of the big IMB mission family that we have and the great support system our mission provides.  I love that we don't feel like we serve alone.  There are hundreds of others serving alongside us that want us to succeed, challenge us, encourage us, and love us through the highs and lows.  It's a great mission family and we are honored to be a part of it.  We are grateful to Southern Baptists everywhere who make events like this possible for our family and others.  Blessed!!!

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