September 2012 – Family visits, research progresses

Dear friends,

If you’ve ever found yourself deep in papers or research, you know how we’re feeling this July/August. The good news is that we reached a milestone with our health care development project, having visited and analyzed 7 physical therapy clinics, with roughly that many to go.  Please pray for stamina and joy as we work towards completion of our physical therapy research/needs assessment by November. Physical therapy work continues to take up a majority of our hours, but we’ll chose to share with you some other areas of life this timeJ

 Storms

In response to several inquiries, Isaac passed to the south of us in Santiago with merely a gentle gift of cooler weather, winds, rain, and a few additional power outages.  However, many people in the south are still displaced.  Our friends in the campo (rural mountains) did have their outhouse blown away, but somehow their see-through-wood, tin-roof house has held up through many a storm! Now we will watch and pray with you as the hurricane hits your southern coast.

Family

Laurie’s parents visited in mid June, and Nick’s followed in early July. We really enjoyed taking a step back and looking at our lives through their eyes.  Besides some peaceful time away at the beach, we introduced them to our Dominican friends and some of the ministries we’re involved in.  We visited the above friends in a campo, (fortunately before the outhouse was ‘lifted’) where our parents experienced 2 days of wood stoves and lights out with sundown. Between this and our congested, noisy city, they sure experienced more of real DR life than what most foreigners think of: beach advertisements on TV!  Overall, it was a truly important and special time.  The remark was made: “It is amazing to see how your friends with so little can give so much!”  May we all be challenged by their courage and compassion.

Trips

This month we made the trip to spend some time with Juan, our friend living in a facility for abandoned adults with mental/physical disabilities (see slideshow, link for previous story). Please keep him and the other residents in your prayers with their needs for love and mental, physical and spiritual stimulation.

We enjoyed an all-church retreat an hour away in the cooler mountains.  Many of these lower-income city folks have never been to the mountains, and it was a treat for us all.  With the heat, everyone young and old jumped in the river and sat for hours (see slideshow).  We were glad to contribute materials on faith and environmental conservation for the retreat talks, introduce them to smores, and enjoyed the fellowship.

 From the Child Sponsorship Ministry

At age 3, Junior and his sister (7) were befriended by Leidi, leader of the ministry, 2 years ago.  From a financially poor family, the two stayed home alone while their mom worked all day. Upon entering the ministry, Junior didn’t speak and acted out regularly. Over our last year of fellowship with this dear and rambunctious boy, we have noticed drastic changes in his growth given the daily fellowship + educational and spiritual direction he receives.  Mom has recently joined our local church, having witnessed the practical love of God in the lives of her kids.  This correlated with additional shifts towards less violent behavior.  Though at 5, Junior is still unable to identify colors, he now verbally expresses himself and participates in learning activities.  It has been really amazing to watch him grow! Please pray that this family will continue to thrive, for stable finances, and for Junior’s ongoing educational development.(see slideshow)  Thank you for the many ways you support us, which allows us to be involved weekly with these ~20 kids.  They devour the bananas that you provide on Thursdays.  If you can believe it, there is rarely a picky kid here.

We helped translate the kid’s thank you messages to their sponsors this week.  We’ll leave you with this quote about the creation story, a good word for us all. “God’s voice you have to listen to it, and do God’s will, and we can eat from all the blessings.” We thank you for the many ways you embody blessing to us and others here!

All our love,

Nick and Laurie

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