February 2013 – Return to the DR

Quickly getting back to work as we helped host the first Dominican rehabilitation conference

Quickly getting back to work as we helped host the first Dominican rehabilitation conference

We have been home now in the DR for over a month!  We worked hard to unsettle the dust from our house and friendships and are feeling settled ourselves after nearly 2 months away!

We want you to know how grateful we were for the opportunity to see so many of you.  We received all sorts of encouragement in the form of good friend, family and professional relationships.  We had some great discussions about quality international medical missions and volunteer work while presenting our physical therapy needs assessment at a conference.

Rehabilitation Conference

Presenting preliminary research results at CSM (PT conference) in San Diego

Presenting preliminary research results at CSM (PT conference) in San Diego

We arrived in the DR with two weeks to go prior to a professional education congress we have been on an organizational team with for most of last year. We want to invite your prayers of thanksgiving over the success of the OTFOL conference!  This was the first by therapists, for therapist continuing education conference in the DR. It was completely sold out at ~200 participants! People are eager for opportunities to learn.  OTFOL was mainly targeted at physical therapists, but with an open invitation to the even less well represented rehabilitation groups including occupational & speech therapists and orthotists.  Considering the multi-professional participants and the multinational (USA, Japanese & Dominican) planning team, it was amazing to see everything come together smoothly.

Physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist & orthotists/prosthetists in a full house.

Physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist & orthotists/prosthetists in a full house.

Highlights from the conference:  Our pastor opened the conference with scripture and a word of prayer.  While this is a culturally normal practice in the DR, it was also another way to reach out to professionals who often have a hard time connecting academic, “secular,” and “spiritual” worlds.

We hosted the president of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, Marilyn Moffat as keynote speaker, to help motivate the profession towards excellence.  We met  with the regional director of the Public Health department and with university faculty from 2 schools. Feedback from participants included feeling like “the fire was lit beneath them” towards advancing the quality of their services, along with feeling greatly encouraged.

So glad that so many people chose to challenge their own knowledge-base

So glad that so many people chose to challenge their own knowledge-base

Last minute translation needed for Q & A session

Last minute translation needed for Q & A session

The rest of the speakers were Dominican or immigrants to the DR, and while the content quality varied significantly, we see this as a great platform for leadership and scholarship development in the future.

Through us, you partnered financially to raise up this conference, and we give thanks to God that we can report that due to the turn out, the conference should be financially viable for the long run.  This has been a wonderful learning experience for us in sustainable development projects, and a great opportunity to come alongside Dominican therapists in planning and organizing skills.

Finances
Through you, God is continuing to provide financially. Thanks to many new and continuing donors, once we confirm a few more renewals, we calculate that we have enough for the next year of health care ministries!  What a blessing this is, and has allowed us to continue serving and quickly focus on the work ahead. Thank you so much!

A technical note for monthly donors: those of you who give to the church through monthly automatic debit may have reached the 2 year mark in giving, which is the longest amount of time that one can sign up for online. At this point, the donation automatically drops off. If this happens to you, please renew if you able to continue giving.

The Kids
Finally, Laurie has started taking small groups of our child sponsorship kids to the main museum in town on its free day. It is so fun to hear the reactions of the kids to the escalators and their confusion and wonder at why anyone would ever throw money away into a wishing fountain.

Laurie brought kids to the free-day at the cultural center. (It's Tuesdays if you're ever in town)

Laurie brought kids to the free-day at the cultural center. (It’s Tuesdays if you’re ever in town)

We continue to learn and grow here, and enjoy praying for you and hearing from you!

All of our love and thanks

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