IRONIC – 2013 part #2

Hey!¬† Good to be back and connecting with you ūüôā¬†¬†Last update I brought you up to speed with family happenings.¬† And now, if you can indulge me, I’d like to catch you up on some of the ministry and broader life happenings around here.

Things That Make You Go, Huh?¬†¬†¬† For those of you who tire of the shoveling and the bundling up for winter, I thought I’d slip in a subtle reminder of summer.¬† It is true the weather is warmer here (that’s a BFOBlinding Flash of the Obvious).¬† With warmer weather come trips to the beach, t-shirts instead of wool sweaters, and open windows.¬† It also brings bugs!¬† You remember bugs, right?¬† You know, those pesky little things that crawl, wiggle, and sometimes fly?¬†¬†Say, why don’t I show you a picture…of the swarm of bee’s that landed on the computer table during chapel at the school.


BEE careful

Enter our defender…Ninja Drew!

Bring it on!

Tracey continues to absolutely love what she does and breathes that same excitement into her students.¬† The Santiago Christian School approached me recently and said, “Do you know what a great teacher she is?¬† I learn so much from her.”¬† I know he was refering to both her P.E. classes and ministry heart as she teaches.

Playing "Battleship" in P.E. Class

Playing “Battleship” in P.E. Class

Capturing Culture!

All three of the kids are doing amazing making friends and crossing into the cultural unknowns.¬† Our campus is a collection of Dominicans, Haitians, Americans, Canadians, Hondurans, Mexicans, Koreans, Spanish, Dutch,¬† and more nationalities I’m sure I’m not aware of.

The North Americans are always looked at with curiousity.¬† Some of that inquisitive nature comes from wondering if “they will like or insult” our country and traditions.¬† Talk about huge responsibility.¬† The most difficult thing to do is not compare.¬†¬† “Why don’t they just do it like we do?”¬†¬† “Don’t they have ______?”¬† “Well, back in _______________ we do it this way.”

Few ever intend to lay out an offensive shot or hurt someone but wow, you might be shocked how easy it is to cross that line without even realizing it.

Carter, Amber & Drew are becoming our culture transition experts.

“Play dates” or better known has having friends over is not necessarily a normal thing to do here.¬† Especially with younger children.¬† Sleep overs?¬† Very uncommon.¬† Trust and security issues have plagued the country and families for years which has developed a sense of protection and hesitation.

For their part, our kids haven’t and I highly doubt ever will let that hold them back ūüôā¬† They have been persistent in inviting friends over…and, ah…inviting themselves over to other families homes (oops).

Amber’s quiet nature has taken a background to her desire to build friendships.¬† I am not sure she is even aware of how God is using her to break down walls and create ‘new’ traditions for others.¬† She has a little crew of friends that resembles the United Nations and spend her social animal day last weekend hanging out with one of her favourite friends (Emily) at her house clear across the city.¬† Thank you Lord for using our kids to make a spiritual and personal difference in someone’s life.

Amber hangin with Emily, her sister and Zoe!

Amber hangin with Emily, her sister and Zoe!

NEW Venture!

A while back I mentioned we were working on attempting the first city-wide youth worker training event here in Santiago.¬†It has and continues to be a personal and spiritual wrestling match at times to see it come to fruition.¬† The cool thing is, God isn’t finished with us or the conference yet.

We pause this blog for an educational moment.

Fruition – “attainment of anything desired; realization; accomplishment”

Back to Velocidad.  We are inviting over a dozen churches plus para-church ministries to bring their dominican and haitian volunteer and paid youth leaders. Our local church is opening its doors, translators sought, volunteers are getting organized and the trainer is booked (Sid Koop Р

The Dominican is most certainly a developing nation.  Internet, cell coverage and product availability are increasing in quality.  Other things we take for granted in the industrialized world when your planning to gather people together are not so easy or convenient.  Not the least of which is actually getting to the event.

The vast majority of youth leaders are volunteer.¬† The greatest number of them do not have a vehicle.¬† Jobs themselves are hard to come by.¬†¬† So, to bring over 100 youth leaders requires easy & very cheap access.¬† A main city concho route makes all the difference in the world for someone who may spend their lunch money (literally) on a ride to an event.¬† Mix that with the sacrifice of taking a saturday away from a possible day’s work (the DR is a 6 day-a-week work culture), and what is offered at Velocidad needs to be worth the prayer and the effort.

We need you to pray for the word to get out and the support to be ready.  Our Facebook page titled VELOCIDAD CONFERENCE is up and being updated regularly.


MOTOS of the DR Contrast Edition!!

Ferrari sport coupe...I don't even want to know how he affords it.

Ferrari sport coupe…I don’t even want to know how he affords it.

Now...that's what I'm talkin about!  (yes, it runs)

Now…that’s what I’m talkin about! (yes, it runs)

Ride'm Concho Cowboy!

Ride’m Concho Cowboy!







Up & Coming that Needs Your Prayers!

February 3rd                   Visiting San Fransisco (DR) church with plans to develop ministry with students and mentoring youth leaders.

February 17-23rd¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† We’re hosting a work team from Grace Baptist Church,¬† Grand Forks, North Dakota.¬† The 5 member team is connecting with a local church and building a kitchen for a poor, barrio school that is just months old but already has 80+ students and a feeding program.

February 19th¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Tracey’s parents arrive for a week of visiting and experiencing life & ministry in the DR.

March 10th                       Tim is preaching at New Life Church in Sosua.

March 23rd                       VELOCIDAD Conference

March 24th¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Self-induced sleeping coma ūüôā

We love you all and thank you so much for who you are and how you care for our family!¬† God’s blessings on you.

Tim for the Houck Crew.

2013 Part #1

Welcome to 2013!

Tonnes of news to share with you so I’m dividing this update into two parts.

Part #1 is family focused.

Part #2 next weekend will include ministry, prayer needs and more Moto’s of the DR ūüôā

Riddle Me This… What happens when you mix northern culture kids raised with the winter season that have a¬†two week Christmas break, boundless late night energy, a garbage bag filled with styrofoam peanuts, and a mother who unleashes her inner child?

An impromptu snowball fight and snow angels that’s what!!

Home-made snow and snow angels!

Home-made snow and snow angels!

In addition to this¬†life altering¬†moment were candle light services, family gatherings and¬†School Programs.¬† Santiago, DR is no different.¬† In fact, when it comes to celebrations I really believe Latin culture hits the nail on the head.¬† We anglo-saxon, european background types (aka North Americans) are real dud’s in comparison.

All three kids dove into their class programs.¬† Watching your children rub shoulders with different other children from around the world is beautiful.¬† Knowing that your kids are missionaries themselves in their classrooms as humbling.¬† We’re so proud of them and keep praying for their hearts to be soft toward what God has in store from them.

Carter singin' like a bird with his Middle School buddies.

Carter singin’ like a bird with his Middle School buddies.

Amber standing tall in her Christmas Program

Amber standing tall in her Christmas Program

Drew singin' with his peeps

Drew singin’ with his peeps

After a pretty low key few days leading up to Christmas that included one beach trip and an ol’ fashioned carol sing¬†with North American families all stuffed into our school director’s home…of which I would have given my left arm to watch the expressions of the local Dominican neighbors while the gringo’s belted out old English tunes.¬† Priceless!!!

Music here is moving and shaken as our church Christmas Eve service proved.¬† Loud, passionate, drum solo’s, the works!¬† And what service would be complete without a shot gun blast just across the street.¬† I know!¬† Utilizing my gift of “Ush” I was already positioned at the door greeting families and friends to our ethnically & economically diverse little church.¬† The music was movin’, voices were worshipping and a twelve guage was going off.

My “Ush” buddy and I¬†walked outside to check things out¬†and discovered three “watchies” (security guards) at the Shell gas station reveling in the Christmas spirit…and other spirits.¬† Shut gun in hand, they saw us, we saw them.¬† A friendly wave and good ol’ fashioned fist pump to each other and all was good in Santiago once more.¬† Chances are that’s a new experience for you too ūüôā

Vida Nueva (New Life) - not Christmas Eve but it gives you a cool visual of our church.

Vida Nueva (New Life) – not Christmas Eve but it gives you a cool visual of our church.

Home-made Holiday Decor – It is amazing what crazy, creative ideas you can come up with when you try.¬† Christmas decorations are genuinely very expensive here (i.e. a string of little LED light bulbs is close to x2 the price¬†of Canada & the U.S.).¬† So what’s a family to do?

Use a shriveling palm tree skin, grab a can of white spray paint, and load it up with christmas tree ornaments graciously given to you by a missionary family that moved out of country last summer ofcourse.

Dried palm tree skin we found

Dried palm tree skin we found

Post spray painting

Post spray painting

Finished product!

Finished product!

The break was a great time to settle in with some family time after some very, very busy months. ¬†Local missionaries Sonia and Barry Burnett (now good friends) clued us in early on that it takes a year or two to get past the “deer in the headlights” feelings. Learning language, customs, new foods, temperatures and even not experiencing seasonal snowfalls (I’m not kidding) all take their mental, emotional and especially spiritual and physical toll.

Now, I don’t doubt the content¬†of the advice they were passing on but I also can’t say I was as disciple of their teaching at that particular moment. ¬†Eighteen months the wiser I more than see their wisdom. ¬†By the time Christmas rolled around¬†we were tired, fried, baked, pooped…use whatever term fits best. ¬†Different from year one, it wasn’t just physical and mental. ¬†Spiritually we were gettin’ a bit dry and dusty. ¬†You could sense that things were off. ¬†For example, you know our crew is not itself when it is unanimous to not go out and socialize or invite people over. ¬†If it were just me (Tim) saying that I doubt anyone would think twice :). But for the other social animals in our family this was a good a sign as any that we needed to recharge our personal and spiritual batteries.

Enter the mountian air and peacefulness off Constanza, Dominican Republic. Located an hour and a half south east of Santiago we found our ‘happy place’. ¬†Internet access? Nope. Quiet and restful? Yep. ¬†Needless to say the four days we spent there playing board games, laughing, and wrapped up in blankets in the cool mountain morning mist were incredibly therapeutic. ¬†We all genuinely thanked the Lord for the chance to decompress, get some real down time and re-gage long quiet times of reading scripture. ¬†It was such a blessing.

Lord willing you celebrated the birth of Jesus less than a month ago.¬† Nothing quite compares to knowing where you come from, who created you and that He has you completely in His Hands as life rolls on.¬† Please receive the love and prayers from our family to yours.¬† We’re pretty excited about continuing what is already in motion here.¬† And we’re also exciting about you being a part of it.

Until next time!  Blessings.

"Chillin" at Constanza

“Chillin” at Constanza

Squishing mom in the hammock

Squishing mom in the hammock

Don't ask :)

Don’t ask ūüôā

Ride'm Dominican Cowgirl!

Ride’m Dominican Cowgirl!