Hello folks! We’re back and ready to give you the skinny on the past couple months of life & ministry in the DR.Our last post was a tough one. Honouring a peer and Amber’s former teacher who tragically passed away in car accident was good but very tough. Amber is doing very well since then as are many of her classmates. Tears still come when we think about Ms. Garven but some “roses are blooming in the garden”. Six high school students have dug deep and made the independent decision to give their lives over to Jesus.
I’m pretty stoked. While standing in the hospital foyer amongst 50+ students waiting on news of the second teacher’s condition, one 10th grade student (I’ll keep his name private) walked up to me. We chatted for a bit, reflected on the magnitude of the previous nights tragedy and then he blew me away. Looking me straight in the eyes, he asked…“If I died today I have no idea where I would go. Can you help me?”
We stood in the middle of the foyer, everyone watching, and prayed the most genuine pray of forgiveness and repentance. Nothing could be sweeter.
Pray for “G” and the others who made this same decision. Some choices made in the heat of the moment last, others fade. Praying for and mentoring these kids will be huge.
MAY… What would May be without Mother’s Day? Hey, and if one is good, why not have TWO!! Traditionally, North American Mother’s Day rocks the second weekend of May. However, Dominican Mother’s Day parties on the last weekend of May. For Tracey, this meant double dipping & heading out for hamburgers (a special and $$ treat in the DR).
HAPPY 9th Birthday AMBER!!!!
Affectionately we call this the “gathering of the United Nations” 🙂 Amber has collected some very special friends who represent countries around the globe. Four countries in all (Canada, Dominican Republic, South Korea, and the United States). What other kid gets an International “Incident” as a birthday bash?! 🙂 Sleep was not a priority but loud girly giggles, hugs, and all things NOT BOY were on the schedule. We love you and are so proud of you babes!!!
Congradulate the DREW the GRADUATE!!!
In the DR, family is big but Kindergarten Graduation is bigger! Caps, gowns, pomp and circumstance. It’s all pretty cool for the 6 year old DREW. Our spiffy dude was all in for dressing up & rockin the Cibao Valley with the cutest Kinder graduation ever! Apparently a couple of high school girls thought the same and asked Drew to “wait” for them for marriage. Some guys have all the luck 🙂 Congrats little buddy. So proud of you!
High School Graduation 2013 saw forty plus students wind up their high school career and move into the world of adulthood…and adult responsibilities. It always cracks me up to see the toughest and coolest kids on campus sitting somber and reflective thinking about tomorrow. The quiet and shy kids look and act as they always have…with calculated responses. Everyone, though is wide-eyed and fully aware that life will be forever different.
I’m praying for perseverence, confidence and deep faith for those grads who know their Lord and are moving in a life direction that uses the gifts & talents God gave them.
For those who’ve set God aside or chose to wait on figuring out who God is, I’m praying He will show Himself to be very, very real. When I tell students that, it generally wigs them out a bit. I assure them I’m not praying they loose their hair or are covered in hair (terrifying to Dominican boys :). It’s all about knowing who you are, who created you, and who leads you in life. Congrats class of 2013. We’ll miss you & love you all!
ONE Worship The whole campus (700ish) gathered for the final chapel of the year. With 20% of our campus openly following Jesus this leaves alot of opportunity to share and show what a real lover of Jesus looks like.
Preaching in Sosua
For the past year we’ve headed up to the north coast of the island every couple of months where I have opportunity to preach at New Life Church (English Speakers). Just prior to school ending, that chance came again and this time there was an extra surprise…one church member happened to be the older sister of friends I worked with at camp as a teenager. How cool is that! Last name is “Murphy”…any of you Stoufville/Unionville people know who this is?
AND NOW>>> Another MOTO of the DR…Comparison Edition!
JUNE… Some people thrive on the end of the school year as a time to chill out, drop down exhausted, and even gain much desired body mass with summer BBQ’ing. If the quick exit of some of our school staff on the first flights out to North America is an indication, this still holds true.
For the Houck’s, the end of the school year is the beginning of Mission Team Hosting.
Grace Baptist Church from Grand Forks, North Dakota arrived the day after school wrapped up with 13 very pumped and ready to work volunteers. Uber cool to continue working on the project the other Grace Team worked on last February.
Electrical was done previously (February) in the small building attached to our little church. The before school program that began a year ago is full to over-flowing. Eighty kids in a building that fits about 40 and many more kids wanting to join (actually many more parents with kids want them to join :). This group’s project was three-fold: reclaiming the old building, building a kitchen, and an attempt at VBS (Vacation Bible School).
95 degrees…100% humidity…and lots of God sightings later things came together. See pictures and summary below.
The reclamation project went super well & was completed!
The kitchen is half completed. We’re raising funds to finish the project with the hopes of kicking off a Lunch Program for students who attend the school. This will give them one, guaranteed healthy & large meal daily. It also helps families use their limited resources to hopefully provide a second, and much needed meal at home as well. On the building end of things…third world construction gives a person a whole new appreciation for modern mechanization.
And VBS was an adventure in chaos! The team learned the very real, and very significant difference between running VBS with mostly church kids in a culture that appreciates lines and order (North America) and running VBS with kids who primarily come from single-mother parented familes (70%), live in poverty, and grow up in a culture where lines and waiting are not in the top ten most desired qualities.
Now, just a disclaimer 🙂 The over 150 kids who attended loved it so much they kept coming even after VBS was over. The little scraps (only 14 fights the last day), language barrier, and complete mayhem over free snacks didn’t overshadow the inroads God made into their lives and families.
Next year…flack jackets!
RANDOM Mission Team Highlights
Things That Make You Go, Huh?
No pictures on this one however…after being pulled over for supposedly going in reverse down a one way street (bizarre considering I was going forward on a 4 lane two-way street…can you say sketchy?), the AMET (traffic police) threatened to deport me. I thought he was kidding at first then realized he was on the phone with Dominican Immigration. After an hour of talking through another missionary who was on my cell phone, things were ironed out and all is good. Prayers are always appreciated!
Church Bus Option?
PRAYER Requested: We’re in the midst of finishing the paperwork for our residency in the Dominican. Please pray that comes through with no strings attached. Everything we can do is complete and it is now in the hands of the Dominican Consular office in Toronto.
Alrighty friends! That’s it for this round of the Houck Family Adventure. We’re chillin with family and friends in North Dakota, Manitoba and then Ontario before returning to the DR July 26th. Great as always to connect with you. Praying for you and yours along the way here.