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's!!

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 Рhttp://www.truthmatters.ca).

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!

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunset

Sunset

American Thanksgiving in Haiti

Hi, this is Carter and this is my first time helping with the family adventure blog.

I am going to tell you about our trip to¬†Ouanaminthe, Haiti.¬†¬†¬†This town is on the border of the¬†Dominican Rebublic.¬†¬†At first¬†I was very excited.¬† First we went to Dajabon, Dominican Republic which¬†is at the border we were going to cross.¬† We stayed at a hotel the night before we crossed.¬† Dad and I went to the border crossing to check it out.¬† A Hatian government official showed us around the crossing point.¬† When we went back to our car it was weird.The man stood beside dad’s car door.¬† He wouldn’t move until dad gave him some money.¬† What a first experience!

The next morning we went to meet a missionary at another hotel called the “Massacre Hotel” named after a really bad event that happened in that area years and years ago.¬† I was like, “okay” when I heard that name.

Nice name, eh!

Then we walked to the border where Jen, the missionary helped us cross.¬† It was confusing because there weren’t any signs to tell you where to go or who to talk to.¬† The border was only a big blue gate on a bridge with a couple of guys with machine guns checking your stuff.¬† If you don’t need it big and fancy, why bother.

This is us standing at the “Massacre River”. Seems pretty calm. Our friends Mrs. Phares and Miss Brekhus from school came with us.

 

With UN Peace Keepers from Uraguay

It was a very long wait at the border. When we crossed we took a tour around town

Riding in the back of a pick up…like a boss!

 

One of the nasty roads we used. They are fixing the sidewalks and the curbs but still have a little bit of work to do on the road.

the marketplace where people buy what they need…

Jen calls this the Haitian Walmart…I understand now.

the local airport (*FYI – call ahead as they have to move the cows and goats out of the way before you land)…

Looks like Grandpa Erickson’s driveway ūüôā

and we were a little nervous (Amber, Drew and I) when we visited the “Bon Samaritan” (Good Samaritan) Sr.’s Home.

Mom & Drew walking from the Orphanage. The road wasn’t very good.

 

A nice man at the Sr.’s Home. We bought some of the baskets he was making.

 

These grandma’s and grandpa’s are rockin! ūüôā

we even saw the big Police Station!

It was really big!

and Prison!!

It is getting fixed up while they still use it.

After the tour we went to my favourite places on the trip – the Boys and Girls Orphanages.¬† The kids were very nice to us when we first came. And they also looked a little surprised when we pulled up.¬† They don’t see “Blanco’s” alot.¬† That is what they call white people.¬† They aren’t being mean.¬† They just don’t have another word to use to describe us.

Meeting our new friends

Pastor Samuel is an awesome driver! He can get through any mud hole.

Girls Orphanage has a school, a kitchen, sleeping rooms a really big garden with Plantanes, Mango’s, and other plants.¬† They even had chickens and goats! One of the foods they eat alot are Avocado’s.¬† Jen, the missionary took us to a 3 acre garden and showed us how to plant Avocado seeds.¬† They will grow up and help feed the kids.¬† That was so cool.

Avocado seeds are huge!!

For American Thanksgiving dinner we had rice, beans and for the first time we tried goat meat.¬†Amber and Drew didn’t try the goat meat but I (Carter) did.¬† It tasted like beef and it was chewy.¬† My favourite food was the tostones which are made from Plantanes and looked like fried smashed piece of banana.¬† Amber says they taste like ‘heaven’.

We had alot of fun with the boys and girls at both Orphanages.  There are about 54 girls at the one ophanage, and 23 boys at the new boys orphanage that started in August.  Amber and mom made crafts with the girls.  Drew, dad and I went to the boys orphanage and played soccer with the new balls we gave them.  Everybody loves soccer there.

The boys loved the soccer balls.

Super cute kids

One game I tried to teach them was “taps”.¬† That is when you pass the ball back and forth but you have to jump everytime you catch the ball and throw it back before you land.¬† It was funny trying to teach them without knowing how to speak Creole.¬† But we had alot of fun playing it.

Me with Donise

 

Drew with his new buddies

Amber playing soccer with Wonder and Pastor Samuel

Dad & Drew surrounded

Wonder (yep, that is his name) was so fun.  He smiled all the time and wanted to help with everything.  Donise was only 18 months old.  His mom left him at the river and some nuns found him.  He is soooo cute!

Watch out…I think Mrs. Phares might try to sneak Donise home with her

Leaving the orphans was really hard to do.¬† Even though I couldn’t communicate verbally they were awesome friends.¬† We got to play games and hang out with them.¬† I hope we get to visit them again…and again….and again…x 57

Heading back across the border to the Dominican

God showed me and taught me (us) alot of things on our trip.¬† I found out that even the poorest of people could be happy.¬† They might not have much but they are thankful for the things they do have.¬† I’m happy we had this trip on thanksgiving.¬† Now I am thankful for everything I have.¬† And the orphans are probably some of the nicest kids I have ever met.

Between now and Christmas to be ask thankful as you can.¬† Think of the orphans in Haiti and any other country because they don’t have much but they are still happy for what they have.

Well, that’s all from me.¬† We’ll see you next time on the Houck Family Adventure blog.

Carter…peace out!

 

 

 

 

Baptism, Donations and Photo Bombs

After a lengthy array of conversations, applications and reading we are now able to receive donations for the ministry work here in the Dominican.

RCE (Resourcing Christian Education) ready to be our filter for those wishing to help provide for the various projects we’re a part of.¬† The process is simple, easy to use, and proven by a number of international missionaries.¬† RCE accepts online donations through credit card.¬† If you wish to send a donation by check, the physical address is available for you as well.

Unfortunately we are still unable to provide tax receipts for Canadian donors.  You can still donate through RCE and note that you are a Canadian resident if you wish.  We have learned a great deal over the past year about how complicated receiving funds from Canada truly is.  RCE is in the process of obtaining status within Canada.  Work continues on that however nothing is available currently.

Steps to follow:   

  1. Go to www.rce-international.org
  2. Scroll on to the “Donate” tab but don’t click right away.
  3. Click on “Support a Missionary”
  4. Fill in the required information.¬† When it comes to the section “Missionaries”, scroll down until you find “Houck, Tim & Tracey 30903”
  5. Click “Review & Submit” when ready.
  6. Done!

Thanx so much for all of your prayers and support.¬† We’ve been diving into alot of familiar and new adventures over the past month.¬†Here is¬†a little¬†photo journal and let the pictures communicate the message.

DANILO gets Baptized!

Danilo, a super young high school student we work with chose to receive Christ recently and jumped in (literally) to being Baptized a couple weeks ago. Amen!

JESUS Week 2012 at Santiago Christian School

Rockin the gym with a few hundred amazing kids during Jesus Week.

MOTO’s of the DR

Have construction material and no straps…will use people as they are heavier and enjoy driving 80 kms per hour in the open air.

Christopher Columbus was “aqui” (here).

Only 20 minutes out of town is Santos Cerro, the historical location where explorer Christopher Columbus & his crew supposedly received a visit from the Virgin Mary. Not sure about the story, but the view is amazing!

Cross That Didn’t Burn?

Beautiful church was built on the spot a cross was alleged to have been built by Columbus and his Spaniard crew. A fenced area within the church encircles the whole where the cross is believed to have been. The cross was set on fire by the farmer’s Columbus was attempting to take over however it never actually burned down. It just….well, burned with flames and stayed where it was. Anthropologists believe the cross was actually carved out of a live tree with roots still intact (not uncommon in that time apparently) and thus the reason for it not burning.

So, as brief updates go, this be it ūüôā

In our next update we’ll drop some pics of the Family Day Events.

Blessings on you and yours from us and ours.

Tim (for the Houck Crew(

On a Sunday Afternoon…

You know you need a break when your 5 year old comes to you and says, “I think I need some time on my own”. ¬†So why not help the little guy¬†out. ¬†Such was the case last saturday for Drew, following a week where both he and Amber battled sinus colds came to his mother and asked for some alone time. ¬†Solution?

The Apartment is aliiiivvve with the sound of muuusssssiiiic! ¬†Amber has been taking¬†this new piano by storm. ¬†She is for certain our focused determination machine. ¬†While her brothers tackle sports, Amber enjoys the arts. ¬†Now hey, she’s a speedy little irl and if there was a cross-country running¬†team here I’m certain she would join.¬† Playing¬†the piano though¬†now takes centre stage¬†for hobbies. ¬†What we’d like to figure¬†out however is find a way to help her express her emotions more openly.

                                  Mini Mozart!

Language Translator Alert! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Carter vaulted to a whole new level of bi-lingualism¬†this weekend. ¬†This morning¬†as we entered church our good¬†friend Luis Oscar approached and asked if I thought I knew enough¬†Spanish to help him translate the sermon into English for our FM radio trasmission.¬† Following a blank stare and slightly blushing face I pointed to Carter and told Luis ¬†Carter had become pretty capable linguistically. ¬†Minutes later Carter and Luis were on their way to the pastor’s office where Carter translated the scriptures used in the service from Spanish to English. ¬†Way to go¬†buddy!

Did I mention he also turned 12 years old September 11th? ¬†His buddies provided the necessary “party hat” (which he wore all day), and mom showed up with uber ymmuy, homemade chocolate cupcakes to share with the guys.

                                    Feliz Compleanos!

Ministry Update… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Everyone is finding opportunities to share a little bit of Jesus.¬†¬†The kids have each reached out to new students in their classes as friends and ‘mini-mentors’. ¬†Tracey continues to find teachable moments while she teaches. ¬†She has also been developing¬†more relationships with middle and high¬†school girls.¬†¬†One high¬†school senior has grabbed¬†her heart in particular. ¬†Very sweet and receptive to down to earth conversations. ¬†We’re praying for more opportunities to speak the truth of Jesus into her life and love on her ūüôā ¬†For myself, basketball season is under way and along my new assistant coach (Johnsa Phares – former Sheriff deputy from Texas), we’re spending¬†three afternoons a week practicing¬†and playing¬†ball while drawing regular connections to scripture for life lessons.

The guys¬†are passionate about basketball and winning.¬† Being¬†competitive is not a struggle¬†for me either. ¬†For Johnsa and I however, our love for sport is the vehicle God¬†is using¬†to allow us the priviledge¬†of spending¬†uninterrupted time to share what has changed¬†out lives…what motivates us…and what God¬†is, can and will do in their lives when they follow Him as their Lord and saviour.

“Danilo is getting baptized?!”¬† Following church this morning we had our second baptistm service in 3 weeks.¬† Walking through the backdoor of our church to the baptism (aka¬†¬†10 ft above ground pool on the cement pad which is our church backyard :), I looked to my left and saw Danilo, a 10th grade student I had taught bible to all last year.¬† Very cool to see him at church and then it struck me…he looked like he was going swimming with his bathing suit & dry-fit shirt.¬† Wait a Santiago minute…

“Danilo…are you getting baptized today?”.¬† “Sure am Mr.¬† I became a Christian last Sunday and asked the pastor shouldn’t I get baptized too?”

My heart jumped out of my chest as our family watch this young man who had been asking so many questions all last year now being baptized.  Two young teenagers from the church invited him to youth group and the Lord worked through them over the summer.  Danilo is a new creation in Christ now and his smile is evidence of it.

Please pray for Danilo.¬† His mother came to church with him this morning was very supportive.¬† He is learning so much and has a genuine heart for serving.¬† Pray for Alfredo & Carlos, two young men who have spent a great deal of time building their friendship and sharing Christ with Danilo.¬† What makes things more exciting is these guys didn’t do this out of “I have to”.¬† They did this out of “I want to”.

Please pray for Carter, Amber & Drew and for their testimonies to their friends, most of whom are discovering the real Jesus of the bible at a young age.  Also pray for Tracey and I to not only ask God for opportunities to care for students and share the truth of Christ, but to take each opportunity with excitement.

Spiritual condition of our students at Santiago Christian School¬†is slowly becoming¬†more evident…now in our 2nd year students trust us more and have been sharing more about their lives, their dreams and at times their hurts. ¬†The heart of a child and/or teenager¬†is always in a state of flux so what is exciting¬†today may be forgotten tomorrow.

God has placed in front of us over 600 precious lives who represent a much larger mass of people and influence when you consider siblings, parents and extended family.  Daily small groups, chapels with some out-of-the-box creativity and retreats over the last 4 weeks provided so many face-to-face chats.

Pray for more and more doors to open. ¬†Trust is hard to come by from some of the students. ¬†They have seen alot of things¬†that have created cynicism toward church and God in particular. ¬†We’re in no way frustrated by this. ¬†We expected it. ¬†What we desparately want to see are these students catch the reality of what it means to love and follow a living God.¬†¬†There is so much for them to discover.

Photo scavener hunt roup at the Hih School Retreat

Canadian Thanksgiving 2012!!¬† How do a bunch of displaced Canadians celebrate the harvest and be thankful?¬† Why…taking over tables at a local Cabarette beach restaurant, covering the table with Canadian flags, putting Canada stickers all over themselves, and wearing a goofy hat…that’s how ūüôā

DONATIONS: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The roller-coaster ride¬†known as fundraising¬†is about to find it’s groove.¬†¬†RCE (Resourcing Christian Education¬† http://www.rce-international.org/) has approved our application and the final paperwork is slated to be and sent electronically Monday morning! ¬† This is a big sense of relief for us. ¬† So much mental and emotional energy¬†has been spent weaving through this little obstacle course the past year +.Fundraising Goals: ¬†Our purpose in fundraising¬†is different from some. ¬†With both of us on staff at Santiago¬†Christian School our basic needs for housing, food and clothing¬†are provided for. ¬†So our approach is centred on three areas:

1.  Ministry Opportunities:  YouthWorker training seminars at churches and area towns are provided free of charge.  Basic expenses like fuel, meals, and materials for attendees are where costs come into play.  Funds raised will be used to take care of these expenses and set aside for more of the same work.

Dominican Youth Workers Conference          March 23, 2013

  • Dream of 300+ volunteer Dominican & Haitian youthworkers from Santiago & the surrounding area with high quality training, resources, networking & food ūüôā¬† We are bringing in a North American trainer (honourarium free but expenses needed), with Dominican & Haitian workers leading seminars, renting a large facility on a major route for easy access, providing free resources in Spanish & Creole, and offering an authentic Dominican lunch + refreshments throughout the day (many of these youthworkers live on less than $250 U.S. per month).
  • We are praying to raise enough funds to cover the costs of the event.¬† No one on the planning team locally will be receiving any honourariums (volunteer based) as the funding will go straight into subsidizing all aspects of the event.
  • More info coming soon!

Velocidad (Velocity) seminars for churches       As set up with local & area churches

  • Offered for free to churches.¬† Minimal expenses for copying materials, graphics development, gas and meals will need to be covered

2. Technology Upgrades: ¬† Computers, etc. are available here in the Dominican however the ¬†costs are eye-popping.¬†¬†All technoloy shipped into the country is subject to an enormous tax on top of the high shipping costs (pay per pound). ¬†We will be looking¬†to raise enough funds to purchase a new laptop summer of 2013 to replace “BERTHA” (old MacBook) who is gaining a mind of her and certain keys have decided to ‘retire’.¬† Replacement bulbs for the LCD projector are also needed.

3. ¬†Annual Visit Home: ¬†We are blessed that Santiago Christian School will cover the cost of¬†flights¬†for Tracey and I annually.¬† Putting away pesos to buy the kids tickets is the one personal funding¬†focus that we’ll have.

NOTE: As soon as we have the green light we will send a quick update and let you know how you can be involved.  Thank you to those who have been asking how you can help and also been so patient in the process.

Lee Family Update… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†You’ll remember last week connected with you that tradgedy occurred within our school family as a father, missionary and pastor, Mr. Lee was killed in a drive-by-shooting while coming¬†out of church one friday evening.¬† Following¬†a beautiful funeral in his honour, the difficult decisions still lay ahead for his widow and three young children.

Mrs. Lee has chosen to remain here in Santiago rather than returning to Korea.  The boys have not missed a day of school from what I know and are receiving regular counseling from Ms. Oltoff, our elementary guidance counselor.  They are doing remarkably well as they manoever through the range of emotions and questions roaming through their minds.

Tracey recently had a chance to talk together with Mrs. Lee.   She is coping and naturally feeling overwhelmed.  But her parting words to Tracey as they were saying good-bye were beautiful and descriptive of her heart:

¬† “Mi Dios es Fuerte”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† translated¬†means¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “My God is Strong”.

The Policia Nacional have taken the crime seriously which is a good sign (not always the case).  Reports came to us a week ago to say that they had in fact identified the shooter and tracked him down.  And while details are sketchy we do know now that this individual was wanted in 5 other murders locally and following a stand-off with the Policia Nacional, he was subsequently shot and died that day.  Not the end any of us had been hoping for, the Lee Family included.  Their prayers for this man to come to know Christ have been deep and genuine.  In a small token of consolation, they do not fear for their safety knowing he is unable to harm the family any longer.

Continue to prayer for Mrs. Lee and the significant¬†number of pressure filled decisions she continues to filter through…for her and her children as they make sense of life without a husband and father…and for the Haitian people who Mr. Lee loved deeply and gave¬†his life to serve God here in the Dominican Republic.

Moto of the DR

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Check out these hoof “beats”

¬†HIT PARADE ¬†(New!!!!) ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†When something begins¬†to become a natural part of your life, you just have to believe it is probably worth sharing.¬†¬† Such is the case when it comes to our vehicle. ¬†Maybe it is the colour (black). ¬†Or perhaps the roof rack draws attention. ¬†Then again a car filled with gringo’s¬†does look a little out of place here in Santiago. ¬†In the 14 months we have lived in the DR, we have been run into from in front, the side, and behind a grand¬†total of 9 times.¬† Considering that 6 of those times our vehicle was completely stationary at a red light or waiting¬†to turn (yes…our turn signal¬†was on), we feel this is quite an accompishment!

On our recent Saturday stress relief trip for a couple hours at the beach, we returned to head home and discovered this (see picture below) had happened. ¬†This, just 3 days after Carter and a friend of ours sat patiently waiting¬†to turn a corner when we felt a ‘THUD’ from behind. ¬†The SUV that bumped us quickly drove away. ¬†Consolation? ¬†His vehicle was black as well so no florescent paint transfer ūüôā

14 months divided by 9 ‘love taps’ puts us on track for another….oh, one wreck every 6 weeks at the current pace. ¬†That means….let me grab¬†my calculator. ¬†We should land somewhere¬†in the neighbourhood¬†of 7 more dings and¬†dents by the end of the school year. ¬†Fear not! ¬†We’ll keep you posted ūüôā

                          

That’s all for now! ¬†Drop us a line when you have time. ¬†Keep praying for what God¬†is doing¬†and for our crew to be and do whatever He asks.

Until next time…Blessings!

Tim (for the Houck crew)