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Friday, July 9, 2010

God Sighting, Anyone?

First of all, we want to apologize for not writing as much as we promised. If we wrote as much as we wanted to and as often as we were affected and as we were seeing God work, you’d wonder why we were on the internet and journaling so much when there’s work to be done! We hope that you’re enjoying our journey through pictures!

Wednesday night we enjoyed Dominican pizza before practicing for our special music. We sang “Mighty to Save” in Spanish with the praise team. Let me tell you a little bit about this praise team. It is made up young men from the youth group who come to church on their own. Almost all (if not all) come by on their own. They don’t come because their parents are forcing it on them. They don’t come because it’s the cool thing to do. They don’t come because it’s been part of their lives since before they can remember. They come because they love God and want to serve. How amazing is that? How many of you can honestly say that you would have come to church on your own as a teenager if it wasn’t already in your life? I don’t know if I could. They lead us as we sang. I sang my heart out as we joined together in voices, language and love for our Savior. (link to google video) I think, so far, this was one of my favorite and most treasured times.

Listening to the message was quite a workout for me! Think about how tired you’d be if you had to change what was said into another language before you could actually understand? No passive listening here! I loved trying to follow along with his preaching. I read the verse on the powerpoint before I looked it up in English. I was close on a lot of them.

Bible School-Day 2-What an amazing day. I am not sure of the count of Thursday, but there were at least 2 added to our total! Day 2 is great for so many reasons. We have connections to the kids from the day before-a free hug, a shared laugh or a high five-that makes today even better for all of us. Our relationships with our Dominican counterparts have deepened, which allows us to have more to talk about and more to laugh about. We know the songs better and can sing more freely from our hearts. Things run smoother because we’ve got the kinks out from the day before. The gospel that was planted on Day 1 is being watered on Day 2.

And that gospel—the same gospel that brought Abraham to know God, David to write his psalms to an everlasting God, and Saul to be changed to Paul and be a missionary to the world—sprouted today in the lives of 5 boys. God used Romano(on his birthday!) to harvest that seed. Romano has been discipled in the church and has been greatly encouraged to teach. This was the first time that he taught and God used him in his newness and in his humility to bring the gospel. The COOLEST thing is that there were 2 sets of brothers (one in each of the two classes) that accepted Christ! So, not only are there two new believers in each home, they made decisions without the other brother knowing/influencing what was going on!! *GOD SIGHTING*


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Amy's Insight

Ok well there is lots to tell and lots of space so here it goes. By the way it is Amy speaking. Sunday everything went fine with the exception of our connecting flight from JFK to Santiago was like two hours late. We got through customs fine, and got into our hotel rooms around 4am. Got up a little late (planned) Monday morning, had some breakfast and headed to the Webbs’ church; planned what we were going to do in Haiti and talked about VBS. We meet the teens that we were going to work with for VBS. I am co captain of Agripo Amarillo (team yellow; girls ages 7-9) with a girl named Catherine who speaks English (a major relief for me, as I know like um…… NONE). So for the rest of the day we just prepared for VBS, and in the evening we went to the Webbs house for spaghetti and salad (oh yeah and donuts for dessert). Earlier in the morning we had wrapped our presents for the Webbs, so we had Christmas in July (which was awesome to watch Christian and Camille’s faces’ as they opened their gifts).

Tuesday we left the hotel around 7 am and loaded the van and the SUV for the 3 hour trip to Haiti (another side note: our van driver (Renee…a guy) is amazing; we LOVE him to death). It was a little crunched in the back (speaking from experience) but it was amazing to see many different aspects of the Dominican. We met Brittany and Teryn (two workers from Hope for Haiti; the orphanage) right before the border and we successfully made it across without any problems. The rest of the day is incredibly hard to describe, but I will try my best. As soon as we walked across the border, the difference between Haiti and the Dominican Republic was immediately known. The Dominican the roads are paved for the most part, houses are made with bricks and fences and look secure, and on average is a generally clean place; Haiti on the other hand is the exact opposite with an extra large dirt path with garbage everywhere, the houses looking more like sheds with people living with animals. We walked through the village and met some of the kids that go to the school (500 kids altogether go to the school sponsored by the orphanage). We then immediately went to the orphanage and met the children. They have around 90 kids with about 50 of them speaking no English because they recently arrived from Port au Prince. I can’t really explain what it was like other than life changing. We think those kids have nothing, but they think they have so much. The lady that runs the orphanage does not encourage adoption because she considers the children her own. The older kids are learning French, Creole, English, and Spanish, and lots and lots about God (and all the other subjects we all hated in school). We had lunch, and then moved on to have more fun with the kids. We painted faces which morphed into them painting on paper and us laughing. The boys and the kids played soccer. The rest of the day was just spent enjoying the kids and them blessing us greatly. We all have so many stories to tell, but so hard to put into words, so ya’ll will just have to ask and listen because we can go on for hours. Sadly we left the kids around 3 their time, and again made it back across the border safely. We loaded back up and headed back to Santiago. We got to have dinner which consisted of empanadas (kind of like Hot Pockets but different and much tastier).

Today we got up and had breakfast at the cafĂ© attached to the hotel (a good way to experience some Dominican food). We were at the church by 8am and got last minute preparations underway for VBS. The kids quickly started coming in and we soon started with our opening program. Of course I didn’t understand anything that was going on so I can’t tell you much about it, but I do know that they think it is funny when I have to yell excitedly by myself (another short story). Agripo Amarillo had 11 girls, and the VBS had 41 kids altogether (as of this morning we only had 25 signed up, so that was a real praise). Overall, I had a hard time communicating with my girls because only two of them spoke English, but by the end of the day they were finally warming up to me, so hopefully tomorrow we can start where we ended. For lunch we had rice, chicken, beans, and veggies, and then cleaned up and got ready for tomorrows VBS. Afterwards we headed to their version of Walmart (but so much better in Christin’s and mine opinion). Then we headed back to the hotel for some showers to get cleaned up for church. I had my first hot shower since Saturday as for some reason we’ve only had lukewarm showers since we’ve been down here (but none of us minded because it felt good after being hot and sweaty all day). So overall, I have no complaints on this end other than I would love to stay in Haiti for awhile please and thanks.

Love you all


A day words cannot describe!

Yesterday we spent the day with 50 beautiful children at an orphanage in Haiti. We got up early and drove 3 hours to the Dominican/Haitian boarder where we were greeted by two sisters who are working with the orphanage. We parked our and after paying to cross the boarders and filling otu some paper work we were ready to walk into Haiti.

The two sisters (Brittany and Taryn) lead us around the village where we were welcomed into the homes of a few of the students that attend the school at the orphanage. They greeted up with hugs and smiles as they showed us their homes. Their homes were Small areas held up by wood with tin roofs to hold out the weather.

Was we enetered the orphange we were met by 50ish smiling children! We spent the day playing sports, doing crafts, and painting faces. They were so excited to get the little we gave them. They would knock us over as we passed out silly bands, fruit snacks and lolly pops. As our time came to an end, we all realized how much we had each fallen in love with the kids in the short time we were there. It was hard to leave but as we did, they again huged us and told us they were praying for us. They were praying for us! Humbling to say the least! They are the ones with very little and they we were praying for us! Amazing day to say the least.

~ Laurie

Friday, July 2, 2010

Prayer Requests and Itinerary

Prayer requests for today:
1. Final details coming together. Recently, we've had a change of plans which required more money, but God, in His omniscience, provided over and above what we needed and we are covered. Praise the Lord!
2. Packing-we have a lot of stuff we are taking for the orphanage and for the missionaries and we want to get it all in the least amount of luggage possible.
3. Security at the airport- leaving on July 4 adds time to our security traffic. Pray that things go quickly and without snags.
4. JFK transfer- we have a short amount of time to get from one plane to another so pray that we get left on time from Pittsburgh and are able to make a smooth switch.
5. Clarity of thought- Pray that Paul is able to think through anything else we might need to do/pack/cover so that everything goes as planned and that he gets 16 people to the airport and on a plane to a foreign country! It's been a lot of work and there are a lot of things going through his mind.

Here is our "tentative" schedule for our week of DR. As missionaries, we are first and foremost asked to be flexible. It'll be interesting to report how well we followed this!


Sunday: travel (leave church at 2:00pm)
Monday: Orphanage in Haiti
Tuesday: get any last minute details together for VBS
Wednesday - Friday:
Morning: prep for VBS
Afternoon: VBS
Evening: free time / sightseeing
Saturday: Spending time with John Webb's Youth group/Sports day
Sunday: church stuff
Monday: return home (arrive at church around 11:30am)

Our Flight plan:

Flight Info: JetBlue

Outbound (Sunday, July 4, 2010)
05:30 PM to 07:15 PM (PIT to JFK)
08:35 PM to 12:35 AM (JFK to STI)

Inbound (Monday, July 12, 2010)
01:30 AM to 05:03 AM (STI to JFK)
08:20 AM to 09:58 AM (JFK to PIT)

It'll be some late nights and some early departures, but we'll be fine! We can sleep later, right?


T- 2 Days!

¡Hola amigos y familia!

Our trip to DR is coming up fast and the whole team is so excited to go. All we can do when we get together is talk about the details and everything we hope the week will hold. It seemed like just a week ago we were starting our plans for this trip. And's here.

God has hand-picked this group of people to go on this journey to the DR. We have 8 ladies and 8 gentlemen embarking on this trip. We have job assignments during Bible school and God has provided a perfect job for each person. I love watching how God is working in even the smallest details.

1. Paul Charles- fearless leader and floater
2. Pastor Charles-encourager of the missionaries
3. Chris Hoobs- Animated, goofy game leader
4. Aaron Kniess- Animated(?) goofy game leader
5. Michele Hoobs- refreshments and photography guru
6. Sharon Oesterling-songs and snack time, verse listener
7. Adrienne Kniess- craft assistant
8. Christin Oesterling- leader of Team Rojo (Red)
9. Jenette Cline-Animated, goofy game leader
10. Abby Peffer-Animated, goofy game leader
11. Laurie Hallberg- Bible time, discipler
12. Amy Gerwig-leader of Team Amarillo (Yellow)
13. Joel Boughner-Bible time, discipler
14. Seth Young-Animated, goofy game leader
15. Andrew Gerwig- All around assistant, grounds keeper
16. Josiah Peffer- leader of team Verde (Green)

Please keep us all in prayer as we work hard in our specific area while we are there.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Webb Family

This is the missionary family that has invited us to the Dominican Republic. John and Kelly Webb with their kids: Chloe, Camille, and Christian.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Please pray as we prepare for our trip to the Dominican Republic. We will be posting more details and prayer requests in the near future.