Unpacking – DR 2014

The suitcases have been unpacked for days.

The physical unpacking is not hard to do – everything goes back in its place.

It’s the emotional unpacking, the spiritual unpacking that takes so long.

I think I’m still unpacking from my first mission trip 3 years ago.

Still sorting through what I brought back from April 2011, then add to it the June 2013 trip, and now this trip from April 2014.

It’s a mountain of unpacking to do.

But it’s no longer something I want to put off, or something for me to shove in the back of the closet for another day.

I’m dragging out all the stuff I’ve been storing up inside and I’m spilling it all out, mixing it all together into one big heap, and finding a place for it in my life.

How do I accomplish this enormous task?

Same way I seem to sort through most of life… I write about it.

Just yesterday I jotted down the rough draft of a team journal from our latest week in Dominican.

I’ll share that online just as soon as I plug in some pictures and get the go-ahead from the other team members.

But that’s just the surface stuff, just the “Here’s what we did each day” stuff.

I have a whole lot more unpacking to do than that.

My unpacking probably looks more like another book.

Hopefully this one won’t take as long as the first, since the circumstances are vastly different and the process doesn’t seem so overwhelming now that I’ve been through it once already!

Stay tuned for our team journal in the next week or so, and for now…

Enjoy a few pictures from the trip (these are mostly pictures of Josh and I, since I’m not sure what I can post from the team yet!)

I’ll at least try to put them in order…


Leaving the Toronto airport in our matching t-shirts from Go M.A.D…


Our hotel in Sosua, Dominican Republic – we were able to get such a good deal on travel and accommodation by going with an all-inclusive package. Not your usual way of doing mission trips, but it really worked for our team…


Our first stop is Mustard Seed – a home for children with extreme special needs – the facility doubled their capacity this year with the addition of a couple more buildings, and they look forward to taking in up to 40 children over time…





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The rest of the week we spend working with Go M.A.D


Chantz (Go MAD Director) and Jody (also works at Go MAD)…


The Children’s Centre where we worked on a few projects…


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Sorting out 12 hockey bags of donations from our Northern Ontario community… medical supplies, school supplies, materials for the work projects, etc…

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Our first glimpse of the village of Munoz…


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The pastor of the local church where we will be working for the next couple of days has purchased a large plot of land, and Go MAD is planning on building a community/education centre here.  Our church was able to donate some funds to start the project off when Chantz finds the right contractor. Currently there is a partial building that has been sitting unfinished, and this is a great foundation for Go MAD’s vision…



Now to start painting the church – we are giving this Munoz church a total facelift – with a fresh coat of paint inside and out, and 3 ceiling fans to add to the 2 they already have… this will make the building alot more bearable for the 100 or so people who use the facility…




We are delighted when villagers of all ages offer their help, and the work goes smoothly and quickly with all hands on deck…


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Taking a break from painting to learn the hand motions to Jesus Loves Me…



My husband LOVES to talk with new people and make friends – no matter where we are or what language barriers there may be… where there’s a will, there’s a way…  I love this about him…


Taking a break for lunch at a local restaurant…


My painting buddy for the afternoon… a lovely young lady who I’ve been getting to know for a few years now… ya, she’s awesome…


I’m pretty handy with a drill, by the way…

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There was no ladder available, so a local man found some scraps of wood and had a makeshift ladder built in no time! Not sure how safe it truly was, but it sure got the job done, actually many jobs done…


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH written on the sand by a couple of team members… Josh turns 40 as he serves in Dominican… ya, that’s the way to start another decade…



Ceiling fans installed and church has two fresh coats of paint on it by the time we leave on Thursday… the breeze feels so good…


Starting to fade as we head into Thursday afternoon… stomache troubles…


 Friday is our “Play Day” but I’m at the hotel by myself, in bed most of the day… stomache getting better as they day progresses… the team enjoys some time at Lake Dudu/Blue Lagoon… I wish them well… No, I’m not bitter…


Back in business on Saturday and back at Firm Foundation… the ladies are doing a fine job working out the stenciling pattern for the outdoor grill…

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Preschool at Firm Foundation


Sunday morning we attend an English speaking church service, and Sunday evening we attend a Spanish service…





Monday morning we head back to Firm Foundation to finish up our work projects…

Before and after shots of the doctor’s cabinet (no, I didn’t work on this at all, just came in to sweep and happened to be part of a photo op.)…



The outdoor grill…




Wire fencing around the pool to replace the wood fence we made 3 years ago…



No before shots of the kitchen cupboards that we sanded and painted – they used to be a dark brown… the orange & white gingham curtains I made will replace cupboard doors…



And a couple of other painting jobs done by our team…


Monday afternoon it is time to say goodbye to Dominican… the ocean waves have been dangerously high the last couple of days and no swimmers were allowed in the water…



 And that’s all for now folks… more to come….


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