Wow! God did it again! We asked Him for big things and He certainly showed up! Specifically, the trip this time around, was all about our kids! This was the first time they had ever been to D.R. to see, hear and feel everything that we’ve experienced over the past couple of years. We had a large agenda to cover with them over the course of 12 days, but can confidently and boldly say, that the Spirit spoke to each one of their hearts in a mighty way!
The way this whole trip came about was a miracle in itself! The fact that we were able to take our family of 6 over spring break, when flight prices are through the roof, was a huge blessing! It all started when we got back from our vision trip in February. See, before the vision trip we were checking tirelessly with different airlines, hoping to find an affordable deal that would allow us to return with our kids on spring break. To our discouragement, we found NOTHING! Well, we found something, but the tickets were outrageous! At that point, we pretty much gave up hope on the idea. Now fast forward to post vision trip, we got home and had in mind that the next time we are scheduled to be in the D.R. is when the kids get out of school in June. That was all well and good, and we were excited for that opportunity, but God wouldn’t allow us to rest in that fact. So each day we checked the airline websites to see if anything had changed, then BOOM! On the morning of Saturday, February 25th, Delta literally slashed the price on their spring break fight in half! We were ecstatic and knew this was not by accident! So on March 29th, all 6 of us were on our way!
It was love at first sight for our kids, being greeted by beautiful scenery all around and having the familiar comfort of the Melugin family there to pick us up! For the first couple of days we spent time in Santiago staying with Keith, Amy and Cole, who showed us the norms of life in the D.R. Having lived in North Canton, two minutes from a Sam’s Club, it was exciting to visit the Dominican version, Price Smart! This went a long way in helping us to determine what things cost and consequently what to ship and what not to ship. It also was an advantage to visit and find a place to shop for all eight of us, as well as for when future mission teams come! There was plenty more to see in the city of Santiago! It’s an urban setting with all kinds of amazing restaurants, shopping and cultural entertainment. At night however, the neon lights advertise the endless bars and brothels of a sex industry that cloaks Santiago in utter spiritual darkness.
On Monday April 3, we drove up to Jarabacoa and arrived at Doulos Discovery School for Aebrie, Taedym and Landon to take their entrance exams. The eyes of our kids were so wide! The staff there is amazing! We were so warmly greeted and we could see that last shred of hesitation in their faces quickly fade away. They got to take a tour of what will hopefully be their classrooms, meeting many of the students and teachers! We were reminded that only 5th grade has an available spot for Aebrie, and that Landon would probably have the next best chance of being accepted, if they are able to expand the Kindergarten class for the fall as they hope. For Taedym, second grade is maxed out, and so they told us that she is on a waiting list. At the end of the day, the principal asked the two of us if we would be able to meet with her at 8:30 A.M. the following morning to go over the results of the entrance exams. When we walked into her office the next day, what we heard literally brought us to tears. She started off by letting us know that each one of our children did an outstanding job by demonstrating the knowledge and the character that they are looking for in D.D.S. students. Then what seemed to be a closed door for Taedym, looked as though God might be starting to open it! A missionary family whose student is enrolled for the fall in the 2nd grade, may possibly be heading back to the U.S.! This is not set in stone, but if this is God’s plan, it would open up a spot for Taedym! We are SO THANKFUL for God’s goodness!!!
While we were in Jarabacoa we also got to spend a few days in the village of Los Higos, where God has allowed us to build deep relationships with many of the people, including the local pastor, Jesus Delgado and his wife Carmen Luz. All the kids in the village immediately took to our kids like they had known them forever! We attended a baptism service at the Rio Confluenza where Aebrie, Taedym, Landon and Kinslaey swam and played in the water with all their new friends! The first of so many memories were made that week! We couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come!
For the last part of the trip God allowed us to travel through the capital of Santo Domingo to the south shore of the island. It was such a blessing to see the beauty of His creation while we were able to relax and enjoy time with the Melugin’s. We ended up in La Romana where Saona Island and Catalina Island boast some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean! Unfortunately, there had been some nasty offshore weather that clouded the waters and we weren’t able to snorkel. Maybe next time! We used the time to continue asking God’s hand of favor to be on our team. Keith and Amy continued to help us think through the whole transition from shipping to visa work. We also laid the groundwork for the next time we’ll be in the Dominican Republic, this June!
Thank you all so much for your faithfulness to the Lord and all of your support as we seek to obey Him! Continue praying with us for big things as we prepare for what looks to be a very busy summer!