|Serving the Border||
|Serving the Border||
As April came to a close and May begins we want to catch everyone up to speed on another of our newest ventures: the LONG TERM VOLUNTEER PROGRAM. *insert all types of hooting, hollering and general good cheer*
This is a program that has been a long time coming. The vision statement of the program reads:
Long term volunteers commit to the work of both BBOH and FUMSIL for up to 2 years. Their leadership, expertise and old-fashioned hard work are an integral part of what makes BBOH a highly respected grassroots organization impacting communities along the Haiti-Dominican border. Volunteers will be accepted on a rolling basis with flexible starting dates.
Ladies and gents: we are SO EXCITED about this program!!!! We are finally in a place both professionally and personally to welcome like-minded people into a life of service here in the DR! How awesome is that?! God is GOOD and FAITHFUL to this mission.
After extensive conversations with BBOH and FUMSIL leadership we have come up with a list of the jobs/areas where we can best utilize extra hands. They include: volunteer and mission house management, school sponsorship program, home visit coordinator, English teacher, music teacher, medical professional(s) i.e. RN, PA, MD, etc. With a variety of skill sets needed and lots of room for flexible scheduling, we are hopeful that the Lord will send us the perfect people for these positions. BBOH will be providing a separate housing accommodation for the long term volunteers where they can grow in community together in the town of El Llano. We will also be providing a living stipend and wifi. I have to say it again -- how awesome is that?! It is humbling to see a long term vision come to fruition.
We are more focused on the quality of the applicant than the quantity, therefore we have opted to leave the application process open indefinitely with rolling start dates throughout the year. Our first pair of volunteers are set to begin ministry in July 2017.
Please share this information about our LONG TERM PROGRAM far and wide! We want as many applicants as possible and we have the work on the ground to keep them busy! Inquiries for more information can be sent to: email@example.com
Onto our personal updates....
Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a Ladies Retreat with other missionary women who live in San Juan. It was a great day of prayer and reflection through the Velvet Ashes website for women serving overseas (I highly recommend them!). The whole experience felt somewhat surreal as I reflected back to May 2016. One year ago we were identifying our need for community and fellowship. Those were some of the driving forces behind our decision to move to San Juan..... and there I was experiencing exactly what my heart had been longing for. My how much can change in one years time. Amazing. God is FAITHFUL.
We have come to love this town and all that it has to offer. Ben is enjoying school. Emily is growing like a weed -- and just about walking everywhere. We celebrated our first Easter here in the DR. It was a quiet day with a delicious dinner and then mass and spending time with Angel and his family. We surely missed the Easter egg hunts and family dinners from Michigan, but we made the best of the day!
**Honorable mention goes out to my mom, Debbie Coffelt, for making sure that the kids had small Easter baskets and little surprises from home on Easter morning. Thank you!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
There are two important events coming up! The first is our short visit home from May 20 - June 8. We would love to see YOU! Please comment or send a message with info about when you are available. We hope to see everyone!
The second is our annual auction fundraiser, RAISE THE ROOF! It will be held at Corsi's Restaurant & Banquet Hall in Livonia, MI on Saturday August 12 from 5:30 - 11:00 PM. Tickets will be available for purchase online SOON! This event is put on by our BBOH Ambassadors and a team of dedicated volunteers. It will surely be a fun evening with a live & silent auction, dinner and lots of laughter. Dr. Angel, Adam and I will all be present as well. #epic
We look forward to celebrating the mission with you! <3
After a busy spring we are happy to take advantage of this lull in the volunteer program to dedicate time and resources to new projects. As some of you may know, we have been talking about building our own BBOH Mission House for quite some time. With so many balls that we have been juggling, it has been easy to let this project take a back burner. However, now that we live here FULL TIME we can take advantage of these weeks between volunteer groups to move the vision forward.
Why a new Mission House?
We have quickly outgrown our humble accommodations in Palo Seco. This three bedroom single family style home has been a big part of our story here in the DR. However, as our projects have expanded and our volunteer groups have grown, we simply need more functional space to accommodate visitors, to hold meetings and to embrace the local community in fellowship.
We desire for this new mission house to not only be available for our international volunteers but also for other missionary/humanitarian groups who come to Elias Pina. Our open arms to embrace other likeminded groups and provide them with a safe place to sleep while serving in their own projects is at the center of our heart. We desire to impact the local economy by providing steady jobs in meal preparation, care-taking, office administration and other fields. The presence of a retreat center style Mission House will also lift up the local Catholic community. For the first time there will be a place to gather for mens & women's retreats, catechism classes and trainings, extended stay youth activities, local medical missions, etc.
Preparation and Planning
Over the last two weeks we have been in contact with a local San Juan political figure (I think her role would most closely translate to Mayor) who is also an architect. Through a series of God-moments she has happily agreed to join us on this adventure. She cleared her schedule to visit the property that FUMSIL (and subsequently the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana) own in El Llano (shoutout to you Rose Marie!!). A topographer has already visited the land, taken measurements and will then provide a comprehensive map of the property. With this map, our architect will design the layout of the project, dividing it into phases of completion. We are beyond excited to have the blue prints, 3D images and computer renderings of a project has been on the horizon for so long.
We have meetings set up after Easter with the Vicar to Bishop Grullon of the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana to present the project, gather feedback and move toward formal approval of the project.
Please pray for the Lord's leading in this huge undertaking. We are looking at a season of construction, capital campaigns and grant writing to make this project a reality. And the best part -- WE ARE EXCITED!!! More information coming soon!
For this preparation phase of building a new Mission House.
For the preschool in El Chivo as Dr. Angel moves toward Ministry of Education funding.
For our family as we continue to embrace full time missions. (In particular, for our first Easter abroad)
Thank you to all of our supporters. We couldn't be here doing this without you!
Over the last 3 months the mobile medical clinic program
Deciding to begin any life or moment in time in service, one has to have it in a particular place deep within their heart. This is when your drawn upon an emotion experienced after a monumental revelation or event that occurs in ones life. For some, this may have been 9/11/2001. A tragic day in not only America, but for the world. Many of us remember how we felt that week if we were alive for it. Anger, confusion, sadness and heartache were some ways to describe the chaos in those weeks and months shortly after. I was working as a store detective at a retail establishment counting fine jewels at the moment of impact. The day that changed not only my small insignificant life, but the entire world view I had. At that moment thousands decided to do something about it. Many decided to serve their country in the military. Some, decided however, to serve in other ways. Wether that was paramedics, police or firefighters they all had one thing in common. Service. I knew in that moment, law enforcement would be a particular way I could serve. However, God wanted me to serve humanity abroad first. When I first met my beautiful wife Jessica in 2010, she told me she was a missionary. I knew many missionaries in the past, but none closely. As we got to know each other, I saw a photo of her holding a child in the mountains of Haiti that was severely malnourished. This was the true moment I fell in love with her. In those eyes, I saw the most content and loving look that I knew I wanted. Not only to receive but more so to give to others. That is the definition of service in its pure form. To give of yourself and to expect nothing in return. Not a paycheck, recognition or awards. This is the form of life that brings us the most joy and it was intended by God to be that way.
Obviously we married each other and have two beautiful children and hope be blessed with more at some point, but what this moment did for me personally was seeing the value in service. So much so, that I joined the Knights of Columbus in 2011. As a 4th degree Sir Knight, we have values that we adhere too. One of these happens to be service. It defines the KofC culture. It embodies who we are as Catholic Lay Missionaries.