Hello everyone! We pray that this update finds you doing well. The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for us here in the DR. January was busy with two groups. First we hosted Rockhurst University who returned to our program after several years off. It was SO GOOD to see them again! The group was a wonderful blend of personalities and servant hearts. We appreciated their time and talent immensely. Up next was the St. Catherine of Sienna group of 27. With so many volunteers the week looked drastically different from our normal volunteer program. This large group stayed at a retreat center in Las Matas and we had a group of returning volunteers assist us as Work Site Leaders. The week was PHENOMENAL and we accomplished SO MUCH together! So far in February we have only hosted one group -- and they were from our hometown! The St. Mary Pinckney group is always a pleasure to have here. And as a special treat, my mom came as the group leader. It was a phenomenal experience and the kids also LOVED being able to see Grandma.
This semester Jessica has been teaching in El Chivo as we transition into a Montessori school. It has been a challenge to say the least but the children have adapted very well. We start the day off with more traditional oral teaching and book work, followed by the Montessori work trays focusing on fine/gross motor skills, pre-writing skills and hand-eye coordination. Please keep the school in your prayers! We have 42 kids who come from challenging backgrounds.... which can make the school day challenging as well. This program is 100% funded privately by BBOH donors - thank you to those who have donated to this school year!
The construction of our new medical clinic in Rosa la Piedra is underway! We broke ground in December and have continued steadily. Our initial funds (roughly $20,000) have been spent on the land study, excavation of the land, rebar and pouring of the cement footings. Construction is currently at a stop while we raise the next chunk of funds. We have reached out to Cross Catholic International (the same org that partnered with us for a vehicle for El Chivo Preschool) and with the Knights of Columbus at Kailey's home parish (St. Pius X in Grandville). We will be reaching out to more K of C groups soon and asking for matching funds to further multiply the work of the KofC group from St. Pius X. If you or someone you know is a Knight and would like more info, please let us know!
All in all, we are doing well -- thanks be to God! The next month will be spent with our spring break program (St. Mary Student Parish at the Univ. of MI and Aquinas College), followed by preparations for summer internships and work teams. Never a dull moment around here! Thank you to everyone who has donated to our family, to the mission and to the many projects that we have running. We wouldn't be able to do with without you! Please keep the steady stream of prayers coming as well.... they sustain us! And please be assured of our prayers for you as well.
--For our children as they continue to adjust to life in the DR. Emy loves spending time with her friends here but it has been harder for Ben to make solid friendships. He is participating in a karate class, hoping to make some friends. Please pray that the Lord sends him a kind friend and eases his loneliness.
--Please pray for balance within our household as we continue to navigate homeschooling, family time, teaching in El Chivo, administrative duties, the new clinic, etc.
--For someone we can trust to help with the care of our children during the work day. We were blessed for 6 weeks with two different people (shoutout to you Olivia and Katelyn!!) who came to help us with our children. But we don't have anyone here right now and still don't have a long term plan in place.
--That as a team the leadership of FUMSIL and BBOH can remain focused on the tasks the Lord has assigned us.
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