In a twist of God-centered scenarios, we have had the opportunity to get to know the staff of our local Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana more closely. Through the relationships that we have started there a special need was brought to our attention. The Diocese runs a unique boarding school in a mountain village, providing 70 students with a quality education. These are students who would otherwise suspend their studies after the 4th grade simply because there is nowhere to study. No middle school. No high school. It simply does not exist. These communities are so isolated that girls often marry at 12 or 13 years of age and have their first child by 14. The families themselves are very invested in the school, coming to work at the school on a rotating schedule and offering part of their harvest to cover a large part of the school expenses. Everything we have learned about the project we LOVE. It is a unique way to meet the needs of these mountain communities by providing a quality education (and even scholarships for university!). This project is grounded on the firm belief that education is the best and more efficient way to break the cycle of poverty.
Why was the Diocese telling us all about this program? Because up until now they have had a young couple from Spain who lived on site and fulfilled the roles of Project Coordinators. This couple, Maria and Roger, have finished their 3 years of service and are preparing to return to Spain in December. Bishop Grullon and Wilma (head of the Diocesan nonprofit FUNDASEP), have asked us to consider the work load, pray and help them fill the vital position(s). This is a job that could easily be filled by one or two single people (or a married couple). Conversational Spanish is required and the responsibilities are a mixture of principal duties (making sure school starts on time, resolving problems for the staff, administrative paperwork) and motherly duties (helping to care for sick kids, reading bedtime stories, etc.). The job does not require teaching or education experience as duties do not include actually teaching a class. Adam and I are not in a position to live on site at the school due to it's remote location and the needs of our young family. However, we will be playing a support role for the school by going up on a weekly basis, doing some of the administrative work, etc. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us for more information! We are confident that God has a plan for this school and that He will place the desire to serve there in the heart of the right person.
That we may be efficient leaders in all that we are doing here in the DR, balancing home and work responsibilities.
For the Adventure school, that the right person will listen to the Lord's call and be open to the great adventure of loving His children through this project.
In thanksgiving for Roni, a dear friend who has been helping us here with the kids. As she prepares to go home, that He will provide us with another volunteer or trusted person to help us with childcare.
We had a great group from Aquinas College at the end of October. They were a smaller group (5 people total) which allowed us to get to know each of them well. Eric Bridge, a Board Member of BBOH and the Director of Service-Learning for Aquinas College, was their fearless leader. It was SO GREAT to have him here! This was the first time that one of our Board Members has come down to visit us on the ground and we were incredibly grateful for the laughs, quality conversations and the chance to show him the newer projects (like the preschool) firsthand.
Since the Aquinas group left we have been settling into our life here in San Juan. Everything is beginning to feel more comfortable. Ben has started school at the Diocesan preschool called Padre Guido Gildea. Although Ben still cries when we drop him off in the mornings, he is really adjusting well to preschool, new friends and Spanish immersion for 4 hours a day.
Fun Fact of the Day -- Ben's school was founded by Fr. Guido, a Dominican Order priest from MICHIGAN who lived in the DR for many years and started the first Diocesan school in the mid 1900s.
For a while now I have been asking the Lord for the opportunity to meet friends outside of our ministry here in the DR. And boy has He answered that prayer! Over the last week or so we have met many wonderful, fun and inspiring people. Some of them are parents from Ben’s school, local Sanjuaneros and others are fellow missionaries. I am really looking forward to getting to know them better and building a community of friends.
Thank you God for being with us in every step of our transition and providing fellowship opportunities!
For the next several weeks we have a former volunteer and good friend here helping us with the kids. The MVP Award goes out to you Roni. It has seriously been a game changer to have an extra set of hands willing to help with anything and everything. Your service to our family has been a HUGE blessing. Thank you!
This week we are preparing to return 8 children to Rosa la Piedra (and surrounding Haitian villages) and 1 child to Manyaya. Please keep these little ones in your prayers as they transition back to life with their biological families, may they feel God's peace deep within themselves.
More updates soon! <3
For the repose of the soul of Juancito, a man that we came to know back in July and whom died unexpectedly last week.
For continued guidance as we discern additional affiliations with a local Diocesan school and/or an orphanage.
For the United States as they embark on Election Day, may there be peace -- true, lasting, profound peace -- no matter the outcome.
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