Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the baby. making a presence known.

Just thought I would throw at you a recent picture of my growing belly! I'm still about 1 week or so shy of having 5 months. All of a sudden, and it literally seemed overnight, that belly of mine just decided to pop out!

Thank you everyone for all your many prayers on our behalf. I feel great these days and am so thankful for good health.

Monday, December 17, 2007

rain.wind.and more rain.

Well, we're keeping a little out of touch it seems. Part of the reason is that its been rain, rain, and more rain. Rain confines you to the house and sometimes puts work at a standstill. Sometimes you get to feeling like there is not much to report. Although last week we had a bit of a variation in the rain and got lots of nasty wind as tropical storm, Olga, came whipping through. Two days plus without electricity put our poor frozen turkey, waiting for Christmas, in peril. Always fun times in the DR!

Admist the rain this fall, there have been three teams that we hosted. One team came from Ohio, another from Austin, Texas, and the other was a YWAM, DTS team from St. Criox. Little by little the school looks better and better each day as more shelves are added, murals are painted on the walls, and some finishing touches are completed. Classes are going well and I think everyone was anxious and excited for their Christmas visit home and a break before January rolls around. Starting Jan. 1st, we have two back to back teams coming as well.

Thanksgiving was spent enjoying an American feast at the Makarios house with all the Makarios staff. And then that weekend we all enjoyed a couple of days away in the mountains of Jarabacoa. Jarabacoa is quite a different place than the sultry beach areas. The small town is nestled between large mountains. In fact, the largest of these mountains is Pico Duarte and We were able to pull our long sleeves out of the bottom of the dressers and enjoyed lots of hot chocolate. We were blessed to stay with and be hosted by a dear family that lives up there and runs a Christian school. They have a coffee farm that helps support their school and is the same coffee that Makarios buys to supply their coffee shop in Austin, Texas. It was a time to be thankful for eachother, the time away, the change of scenery in which God provided for us, and so much more.
Some people have been wondering what things look like down here, especially after last week's tropical storm, Olga. Everything in our area mostly stayed in tact. Last Tuesday night was an exciting night with a lot of heavy wind, yet although there was a lot of wind, there wasn't a ton of rain that could have come with the storm. In some ways, the wind is good as it keeps things moving right along. There were some fallen trees and debris littering the streets afterwards. Power lines went down, but other than that there was no treacherous damage done. There was a tragedy that did occur in and around the Yaque river that runs through Santiago. In anticipation for the storm, someone from high up decided to order to have the damn release 100's of gallons of water to minimize pressure put on the damn from the storm. What they failed to do though was warn all the people living along the river that a flood was about to take place, and as a result there are now an estimated 2,000 families that are reported missing. That news report is quite different than what you hear in the States saying that around 25 people were reported killed. Perhaps only 25 bodies were recovered and the rest were washed away or buried by the mud. Any way you look at it, it is a tragedy and in my mind quite criminal. Be praying for those individuals that are now displaced without anything or anywhere to go and also for those families who are missing loved ones.
Every day that passes brings along so many other things to be thankful for. We are so blessed and continued to be blessed in grand ways and proportions.

Thanksgiving family picture

Overlooking the Jarabacoa Valley

At the Jarabacoa coffee farm

Makarios girls: left to right
Camille, Robin, Cara, Sharla, Jennie, and Kate

Sunday, November 11, 2007

one way to get what you need.

So, you might remember Miguel applying for an Italian visitor's visa about a month ago. It was denied on the spot, but his passport was detained at the embassy for 3 weeks after. I'm not sure how they can get away with doing that in the first place, but as you are at their mercy...there's nothing you can do.

Miguel's appointment date to retrieve his passport landed on Oct. 31st right in the middle of tropical storm Noel where all of Santo Domingo was flooded. Needless to say he couldn't go that day but went on the following day only to find out that was a day where they don't give back passports. He would have to return on a Monday or Wednesday. Since the following Monday was a holiday it had to be the following Wednesday.

The time allotted for picking up passports is between 3 and 5. Miguel arrived and found a line of waiting people leading down the street and around the corner. As they organize people, they put the people who were there but not on their appointment date at the back of the line and say that if they don't have time to attend them before 5, they have to come back another day. You have to understand, for us to take a trip down to the capital takes all day and money to get down there and back. Its not that fun of a deal travelling down there.

So at 4:30, Miguel starts pounding on the window of the embassy and asks for his passport back. After a few reprimands to sit down and him refusing they say they are going to kick him out. Fine, he says," just give me back my passport first!" In the end, he left being escorted out by the security guard, but with his passport in hand.

Its not an approach I would recommend, but sometimes it just is what you have to do to get what you need. If only other countries used the mail system like the lovely life would be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


So the wind has come out and dried up all the least we hope so. The skies still are grey and there is no sun in sight yet, but we are hopeful that it feels a little bit drier today. The condensation dripping off the fridge is less today, although the mountain of 2 weeks worth of dirty clothes that Miguel has affectionately named, Mt. Ruso, has had an avalanche and has birthed another hill. I guess we'll name it Mr. Ruso Jr.

Today is Halloween or better known in our family as my brother Cody's birthday! Happy Birthday Cody! We are so proud of you and think of you so often. We look forward to seeing you when God so chooses, and pray that will be soon.

You wouldn't know it was Halloween today unless you were in the big city like Santiago or Santo Domingo. The Dominican Yorks brought the holiday down from New York, but its not typically recognized here in this country.

I am glad the wind is blowing today. It does make it feel more like fall around here. I was reminded of the fall looking at all the pictures of pumpkins and pumpkin patches that my siblings have posted up for all to see and enjoy. Thank you all! And thank you dad for sending down a miniature pumpkin. I look forward to getting it every year, and it reminds me of home! I love you, my dear family!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We're in our fifth day of straight rain from tropical storm Noel. Its wet here, but thankfully not flooding like most of the south is. Some reports have said that 60 or more people have been reported dead from the flooding. The frustrated people of the south are blaming the government for not informing anyone that the storm was coming. The government would rather see people stay in the campos and small towns than to flood to the cities for refuge. The same thing happened with the same government when hurricane George came sweeping through. I guess you take your weather stations and informational news programs for granted in the US until things like this come your way.

I never saw a country where the schools shut down because it is raining out. They are closed until the government says its ok to open back up again. Blady has been home the past 3 school days for that very reason. And for most schools its not for the floods, its just because it is raining. At first I kind of laugh at that and chock it up as just another crazy thing Dominicans do. But then as I was thinking more about it started to make some more sense to me.

First of all, most kids and families don't have covered transport to school, and the way they get to school is by walking or riding motorcycles. So what about the umbrella? Most don't own one.

If you do get wet, you stay wet. When it rains here, everything turns wet and there's no hope of drying it out. The dry sheets on the bed all of a sudden feel damp. For that matter, everything that was once dry feels that way. Paper become limp. Walls become cold and damp, and if you run out of "dry" have a problem. Pnemonia sets in among the young and old alike. And soon, the rainy days become hazardous indeed.

Remember the poor during these days. They are the ones that suffer the most. To start with they have little protection from their houses, few clothes to change into, and few resources to turn to.

I took a picture out our bedroom window into the neighbor's yard which looks like it has about a foot of standing water. The next plague to come in a few days will be the mosquitos!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the calendar.

So as a result of some prodding done by my family members, the creation of a 2008 calendar has come into existence. It is a calendar featuring some of the pictures that I have taken over the past several years of living here in the Dominican Republic. The pictures are accompanied with common Dominican proverbs and sayings that I've been able to collect from several Dominican resources.

It is a sort of fundraising project to help support Miguel and I as we serve here in the Dominican Republic, but might also serve as Christmas gifts for your friends and family.

Here are a couple sample photographs found in the calendar.

If you are interested, they are $15 dollars each and we can mail them directly to you. My parents are going to be helping me out with all the details of mailing and receiving money orders. So here is how it will work. Just respond in an email to Jennie,, with your order and mailing address. Slip in the mail a check made out to Jennie Morel with the total number of calendars ordered written on the check and also include $1.75 shipping for each calendar. Please send all checks to Jay and Pat Fisher, 504 Dairy Way, Buellton, CA 93427. And as soon as the check is received, the calendars will be sent straight out to you! For those of you who live in the Dominican Republic, I have a stash here that I can deliver directly to you. Just email me the best way to get them to you and it will be done! In pesos they are 500 RD each.

entering back into the blog.

Well hello, we've been gone for a while. Its a little crazy when you feel life sweeping you off your feet and then suddenly realize that time has really passed right on by. In some ways the past month hasn't been all that eventful and yet things have definitely happened.

Miguel has been winding up with the little finishing projects at the new school house in Tamarindo. Its definitely looking more "cleaned up" as they have been busy clearing the rest of the property from unnecessary trees, shrubs, and other stuff. It will serve as a playground for the kids and also have a garden area with some banana trees for the feeding program as well as some other choice selected plants.

The school has been active to say the least with about 150 kids pouring in and out of it everyday. There are two afterschool programs as well as a pre-school program currently running. A couple of weeks ago, there were two young students who had been attending the afterschool program throughout the past few years who expressed desire to become Christians and start to go to church. So that was a huge encouragment and boost to the teachers and those involved with the school project. That's why we do the things that we do!

By the way, I'm not sure that I've mentioned the rest of the staff that we have working down here this year.
  • Sharla Megilligan is the director of Makarios and is spending most of this year DR side as she is in the process of adopting Haitian twins.
  • Camille was with us last year and is back again for another year of teaching in a real schoolhouse.
  • Robin we've affectionately labeled as school principal and is the invaluable help to the rest of the teachers as she has a background in bilingual education.
  • Weston is also new this year and is teaching the physical education and outdoor recreation part of each session.
  • Kate is also a teacher and jumping right in with her Spanish and enthusiasm.
  • Cara and Elizabeth have been with us since the end of August and although are only here through November and December have both been invaluable help with cleaning and taking care of the feeding program and anything else that needs an extra hand.

So that about covers them all!

Miguel is looking forward to phasing out with a lot of the finishing touches at the school and is ready to restart his electricity classes with the boys in Caraballo as well as starting up again the Bible class in Arroyo Leche. Hopefully we'll be able to iron out some of these schedules within the next couple of weeks.

Just as an update, I'm really feeling fine with my pregnancy. Although, I have had some minor discomforts already. Thankfully, morning sickness hasn't been a huge threat, although the parasites have. Discovering that you have a parasite is enough to make you paranoid, but finding out that you are hosting 4 different species is quite the other thing. My only avenue of relief has been to joke about it. After all, what else can you do? I've been trying different types of natural remedies to rid them from my body and pray that they work as I can't take medicine. I was also put on bed rest this week due to some unexpected bleeding. The sack where the baby is looked like it may have been trying to detach from my uterus' wall. We hope that after tomorrow's Dr.'s visit all will look fine and the precautionary step in being ordered to stay in bed for the week will have paid off. I really do feel fine despite all the fuss.

Well, Miguel and I attempted to impress the Italians with the hopes of getting a visa for Miguel to visit Italy with me for Christmas. Unfortunately, the Italians didn't take a look at his paperwork, or what they did see proved to be "Bad" paperwork. It was pretty much a decision made on Miguel's age and the fact that he is a Dominican. I guess you have to understand if it were that easy to get into Italy...the whole country would be up and going. And the same goes for Spain and the US as well. So we're not sure what we're going to do at this point. We might try a different avenue, or we'll just spend a nice, warm Christmas here in the Dominican Republic!

For the moment that about wraps it up! Until next time....

Friday, September 21, 2007

points for prayer.

  • Praise that the school house is nearly complete and that classes have begun.
  • Pray for new teachers and students who come through school. The majority of the kids are from very poor and rough backgrounds and come with some tough attitudes.
  • Praise that Miguel's shoulder is feeling so much better. At times it still bothers him but he is doing a lot better with it.
  • Praise that Jennie's residency papers are all deposited and is now waiting for them to be processed. If all goes well, she should have her official residency ID's sometime in October.
  • Miguel's application for US residency was sent from the US embassy in Santo Domingo back to Imigration Services in the States for further review. Since it has already been approved by Immigration Services once before we think this is probably due to our change in marital status. Pray that the paperwork is approved again and that we can move forward with it.
  • Speaking of visas, the Fisher family is trying to reunite in Italy for Christmas. Miguel has an appointment at the Italian embassy on Oct. 9th for an interview for a visitor's visa. Pray that they will grant the visa to him so that we can join the family at Christmas!
  • In case you haven't heard....Jennie is pregnant! She is feeling great so far....pray that the pregnancy continues to go well. A cyst was discovered on her left ovary, but the doctors do not seem concerned as it is most likely caused from the rapid change in hormones from being pregnant. Pray that it goes away and doesn't cause any complications.
  • Pray for continued patience for Vlady. His mother, Susa, just recently professed a newly found faith in Christianity. Pray for a genuiness of heart and a true change in her life from getting to know Christ.
  • Finances: We are currently under supported. Pray for continued job opportunities that Miguel is able to do on the side while still working for Makarios.
  • Catch up on rest as it has been a very busy summer with very little rest! The heat definitely takes its tole in this area as well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

opening day.

And we're off! Whether we're ready or not. Today was the first day of classes in the new school building. As I looked over the roster of kids signed up to attend, I was pretty blown away by the numbers. We'll have around a 180 kids running in and out through the 2 room school house each day. In case you're mouth just dropped....of course they won't be there all at the same time but in 3 shifts of 3 classes each. There will be two shifts of after school programs and 1 shift of preschoolers. Pray for us as the logistics are pretty tight in running kids in and out from 8:30 to 3:30. There are 5 teachers whose names are Cristina, Camille, Kate, Robin and Weston who are running the show. Pray for them as well. For three of them, this is their first extensive time in the country and for some their first time teaching. So its going to be an exciting and probably challenging year for all!

Lining up for morning roll call.

Cristina and her class of preschoolers.

Weston and his outdoor activity class.

Finishing up the details.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

some big news.

Well, admist the craziness of this past week in trying to get the school done before Monday, Miguel and I found out that I am pregnant! Although the news came at somewhat of a crazy busy time we couldn't be more excited. I am 5 weeks along and due for around May the 14th....just in time for my birthday.

....the school house opens tomorrow morning. More to come on that soon!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

a week and counting.

So the light is visible at the end of the tunnel and we've begun painting, cleaning up and adding those last details...

These boys have been helping us out all along. They are the errand runners, little people with little hands that can squeeze into tight places, the sweepers, and doers of tedious things. We couldn't have survived without them! Their names from left to right are Nao, Dominguito, and Angelo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Our finish by September 16th, or if we can a week earlier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

so american......and so dominican.

Today was Blady's first day of school. We took great care to mark all of his school supplies with his name; laid out the school uniform the night before; and went to bed early. It had already started out to be quite the morning several hours earlier. Miguel woke up at a quarter to 2 in the morning to make yet another trip to Santo Domingo for a hang up in my residency papers. However, on the way to the bus stop in Puerto Plata, the jeep ran out of gas and he was left to desert it on the side of the road until I could do something about it in the morning.

But anyway, Blady and I woke up early, got dressed for school, and gathered all his school things to take. On one last revision of his things I realized that he was short the two roles of toilet paper that were on his supply list. So off we go on foot to the little super market near by and then finally out the door to flag down a motoconcho. Thank God for motos! Everything is going well and we get to school on time before 8 am. As we approach, I start to get a little worried...there are no kids around and it appears to be closed. Did we have the wrong day? We entered and the director and teachers were all there, but obviously surprised to see us. I asked, "School starts today, right?" The response, "O yes, starts today but the students don't arrive until 11am if they come at all on the first day of school." So here we were ready to go on American...but actually, the first real day of school starts Dominican.

While Blady was dropped off for what I imagined to be a quiet morning at school, I walked to the other school work site; checked on the workers to make sure they knew what they were doing for the day; went to the hardware store to buy some nails and to hurry along the delivery truck with the zinc for the roof; and finally hopped another moto with a gas tank on my lap to go rescue the jeep.....I guess you have to live here to believe it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

introducing blady or vlady...its all the same in spanish.

Well, its been about a month now with Blady in the house. There has been an increased amount of energy added to the house. I think Miguel and I are still trying to adjust and figure out if that is actually a good thing. There has definitely been some additional, random at the top of your lungs singing going on. Yes, Blady is a singer or we guess would like to be one. Maybe we should find a singing mentor for him. One thing is for sure, its definite that Miguel has someone to compete with now. I just hope the neighbors don't get too disturbed!
We originally planned on only taking Blady in on the weekends and see how it went. But after a conversation that Miguel had with his became clear what our decision needed to be in the end. Vlady told her, "Finally, I have a home. We eat dinner at the table and pray. I have clothes and a place to put them. Finally, I think I'm going to be ok." So what started as a weekend trial, turned into indefinite.
Pray for us as now we've become parents over night to a 7 year old boy who has never had parents and who has 7 years of undisciplined energy. Pray for patience for all. Blady starts up school this coming Tuesday and we are excitedly getting all of his things together for that. We hope that a regular schedule will be soon in coming for all of us.

the paper trail.

There is a line that runs out the doors of the Oficina Civil.....pockets of people congregate on the sidewalk in front....some people are quietly waiting.....most are boisterously talking.....some are yelling.....and some are throwing up their hands in the air and are walking away. The Oficina Civil. This is where you petition for a certified copy of your birth certificate; declare your children when they are born (some children actually reach adulthood without ever being declared); get married. Miguel and I were legally married in this lovely green building. You need certified and legalized (a whole other process of sending the paperwork to Santo Domingo to be legalized) copies of birth and marriage certificates to get an ID card, passport, apply for a visa, enroll in school, get a driver's lisence, etc. But the thing is that when each of these legal documents are petitioned for and deposited you never see the original paperwork again and you have to start all over from scratch with each new application.

Strategically I start to wade through the packed building.....for most, they will spend their entire morning and afternoon in this building petitioning for their documents and hopefully leaving with a little yellow receipt telling them when to come back and retrieve their document. I reach the information desk but I'm still about 5 people deep from the front of the line. People are yelling, arguing, cursing....just trying to get noticed by someone behind the glass pane. I try to catch the eye of a contact I have on the inside. (You quickly learn to make contacts...sometimes you need to give away a coke or sweet to get attended in a decent amount of time). Finally, Alex hears me calling his name. I quickly scoot to the front of the line and he takes my request. The fans are few and far between, the people are packed shoulder to shoulder, people wipe the sweat from their brows, vendors somehow squeeze their way in selling fried foods and juice. If you do manage to get a receipt the whole process is repeated when you pick up your documents. If you don't return on the scheduled day that is printed on your receipt, you risk the people behind the glass panes throwing your document away. But at the same time if you do come on the due date, its usually not ready. It takes persistance, money, time, and determination to be legal in this country. No wonder, most people don't even bother.

Migracion in the capital, Santo Domingo, where I needed to do my residency paperwork was no different....except for the fact that the lines start at 6 in the morning and Miguel and I had to hop a bus from Puerto Plata at 3 in the morning. I've made up my mind that the only way to wade through the lines is by trying to find humor in the situation....if you don't you'll end up in a frustrated state. In one line that I was in, lawyers openly strategized on how they could get up to the front of the line. For the pregnant lady it was easy, you just automatically walk to the front of the line and say you're pregnant and that it would be a detriment to you and your baby's health if you had to wait at the back of the line. Some people stategically tried to confuse the army guards into asking the supervisor to deal with the "confused" person before they actually made them crazy with all the questions they don't know the answers to. Yeah, I too was a little confused with that one. One woman lawyer pushed passed the guard and walked straight into the supervisor's office, stuck her hand on the guy's shoulder, and shoved the papers in his face. He attended her right then and there. So you see...many strategies do actually work. Its clear you have to have a strategy or know someone who does because posted on the walls of the building are signs saying that no money gifts would be accepted to get what you need. My stategy was persistence and a happy face.....most times you'll end up getting rewarded by a friendly official.

So, all of that to say.... the last of my paperwork is supposedly deposited for my Dominican residency. The only snatch we have had is that yesterday we found out that the laws have changed and we need another legalized, notarized, document from Miguel on my behalf. We have less than a week to get that done and submitted before my legalized police record certificate expires.....its good for only 1 month and our month is up on the 23rd.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Llego la fue la luz.

Lights come on for 5 minutes....laundry goes in.....lights go out for 4 hours. Lights come on for 1 hour....finish laundry and run pump to fill up water tank. Lights go. Lights come for 5 minutes.....boot up computer. Lights go for 5 minutes....log off computer. Lights come again....lights go again. Lights come again and stay for the night, but voltage is not strong enough to boot up computer again. Lights go...gone all day. Lights come again at night. Lights come and stay on all day! ....laundry get done. New transformer is installed on top of refrigerator just to boost the lights to run the refrigerator. Light voltage still too low for transformer to boost enough to run the refrigerator. Lights come....lights go....don't forget to fill up water tank!

Well, this is my first summer experiencing the lights or I should say lack of lights in Montellano. Most small towns function this way especially in the summer when the main power generators overheat and people are trying to run their airconditioners in the bigger towns. As they say.....there are just not enough lights to go around.....llego la fue la luz.....light arrives....light goes away.


We've had some sweaty days....many sweaty days; late work hours; laughing times; frustating times; more laughing times....and hopefully some progress. There is still a lot to finish, but there is so much that has been done as well. We're pressing on to finish well within these next few weeks. The roof is going up this week. We have left to finish the stucco on the inside and outside walls, lay the floors, put in windows, doors, finish plumbing, finish electrical wiring, paint, installment of bathroom essentials, sinks, counters, shelving, furniture......Wow! Just listing the stuff to finish is making me tired! Remember us in prayer as we try to finish this project and get the school year under way!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

living for God ought to....

Be so unreachably big that you can only see it through the eyes of Christ by faith.

Be harder than you can handle on your own so as to make you more dependent on God.

Give you enough disappointments to make you humble and break your spiritual pride.

Be difficult enough to make you weep for others that you might become more compassionate.

Have enough demanding, insensitive, ungrateful people in it to teach you to love like Jesus loves.

Have enough impossible, insurmountable obstacles in it to teach you the goodness and power of God.

Teach you how to love when you’re tired, give when you’re spent and pray when you’re weary.

Teach you how to turn your mourning into dancing, your sadness into joy and your sorrow laughter.

Teach you the power and truth of God’s word, the strength of His voice and the might of His commands.

Teach you to love the only One worthy of all our love; the One who became poor that we might become rich; the One who became sin that we might become the righteousness of God.

…..A true ministry is the ministry that helps you become:
more like Jesus Christ
more in love with God
more in love with people.

I ran across this in one of my files today. And it turned out to be just what I needed to read again. Sometimes I can forget what it means to live life here on this earth....that its not easy but that we are called to find joy admist the trials.

James says,
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." 1:2-4.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dos Amigos

Miguel has titled this story....

Historia 2 (Story 2)-

Habian dos buenos amigos que se amaban. Eran como hermanos. Pero un dia mientra estaban en la playa un amigo le dio una bofetada a su otro amigo. Ese amigo que recibio la bofeta estaba tan triste y lo escribio en la arena. Despues, este amigo se fue a banarse en el mar y estaba ahogando en el agua. Su amigo se tiro al agua y lo salvo. Cuando su amigo salio, el escribio en una piedra. “Hoy, mi mejor amigo me salvo la vida.” Su amigo pregunto, “Porque, cuando te golpie lo escribiste en la arena y ahora te salvo y lo escribe en una roca?” El contesto, “Si alguien te ofende escribalo en la arena para que el viento de olvido lo borre, pero te pasa algo bueno debes escribirlo en cosas fuertes para que jamas se borren de tu corazon.”

There once were two good friends who loved eachother. They were like brothers. But one day, while they were at the beach, one of the friends punched the other. The friend who got punched was very sad and wrote in the sand. Afterwards, this friend went to swim in the ocean and was drowning in the water. His friend jumped into the water and saved him. When his friend got out of the water, he wrote on a rock. "Today, my best friend saved my life." His friend asked,"When I hit you, why did you write in the sand and now when I saved you, you wrote on a rock?" His friend answered,"If someone offends you, write it on the sand so that the tide of forgetfulness washes it away, but when something good happens to you, you need to write on strong things so that they will never be erased from your heart."

points for prayer.

  • strength and endurance especially during the VERY hot season
  • Miguel's shoulder - he is going on two months with a shoulder/bicep injury that is making it very difficult for him to do anything at all using it. The Dr.'s advice has been that he needs to do NOTHING with far, that's been a challenge too difficult for Miguel to consistently accomplish.
  • school construction project- safety in work and efficiency to its completion
  • daily spiritual growth and maturity
  • Miguel's US residency paperwork
  • Jennie's Dominican residency paperwork
  • Vlady-he is the son of Miguel's cousin, Susa. Susa has basically abandoned her 4 children and has taken up drinking a lot. Vlady's dad is a drug dealer and is currently on the run from the police. Vlady gets shuffled back and forth from family member to family member and he is quite aware that nobody really wants to take care of him. Miguel and I are trying to step in and take him under our wing...but need prayer for wisdom in knowing what our roles need to be in his life. He is six.
  • Our general finances in living and working here in the DR
  • Work relationships and opportunities to share God's love with whomever we encounter

visas, and more visas.

I'm sure that for any of you who have ever needed to get a visa before travelling and entering another country, you can relate to the red, paper trail, jungle that you need to traipse through before arriving to your final destination.

Well, Miguel and I are currently trying to wade through that paper jungle. There are basically two things that we are working on right now. One, is getting U.S. residency papers for Miguel so that he can travel back and forth with me to the States, and the other is getting Dominican residency for me so that I can legally live here in the Dominican Repubic. Because Miguel is Dominican and I am American, we can both petition for each other and know that eventually we will get both residencies. The unfortunate unknown is being able to calculate the time it will take to get either one.

Please be praying for us as we try to gather the remaining few papers for my Dominican residency. It is our goal to travel down to the capital, Santo Domingo, within this next week to get my medical exam taken care of as well as deposit all the paperwork. We've already made one attempt to get stuff done in the capital and it ended up being a completely wasted day due to office directors not showing up for work.

As we currently stand for Miguel's residency paperwork, he has a case number and is on an appointment waiting list at the American embassy in Santo Domingo. His number in line is in the high 15,000's at this point. I had petitioned for a fiance visa for Miguel more than a year ago. We were told that because we chose to get married within the Dominican Republic instead of waiting to get married in the States, that the fiance visa case would be terminated and we would need to start from scratch as a married couple. Up until this point, his case is still open. We won't know if we have to start from scratch until his case is closed, and that is all the information we can get from the government offices dealing with cases pending in the Dominican Republic. Because the embassy has requested our marriage certificate and birth certificates, it is our hope and prayer that they will keep the case open and allow us to continue to send in the necessary additional paperwork.

Thank you so much for your prayers in this matter. We know that ultimately it is all in God's hands, and we continue to lean on Him and how he might direct the paperwork from this point. As the Dominicans say, "Dios sabe." (God knows).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

under construction.

About a couple of months ago, Makarios bought a piece of property with a half built house on it. Its in the barrio of Tamarindo, within the town of Montellano. Its also within a hop, skip, and a jump across the river from Pancho Mateo. The vision for this property is to build a little school house and make it available for students who can't attend school because of lack of paperwork, and/or will probably never attend the local public Dominican school. The curriculum is still being developed, but the hopes are that it will be a bilingual school where kids learn to read and write, along with mathematics, Bible, physical education and some sort of vocational training.

Miguel has been in charge of this building project and they are currently in their fourth week of work on the building. As groups have been filtering in and out over the past several weeks, so have the helpers on the school.

But there are two specific workers that have been consistent since the beginning. Their names are Juan and Javier. Juan is the professional in that he knows everything there is to know about construction, and as you can imagine he is invaluable to the team. Javier is also invaluable as he is steady, consistent, and always has a smile on his face. They are all hard workers, and I am always amazed at how they don't complain even when some nights the work has taken them until midnight to complete.

As Miguel and I have the chance to work with these two individuals, we have been given unique oportunities to not only develop relationships with them, but also have the chance to serve them and talk with them about God. Keep us in mind as we continue to develop these relationships.





After Katy's surgery in March, I've been taking her for check ups and follow ups, and we've both come to the conclusion that we've just about had enough of the doctor's visits. Katy though is doing really well. She has healed from her surgery, and there are no signs of the cyst that was attatched to her pancreas. She's returned to her normal, onery self and we are all very thankful. We are continuing to monitor her nutrition, but are glad to give a good report of her full recovery! Thank you all for your prayers on behalf of her and her grandmother.

If you are continuing to pray for Katy and her grandmother on a spiritual level, please also pray for her half brother Jean Luis. He is now living with them as well and is 11 years old. Katy and Jean Luis had the same father, which was the son of their grandmother, Wusne. Both Jean Luis' and Katy's parents have passed away and they are being raised by Wusne.

This picture was taken in the hospital before her surgery. As you can tell, we were trying to keep her entertained with whatever we could find!

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I know for some out there, trying to keep up with Jennie and Miguel can at times be a little confusing. For this reason I thought it appropriate to explain a little more about what we have been involved with over the past year. At the end of last August, and before we were married, Miguel and I both agreed to start helping out or working for the nonprofit, Christian organization called Makarios. It was founded about 3 years ago by a friend of mine, Sharla Megilligan. I used to teach Jr. High with Sharla at Santiago Christian School way back, and for some of you her name might ring a bell as she accompanied my family to Zimbabwe in December of 2001. Anyway, she's always had a heart for the children of the Dominican Republic, especially those who couldn't attend school regulary due to lack of paperwork or funds, etc. About 3 and a half years ago, while I was still living in the batey of Caraballo, I helped Sharla and a few of her staff members at the time scope out different needs here in some of the bateys of the north coast. Since then, they have settled into the bateys of Pancho Mateo and Chichigua teaching educational classes and Bible classes to the children living in these bateys. A year ago, Makarios' initial 2 teachers and in country staff members decided to go back to the States for a time, and that is where Miguel and I stepped in. You can find more information about Makarios at it's website address:

Miguel takes care of all the maitenance issues in and around the Makarios team house and school houses. He also started a water project in Chichigua to help them get water. (This project by the way is incompleted with the hopes of more funding to come in to complete it). He teaches electricity classes 3 times a week to youth in Caraballo, and we both had been teaching a Bible class to a little school in the campo of Arroyo Leche during this past school year. I, on the other hand, keep track of the in country finances for Makarios, and am the general gopher which has included working with groups and interns that come down, running errands, doing price checks, etc. etc. Keeping us both busy this summer has been the construction of a permanent school house in the hopes of having it ready for fall classes to begin. (More to come about this project).

Along with Miguel and I, there have been two other volunteers whom we work with. Alexia teaches english and literacy classes, and Camille teaches basic math, reading, and Bible classes. Alexia will be leaving us the end of July, and Camille will be returning for another year. In addition to Camille there are two other female teachers coming down to join the crew this fall.

So that's it in a nutshell. I encourage you to check out Makarios' website to get more of a general overall picture of what its all about.

Photo from left to right: Dudu, Camille (staff), Alexia (staff), Jim (intern), Jennie and Miguel, Latisha (bottom)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

story from miguel.

Miguel over the past few months has been writing down stories that come to his head. I thought I would share one with you with the idea that there is more to come. They all have a moral at the end.

Here it goes.....

Una vez un mendigo estaba en la calle con mucha hambre. En eso estaba pasando el rey y el mendigo penso se le pido algo el me dara muchas cosas porque el es el rey. Cuando le pidio,
"Senor deme una moneda,"
el mendigo esperaba mas, pero el rey le dijo,
“Porque tu no me das algo, Yo soy tu rey?”
El mendigo contesto,
“Yo no tengo nada.”
El rey respondio,
"Busca algo tendras por ahi."
El mendigo, enojado, busco y encontro tres naranjas, dos mangos, y poco de arroz y todavia estaba enojado. Tomo cinco granos de arroz y se lo dio al rey. El rey tomo cinco moneda de oro, una por cada grano de arroz. Rapido el mendigo dijo,
“Senor, aqui tengo mas!”
El rey le contesto,
“Lo siento, solo te doy que lo que tu me das a corazon.”

El conclusion, es claro que el rey representa a Dios y el mendigo a nosotros. Que aun cuando tenemos solo queremos que Dios no de mas. Pero nosotros no le damos tampoco.

English translation:

One time a hungry beggar was on the road. Along came a king, and as he was passing by the king, he thought that if he asks for something from him, the king will give him many things because he is the king. When he asked,
"Sir, give me a coin,"
the beggar waited for more, but the king said,
"why don't you give me something, I am your king?"
The beggar answered,
"I don't have anything."
The king responded,
"look for something among your things."
The beggar, angry, looked and found three oranges, two mangos, and a little rice, and still he was angry. He took five grains of rice and gave it to the king. The king gave five gold coins, one for each grain of rice. Quickly, the beggar said,
"Sir, here I have more!"
The king answered,
"I'm sorry, I only give you that which you give me of your heart."

In conclusion, it is clear that the king represents God and the beggar represents us. Yet when we have only what we want, God doesn't give more. But we don't give to Him either.

remember ian?

Remember the little boy, Ian, we took care of last fall, and whom we joined with a family in Haiti? Well, we recently received word that he is adjusting to his new family and doing well. He still isn't walking totally on his own yet, and still shows some signs of being insecure due to his past of being shuffled around so much. But apart from that he is doing really well and his new mom and dad, Anne Mirise and Roger, are loving him up! Here is a picture of them in Haiti. Due to a cold he had, he wasn't all smiles, but comfortable all the same.

who invented the floaty?

Did your mom ever put those inflatable, yellow, tube like things on your arms when you were a kid to keep you from going under water and drowning? I can't say that my mom did, at least not that I remember. Or I'm sure if I had put them on, I would've rebelled against them. But I've certainly seen other kids with them on whether they liked it or not. At first I saw this kid up on a cliff carting two gallon jugs with him. I naturally assumed that he was coming to this fuente (spring)

to fetch water for his mom (I'm sure that's what his mom was thinking he was doing as well!) But then he decided to throw himself over the edge of the cliff with a gallon in each hand. After another couple of jumps, I realized that he couldn't swim and that the jugs were actually his security system. Why have I seemed to have lost all my creativity and ingenuity in my daily life? What a simple solution.

Meanwhile....during the time I was watching this little boy and all the fun he was having, Miguel was swimming down river at top speed to save a middle aged woman as she was literally drowning down stream. Thankfully, Miguel was able to do so and became her hero. Maybe we all should take lesson from the little boy next time.

the moto.

Somehow imagining the Dominican Republic without the moto would be like imagining China without the bicycle. Although you would be hard pressed to find too many middle or poorer classed Dominicans who could afford to buy a moto without making payments; most somehow manage to get their hands on one some way or another. At first glance you obviously see its a way for a person to get from one place to another place; or as someone sitting behind the handlebars, a way to make a living for your family. But if one day you had the chance to sit on the side of the road and just watch the motos pass by.......O the life you would see!

The motos that sell snow cones and icecream are favorites for people to encounter. Or the moto that sells bread stacked 4 feet high on three sides can be amazing to see. Or how about the moto transporting the washing machine tied to its back or the 100 pound propane tank. I heard a funny story one time about two motos trying to transport a long ladder with one carrying the front end while the other carried the back end. Talk about talent! I'd have to say one of the funniest sites I've seen is a whole family on a pasola or moped (not so funny in and of itself as its as common as a plantain on its stalk around here). But try to imagine with me, mom sitting behind dad driving, one kid on dad's lap, other kid on mom's lap and dog between dad's legs with its tongue hanging out and head peering out the side! I wished I had seen the site of Miguel on his moto with his brother Daniel and two live pigs strapped on either side. The pigs ended up being roasted for our wedding reception. Just the other week, our Toyota Landcruiser broke down within a few blocks of our house. We had no worries though as Miguel got on his moto and with his leg sticking out and pushing on the back end of our jeep we were able to make it home in no time. So you could we ever get along without the moto?

This past weekend we had the chance to go out on the moto and explore some of the back country villages. They are something you'd never get a chance to see without a motorcycle as most back country roads tend to be unpassable in a car or truck or jeep. Aside from me screaming every now and again for Miguel to slow down as we went flying up and over the hills, we had a grand day exploring and swimming in the rivers.

We hope this blog will be a chance for us to share our adventures, struggles, and concerns with you all. It comes as an inspiration from my brother, Cody, and a gentle prodding from my brother, Ben.