Sunday, January 24, 2010

Earthquake Reflections

So the earthquake definitely made an impact on the people here. For those of you who do not know, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a history of hatred toward one another. Even though there are a large number of Haitians living here, there is still racism toward the Haitians. Haitians are given the worst jobs with the lowest pay. I am still amazed when I am driving back to my house at 11 o'clock and there are still Haitians out hauling cement or doing other hard labor.

I was interested to see how the Dominicans would respond to such an event. Ever since the event, the earthquake had been the talk of the town. People are deeply saddened and are trying to help in any way possible. My church has been sending large amounts of fuel and water. I asked some of the teenagers I work with, "Do you think that the Haitians are treated better and are receiving more respect now that this happened?" They responded, "Yes, but after a while, people will probably go back to how they treated them before." It seriously broke my heart. While most won't ever admit to be racist toward the Haitians, I rarely see my girls hanging out with other Haitian girls.

In other news, I will be moving within this next week. I am super excited and I really like the new girls I am going to live with. For those of you who read the update earlier, the relationship I talked about has gotten so much better. Almost all communication has been cut off and I cannot tell you how much of a release it has been for me. I feel God has taken me back into his arms and has just been pouring his love onto me over the past couple weeks. Another cool thing that happened this week is that I met with the local pastor. I have been in his discipleship class the past 4 months and I really desired to connect with him even more. He was really encouraging and actually asked me to help teach english at the school they run through the church. The school was created for specifically the shoe shine boys of the community. Ever since I first came, I have really liked the idea of the school, but not been able to find a way to get specifically involved. Okay, get to the point Jess. I will be teaching english class for the school 2 days a week, teaching english class for the boys sports site 3 mornings a week. I will still be doing my girls sports site, but all my girls have school in the morning, so this worked out really well to teach in the morning and do my site in the afternoon and tournaments on the weekends. I am excited to use both of my passions (teaching and sports). God has really opened up doors and I feel such a peace and joy doing what I am doing now. Thank you for your support and time (especially if you took the time to read this whole thing). You mean a lot to me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Doing Fine :)

Some people have asked if the earth quake in Haiti affected us here. Good news, we are fine. A lot of people felt it and I guess the building I was in shook a lot. Funny that I was taking a nap when all this happened. So yeah, I did not even wake up.

Life is going good. We have a softball team here so we have been working at the baseball site. Its nice to have a little variety and the girls are super cool too! Take care!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hey Friends and Family,

My time at MTI was amazing. I learned so much stuff about myself and things I need to apply to my life now that I am back in the DR. I also realized the importance of being real how much I really need your prayers through everything. Thus, I am going to be vulnerable with you and just get to the point. I need prayer for 3 specific things.

1. Relationships: Some of you may know more than others of specific issues that are going on here. Please pray for my relationships in general. At times, my girls can be a bit dramatic, and frankly, mean. Please pray that God will give me guidance of how to best deal with my girls.

2. Support: I am now about $500 short in monthly supporters. I have an account that I have been pulling from to help with the deficit, but it will run out quickly. Please pray that God will bring along monthly supporters to help.

3. Guidance: As we approach a new year, I get super excited. I feel like my site has grown a lot. I have learned so much Spanish and I finally feel I am able to really get deep with my girls. My desire is to continue working with the same girls and even though many of them have become Christians, its still a challenge to get them really fired up about God's work. Many of them come to our bible study and say all the right things, but there is very little life change. They are sounded by a culture that puts so much pressure for them to get married (move in with their boyfriend signifies getting married here) at a young age and the drink all the time. I would say 90% of my girls life in broken homes with only one parent. I would also say 85% of my girls have had sex and about 30% have been pregnant at some point in their life, but many get abortions. Thus, pray that God will give me guidance of what direction to take with these girls. God has put on my heart to start some sort of purity study with them. But this can be a challenge because most of them are already sexually active, so I have to approach it from a different angle. So yeah, pray for these girls!

Here is a pic of some of my younger girls on the way to church:

Thanks for your prayers and support. For real, I know it is a sacrifice for all of you. I really appreciate it.