Caleb Kopp: 

Hello! I just wanted to hop on here real quick and say a few words about the Dominican Republic, so sorry in advanced for any spelling or grammar errors. It’s my second time here and I don’t there are enough words in the human language to accurately describe all that I’ve felt while down here. First of all, seeing everyone grow together as a group and band together to do God’s work is seriously a blessing. Participating in His plan is even more cool. Every day has presented a new experience and challenge for us as a team. Whether that be sickly teammates, busted foreheads, flat tires, or broken schedules. Things might not always start the way we want them to, but I think so far they’ve ended the way God wanted it to.

Moving into something more personal, God has very much been moving and changing me for the better on this trip. Going in, I had so many worries and aches about life back home. It was difficult to focus on his plan and doing his works. However, in my weakness and unwillingness God is strong. From that point on, he has carried me and sustained me. The wonderful little moments I’ve shared with children, teenagers, and adults down here have been purely by God’s grace. Walking around with the word of God in my heart, but the words of English in my mouth can be discouraging at times, but our interpreters have been absolutely wonderful for us. Our friends Oscar, Darena, Arlette, Rovian, Elena, Jennifer, Ben, and Daniel have been very patient and willing and helpful to interpret our sermons, testimonies, and day to day conversations.

Now back about two weeks ago, John had released the team lists and put me down as a guitarist. This was a surprise at the time, and I felt very unprepared and unworthy to carry out such a weighty responsibility. I don’t consider myself very good at singing or leading guitar, much less doing the former in a language I’m not familiar with. However this is another testament to God’s grace and power. Not only has this trip been a growing experience for me personally in my faith, but also in cultivating the gifts that I only have in Christ. Having the opportunity to lead worship is another animal entirely than only being a participant on stage on Sundays. However God is the same as he was, is, and will be. And God is the same all throughout the world. His presence takes control, everyone gets singing and it’s absolutely wonderful. Everyone here worships with their whole hearts and whole voices, because God is worth every once of our being. Even if my Spanish is sub par, even if my guitar playing is perfect, even if our words on screens don’t always match up, it’s worship; it’s beautiful and pure worship.

I guess if there were something that I wanted to highlight as a challenge would be identity in Christ. Not necessarily mine, but the identity of the Dominicans. See as we drive through the streets here, the biggest vehicle gets the right of way. As we walk through the streets here, we can wave to people, but even with a translator communication is difficult and connotations are sometimes lost in translation. So because of this, it was and still is difficult to see the people down here as…people. They are all 100% human as much as I am. They have dreams, aspirations, goals, family, and friends. They have worries, pleasures, emotions, and thoughts. However for some reason fully grasping this concept is so very difficult. Every single person down here is a creation and image bearer of God. Even if they live different, think different, and act different, that’s all that it is: different. “It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different.” – Rick Macky, 2015 (and like every year).

Thanks for reading, and please continue to pray for our team as we hit these last two days. It’s the home stretch, everyone’s exhausted, but God is sufficient. Pray we finish out the trip strong!

Hey everybody, Joey and Michaela here! I (Joey) will be writing about my experience first. I have been having an amazing experience here in the Dominican Republic. Through working with the kids at VBS and hanging out with friends at the beach, God has shown me His love and faithfulness. I have made so many new relationships with the awesome people on my team and have strengthened the relationships with friends already. God has put on my heart this trip to talk about and make strong relationships.

I preached to the youth in El Montana on Monday night at the youth rally about how to have a stronger relationship with Christ. God calmed me down when I was up there because I was so nervous. I felt like I wouldn’t do the sermon justice and that I wouldn’t be a good enough speaker. But, when I was alone in the church of El Montana, I felt God’s presence in the room and I realized that it doesn’t matter if the sermon isn’t perfect. I’m being an ambassador of Christ and that God was proud of me for stepping out of my comfort zone and preaching to the youth. I was so relieved once it was over and I had a great conversation with some of the guys and my fellow teammate Carter about how to strengthen your relationship with Christ. I think (but only God knows their hearts) that some of the guys either reestablished their faith in God or accepted God into their life. I was filled with joy that I was able to spread God’s Word to these guys and that they took it seriously.

On Tuesday, we went to a small town called Boma. We got out and went on a beautiful walk to get to the church of Boma. WOW! Was that ever amazing to see God’s creation by seeing all the mountains and rivers that were seen on the walk. Once we got there, we met a man named Antonio (also known as Valle). He is a man who probably has never heard of Iphones or Xboxes, but he knows who his Creator is. Rick Mackey told us that Valle goes all over through the mountains to spread God’s Word and that was a real eye opener for me. A man who did not have electricity all his life til three years ago, was so full of life and happiness because of God. God was all he needed, and I know I don’t always think that. We left the church and walked back and the youth leaders told us to just take our time and connect to God through prayer on the way back. That was such a great time, just being able to walk in peace and quiet with no demanding schedule that I had to keep up with and I could just have time with God. I saw one of friends Dara sitting by the river and she looked troubled. I felt God telling me to go over there and pray for her, and I’m so glad I did. We started talking for a good half hour about life until we had to keep walking to keep up with the group. God helped me strengthen my relationship with Him and now really good friend.

After we got back to camp, I left to go paint Maria’s, a 92 year old Dominican in El Montana, house. She is one of the strongest people I know and has an amazing relationship with Christ. She has been a Christian since the 60’s. Another favorite memory I have made on this trip so far was when we went to the ocean on Friday. I got to go snorkeling and see all these beautiful tropical fish and hang out with my friends. We got to go banana boating, a tube that looks like a banana pulled behind a boat, and then we were able to have fun in the ocean. I have to preach at Buenos Aires this afternoon at their church service and then tomorrow night I am giving my testimony to the youth. I’m so excited for the rest of the trip and I hope everybody will be safe and that I will be able to strengthen my relationships with God, my teammates, and the Dominicans. Thanks for reading about my experience! & Happy Late Birthday to my brother, Jason! I have a special surprise for you once I get back! 😉

Hola from the DR!

Michaela speaking.. and first and foremost, I would like to say hello to my dad. I miss him so much & I wish he was here with us. But I have made so many special connections on this trip that I will never forget. We are having so much fun down here and the people here are amazing! Here is an update on our busy weekend–

On Friday, we enjoyed a beautiful day on the beach. Waking up at 6am was not everyone’s favorite but it was definitely worth it. After, a three hour bus ride, it was time for some fun in the sun. Swimming, Snorkeling, Banana Boating and Shopping– what could be better than that. We then, ended the day with some good ol’ Pizza Hut. Definitely one of the best days!

On Saturday, we had a huge youth rally at our camp, La Salle. Youth from the communities of El Montana and Buenos Aires joined us for some games, worships, sermons and water balloon fights. The youth here are very enthusiastic and fun to hang out with. I’m so glad that I got to meet these wonderful people and make connections with them. After a long day of play, we enjoyed some yummy fro-yo. and by the way, Dominican fro-yo is WAY BETTER than Minnesotan fro-yo. and Joey agrees with me.

Today, we split into our respective groups and went to two seperate churches. My group went to Ivan’s church. We enjoyed some spanish worship, a testimony from Rose Doda and a sermon from Mitchell. Tonight, we will be going to our respective communities to worship with them. God has certainly changed my perspective on the world here. I cant wait to be back and share with all of you what has happened here in the Dominican Republic.

Adios from Michaela and Joey!!

I am convinced our team is being blessed immensely more than we are blessing the Dominicans. This afternoon I had the incredible opportunity to spend time talking and worshipping with Doña Maria – the matriarch of the Christian community in El Montaña. Part of our team is working on painting her house, and although I really should have been helping paint this afternoon she told me my work was to sit with her, to learn from her wisdom and faith. It was a blessed afternoon.

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Doña Maria is 92 (or 93 – she doesn’t remember) and lives by herself in a home in Lower Montaña. She doesn’t recall when she moved into El Montaña, but she has been a pillar of faith in the community for many years. Before we really started talking she told me “Only God knows about my life. I studied a lot, and I worked a lot. Now I can’t remember anything, but God is still good and knows all.” Although her memory fails her, the one thing that hasn’t left her brain is her firm faith in Jesus Christ. She has many worship songs and much of the Bible memorized, “because faith isn’t in the brain, it is in the heart.”

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It was some time in the 1960’s when Doña Maria found Christianity. She listened to Luis Palau on the radio regularly, and made the decision to follow Jesus. During that time, the Dominican Republic was a very difficult place to live. Despite this, Doña Maria’s faith thrived and she began ministering to those around her. I expected that when I asked her what her favorite verse was, she wouldn’t be able to pick just one, but without hesitancy she said Philippians 4:13 – “Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece.” “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Later in our conversation she also quoted a few complete Psalms to me.

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Her advice to all young people is to always follow Christ. She kept repeating “With Christ everything is possible.” She also said always having a heart of worship and thankfulness is important. Live your life for Christ, without exception. When I asked her if she had any favorite worship songs she sang praises to God for the next half hour. When I wasn’t talking with her, she was praising God in gratitude for how much he has provided for her. Although Doña Maria’s body is weathered and her memory is failing, her spirit of worship is contagious, and I am beyond grateful for my afternoon spent “working” at her house.

A little team update – today we are having a twelve hour day of ministry, and the team is doing a fantastic job at keeping up their energy and pouring into the people around them. This morning we did VBS, this afternoon service projects, and this evening youth rallies. Tomorrow, the beach! (And Connor’s face is completely healed from 9 bug bites – he woke up without any signs of the bites!)

Dios les bendiga! God bless you!

Amber

 

Hey Calvary,

Just a quick update on what’s going on.  In the 5 days we’ve  been in country we have led two worship services, one at Buenos Aires and the other at El Montana; Two days of VBS at each city; started painting 3 separate houses (that we plan on finishing next week), prayer walked through both communities and led a youth rally in each city.  That’s a lot in just 5 days but the team has responded well.  Today we slowed down and cooled off a bit at the local waterfall, a much deserved rest.  I’ve had a lot of favorite moments and highlights of our trip, may I just share a few.  Last night after a long days work we gathered after dinner and had a time of worship all in Spanish 😉  The team has done a great job memorizing the songs and during our time of worship the students led us to spontaneously stand to our feet in worship.  Pretty cool experiencing our youth passionately leading us in worship in another language.  I’ve heard several times around our camp the team sharing their testimonies with each other (some brought those listening to tears) and others practicing their sermon (one straight out of the book of Hosea!).  I had the privilege of praying near a mountain top, overlooking a river, wind gently blowing on my back on a blue sky day with a teammate.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  All in all the team is healthy and in good spirits.  Keep praying for us and the people of Buenos Aires and El Montana.  His strength is what we need as we are in the middle of our mission trip.  Enjoy some more pictures of our trip!  Grace & Peace – John

 

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Hello Friends,

Sorry It’s been a couple of days since our last blog.  We lost power one day and the other day was a pretty packed day as it was.  I wish you all could see how God is moving in our team.  Below is a Q & A with Will Larson and Josh Fry.  Today we’ll have a couple more students blog as we have some down time today to catch you all up on what’s going on.  Stay tuned!

 

What have you done so far Will?

We have done Vacation Bible School with the kids in Buenos Aires, and had a Youth Group rally, both on Monday night. Grace and I also gave our testimonies at the youth rally while Christiana delivered a message from the book of Hosea. Over all, we have had a lot of time just being with the lord, reflecting, and growing closer as a team. We also went to Buenos Aires and painted two houses. During that time, John sent Grace and I to the other house we were painting to get some extra supplies. When we got there, Pastor Alex, Caleb, Rick, and about 5 other people were trying to push a truck up the hill. They called me over to help push, so I did. Right after I started pushing, the car started to move. Little did I know that they had been pushing for quite some time. After all was said and done, Pastor Alex turns to Caleb and I, and said “ that man is a Real man”, so that’s kind of stuck, and now I’m apparently called “Real man”.

Will can you share your experience in performing the skit at church and sharing your testimony at the youth rally?

My experience with the skit, isn’t really one that’s easy to explain. After we finished it, Rick came up and talked about the different distractions, and it just put so much more into perspective for me. Sharing my testimony wasn’t easy, it was a lot of pain built up over many, many, years. But with the help of my friends, my family, and the Holy Spirit, I was able to share it, with confidence. Even though I left my note book here at the camp with everything written in it.

Josh can you share your experience with the skit and your feelings about how God may use and is preparing you to share your testimony later this week?

This first time we did our skit was in Buenos Aires. We did really well on it even though I didn’t think I was prepared; during the skit I was thinking, “Wow, I’ve also put earthly things before God, and that’s not right.” At that moment I really felt bad for all I’ve done and repented right then and there. That was a really powerful moment for me.
I don’t like speaking in front of others too much and I think I’m bad at it but I’m sharing my testimony on Monday. After hearing Will’s and Grace’s testimonies, they have lead me to have confidence in myself. So hearing everyone else’s has really helped me prepare my testimony.

What has been your favorite moment/part of the tip thus far?

(Will) Today, we drove to Boma, and we drove there but then we walked to the church. It was a good forty minute walk up the mountain to this remote village. While we were there, we all got into the church and worshiped God. We also met one of the elders there. He is an amazing person. When Pastor Alex couldn’t work, or anything to provide for his family, he would go and deliver food for him all the way from Boma, to Buenos Aires. This guy would have to walk forty minutes to get to the nearest city and then drive all the way to Buenos Aires. How amazing is that? This man lives in the middle of nowhere, yet he provides for a family a long ways away. Afterwards John and Connor asked us to walk silently back to the van. It was a great time to reflect on the week and pray.

What has God taught you this far?

(Josh) This week so far God has taught us that he is always faithful; that no matter what kind of situations you find yourself in, he’s always there.

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20150622_105655DR2015

The Chair skit
The Chair skit

Hola from Jarabacoa!
With two full nights of sleep, we are finally getting into the swing of things, and life is looking up. Some of us have tried fresh papaya for the very first time, and others of us are finding cockroaches on our walls and noticing little lizards zip under our suitcases and behind window frames. We fall asleep to the sound of howling dogs and wake up to the squawking of roosters and the loud meow of the camp kitten (named “Pizza” after our first meal in the Dominican).
Although the sounds, smells, and sites of this place are different, the people are loving beyond words and the spirit of Christ is very much alive. We are so SO thankful for the camp staff and the local ministry team. They have been incredibly welcoming to us since the moment we stepped foot off the plane.

Quy and Darina preaching in El Montaña
Quy and Darina preaching in El Montaña

The translators are some of the kindest people I think I’ve ever met, and each one has made it easy for those of us unfamiliar to the Dominican Republic to begin to understand the culture. The theme of today’s devotion is “New Relationships,” and it carries over to our lives seamlessly. Those of us who didn’t know each other very well before the trip are bonding over whiffle ball and late night card games. We are learning the translator’s stories over dinner tables, and are finding our hearts getting attached to the big brown eyes of the Dominican kids running about camp.

The Everything skit
The Everything skit

This morning we started off our ministry in two different churches. We prayed, worshipped, shared testimonies, preached from God’s Word, and spent time talking with the people of the church before and after the services. The church my group went to was a relatively small building with three rooms: one for the main service, a second for a children’s service, and another that must have been an overflow or storage room. I was surprised and uplifted by the number of kids at the service, and I’m hopeful to see at least a few of them again as we begin VBS this week. They were beyond cute, of course. We sang songs in Spanish, but I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that it didn’t feel like another language. God was definitely in that room, and I can only hope and pray that hearts were touched.

Connor and Rovian sharing in La Joya
Connor and Rovian sharing in La Joya

In 30 minutes we will be leaving for El Montana and Buenos Aires to lead the services in those churches. Be praying for the Spirit of God to lead us so that we exalt the name of Christ and that the body of Christ is built up. We’ve only been here two days, and it’s already starting to feel like it will be hard to leave. To the parents and families who are worrying about us back in the states: you have nothing to fear. Continue to pray for us; we still have much to understand as we learn to love the people here. God’s work is just beginning.

We love and miss you very much,
Dara

DRTeam

Greetings from the DR,

Reflecting here at the end of the first day in the DR…

First of all we all arrived and so did all of our luggage. Yeah, things are always easier that way.  It was a long day traveling and most of us arrived in camp in the dark so the beauty of the country was hidden until the morning.

This morining started with group worship and Rick and Becky giving us a cultural introduction and a brief intro to effective ministry here.

This afternoon we all participated in prayer walks in the areas around the churches where we will be ministering.

This evening now we are having Team Time.  Singing, sharing and time together.  These times are often very meaningful as we share the highs and lows of the day.   Good times today, renewing old friendships, seeing possibilities of God’s work in these communities, and just resting in the Lord and waiting to see what He will do.

Praise: Safe trip: all the luggage arrived, excellent leadership.
Prayer request: Health for everyone (a couple are feeling iffy), good worship at the three churches that we will be in for Sunday, team unity, God’s working in each team members heart.

Thanks for sending us,
Roger.

Good morning from the DR Team!

It is currently 4am and we are on the road to MSP airport! We were all up by 1am I bet (or some probably packed through the night), because we met in the calvary parking lot at 2am! By 2:30 we had every team member together and all of our bags accounted for. We were able to hit the road by 3:10, so we should have plenty of time to check in our bags and make it through security.

Praise the Lord! He brought us all together on time and we’re on track thus far! Everyone is excited or is getting there at least as they wake up!

A group of 7 of us will be traveling through New York and the rest (25) will be going through MiamiPlease be praying for everything to go smoothly as we travel, and that we would shine brightly for Christ, so that people are drawn to Him because of our witness!

Our team prayer from Psalm 67:
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!”

We will keep you updated on our travel!

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Hola Amigos,

The excitement is genuinely building for me as I’m sure it is for much of our team.  Yes, there is a lot of attention to details left to go over, logistics, preparation, planning, prayer, prayer, and even more prayer but I am so jacked to serve and see God move!
Sure I’m a little nervous, maybe even a tad scared but I’ve been there before and I’ve seen God carry me, sustain me, and transform me…oh, how I long for Him to transform me even more…Lord I pray, make me more like your son, create in me a heart like Jesus and fill me with your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Scripture is best lived out
I believe God’s word is living and active today!  Check out this passage from 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

God’s word….. living in us……. we respond in active obedience.

God reconciled us through Christ to Himself and in turn commissioned us His official ambassadors.  It’s only by the grace of God that can turn a former foe into a messenger.  And it’s with that message we look with excitement the opportunity to be Ambassadors for Christ in the Dominican Republic.

On behalf of our team, thank you so much for all your support and prayers!!

May I leave you with two songs that express how grateful and excited I am 🙂

For His Glory,
John

DR 2015 Team Pictures (click to download PDF) 

DR Team Screenshot

Alex Jensen16 years old, sophomoreAbout Me:I enjoy playing sports and being active. I play baseball for John Marshall High School.I’m going to the DR because I want to do the Lord’s work in a new environment.I also felt like God was calling me to go on this trip.Prayer Requests:

To grow closer to God on this trip.

That I can help others while on the trip.

Brieanna Westrom18 years old, seniorAbout Me:I love to be with family and friends and have a good time.I am blessed with this opportunity to go to the DR and super excited to go.Prayer Requests:• safe travels

• health

• comfort

• preparations

• focus

Amber HenryAdult LeaderAbout Me:This will be my sixth time traveling to the DR for missions. Each time I have traveled to the Dominican Republic I have felt God calling me to serve there in the future.  My passions are centered on helping children of the Dominican Republic, combining my law licensure with my BA in Elementary Education and Spanish. I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to direct my paths.Prayer Requests:*Team unity*That God would prepare the hearts of the children I will be teaching

*Quality time to connect with and serve the Dominicans I have known and worked with for many years.

Caleb Kopp16 years old, juniorAbout Me:I love the Lord with all my heart and try to follow his will in any way that I can. I am going to the Dominican Republic because I had been there before, but with the wrong mentality. I know now that missions are not requirement for God, but relieving the people of their burdens through God’s grace. With this mentality, I am prepared to go down to the DR and spread God’s word of relief and eternal life to those who need it, and that in turn will prepare me for the mission field of the rest of my life, wherever God takes me.Prayer Requests:You can pray for me that I do not get distracted. There are many times in my life where I am doing something unproductive, but am apathetic to change the behavior as doing something productive and unproductive are of the same low value in terms of caring to me. Pray that God gives me the motivation, and that I fully accept it with all my heart to go out and do His work, and to humbly accept the painful work he has to do in me before I truly am the masterpiece He has inside of me.
Carolyn Kittleson15 years old, freshmanAbout Me:I am very excited to go to the DR! I have been there once before with my family, and I absolutely fell in love with the people and, well, everything!Prayer Requests:• For me to understand that while the people are poor, they don’t need money as much as they need Jesus.• For me to get all my support in time! Daniel Peterson15 years old, freshmanAbout Me:I am a freshman at Schaeffer Academy. I am excited to go to the Dominican Republic this summer. I want to grow closer to God while I also bring others closer to Him.Prayer Requests:Pray that God will give me the courage I need to be a useful tool for His work in the DR.
Connor CabalkaAdult Leader – Interim Student Ministries PastorAbout Me:I love God because He first loved me (1 John 4:19). His love is so marvelous and I want to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:17-19). Christ’s love compels me to live for Him and be His ambassador, proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. This is why I want to go to the DR and be on this amazing team of students and leaders. We serve an awesome God who is most worthy of praise, glory, and honor, so we get the sweet honor and privilege to tell others of how great He is and what He has done for us in Christ.Prayer Requests:Please pray for my heart that I would be finding my delight in the Lord as my greatest treasure (Ps. 37:4), so that I would be loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Moreover, that I would be doing my best to present myself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handing the word of truth, so that I would be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the Master, ready for every good work (2 Tim. 2:15, 21). Please pray for wisdom that flows out of the fear of the Lord, in order to produce strong confidence and a fountain of life (Prov. 14:26-27).More biblical prayers to pray over me and the team: 2 Cor. 2:14-16; Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21, 6:18-20; Phil. 1:3-6, 9-11; Col. 1:9-14; 4:2-4; 1 Thes. 5:23-24; Philemon 4-7, 25. Elizabeth Homme17 years old, juniorAbout Me:I am a junior at Schaeffer Academy. I love the arts and cooking and books and people. I went to the DR after freshman year and had an amazing experience building relationships and learning about God in a new culture. I am so excited to go back and to build new relationships and to draw close to The Lord, especially through prayer and scripture reading this trip.Prayer Requests:Pray that I will remain healthy the entire trip, and that I will be able to hear what the Lord wants to tell me.
Emmy Kidman17 years old, juniorAbout Me:I am a student at Schaeffer Academy, and I’m excited to be able to serve in the DR. I’ve never been on a missions trip out of the country, so this will be very new for me I’m sure.Prayer Requests:Courage to deal with awkward situations and put myself out there, to learn a lot on the trip, and be able to work as best I can. And please pray about the bugs…. I hate large bugs. Joey Bierbaum15 years old, freshmanAbout Me:Hi I’m Joey! I go to Schaeffer Academy and I enjoy music and having fun! I want to go to the DR because I love spreading the Word and seeing the look of joy on a little kid’s face when they hear about Jesus. I love talking and hanging out with little kids and teenagers and I believe that God will use me as an instrument and help save some of these people down in the DR!Prayer Requests:To be a light to the Dominicans of God’s Word; To be able to bond and work well with my team; To not be stressed about failing to do God’s will; To not be homesick; To enjoy and have fun down at the DR; To have the team and I all be healthy as we are down there; To get all the money to go on the trip; To not let my anxiety make me mess up/look like a fool; To be able to make new and close friends
Erin KittlesonAdult LeaderAbout Me:I have been working with Calvary’s youth ministry for over 5 years.  I love these kids and showing them the amazing life available to them in Christ.  I have been to the D.R. three times on different types of trips. It has certainly changed my outlook on life and helped shape who I am today.  There’s nothing like a mission trip to give us a wider view of God, his people, and their own personal lives.  I want to be part of what God does on this trip.Prayer Requests:Please pray for loving compassion in relating to the kids, a chance to bond with the girls, wisdom in leading discussions, stamina especially in the second week, and grace for my family back home. John ChacoAdult Leader – Interim Student Ministries PastorAbout Me:I mean this in the humblest of terms, but I am a son of the Most High God.  Ah that feels so great to say and to know that it’s true.  I have to pinch myself sometimes because it’s almost too good to be true.  God really does love me like a son!  There is no greater news than the Good News of Jesus Christ and its life-giving properties.  His Gospel means so much to me that I desire to bring Him further praise by sharing with others the hope I received in Jesus.  I hope to see many sons and daughters of the Most High God come from the D.R. and I would love to be a small part of that.Prayer Requests:Pray God would lead us and that we would see Him move.  Move not only in the hearts of the Dominicans but in our hearts as well. Pray the gospel would not only be proclaimed boldly but be on display with our actions and words, clothed in humility. Pray for my family back home as I’m away from my wife and kids. Pray Christ remains at the center, that He would be my focal point. Pray I would serve well, a good steward of the gospel and the people God has entrusted to my care. Pray that God would be glorified, Amen!
Jordan Boyce15 years old, freshmanAbout Me:I am Jordan Boyce, I am a dancer, and I have always wanted to help people.  There are tons of reasons I am going to the DR.  To strengthen my relationship with the Lord, build better friendships with the people I’m going with, and just spread the love and good news of Jesus all around the world.  I am so excited for this trip.  It will be my first time out of the country, and I’m happy my first time overseas will be with people I love.Prayer Requests:I definitely would like prayer for mental and financial preparation.  This is going to be a very busy summer for me, but I still want to feel relaxed, so please pray for me to have God’s peace while I’m so busy.  The money is not a huge problem, but I’d like prayer so that I could raise most of the cost, if not all. Katherine Michelson17 years old, juniorAbout Me:Hi I’m Katherine I am very excited to go to the DR I hope to grow in my relationship with God and enjoy fellowship and encouragement from other Christians. I’d like to gain a better understanding of what working overseas is like and see if maybe that something I would do as a career.Prayer Requests:That I would have productive quiet times.That I would be able to get outside of my comfort zone.

That I would be able to communicate well with the Dominicans despite the language barrier.

Health – that no one would get horribly injured/sick.

Kaitlin Fry17 years old, juniorAbout Me:I am a junior at Schaeffer Academy and am excited to serve in a different country. I have never been on a missions trip outside of the country and I am excited to reach a different culture through the gifts God has given me.Prayer Requests:Pray that I would be diligent in my daily walk with Christ and be able to raise all the support I need before the trip. Kristen Peterson16 years old, juniorAbout Me:I am a junior at Schaeffer Academy. In my free time, I like to play volleyball, cross country ski, run, bake, and spend time outside. I went on this trip two years ago and had a great experience and I am excited to go again this year. I am looking forward to seeing some of the friends from the DR I made last trip, and also growing closer as the Calvary youth group.Prayer Requests:Please pray that I would be flexible on the trip. That I would be able to be relaxed and go with the flow when things do not go as planned.
Michaela Newell17 years old, seniorAbout Me:My name is Michaela Newell. I am a senior this year at Century High School. I am a typical teenage girl who loves Netflix, shopping, hanging out with my friends and family and dancing. I am going to the Dominican Republic because I want to be spread the love of Jesus while getting to know him better myself. I also want to be able to pray for those in the DR and build stronger relationships with my team.Prayer Requests:-Safe travel to and from the Dominican Republic-Safety in the DR

-Being able to step out of my comfort zone

-Fears I may have talking to others

-Peace and Comfort

-Help to raise the money

Molly DodaAdult LeaderAbout Me:I am a freshman at St. Olaf College.  I am excited to return to the Dominican Republic as a leader.  I am really looking forward to helping minister to the Dominican children and young adults, as well as to the strengthening of my own faith and that of my teammates.Prayer Requests:Please pray that God will give me focus, and that I will continue seeking guidance from God.
Mitchell Barnhart17 years old, juniorAbout Me:I am a missionary/pastor’s kid who loves to hang out with my friends and I enjoy music. I am going to the DR because I left a piece of myself there last time and I want to be broken and to do what God wants me to do.Prayer Requests:Pray for me to keep my peace of mind and not to miss things that God is doing because of my distractedness. Quy Ho16 years old, sophomoreAbout Me:I am an introvert who plays percussion and is looking to honor God more and more every day. I felt drawn to this DR trip because I listened to John talk about this ministry, and I wanted to get involved.Prayer Requests:Prayer for strength to survive long, hard days and for courage to overcome the fear of this new experience.
Renee CabalkaAdult LeaderAbout Me:On my mission trip to Ireland I learned that my identity in Christ defines who I am. So even though I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend I know that in Christ… I am deeply loved by God (Rom. 8:38-39); I am completely forgiven (Rom. 8:1-2); I am fully pleasing (Col. 1:22); I am powerfully equipped   (2 Tim. 1:7); I am totally accepted (1 Pet. 2:9-10); I am COMPLETE IN CHRIST (Jn. 10:27-28).Prayer Requests:Please pray that we would have the boldness to take the initiative to share Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results up to God.That we would be worshipping God as we serve and love the Dominican people and each other, so that God is glorified and we are filled with joy. Rose DodaseniorAbout Me:I am currently a senior at Schaeffer Academy, and this will be my second missions trip to the DR. I loved meeting and serving the people there and growing closer to my team in the process, and am looking forward to experiencing this through God’s grace again.Prayer Requests:Please pray that I will have the wisdom and discernment to see what God wants for me and the courage to carry it out.
Roger WarndahlAdult LeaderAbout Me:I’ve been to the DR multiple times.  Each time I seem to leave another piece of my heart.  The friendships built over 20 years of going down there and the privilege of serving them in God’s name is humbling.  Why am I going again?  Each trip allows Calvary’s missionaries, Rick and Becky Mackey more chances to make inroads into the communities they are focusing their mission on.  Enhancing their work to the Dominicans only glorifies God further. It is my wish to serve the local church and the Mackeys in whatever their need may be.Prayer Requests:HealthSafety

Team cohesiveness

That each member of the Team would catch the “missions bug” and see the benefit of supporting missions throughout their lives.

Sallie Kidman18 years old, seniorAbout Me:I love to create and experience both visual art and music.  I am looking forward to serving others in the DR.Prayer Requests:I am not proud of this but I haven’t grown up around those of other races.  Please pray I will be comfortable relating to them.
William Larson17 years old, sophomoreAbout Me:My name is William Larson. I’m a sophomore at Pine Island High School. I’m going on the Dominican Republic trip to learn more and get closer to GOD, while getting to know how I can minister to the Dominican people. I’m also wanting to learn more about myself as a person.Prayer Requests:I could use prayer in several areas. First, I am waiting to hear from my Doctor about further treatment of a sports injury to my knee, if surgery is needed, I wish to be able to go on the trip without being hindered by pain and knee issues. Pray that I will be able to do GOD’s work no matter what my physical condition. Please pray that I will be able to step outside of my comfort zone, and to rely on HIM for my strength. Christina Westberg17 years old, seniorAbout Me:I am a senior at Schaeffer Academy and will graduate this spring. My passions are Art and Literature, and will pursue these subjects at Wheaton College this fall. I love my home state of Minnesota, but discovered a new love for the Dominican Republic on the 2013 Calvary missions trip. My excitement for returning to the DR continues to grow as I anticipate bonding with my team and spreading the Gospel to the Dominicans.Prayer Requests:Reaching our fundraising goalsSafety while traveling

Safety and composure while we are ministering in the DR

Boldness for Christ

Receptive hearts of the people we meet

Team unity and joy

Grace Johnson15 years old, freshmanAbout Me:I’m 15 and in ninth grade. I’m going to the DR because I think it will be a good opportunity for me and a great way to see what is outside of our first world country.Prayer Requests:SafetyAbility to get everything that needs to be done, done Emily HommesophomoreAbout Me:I have always had a heart for missions and am thrilled to be going to the DR this summer! I am excited for the fellowship and environment of love and God we will be immersed in during this trip, and I am ready to serve!Prayer Requests:Pray for readiness in mind and body, and pray for unity with the team both in preparation and practice during the trip.
Carter Scrimshaw18, seniorAbout Me:My name is Carter and I love to be active and play sports. I’f I’m not outside, I’m probably just hanging out with friends watching Netflix. I come from a family of 9, so life can be pretty crazy at times. I will be going to Saint John’s university next year where I will major in accounting and play lacrosse. I recently became a Christian within the past year when I was invited on a missions trip to Colorado. This past year my faith has grown so much and I’ve developed a strong relationship with Christ that I had never felt before. I am very excited to teach others and bring them to Christ as I had the summer before.Prayer Requests:I am pretty nervous to go to the DR as I have never left the country before and this will be my first experience teaching others. Karin Canakes18, seniorAbout Me:I am Karin Canakes and I am going to the DR because it had a huge impact on my life last time I went and leaving the people there was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.Prayer Requests:You can pray that God will continue to stretch me and prepare me spirituallyfor this trip.
                                            Dara Coker                                                          18, seniorAbout Me:Hi! I’m Dara, and I’m a senior at Century High School. I’ve only recently started going to Calvary, and the hearts and souls of the people here have touched me in ways I never expected. The experience I’ve had here has encouraged me to hunger for and learn more about God. That being said, I was really excited to hear about this trip because it’s just another opportunity to understand Christ better and to form long lasting relationships with people inside (and outside) the missions team.Prayer Requests:Something I’m always afraid of is saying the wrong thing. It doesn’t always seem like my brain and my mouth are connected, and a lot of times I’m so worried that I’ll say the wrong thing that I won’t say anything at all. This can be a good thing at times, I just really need the faith that when I’m talking with the team or with the people of the Dominican God will have full control. Most of all I just hope our message can be heard and we can all learn something from the people there!! Josh Fry16, sophomoreAbout Me:I attend Schaeffer and work at Culver’s.Prayer Requests:That God would carry out His work in my heart and life to accomplish His will.