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!!

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