Day 1 - from Marcie Doe

Hola! We made it safe and sound to DR. We were delayed in Miami. All loaded on the plane and sat at the gate for 2 1/2 hours because a couple tried to smuggle their dog onto the plane. Really? They had a small dog in their bag and the pilot noticed it. They were escorted off the plane and then they had to find their luggage under the plane and remove it (international policy). So... that was fun.

Our group coordinator down here with Food for the Hungry (FH) is Martires. He's spent a year up in the states and his english is great. So helpful... apparently four years of high school Spanish and another in college isn't quite enough. :)

Today we went into two communities that FH has been working with and met with their leaders. FH has been with the first community (Magara) for two years. We got to see one of their summer class programs in session... they teach Bible to a group of students in a small, small "classroom". The children were studying Luke intently. Absolutely precious. When we asked them for one thing they've learned one little girl said (in Spanish:)) "That when we pray we can talk directly to God" Not gonna lie... there was a tear in my eye. Then we walked around the community. I'll post some photos next entry so you can see, but the homes were small... sometimes they had a door. There is a river that runs by the community (some boys were cooling off by skinny dipping so us ladies kept our distance) but when it rains all the area/homes that we walked around are completely under water. Most times they don't have any warning and lose everything only to start over after the waters drain. When we asked why they lived keep going back they said because there's no where else to go.

The children here are beautiful.. something about the girls' eyes. They're a deep dark brown and many have an almond shape to them. Stunning.

We ate lunch a little further in town at a little chinese place.. yea, I know right? It was kinda like Panda in our world. It felt safe. :)

FH has been in the second community (El Tamarindo) a bit longer (7 years I think). We started at the school (pictures to come) and met with their community leaders. They told us about what they're doing and why and told us what they need. We walked around the school which was actually really nice compared to what we had seen up until then. There were 4 classrooms on the bottom floor and another three or so on the second. They get 700 kids through there in a day... 700. They have two sessions and I still have NO idea how they do it. It would be interesting to see it during the school year when the kids are actually in school. Then we drove to a local church and met Pastor Antonio and his wife. They are doing amazing things. They met up with FH in 1998 after Hurricane George demolished the area. FH came for relief and was able to stay and create these relationships. Their church is tiny and they get about 250 in on a Sunday and recently did a VBS and had 500 kids! They've actually made a hole in a wall and added a concrete slab outside with a tarp and people still come. They shared how up until FH came, the church worked only within itself and now they work to serve the whole community. That's the reason for the growth.

We're back at the hotel for tonight and we'll be going to Sierra Prieta tomorrow. That is the community MMCC will be working with for the next 5-10 years. We will also be doing home visits with our sponsor children, so we'll get to meet Sandra! Exciting! Will hopefully keep you posted and have more thoughts later.

Please continue to pray for our safety and for God to continue revealing what He's doing here and how we can take part!

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