Monday, October 20, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 6 PART II in Santo Domingo ready to go to Jarabacoa (July 28)

Monday - Day 6 Part II

Part one is done until noon was the last blog post I was able to do while having internet. So, as that one only covers till noon, here is the rest of the day.

We drove for the last time away from the Santana’s house to head over to the apartment, there we were to meet up with the Grove-Raimundo group. At one point on the drive we stopped and our driver got out, it was a bit scary being 7 english only speakers and not having a highly protective spanish speaker with us, even if we were locked inside the van in the day light.

Once at the apartment we re-arranged all the luggage. Stuffing everyone into the van and ford we began our long drive. After a few moments, the extroverts in the middle row couldn’t handle it anymore and decided they would have their “introvert moment” for journaling. By this, they talked about being introverted, they talked about journaling, they kinda scribbled notes between spoken sentences. I sat by Katy, and thus ended up in the back rows of the introverts. It was a rather entertaining “introverted moment” to LISTEN to and watch.

Throughout this drive both Joanna and Tim took turns sleeping on KHB. I was so glad that I brought her to be so helpful to the team! Another part of how fun and selfless the whole group was, we took turns giving each other massages. It happened almost every time someone stood/sat still long enough for someone to walk over.

No trip to Jarabacoa is ever complete without a stop at Típico Bonao for lunch! It’s a group favorite.
I ordered (or shared a neighbor’s dish of):
  • Fish,
  • Chivo,
  • Tostones, 

After spending a long time there, we finished our drive up to Jarabacoa. Once we had unloaded, we hiked a lil bit, then sang songs in the dark of the night. It was precious to sing hymns on the mountain top.

Colossians 4:2-4
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Forward and on to Back bLogging

Today I started my job at Starbucks in Ardmore.

If you're in the area, come by and say howdy! If you're in a truck even better. (why?? Because my trainer was constantly emphatically asking me why I tell every driver of a truck, "I love your truck!" It happened scores and scores and scores of times today, blue, red, white, black, tan, green, ford, dodge, toyota, lifted, dropped, shells, long beds, boxes, muddy, clean, they all came through today. I mentioned it to every driver about how awesome his truck was. The two hummers were both driven by women, I found that

So, because of my job, I'm chilling in a coffee shop now. Perfect for blogging. I'm disastrously behind. So as it gets colder outside, I dream of the heat of the DR. It reminded me to finish that series.  So I will be doing that now.

Some posts were written partially while in the DR, and those sections I will leave as they are, even through they contain prayer requests. I think it will make it more memory invoking to those of us who went, and it'll give a closer glimpse for those who may go, or who had been tracking the team.

Thank you for all the support you showed us while we were in the Dominican Republic.

And start blogging and bringing you up to speed on the adventure of this maiden. Thanks for stopping by. Want a sbux?

Colossians 3:23-24
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 6 in Santo Domingo ready to go to Jarabacoa (July 28)

Day 6 is today, Monday, and I am posting it now, because I will be unable to do so later.

Now, this is a shorter post because I don't have a lot of time today, we've all been packing and well...we played Mao. (it's the evil version of Uno) The unfortunate news is that now we will be going up into the mountains where we shall not have internet for something like a week. So, if I or your kids don't email for a week, know that they aren't ignoring you, rather we just don't have contact with the outside world.

We were supposed to leave at 9:30...but it's AFTER noon and our ride is not here yet.

The plan was for someone to go to Bravo market to pick up food then come pick us up, but so far we are just hanging out. Everyone is journaling, checking email one last time, napping, reading their Bibles, or just chilling for a bit.

Update...remember that chicken from yesterday that I said I would come back too? Here it is...

Pollo (Chicken) is the only meat that Mr. Raimundo was very adamant that we do NOT eat in the DR. But yesterday for lunch it was served to us, and most of us gathered it up and set it in a place where no one would eat it. Unfortuately, a couple people were more adventurous and had a go taking on the hormonal chicken. DRians pretty much raise their chickens on hormones, which is why it is unsafe to eat.

This morning, those couple of people woke up sick. Both Andrew and Knepps (Emily) Knepper are sick and they are the only one of us seven to have tried the chicken. So, pray they get better because it's not at all fun being sick in the DR.

Please pray for:
- Andrew and Knepps to get better.
- No one else to get sick.
- Safe drive to Jarabacoa.

In Summary:
Time means nothing.
Stop eating chicken...unless it's American Chick Fil A (in that case, please take me!!!)
Pray for people not to eat the chicken...just nooooooo....
I love you all, and will talk to you in a week-ish...

I Timothy 2:5-6
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Jessie Bear

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 5 in Santo Domingo (July 27)

Day 5 - Sunday

The day started off with plenty of drama. Pamela woke up and came out to find Jorge sleeping on the couch, a bit bloody and banged up. Come to find out...

Jorge was driving and a car came down the street the wrong way, he swerved to miss the other car, ended up hitting a tree and flipping his car.

Even if we think we can do things on our own strength, that we are invincible, that we will live is but a vapor...
Even in all the damage, all the potential lethal places, all the chances for harm...and God protected him...
Here in the DR, there are few rules that apply to driving, mainly don't hit other cars. So, it's always an adventure, and it always reminds me that it is GOD who protects us and keeps us safe.
God does amazing of those is to preserve life where it should rightly have perished. It is only God in His perfect sovereignty that sustains us each moment. He will continue to protect us. 

Jorge is ALIVE!! He is walking, he is talking, he's going to be alright! He has some scratches and his shoulder is hurting, but he's going to be okay. God is epic and wonderful and is keeping us all safe. Dear parents of people on the trip, please don't freak out and worry, but know this instead, our God is mighty and tender. Even though the car flipped, even though the drivers side was squished, even though it ruined the car...Jorge is okay, he was even okay enough that he WALKED himself home after that wreck. God is bigger than our circumstances and He is protective of His children.

So, this is how we began our day on Sunday, with nervous tension and hearts of thankfulness.

After hearing only limited information about the accident (only that he was in the hospital and could still "walk"...) we had to leave for church.

The team hopped into an EPIC bus, it had great AC and huge windows, so the drive was great. But on the way to church we got lost. [Stolen computer!! JAMES is awesome!!] The address we were given for Iglesia Fundamento (Foundation Church) was not useful, thus for a while we drove in circles, eventually we did make it to church. (They couldn't start without us anyways...we had the pastor!)

The church was lovely! Even in a not so developed community the church building was beautiful. It was small area/footprint wise, but it had three stories and was rather neat. On the balcony (hi my name is james! ~ well...when I walked away from my computer, someone named James wanted to let you know he was still, yeah, he's alive.) all of us Americans sat listening close to our faithful translators, even still with fans blowing directly at Mr. Raimundo and also at us that only about 80% of the words were translated and about 90% of what was translated was understood by us Americans. So...we got most of the sermon.

After that we went to lunch at Mr. Raimundo's father's favorite restaurant. We got lots of food, tons of meat.

chicken (we'll come back to this one...),
two types of fish (Sea Bass and Grouper),
Mondongo (cow stomach),
plantano maduro,
garlic bread,
spanish tortilla,

it was lots of food...

We came back to the main apartment (were the Grove/Raimundo group lives) and just chilled for a few hours, until it was time to walk over to the church we painted at to have evening service. There we used the head sets for the translation, and during offering the translator forgot to hit "mute" and so when he hummed along to Amazing Grace we listened to was awesome! We tried not to giggle, but it did remind me to ask myself:

When I worship...why do I change my behavior if I know someone can see/hear me, do I worship Christ the same in public as I do when no one knows?

After church we just stayed at the church for about 1.5-2 hours letting people check their emails/post on their blogs, hold babies, sing songs, talk with new friends, and enjoy the AC... Then taking our new friends (and some old ones: Patrick and Emanuel) we all went to a pizza place.

Lemonade (FRESH!!)

After this we all went to our homes for one last night in Santo Domingo.

Please Pray for:
- Jorge Santana to recover from the crash.
- That we continue to have safe travels.
- That in Jarabacoa that we would bond as a unit and grow together in love.

In Summary:
Time is useless here.
Watches are just for looks not telling time.
Church is epic.
Singing in Spanish is fun.
Singing in English while everyone sings Spanish is hard to do.
Coke is amazing...
The Providence of God puts me in awe every time I get a glimpse of it.
God protects His children.
The 20 something passenger van was cool....literally.

I John 2:6

“whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 

Jessie Bear

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 4 in Santo Domingo (July 26)

Day 4 - Saturday

So, I'm a day "behind" in journaling so that I can write about the FULL day. Thus Day 4 is being blogged on Day 5. On Day 4 I blogged about Day 3, and I don't know if you noticed or not, but the time that it was posted was later than the first 2 days... This was due to a few things, one being spotty internet. When we went to the church, I was able to get internet and post the blog. For this post, I was unable to finish it before scurrying off to Church, but the church we went to did not have an internet connection for my lap top, so I have needed to wait till now to post!

Fried eggs,
Mashed potatoes,
Café/pear juice/milk,

Marathon Class - The lifestyle of the living and the dead
Josue taught for two hours about the lifestyles of those who are dead in sin and those who are alive in Christ. This class was the “capstone” of the last 3 years of seminary classes that Mr. Raimundo has been teaching, it is also the final lesson for this year’s DR trip “Theological Heart Surgery” class. I have a few notes to share for you to be thinking about.

"The heart was designed to worship. You are always worshipping something.”
"The thing is not to do right, but to do it right.”
"The man who is NOT slow to speak IS quick to anger.”

I forgot to charge my lap top and was at 18% when I got to the church. I actually have prayed for my wifi signal before, but this time I was praying that my battery would last though the class. Through the whole time it lasted!
  • searching for a wifi signal for more than half and hour,
  • internet for about 3 hours,
  • typing for 3.5 hours

I was so thankful! God is epic!

From class…I have a question for you!
First is a list of three characteristics of God, these three things have ALWAYS been, and will be eternally True. Then is a list of three characteristics of man. At the end of the list is a question…please comment with your answer to the question, and if you desire to, please give your reason.

Three characteristics of the Lord:
- Infinite
- Complete
- Self-sufficient

Three characteristics of Man:
- Finite
- Incomplete
- Dependent

When did man begin to be those three characteristics? (As in, was there ever a time when man was NOT those things?)

After the marathon class we decided to take a group picture, unfortunately all the Grove family was at the main apartment to rest and regroup as a family. But the Raimundo’s and the 7 non-Raimundo/Grove group peeps were able to take a picture together with a handful of the DRians.
After the class and pictures, we walked over to the apartment to get with the Groves, and I got the chance to charge my lap top! (Thank you Jenn!!!!) I plugged in my lap top and then we walked to lunch at La Quinta.


We walked back to the house, and went to the church once more, this day’s goal was to finish painting. Before I went up to the roof, I learned that there would be a group going to the Bravo market. I asked to go with the excursion to gather food. So the expedition group was comprised of myself, Jenn, Joanna, Mr. Raimundo, and one of the joint owners of the market, and crawling into the car we were off! A curious series of adventures awaited us at the market...

First, we were met in the parking garage by Segway riding “security” people wearing gas masks…don’t ask why, I have no idea...

Then we found ourselves on a smooth escalator going up to the main level for the market, it was like a “people mover” belt…but at the angle of an escalator. Once inside, Joanna and I talked about how cold the AC felt. I realized at this point that my jeans were INSIDE out for painting…so here I am in the DR wearing jeans and my shirt inside out (in case you don’t know, the culture here dresses nicer than the US culture…even the poor people wear polo shirts…).

Decked out in my snazzy attire, I grabbed a cart/buggy/basket (choose the name you understand) and began my DR driving practice! Joanna also got the chance to do this! It was fun and a lil silly...but more fun that way! One thing we found by their (heavenly) smell was the cinola fruit! <3 It smells wonderful! (I wish it was legal to bring these back to the States…) We also found the zapota fruit, and it did not look at all like what I suspected it would. Joanna and I were meal planning and decided that we would be cooking purple/yellow/green cauliflower sometime next week. (shh!! Don’t tell the group, they don’t know yet!)

Just over half finished shopping, we came across monster lobsters…they were huge, I got a picture…someone needs to remind me to load pictures…eventually… As we were in line to check out, I finally begged Mr. Raimundo enough that he let me grab Sprite and limes! So, soon we can enjoy that refreshing treat!

When we got back to the house we went right over to the church…where we again played ninja, and finally after much practice (not really)…i won a game! The cost was a close call with a black eye…Babes’ offensive move went for my eye instead of hand…but it’s all good now!
Because of going to the Bravo market, back to the house for hang time and sandwiches, and chill out for the evening.

Same exact thing as yesterday...
Cinola Ca <3

At the apartment we sang some songs and had a Theological Heart Surgery (THS) class. It was amazing...I'm sure I will blog about open heart surgery later... Thus we went home, and I was able to  do a call with Dad, Momma, Ruth, and Buddy (Charlie). Not too much later I fell asleep the point where when my alarm went off...I walked over through the whole room to find it and kill it, then went back to bed and was out like a light again.

Please Pray For:
- everyone's health, pray that we don't get sick.
- on Monday we are driving to Jarabacoa in the mountains, pray for a safe drive!
- that people would see Christ who is our Father, and not see us as ourselves, but that we are His children and we look like Him.

In Summary:
I'm behind in posting...sorry!!!!
Mangu is awesome.
I want to take Mr. Raimundo's class.
God answers prayers, even about wifi and batteries...
I hope you answer my theological question...

I Timothy 2:5-6
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Jessie Bear

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 3 in Santo Domingo (July 25)

Day 3 has been (by FAR!) our most structured day...but since a morning meeting time wasn't agreed on, the morning kinda floated by as we hung out.


bread with jelly or with sandwich meat/cheese,
cereal and milk,

After we ate, we went over to the apartment to meet with the Groves and Raimundo family units. There, we all sat around waiting and waiting (pay attention, this is a theme...) and eventually rolled around to getting on task. (Jessica Grove gave me a wonderful back rub and shoulder/neck massage…hehe….**happy sigh**)

Heading out, we merely exit our building and turn left and walk for a few blocks and ta-da! The Church we go to is there. The task we were given was to paint the outside of the second story balcony and to remove the ceiling tiles from adjacent rooms. With only 2 rollers and 2 paint brushes for the 19 of us to share...we sent a good handful in to take out the tiles.

As that made short work with them, we sent word for people to get us more paint, rollers, tape, and brushes. Then went back to waiting and waiting. We played ninja! We taught Mrs. Grove to play ninja, that was epic. Jason Grove is thus far the reigning ninja Master.

Eventually, rollers, brushes, and tape showed up but no paint. So, we went on painting with what we had until it was almost completely gone. At this time it was about 1300 (1pm) and we were hot, tired, and saying "tengo hambre" (I'm hungry). We then walked to a small place for lunch.


rice of some sort,
cinola juice (I will tell about this wonderful drink in another post, I'm sure)

Then we walked back to finish using all the paint we had. I climbed up to help paint from the roof, and discovered that the roof is made of corrugated metal. It was only after getting up there that I realized it's mostly rust held up by flimsiest of structures. We who were on the roof had to walk on the 2-3 inch wide concrete lip that blended the metal in with the cinderblock wall. I think around 6 of us had ended up going up there. I did not like it at all, and got down as soon as the paint ran out. Ugh! In my opinion, that was scarier than jumping off the 27 foot part of the waterfall last year (ooh! And we're doing that again this year!)...

As I said, the paint ran out, and we had asked for more. But it didn't come, so we played ninja, and then I taught them to play "the human knot" that went over well and we played quite a few rounds of it. Our first was unsolvable, the second was two interlocking loops, and the 3rd was finally a single loop that was quickly solved.

Then we went back to waiting and waiting for paint, after about 45 minutes of doing nothing we realized that the paint wasn’t going to come that day. So we walked home to the apartment. Then my group of the 7 non-Raimundo/Grove peeps went to our house for quick showers and to dress nicely to go out for dinner.

When we arrived back with the others, we were told that we would be eating at the apartment with our dinner delivered to us. (So much for dressing up to go out…) Here at the apartment we again sat waiting and waiting. This time we were waiting for food and juices.


Sandwiches (a toasted hoggie bun, with melted cheese, and a shredded meat of some sort…beef I think),
Sapota Ca,

After dinner we sang a few songs, then began our study. We managed to do an overview of Colossians 1:1-2. I may write up a short summary of that later for you all…because it was very good. After we finished the study, we were planning to sing a single song, then go to bed, buuuut…we decided to stay up late and sing songs.

Finally, we decided we needed sleep and to go home. Where Pamela and I stayed up a while looking up song lyrics in english and spanish to sing for the rest of the trip. When we have our song list, I’ll try to type out the titles so you can follow along.

Please pray for:
- continued health of those on the trip! Amazingly no one has gotten sick yet.
- to finish the project here at the church, it gives us a chance to give back and minister to the church who is doing so very much here in the DR.
- on Day 4 (which is "today" Saturday) Mr. Raimundo is teaching a marathon of 4 solid hours of teaching.
- that we would all soak up this teaching!
- that we would not succumb to the heat when painting today

In Summary:
A structured day ≠ todo list + time line
I like DRian food.
I love walking nearly everywhere we go.
Painting is is fun...human knot is fun...standing on rusted out roofing is not fun.
Singing with the group is totally epic!

oh! and massages are amazing.

Colossians 1:1-2
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father."

Jessie Bear

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 2 in Santo Domingo (July 24)

Day 2 was tons of fun!

First getting up and chilling in the room for a bit with Katy, then we went out to the kitchen for breakfast. It was wonderful!

Mangu (not Mangos...and I will explain mangu on another post),
Scrambled eggs with veggies,

After eating I went over and talked with the other peeps that are staying in this house. Because we were going to the Villa Alta Gracia there were a few things we needed to do beforehand.

- Drink a large glass of water in the earliest part of the morning that you can.
- Eat very well.
- Just before we head out...go to the bathroom. Because there will be absolutely no options for that for the next 5-7 hours.

Then we headed out to meet up with everyone at the other house! Once there we started the first talk of the trip, basic information about why we are here and what we are doing. The other Jessica on the trip sat in front of me so I gave her a neck and shoulder massage. A bit later, one of the other girls said she was in line for a massage, and before a few hours went by, apparently most of the group is claiming a spot in line. So, someone ends up in the floor in front of me, or siting in the seat ahead of me in the bus, is hoping for a massage.

Sandwiches of (I think) turkey and ham, mayonnaise, and cheese.

The entire Grove family is here on the trip, and so there are a LOT of names that start with the letter J. Thus putting our initials on water bottles doesn't work. The Grove family has a system of J1, J2, J3, etc. It's kinda cute actually. Only one slight problem...J3 and JB look a LOT alike when written small on the top of a bottle cap and slightly worn away from wiggling in a backpack. Now the funny part. J3's name is Jessica. JB...that's me....Jessie Bear.

Once everyone had a name on a water bottle we pile in bus and start heading to Villa Alta Gracia. The talks on the drive...hmm...I'll just keep you guessing on that one. Hehe...
No, but actually for a bus packed with 14 "kids" ages 25-9 you'd think we'd be more goofy, but rather talks are about the culture, what games are best for observing the culture, what are the moral issues with the culture, etc. Babes made the two best observations about the DR culture of the day.

1) Why do they paint all their trashcans?
2) Why are the houses bright on the outside, but dark on the inside?

Well done Babes...keep asking "why?", keep looking for the root of this issue...

Now the actual drive was quite an adventurous occasion. We go in two cars, all the "kids" in one bus and the parents in the other. Our (us kids) bus driver lost the other car in the crazy DR traffic, and we didn't see them for about an hour. We were only a little bit concerned, and only learned later that night, that the other car had ended up networking a small handful of calls in order to get directions, their adventures also included a cell phone running out of minutes.

When we arrived at the Villa, and went into the church building, all the people were clapping, they clapped long enough for a single file line of all 19 of us to walk in through the door and find seats on the floor in the corner of the front of the church. As we walked into the church I noticed the children first. 80-100 children were seated on the floor packed into this small single room building. When I sat down and looked out, I noted that all the girls were on one side and all the boys were on the other.

Our coming to the Villa was to bring a Bible story to the children, and to see the progress of the buildings. For the story, Mrs. Raimundo taught about Elijah and the widowed woman and her son, the story of God providing for our needs. (I Kings 17:8-24)

My God is a Providential God, He provides everything we need. Sometimes that means doing some really neat things. Mr. Raimundo found a girl selling food, and bought all her food. That gave her the free time to come listen to the Bible also gave the kids a snack...and provided her family with a little bit of money. God provides. Always.

For some pictures with the kids and our team, we all scattered into the group of kids sitting on the floor and sat with them. I ended up with one lil girl snuggling in my lap,  two girls with their fingers interlocked with mine, and another girl had fun when I leaned over close to get a picture with her! Bar none....snuggles are the best!

After the Bible story, singing a couple songs, and snack, the kids took us for a short walk around some parts of their shack village. We ran out of time and needed to get back to our apartment, so the walk was cut short.

The drive back was one of the most fun drives ever. We played some clapping games, took way too many pictures of each other, talked about culture, and about our families.

Finally regrouping at the apartment...we realized that we did not have time for the 19 of us to all shower and dress up for going out. So, we ended up going out to diner in t-shirts and jeans. Cramming 19 people into 2 vehicles is an adventure in itself! In the Ford explorer I was in, we had 2 in front, 4 in the middle, and 2 in the luggage area in the back. It was very fun! We went to a nice place to eat. Mr. Raimundo ordered for us all. (I will detail this later if possible.)

Ricardo lives close to a fun ice cream parlor. It was a much looked forward to event for those of us who came last year. Ricardo and Mr. Raimundo decided to go, and about 1/4 of the peeps at the whole table knew we were going but before we told the group, we got the idea of making it a secret!

We told everyone that there was a change in plans and that we would not be having a study. A few didn't really think anything of it, Jenn and Joshua seemed genuinely surprised and asked what was going on. But Mr. Raimundo didn't say. So we all got up, went to the public bathroom (this is a big no no in 99% of cases...but in the DR 1% is really big!)

When we pulled into Valentinos Jenn and Joshua knew what it was, and so did Knepps. It was a lot of fun seeing the delight on the faces of the Grove family and James and Timothy. Apparently, no matter where you go, ice cream is always a hit!

Just like in the car trips, plane rides, and hanging out at the houses...conversation never dies off and is always stirring. Jenn, Katy, myself, and Jessica stood together eating our ice cream and talking about our favorite books of the Bible and why they are our favorites. Another conversation I had was with Evelyn (Ricardo's darling wife), we talked about homeschool and how things work for homeschoolers in the United States.

After all the ice cream, fellowship, and just a general great time together, we had to head back to the apartment. We all got there, then got back into our two groups and split up to go home for the night.

Finally, after almost exactly a year, I was back in the black police Suburban with Ricardo. It was so much fun. Knepps and I were kinda emotional about it actually. I think she was more so than I because she's kept up a closer relationship with them through the year than I have. But it was very touching to me to be back, to sing songs in that Suburban again, and joke with Ricardo once again!

Amid all our songs and talking we ended up lost.

So, Ricardo called but no one answered, I think he called 3 people before getting someone. But finally we got to our house, and went almost exactly straight to bed. I say almost...because I diverted that trek to take a shower. A much awaited first shower in the DR.

My shower... *happy sigh*
I was coated in two days of sweat, bug spray, sunscreen, and dirt from Virginia, Florida, Santo Domingo, and Villa Alta Gracia. This shower was very wonderful. <3
Half way through my shower, I remembered...DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. For the second half of the shower I could not remember if I had drank any...but getting lost in thought, I realized that some got in my mouth. I spent the rest of the shower spitting out any liquid in my mouth.

I went to bed shivering cold and woke up with a bit of a sore throat. I am not yet convinced that I am sick, but...I now have to keep a close eye on things.

**epic fail**

On the positive side, I do not think I will be getting nearly as sick as last year! So, I am very happy. I can't wait for the studies to start.

Please pray for:
- We are supposed to paint at the church, pray that we are helpful and willing workers,
- That we are all gracious and loving when time schedules get thrown out the windows...all the time,
- That we continue to grow in fellowship and are bonded ever firmer in love for one another because of Christ,
- That I and all the team does not get sick at all on this trip!

In Summary:
I love Mangu...I missed it!
Drink lots of water, but don't go to the bathroom except at home, church, or specific very nice restaurants.
The 9 yr old has the best observations.
I love snuggling kids. <3
God provides!!
If you take a picture of James, he puts his hands around his face and has a silly grin. (oh dear...what are we going to do with him??)
If you want a massage...get in line.
Ice cream is yummy.
Getting lost in a foreign country is fun...with the right people.
Showers are good (please take lots of them).
Drinking shower water...**epic fail**

I Kings 17:24

"And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”"

Jessie Bear

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dominican Republic Discipleship Trip 2014 - Day 1 in Santo Domingo (July 23)

Let's Start with the night before Day 0?

Last year, one of the girls on the trip got to be very dear to me, we call her Rogers. Unfortunately, Rogers was unable to accompany us on this year's trip. Because of some other events, she was going to be unable to meet up with the team (and me!) until after the trip, even though we had planned to see each other before going this time. I went with Katy and Knepps with Mr. Raimundo to Walmart to pick up all the last minute items (extra toothpaste...please don't stop using toothpaste peoples!) and even after we thought we were done, Joshua called us and sent us back for socks (hmm...socks or extra time for what happened next...).

Eventually, we got everything and got back to the house. July 22nd is my Momma's and Brother's (17th) birthday, thus I planned a Skype call to sing happy birthday to them. I went inside, put things on the table, and get into the living room, and out pops Rogers with a basket on her head (so we said she was the only one with an appropriate party hat). I pretty much hugged the life out of her.

We did the call, it was fun. My brother is pretty goofy and fun to talk to because he is epic. Momma is the bestestest Mom in the world (you think you have the best Mom, it's okay, it's good for you to think that, but mine is the bestestest).

After a fun call, we had to go because we needed to pack everything into LOTS of bags. We have ended up with somewhere around 45-57 bags in total (I don't know for sure yet...the accountant major in me was told to get lost at 2 am).

A few things we packed late that night (and early the next morning):Bed sheets to leave down here,Notebooks,...lots of notebooks,Bread made by the Groves,Clothes to leave here,Water shoes,Hair brush,Bible,Our own clothes,A spirit of willingness to serve and learn,

Rogers, Katy, and I shared a room together. Even though we all went to bed really late, I loved my group because we went to sleep and liked sleeping.

We got up around 7 am (now we are on Day 1) for showers and last minute repacking of pajamas (don't forget to use that toothbrush!...repack that too!) as well as trying to figure out if anything was missed when packing so late/early.

The Groves were to meet us in the church parking lot at 1045, then we began rounds of hugs (and tickles) then packing suitcases into vans and cars. There are 19 of us American's on this trip (I specify American because later we will have some Dominican's with us) and putting a bazzilion bags and suit cases and duffle bags and pack backs and instrument cases into 3 cars is the Dominican level of adult Tetris.

At the air port, we stood in line for what seemed like a long time to get our tickets (it took longer to get our tickets, than to walk to security, get through security, and go to our gate) but standing in line with my best friend (Katy) and Knepps and the was lots of fun.

We had Chipotle for lunch (it's so yummy) then sat waiting for our plane. On our plane we got out to the runway and sat there for a moment. What made it so amusing was that the Captain had come on the intercom saying that there were no planes around and so we shouldn't have any delays...then we had a delay. But it was a very short one, only a few minutes.

Our flight went from Dulles in Virginia to Miami in Florida, here we went to Ku-va (a little Cuban restaurant in the air port). Katy and I were the rebels and decided to order hamburgers since it was our last chance to have "American" food for the next 16 days. Hehe...

The flight from Miami to Santo Domingo in the DR was pretty uneventful as well (Thank you Lord!) which is a vast improvement upon last year. The ironic thing is that we still got to our rooms at the same time as last year, at least this time it was planned to arrive at 1:30 something in the morning.
It was really fun with so many people getting their passports stamped for the first time! Some didn't seem to really notice (maybe it had to do with it being way past everyone's bedtime...) and some were really excited about it. I think I am in the group that was too tired to care, because I am realizing that even now I haven't looked at the new stamp in my pass port.

Tomas met us at the air port, and helped us load our luggage into the trailer, then we packed like sardines into the van. On the way to our apartment I talked with some of the Groves, James, Andrew, and Knepps about the culture of the DR.

Things we are keeping our eyes out for:
Why do the Dominican's paint their houses with such vibrant colors?What are the moral issues of the people in the Dominican Republic?Why is the DR in the state it is in now because of those issues?

Babes or now "Bebe", was giving lots of great thoughts about those questions, for a 9 year old I was impressed, what's more, she was doing it well after my mind had turned off. Props to you Bebe!

At the apartment we loaded all the luggage into the living room then divided into two groups. The Groves (8) and the Raimundos (4) stayed at the apartment, and the "rest of us" (7) went to the local pastor's home. First evening here, and we're driving through the city of Santo Domingo and we see a prostitute go get into a truck. It is something so very, very common here. When the "rest of us" group got to the house, we drank lots of GOOD water ate bananas went went to bed.

This house has internet, so I am able to update you, but this is a rare treat as most days and places I'll be in the DR do not have internet. I will try to post as many updates as I can for you all!

Please pray for:
- our group to continue to bond,
- no one to get sick eating or drinking anything they shouldn't,
- chances to minister to the people,
- that we would learn and mature as Mr. Raimundo teaches,
- that we would continue to be sanctified through living so close to so many for so long

In Summary:
Flights were good.
I like everyone.
Bananas are amazing when you are super hungry.
Don't drink the water...but please continue to brush your teeth.
8 hours of sleep is wonderful.
Internet is a special treat in the DR!!!
Pray for us.

...have a nice day. ;-)

Colossians 2:1-5

"For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ."


Jessie Bear

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rain from a Blue Sky - For all who mourn

At the closing of this last month, a tornado carved a path through the home of a family, and it carved a jagged tear through our hearts. The following blog post was written to all of those who mourn the loss of Mr. Rob, Rebekah, and Tori Tittle. May the peace of God be wrapped around you and may you mourn with the hope of God. May you know that you are loved and prayed for…

What do you do when 27% of your family is suddenly gone? What can you do when you lose a dear friend? As the questions swirl in your mind, and the emotion rises up and lets those questions violently explode from your soul…

Why do bad things happen?
Why didn’t God stop this from happening?
Where is God in this tragedy?
How can any good come from this?
Why did this have to happen to us?
Why the Tittle family?
Why any of those who died and lost so much?

As the soul is in turmoil and tremors run wild in your body like a live current set free, yet you never asked to hold the fork as it was jammed into this live outlet. You simply ache and hurt as all your life goes rigged in disbelief and horror. This wasn’t the plan, this wasn’t the life you hoped for, it wasn’t even something you ever thought would happen even less thought even could possibly happen!

But the hard truth, the harsh reality did happen.

Now as the storms move on, the blue sky returns, yet ruble remains, we must face a new and wretched question.

Now what?

But it brings to mind all those other questions we try to block out of our minds and you try to stave off from your soul because the pain is just too much to bear.

How do we comprehend death?
What does it mean…that we won’t see Rob. Rebekah. Tori. again this side of heaven?
How can something be that permanent?

If you would allow me, I would like to make a small attempt to encourage you, to offer an internet version of a hug, or rather my purpose is to spur on your faith in this crisis. That you would mourn, but as one who has hope in the resurrection Jesus Christ.

Why do bad things happen?

This assumes there is a “bad” and if there is a bad, there must be a corresponding “good”. These two must have predetermined perimeters or they are simply arbitrary. If they are arbitrary then it’s pointless to ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” because there is no set limits to good or bad,  so how do you know if it was bad or good?  But I propose to you that there are perimeters to good and bad, that there are limits, and that there is a God who decided those limits, and He is therefore the Judge of good and bad (evil).

I will go further with this and explain my point so that you can track with me on my thought line.

God set Laws, Adam broke those Laws, and because of one man’s sin, death entered the world. Because of sin, things happen. But this is not to say “because ______ didn’t take out the trash…there was a forest fire.” Rather because of sin, death is rampant, and entropy (all things tend towards destruction) is here to stay…for a while.  God allows evil/bad things to happen that through it He might be glorified. Does this sound horrid…maybe at first. But ask a Christian this question: Would you lay down your life, so that someone might come to know Jesus Christ as his Saviour?

The Christian will always ache and strive to be like Jesus, and Jesus laid down His life for the Church.

Sometimes it takes enormous sacrifice to bring life to a dying world. Mr. Rob Tittle gave his life for his family. He died as he lived, wholeheartedly believing that a Christian lays down his life for others, that Jesus laid down His life for His bride, that we might be called children of God. Mr. Tittle laid down his life for his wife and children.

What good could ever come of this?

I can now testify that such men of honor, valor, mercy, and grace live and die that the name of Jesus Christ might prosper. If I could tell the Tittle family something, I would let them know that the sacrifices of Mr. Rob Tittle, Rebekah, and Tori has strengthened my faith!

This tragedy has brought closer the hearts of around 100 CollegePlus students, not just a “campus”, but rather internationally, this has rippled around the world and these people love deeper, mourn together, pray harder, hold each other as more treasures not to be taken for granted. These kids are going to their fathers and reminding those Daddies that they are dearly loved. Churches and organizations are pulling together in honor of the Tittle family.

Sometimes we want to know, “will my life make a difference?” Let me say this, the Tittle family is rocking the world because of the HOPE God gives them and us who mourn. The legacy left by the ones who died is a massive one.

*The Legacy of Rob Tittle*

He gave his life in the protection of his family. He died as a man of God putting his wife and children’s needs above his own. A hero to the end he strove to comfort them in the storm. What can be said of such a man, he was a shadow of the Jesus he was devoted to, giving up his own rights, that those he loved might gain their lives. By God’s Grace Rob Tittle preserved the lives of his wife and seven of his children. God be praised!

I want to go back to the question of why bad happens…

Bad happens because God doesn’t treat us fairly. What do I mean? I mean that if God were to be fair to us, we’d all right now be under the full measure of His thrice holy eternal judgment and fury. It is a precious and glorious thing that we are not under such unbearable circumstances. Jesus Christ took the wrath of God that we might not endure such punishment. Jesus died in our place. It was our sin that Jesus paid the ransom for and it’s Jesus’ resurrection that gives us life and hope! Because of His death and resurrection, we have hope that when we die, we will live again with Him. If God were fair, and we got what we deserved, then we would never have hope in Jesus.

While this does not make it easy to accept that we will not see Rob, Rebekah, or Tori again on this side of heaven, we mourn as a people who have hope. Because we know that right now, Mr. Tittle, Rebekah, and Tori are more alive than they have ever been.

Bad things happen and they are like neon signs pointing us back to God. It is in the midst of trials that God shines through us the brightest. Be it health, death, persecution or whatever it is, He gets the most glory when we surrender our broken hearts and crushed spirits. We have hope because He has promised that we will not always be broken and crushed. Psalms 34 says that He is near to the broken hearted and crushed in spirit. Because of this, it leads me to the conviction that God is holding the Tittle family tight in His grasp, and that Jesus Christ will be magnified in this painful trial and horrendous loss of life.

I want to make another thing clear.

It is okay to mourn.

It is healthy to mourn.

We need to mourn, we need to let the tears fall down, we need to cry out to the God who hears, we need to just let God be the only one in control of life.

We were created for life, not for death. Our minds were not designed to understand, comprehend, wrap around this unfathomable idea of “death”. We are beings created to live forever, so the price of sin that we pay, death, is so foreign to our minds that it is the greatest fear we have. When one of our own dear loved ones dies, all chaos breaks loose in our souls because we can’t figure out how it can possibly be really…real. But know this, Jesus conquered death. It is only permanent on this side of heaven. Rob, Rebekah, Tori, and all those in Jesus Christ will live again! They are alive! We just can’t be with them for a while, not until Christ calls us to Himself like He has with our loved ones. So we mourn as a people who have hope in this everlasting life!

If you are afraid that the tears will never stop…go ahead and cry anyways, God is right there with you, and Psalms says He has collected your tears in a bottle (yes, that is how intently He is paying attention to you!), the tears will end because while weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning. Even if we have to wait a long time, there will always be a Son rise to our mourning nights.

We can mourn the things that will never be: Rob will never walk Rebekah or Tori down the aisle, they will never have families, and Rebekah will never go to Scotland…
But we can also glory in the things they do have now that we cannot do: They see the face of the Lion of Judah, they feel no pain, have no imperfections, they have glorified bodies with no injuries from a tornado, they are alive in the very essence of the word ALIVE!

To die is gain, to live is Christ.

Remember no matter how dark, desperate, destitute, doubtful, despairing the night...the Son will always Rise. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and He is why we have Hope.

I did not personally know the Tittle family, but the impact they have made in my life this past week is incredibly huge and lasting. I’ve seen people come together in ways I never expected them too. The outpouring of love and generosity has been such a blessing to watch happen. I doubt the Tittle family shall ever read this post yet if they were…the following is for them.

Darling Tittle family,

May the God of our Salvation be the God who gives you Mercy and Grace through this trial. May the Love of God be passionately poured upon you all.
You are loved. You are prayed for. God is with you. God is for you.


Just a servant

Psalm 46:1-3
"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah"