Wednesday, December 16, 2015

OHB Stage Band Trip to Branson, MO

Right now I'm at Stone Castle Inn found in Branson, MO. It's a cute hotel, each room has a painting above each bed and the outside of the building has several stone structures. It's split between three large buildings, like links in a chain set in a giant parking lot. The first building has the lobby and check in desk. Food is served in the second building which also houses the main pool, hot tub, and game lounge. The last of the three buildings is mainly rooms, cleaning storage lockers, and also has a pool for guests. Everyone's trip to Branson began yesterday morning.

Tuesday was the Oklahoma Homeschool Band's (OHB) Christmas concert. So all the families loaded up for the rehersal and concert, and all those who drive long distances to go to the concert also planned to stay overnight. I stayed the night with my sister at our Stage Band (jazz) Director's house in Edmond, OK. This was the preview for today's adventures...

TODAY...began
at 5 am
when my darling sister woke me up so she could take her shower and do yoga. For about 20 minutes I made my attempt to sleep but failed and drug my body out of bed. As I've been sealing my clothing in plastic bags on this trip Ihad to get all my clothes out then grab the clothes for today and repack what wasn't for the day. Later I would realize that I would need to unpack to repack my pajamas. Figures. I got dressed, got coffee, stripped the bed with Beth, then we quietly tidied up the room. All of this before our hosts came out to check on us.

Just after
6:30 am
we piled into Mr. Rye's truck and hit the road. I gave dirrections as his navigator and we arrived a few minutes before departure time. The night before we had written on my family's suburban (The Tank) with chalk paint, so when they arrived a few other cars in our caravan painted their's as well. Then after driving to Branson for an hour and a half, the truck needed gas. At this stop we met up with one more car, and painted 2 more cars. Again, at the next stop we joined up with another car and 2 more cars were painted. By now all but two or three cars have been decorated.

About
11:00 am
the caravan arrived in Joplin, MO for an early lunch. The plan was for the group to meet in the Starbucks parkinglot then have an hour to eat wherever they wanted and regroup to continue to Branson. Plans never quite work out so it was more than an hour, but not too long before we were back on the road. Antiscipation ran high as turns became more frequent and billboards for our hotel, dinner reservations, and concert building came into view.

Hours ahead of schedule we pull into the Stone Castle Inn, so we gathered in a bunch and went over rules then dispersed to do as each pleased. After unpacking and settling into my room, the boys went to swim, Mom is napping, Beth is chilling, I'm writing this update before heading down to play Apples to Apples with the gang.

We'll be eating
at 6:00 pm
then going putt putting. I'm looking forward to the putt putting. If I have time (and brain cells left) I'll try to write more after we settle in for the night.

Have a great evening!

Trombone 3 out!

Love,

Jessie Bear

John 13:34-35

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 13

Location: Rivendell and Santiago, Dominican Republic

After another wonderful sunrise and Bible reading time with Jenn, we finished our coffee and headed inside to get ready for church.

We had been told that they were working on their church and to expect no air conditioning. We were fine with that, the A/C had not been working the year before anyways. Yet, by the way we were told, some of us were on guard for something interesting today.

As we all loaded into the van our hosts asked me to ride with them. :D It was a lot of fun. We drove past a large cycling group biking up the mountain. As we drove down, we jammed out to Sovereign Grace's Spanish worship songs, then...the brakes were given a test as we let baby chicks cross the road. I didn't put my shoes on until we pulled into the church parking lot.

Oh, about the church A/C...it was more than a new A/C. They had moved locations and built an entirely new church. It was magnificent and beautiful! Rosario gave us a tour of the building before church started.

We sat down for the service to start, and all at once, all of our no-see-em bites began to itch like crazy. The music service was cut short due to technical difficulties. After the service we went to our host's house in Santiago for a huge lunch. This was the first good WiFi since leaving Santo Domingo. Our drive back was in the van, Bronco Chen's, and that also has some WiFi.

Once back in Rivendell all of us girls broke off to have our study time together. It was Jenn's turn to lead.
What are you living for that is not seeking Christlikeness?
How will you reform that?


These are deep questions. Let them go deep. Take a moment. Think.

So, after this we had dinner. Our host wanted to give us American food so we had hot dogs. Then we went out on the deck and had our I Thessalonians Study and our Biblical Thinking Study. Then went to crash in bed.

love,
Jessie Bear

I Thessalonians 2:19-20
"For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy."

Friday, July 17, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 12

Location: Rivendell put in the Misty Mountains of the Dominican Republic

I got up to see the sunrise. If you’re ever in Rivendell, be sure to get up for the sunrise, they are some of the most beautiful sunrises in the world (at least in as much of the world as I’ve explored). Vecina made café and brought it out to us, those of us in the pavilion overlooking the valley, and it was a wonderful way to witness first light.

After a big breakfast we had a I Thessalonians Study. Then around lunchtime, Emanuel rejoined our group! All of us happy American’s threw a lil “Partay”. We did another I Thessalonians Study, catching Emanuel up on it, and finishing our first discussion. We had needed to end it short in order to be on time for lunch.

When lunch was over, we were free to go explore the property and finally run wild. Janie and I put on our running clothes and went for a run. It felt so good to be free to run. Running down hills and stairs is the easy side, it’s the whole getting back up that burns. But it was good to get to stretch and be free to run again.

While we were out running around it began to rain! This was good news for all of us but especially Connor who tries to take pictures of lightning. The rain meant that there might be more water at the 27 water falls, in turn this means that we have better odds at being able to go. So, we all run outside onto the driveway and did a rain dance, okay, maybe it was more like we ran around singing and dancing for joy.

We sang songs in Spanish and English at the same time. As in, Jenn, Patrick, Emanuel, Rosario (our hostest), and myself sang in Spanish, while Mr. R, Mrs. R, Josh, Janie, Andrew, and Knepps sang in English. It was really fun. This was right before we did our Biblical Thinking Study. Then we were all too tired to stay up so we just went straight to bed.

Love,
Jessie Bear

Proverbs 12:25
"Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 11

Location: Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, La Vega, Dominican Republic, Rivendell, Dominican Republic

Because I’d stayed up late with the girls two nights in a row, they told me not to get up for the sunrise and just to sleep late. *growl* But I was good and obeyed. I got up and packed around 9:30am. Josh and Emily had made breakfast of eggs and bell peppers, onions, cheese, and sausage. They also made fried apples with cinnamon. It was perfect for starting the day.

We packed lunches and made cards for our host. It was tons of fun doodling and writing for our host. It reminded us to be grateful and joyful.

As soon as Bronco arrived, we packed up the trailer. Then, ta-da, we hit the road! We stopped in La Vega to look around at the mission where Mr. R was born and raised. We met a group who was also from America; that was neat. We looked at the plants on the mission and then went into the cafeteria and drank lots of cold water…then we went to the bathroom. Typical.

When we all gathered up again, we piled back into the van and headed to Rivendell. It was a really good drive until a few of us started to get carsick. Once back at our “home” in Rivendell, there was major hugs and kisses all around. Vecina made us her epic café.

Once again, all of the girls were in the same room. We really enjoyed that. After we had moved in, we ran around the property like kids and explored every corner. I even found a baby snake. I failed to catch it, it was just too small for the stick to pin down fast enough. (Don’t worry Mommy, there are no poisonous snakes on the island.)

After supper we had a I Thessalonians Study where we caught Amburioux up on our progress both in the study and our lives.

It was so good to finally be back in “Rohan/Rivendell”.

Love,
Jessie Bear

Psalms 40:17
“As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, I my God!”

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 10

Location: Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

The sunrise was gorgeous. This place has some of the loveliest sunrises that I’ve ever seen. While enjoying the morning warmth I caught up on my outline book.

I got a handy dandy notebook to take snippets of the day down so that when I would get to write these blog posts I could use the notebook as a sort of outline for it. So I caught up on that small book. Bronco had left his mobile wifi device for us to use at the house, so I tried to figure it out. I was at once both successful in figuring out the device yet unable to make it function properly. I was able to receive notifications of emails, IG stuffs, and even notifications telling me that I had timed out on all my “Words with Friends” games (sorry Mommy…we can play when I fly back to the States).

After giving up on the wifi, I made a plan to blog in the middle of the day and began to think about the girl’s studies. I was trying to figure out if it was just me that was pushing for them or if the girls as individuals were enjoying them. So, I determined to ask them for their thoughts and thus wrote out a short proposal about it.

When we’d finished lunch all the girls gathered in our room where we talked about our studies, and before I could give my proposal Jenn asked if we could add prayer to our times together. This was enthusiastically adopted into our schedule. Then we discovered that when 5 girls get together to pray for each other, our families, our discipleship trip, those we impact on the trip, and that we’d all grow on the trip and after, that we can pray for quite a long time.

In the middle of our prayer we heard a thump. I thought that maybe a bird had flown into the window. Then again, another thump, then another, then several, finally they became almost rhythmic in their repetition. After a few minutes this stopped, we did our best not to be distracted and continued with our prayers. A bit before we finished praying we heard singing coming from the downstairs areas. When we went to investigate everything became clear.

The boys were holding hands in a circle singing Kumbaya hoping to get our attention. They’d been throwing pairs of socks up at our windows. We quickly informed them that the technic of throwing pebbles at the girls window isn’t the best idea and also that singing in a ritualistic fashion is a great way to get us to preach the gospel to them but maybe not the best way to interrupt our prayers. Overall, it was a hilarious way to get told that it was time for another I Thessalonians study!

After the study, we made lunch. A team also sorted all the music on the trip. It was alphabetized and put into the folder A-F on the left, G-Z on the right. It’s so much fun having so many organizational people on the trip. We came up with plans for making next year more efficient. (It’s a secret…sorry.) All the while we were jamming to 70s rock music while the kitchen crew made dinner for us.

After dinner we had a Biblical Thinking Study. When we’d finished that, we starting singing more songs. This was the moment we realized several things. We have a great vocal group this year, a nice balance of tones and harmonies. We all know the songs well enough that it sounds very smooth. The room has epic acoustics. This year we have a member who does music recording. There are several phones with mics good enough to be used for music recording on the fly. All of those combined made for a recorded jam session.

When we made supper, Connor mixed the recordings so that we’d have a really cool recording. We had a central mic and a mic hung on the second story of the house. So it made for a really cool sound.

I can’t forget to mention my favorite part about making dinner. Patrick attempted to teach me to dance the tango. It was hilarious. He’s so full of movement and rhythm that sometimes he can’t help but just dance.

After all the craziness Emily, Josh, and I made hot chocolate. Yummy…except we didn’t have cloves, so it wasn’t the best we’ve made, BUT it was epic and perfect for the evening.

We settled down for another Biblical Thinking Study. Then talked about our game plan for heading to Rivendell tomorrow. All of us girls would be in charge of making a sandwich lunch for the trip.

In the time between all of this and bedtime, Andrew went outside and started hopping down the stairs. He’d slide his hands down the railing then swing his legs out in front of himself and fly down the stairs. Andrew was able to do it in 3 hops, and Emily and Patrick was able to get it down to 4 hops. It was really neat to watch.

Emily and I also raced up the hill, it is the steepest grade I’ve ever walked on, let alone attempted to “run” up. It was crazy and fun and made us totally breathless. Everyone went to take showers then go to bed. But a few of us girls stayed up talking about important things in our lives: such valuable conversations.

What are you learning in life right now?
What will you do with that?

Love,
Jessie Bear

I Peter 4:19
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

2015 Discipleship Trip Day: 9

Location: Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

Jenn and I got up for the sunrise: it was lovely! Then I went down to make coffee. Mhm, I seriously love getting to have coffee again. I make it for the group every time I can. Well, once today’s pot of coffee was finished I headed back to bed for a while. I’ll admit that a few of us girls were up a bit late talking about important things of our souls.

When I finally crawled out of bed Josh had just made breakfast for the group. But even better, He was making eggs for the person as they woke up, so that they were both Hot and Immediate.

We did a I Thessalonians Study. Where we covered I Thessalonians 2:1-12, which was the most we’ve ever covered in a single study in the DR. It was incredible.

After this study ended at 2:15pm we needed sustenance. Yet we didn’t have anything to make a lunch with, just odds and ends of foods. But this would never impede a DR trip team. I made a fruit salad, a group made guacamole, a group made salsa, and Josh and Rogers made a sandwich pie thing.

All of us girls hung out and chilled. It was epic! I love this team of girls, we all fit together as such a great unit. This year’s entire team fits together more flawlessly than any year.

We took showers and headed down for the next study of Biblical Thinking. You may have noticed that we take showers in the MIDDLE of the day instead of in the morning or at night.

In Biblical Thinking we went over Subjective and Objective Reality.

Section of my notes on this:
Objective Reality – is what IS.
Subjective Reality – MY personal opinion of Reality, that becomes “my” reality. “MY” reality is not Reality.


Our study was interrupted because our host had spit roasted a pig for us. So when it arrived we immediately broke for dinner. Yuca and Plantain and Pig…yummy. Once we had stuffed ourselves.

Once the study was over, we played psychologist. That was so way too much fun.

Janie’s round of psychologist was the funniest game I’ve ever been involved in. The trick was finding the difference between people with shorts and pants. “Shorts” were avoiding telling the answers, they could even lie about the answers. “Pants” gave short and straight answers. After a while Janie thought she had it down, her prediction was that several of us were Liberals, a few Conservatives, a few Libertarians, and that Andrew…was a Valley Girl. We all about died laughing at that last one.

Then Mr. R came in to sit us down for a 5 minute preparation talk for the next day’s study.

For Mr.R’s round of psychologist we did some hard stuff. We split it into three groups.
Group 1 – 18 yr olds would behave extremely mature.
Group 2 – 19 yr olds would behave like moody college kids.
Group 3 – 20+ would behave like little children.

It was super crazy fun. Connor sat with me because I constantly was trying to find chocolate, throw pillows at other “kids”, and poke people. Finally Connor started a quiet game with all of the “kids”. It was the loudest, craziest, most epic game of psychologist. After probably an hour Mr. R figured out a basic outline but not the why of the groups, so we told him.

Then it was pretty much time to go to bed. Josh, Janie, Patrick, and I ended up on the porch talking about relationships and how they can and should work and how to start a relationship. It was a really good talk. But it made us go to bed super late. Janie and I ended up talking more, and went to bed at almost 3:00am. Crazy, I know. But it was a super great talk.

Here are a few questions:
- Who should the guy talk to first: the girl or the Dad? …why?
- What qualifications should he have already?
- What are minimum standards and what are ideals?
- Have you been applying grace to your relationships?

Love,
Jessie Bear

Hebrews 1:1-4
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of is nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

Sunday, July 12, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 8

Location: Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

Amid a cold night air I was smacked awake as Janie passed my bed tossing me a, "Wake up lazy bones."

Okay, it wasn't so blunt like that, but it was hilarious. She woke me up for the sunrise. It's always gorgeous. The only disruption to our precious quiet morning was the screaming sick noises of a retarded rooster.

I went downstairs and made coffee. Then went on the deck to enjoy the lizards soaking up the morning sunshine. Then went to sit on the couch and play with the guitar (quietly since I was the only one awake). But by this time I was starting to wonder why I was the only one downstairs, when Mr. R comes in to say that Tomás, Josh, and Connor aren't feeling well.

Breakfast was plantains, cheese, and eggs. Yum. Then we start our I Thessalonians Study time. After this was over, Mr. R and Tomás left Andrew in charge while they went to pick up Terri and Jenn from the airport.

With Andrew in charge the fun began rapidly growing. He instigated a picnic hike. Sandwiches, bananas, and water bottles were packed for us. We headed out on our hike with a back pack full of water and a towel for the picnic, a back pack full of sandwiches, and a guitar. When we reached the bridge over the river it was flooded with about an inch of water over it. A few started to cross, and I began, then Janie behind me when suddenly she fell and got pretty scrapped up. It was sad, but since she's a trooper we kept on our marching. We went up a huge hill, then down the other side into the woods to the bottom where we found the river. I stacked some rocks and that was really fun, I'll post pictures when we have better internet. I had the guitar, and it was kind of scary but really epic to hike through a river with a guitar on my back. When we hiked back up the river (we came full circle to the bridge and headed back up the hill) and Rogers found a stable with a horse in it. So we hung out there for a while! Then we kept hiking a while longer till finally we found a sort of park/pool area on the river and we rested and ate our lunch. Then we headed back to the house.

Janie took a shower to clean up her scrapes. I spoke with Rogers (she's in school to be a nurse) about what we might try to do for her cuts and wrist (she couldn't really move it much) then I went and talked with Josh (who is considering becoming a Dr.) and Connor (who brought essential oils from home). I ended up going upstairs with a handful of supplies from all of us. Janie came out of the shower at the perfect time.

In the end we used:
Ice pack,
Bandana,
Tweezers,
Needle,
Tea Tree oil,
Bandaids,

Then it was my turn to take a shower, then I made another round of coffee for our Fearless Leader's Minions. Janie saved some of the coffee for a cake she wanted to make for the team. Then Connor started a game of Movie soundtracks. He would play a theme from a movie and we'd have to guess what it was, person with the most points wins.

Rogers and I chilled on the porch waiting for Jenn to arrive, and I see that one of the trees in our yard has fruit on it. I ran over and climbed the hill (these are seriously steep hills) and gathered 3 of the fruit. Patrick and Emanuel said they were guava. It was very interesting.

Just as I pull of the THIRD batch of coffee of the day, we get a call that they are almost home. Jenn, Terri, Tomás, and Mr. R arrived home with groceries and were a bit disappointed that they hadn't called earlier to tell me to start coffee for them to have, I let them know that coffee was ready, they all perked up. It was cute.

As groceries were put away, dishes were done, and Tomás made dinner. We all chilled on the lawn and climbed a hill to sing and dance. Jenn joins us and just not even 2 hours after joining us she's bitten by a couple dozen ants. BUT, in typical Jenn fashion she stays with the group to take a Slow Mo jump video. She is allergic to the ants, so thus began another medical intervention of the day. She rushes to the shower, takes allergy medication, we all prayed for her, and we applied Tea Tree oil on all the bites, and she laid down till dinner.

We had a I Thessalonians Study. Then all of us went to bed, the girls had a great talk, before we crawled into bed. Josh stayed up late playing guitar and we loved falling asleep to it.


love,
Jessie Bear

John 12:46
"I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. "

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 7b

Location: Santo Domingo and Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

So, we all climbed into Bronco's van and headed out...right, that is about where I left off?

*pause*

Okay, good. Alright, we made it down the road for about 30 minutes before I started to get a little car sick, bummer, but by the time I decided that it would be a great idea to try sleeping it off, we pulled into Típico Bonao. We all jump out in anticipation of epic Dominican food. Of course we had to go look at the 3-D map of the island before we could settle down to sit for our food. I ordered Chinola Ca...I know...shock.

Now, it is important to mention at this point that the DR trips have been rained on at Típico FIVE, yes 5, years in a row.

Back to our program. I ordered a sort of fish that had basically been drowned in a whole head of garlic. It was wonderful. *happy sigh*

After lunch we headed to our new house. It was a different spot than the house we'd used in previous trips. While driving around this gorgeous country we often sing songs of praise to glorify the Creator of such beauty. But sometimes things get a bit crazy. Josh gets the guitar and Patrick bangs on anything that could ever be a conceptual percussion instrument, and thus starts the madness. We ended up with songs like:

Strumming Like A Maniac - A tune where madness became brilliance.
I'm Missing My 6 String - The sorrowful tale of the lost love of the bass 6th string. Oh babe, come back...

Once the wildness cooled off a bit we started a list of songs for the trip. Maybe this list will be published later. But while we were working on that list we stopped at a gas station (pay attention because this is kind of amusing later) to meet the owner of the house and have him lead us up to it. It was here that our Ford Explorer's trany began to say goodbye. We made great use of the time though, we all crawled out of the van again and took tons of pictures then with the help of a few people's brilliance began to take slow-mo videos of ourselves jumping. (They will be posted once we get to a place with enough bandwidth to upload videos.)

We gathered up at the van to head out then realized that it was going to be a while since a handful of DRians were surrounding the engine of the Explorer. It was at this moment that the whole team made the discovery that Janie has a epic dance talent. Thus struck the dance party. House, Dubstep, Jazz, and even a Rap song and we jammed out. Then we pack into the van again and head up to the house. So we make more crazy songs and it was getting more and more crazy. Then we stopped for gas. (why didn't we just get gas at the other place???)

Connor started the quiet game. I won. It was epic.

When we got to the house, Josh made hot chocolate. There were FIFTY steps between the car and the house. It was intense.

After unloading we needed to decide which rooms where for what persons. There was a large room with it's own full size bathroom...but no AC. Then there was a smaller room with an AC but no bathroom. Usually the girls get the AC but we wanted the bathroom more, so I went to take a shower and discovered that our room actually DID have an AC! Praise God!

I went downstairs and went to the girls to say that we have good and bad news. The bad news is that we will have to keep our door shut all the time, but the good news is that we need to do that because we have an AC. They didn't seem to be inconvenienced much.

As the Emili and I were outside enjoying the breeze we heard shouting and tires spinning out. After a moment of thought we realized that it was Bronco trying to get over a hill and the boys were out there trying to help push it up the hill. Us ladies go inside, put on better shoes for the job, run through the pitch darkness of our hilly yard, and go to help the guys.

Dominicans are creative, not safety minded...

The van couldn't make it over the hill with the trailer attached...so we disconnected the trailer and pushed by hand the trailer up a steep, muddy, hill. It was scary and crazy and really hard work and we learned that we are committed to each other. We all realized that if any of us ditched pushing on the trailer then it'd too heavy and would roll backwards. But it never did, even when we were nervous about trying to hold it still while they reattached it to the van's hitch. BUT...the good news is everyone is fine, we ate a lot of food afterwards, and it was a bonding experience for the group. Thanks for sending all your babies to the DR, we're still all alive, so it's all good.

After this adventure we had a Biblical Thinking Study. Where we spent the whole time talking about a plastic deck chair and how it relates to our souls.

Patrick gave a Spanish word for me to figure out overnight. Cisped (grass)

Then we went to bed!!!! (my favorite)

love,
Jessie Bear

John 12:44
"And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me."

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 7

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Jara Bacoa, Dominican Republic

Praise God! Bronco's van has WiFi!!

This morning Andrew and Roger's made a breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and ham, it was tasty and perfect to start the day. After breakfast we work on the plan to head out to Jara Bacoa. First a team would leave to go get groceries from Bravo Market and a team would stay to clean the house. I stayed to clean. Bronco was to arrive at 10:30am but it's the DR, so we began to place bets on when we'd end up leaving:

12:45pm - Connor
1:00pm - Emanuel
1:15pm - Josh
1:30pm - Knepps
1:45pm - Jessie
2:00pm - Rogers
2:15pm - Andrew
3:00pm - Janie
4:00pm - Patrick

After hearing the totals Josh and I said we'd put money on Janie's 3pm guess. But after a few minutes Mr. R came over to say that if we left after 12:30pm then we could not go to Típico Bonao. This spurred us into much action.

The shopping group left after they put their suit cases in the living room and we started cleaning right away. Sweeping, laundry, dishes, counters, sheets, packing, and all things cleaning an apartment. We finished cleaning by 11:45am. Bronco arrived at 10:30 on the dot, this shocked all of us!! Patrick went down to see him and invite him up. Turns out that the trailer didn't have a lock, so he couldn't leave it alone. So Patrick stayed with him for a while, and we sent down a quadruple decker sandwich for Bronco.

While we waited for the shopping team to get back Josh's uncle and cousin came over, that was fun. Then we drank some of the juice they gave us when we first arrived in the DR. When they left we went to the girls room and everyone laid down and played dead till the shoppers got back.

When they arrived we loaded up the food into Bronco's van and packed everyone in then headed out...at 12:25!!!!!! Típico Bonao here we come!! Then we stopped at Patrick's house for his guitar. Then we stopped at the Santana's house to give back a towel and pick up a foot pump for air beds. Then we got slightly turned around. Then finally headed out around 12:37, but it's okay because we're driving to Jara Bacoa!!!!!

love,
Jessie Bear

Hebrews 2:18
"For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 6b


Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

After church we went to an Italian restaurant for lunch. The girls piled into Patricia's car again, but this time she wasn't there and Mr. R drove us. All the guys hopped in with Jorge Santana in his new car. By the way, everyone who remembers last year, Jorge is totally all better, he's been fine for a long time now. All good. No worries anymore.

On the way to lunch we passed a Claro van with a few guys working on the power lines...with the ladder set up against the power lines. Yes...like ON the power lines themselves. Shockingly, no one died.

At lunch we had pizza. How American of us. Pizza. Yesh...and way too much grease.

Since today is Mr. R's 58th birthday and Mr. R was so sad that Jenn and Mrs. R would not be joining us since Jenn's been sick. But I got an email in the contrary...so for a birthday surprise we told Mr. R that his girls had plane tickets and would be joining us on TUESDAY!!! This sent the group into a buzz of joy. Then we sang happy birthday to the birthday boys, because it's Andrew's birthday too.

When we went home everyone took a nap, I particularly slept super hard. I woke up to a phone ringing and ringing and ringing, it was annoyingly loud and repetitive. So I went over and answered it...

"hola"
 - hola
"hello"
 - hello...
"who is this?"
 - Emanuel
"oh, hi Emanuel"
 - Can I talk to Pastor Josue?
"On the phone?" <-- that's how not awake I was...
 - yes
"let me go find out..."
 - okay
*goes to look for Mr. R*
"Emanuel, he's sleeping"
 - okay, I'll call back in 10 minutes

It was so funny...now that I'm awake.

Skip forward a few minutes and it was time to go to church. But Mr. R wasn't ready to go. So we left on our own. This time we timed how long the walk to church is. It was 8.5 minutes. It was fun.

At church I had the chance to do a Skype call with Bianca. It's really neat to share missions with other missionaries. 

Tonight was also the Church's Lord Supper, it was wonderful to share in this with the body of Christ in the DR!

Now we are hanging out with the Santanas for games and flan....yum.

love,
Jessie Bear

Hebrews 2:16
"For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 6

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

This morning was a lot more relaxed than the rest of the week. We had oatmeal, chilled, and analyzed the lyrics to a few CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). Mr. R went to church early and told us to wait until Patrick or Emanuel came to get us. But then we realized it was a bad idea for that because both of the Dominican's have a lot of responsibilities at church. So Josh set an alarm for getting to church with a minimal time to be there...it went off. So we headed out without the Dominicans. Josh lead the way, then Janie and Knepps, then Connor guarded the middle, then me and Rogers, then Andrew guarded the back of the group. Our guys are awesome protectors. Just about 3 minutes from the church we meet Emanuel who had come to get us and let us know that Mr. R had just told him to fetch us and didn't know we were waiting the whole time. It was lots of confusion, and now we had more protection, and yay we made it to church in time!

Because the church live streams their services we all had to turn off our wifi during the service. Church started at 11:20 and ended at 12:45. Connor played piano with the band, then Rogers played a wonderful offertory song! Singing with the Dominicans is so much fun.

So...today is both Mr. R and Andrew's birthday. So we will be going out for dinner. Knepps gave him a card and some candy, it was 'sweet'...

I'll write more when I get to church tonight. Take care everyone!


love, 
Jessie Bear

Hebrews 2:9
"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 5b


Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

After the band's practice was finished at the church we went to dinner with the Santanas Family. All of the girls rode with Patricia. She's a really fun driver in her cute little sporty Mini Cooper. We jammed out to all sorts of music while she drove, from EDM to Jazz to Dubstep. It was epic.

We ate at Adrian's again, this time we weren't as hungry, so Rogers, Janie, and I split the fried fish that Mr. R had the last time we went. We had juices, tostones, avocado, and everything Dominican...it was a very tasty dinner.

The waiter added an extra seat to the table, and we joked that it was Jerry/Zanie and that he was with Janie, it was hilarious. Connor has this hand motion he does to indicate that someone has crossed a "line" depending on the situation. And by now it cracks the group up like the wasted joke. About the wasted thing...it only gets better with age.

After dinner and on the drive home we had to actually stop at a red light. Well, a group of three kids were running up to cars stopped at the light and playing drums and dancing for the cars in hopes of spare change. We laughed because this is probably what Patrick might do if he wasn't a Christian. He's always overflowing with music and movement. Finally the light went green and Patricia floored it, it was epic.

Once back in the apartment the guys told us how they made plans on how they'd attack the dancers if they tried to do anything on the girls car. Josh and Connor were going to get out and beat up on the 3 Dominicans, and once everyone was beat up and the initial adrenaline was gone, Andrew would get out of the car, slowly shut the door, dramatically put on his aviator glasses, schwagger over and if they didn't run off then he'd beat on them too.

Aren't the guys great?!....it is nice to know they want to protect us from wild Dominican guys.

Following the story the girls just crashed into bed, read I Thessalonians (we take turns with the last chapter still holding out hope that Jenn will join us sometime soon), and promptly fell asleep.

much love from the DR,
Jessie Bear

Galatians 5:24
"And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 5

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Lazy Jessie today...I got up and Andrew and Knepps had already finished laundry and breakfast was set out and everyone was up...wow...it was weird...but nice to sleep late.

After breakfast we sing for a while then started our first (half) real study on I Thessalonians. I say half study only because it was under 2 hours long. It was very good though!! After the study we went out for lunch at Barra Payan. Best sandwiches and juices ever. Seriously.

It was here that Mr. R got a call about Jenn's tests. They've not been done in time for results to come before they would have to fly. So the likelihood of her coming is rapidly dwindling.

In the lovely humid and hot streets of Santo Domingo we walk back to our apartment and by the time we arrive we're beat. All of us ladies go to our beautifully air conditioned room and lay on the cold tile as if we were dead bodies. This sparks ideas about pranking Dominicans.

Our prank:
Run near Dominicans, drop to the ground, outline each other with chalk as a dead body, jump up, and run away to the next group of Dominicans until the city of Santo Domingo has like 20 chalk outlines.

See, the Dominicans would never do such a thing because they'd never be so shameless as to do it, it would undermine their need to appear proper and powerful.

We laid on the floor probably 45 minutes total as each went and showered as the wanted to move from the cool floor. Janie explored the house to find the toilet paper, this was very helpful to know about.

It was while we were "chilling" on the floor that Mr. R came to notify us that he would be going with Patrick and Emanuel to get 42ish pounds of coffee to bring home. Yes. 42 pounds. Of coffee. Café. 42 pounds of coffee.

When the guys came back we again broke into two groups, one went to get souvenirs and the other went to the church to have WiFi and/or practice with the church band. I was in the group that went to the church. But before we went we (me, Rogers, Knepps, Andrew, Connor, and Josh) had our own jam session.

We started with hymns, then it got silly....

video

Video by: Connor




After this we wanted to do something more serious...we wanted to do something more patriotic on our beloved country's birthday, so we sang our national anthem. First we sang it in a minor key, and discovered we are actually surprisingly quite good at singing minor keys with harmonies and all such nifty additions to music. So then we sang it in it's major key...then in typical American fashion we went out on our balcony and sang it like it was meant to be sung.

Happy Birthday America!

We sang in minor key,
We sang in major key,
And on the balcony.

When we finished singing it was time to head over to the church. The walk was less hot this time and since we were a smaller group it was faster...well that we didn't have as far to go was helpful too. The church looked awesome in it's new colors. It was so fun to walk in and realize that what was meant to be a blessing to the church is really a blessing to us.

Being at the church is also nice because it has WiFi, which leads to my last thought for tonight's blog post.

We are leaving Santo Domingo on Monday. This means that TOMORROW (Sunday) is the last day for the next FIVE (5) days for the team to have WiFi or get calls. So if you want to contact your kids, you must do so tonight and/or tomorrow night.

After that we'll have a chance to get wifi a bit again, but not as consistently as we have been for this first 6 days.

love,
Jessie Bear


Proverbs 16:3
"Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 4b

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

This is the continuation of yesterday's post...

Disclaimer: NO alchohol was consumed...so please don't worry about your kids!

This was one of the songs that the guys were working on at the church, it was just a "for fun".

video

Video by: Connor


After the painting was finished we went outside to wash the brushes and to wait for Mr. R to say it was time to go home. For the time of waiting...we played cheese. A game where players stand in a circle with the right hand in the shape of pointing to something and the left hand open flat, this is so that the narrator can craft a story and each time the narrator uses the word "cheese" players try to catch someone's finger at the same time that they avoid other players from capturing their finger. Predictably, Mr. R won.

Then we played Ninja, I hope you all know how to play this hilarious game. But, before we could begin the game Patrick and Connor were called away to help the professionals paint the molding because they are tall enough to reach without assistance. They were willing and put up no protest, they were wonderful examples of being servants! Following this brief interruption we began the ninja game. Rogers and I got Mr. R out of the game, whoot! The game was ended between Rogers and Josh with a half million moves between them before Josh finally won the game.

At this point Connor and Patrick were finished painting and we headed home. The showers might be my favorite part of mid-day. So we chilled for a while before our plans (once again) changed and we headed to the Santanas for dinner.

At the Santana's we first had introductions. Greeting people is a big deal in probably everywhere other than America...not greeting your host and any person you're with is rude. So everyone hugged and kissed everyone else. Then we sat down and talked for a while. We learned that Mrs. Santana is a part of an organization that promotes the sovereignty of nations and the sanctity of life. This was such a neat talk because it bonded us on more than just a friend level but on spiritual, political, emotional, and economic issues.

They had fixed an awesome super consisting of (ham) lasagna and roast beef sandwiches with a ton of mushrooms.

There is a story you need to hear.
It was the night of the fishes...when suddenly Mr. R asked Janie if she was "wasted", this was due to her being so exhausted that she asked, "What's a fish?" (I wonder if she was expecting some Spanish translation or something..)  Since this moment we've held onto a few phrases...

"What's a fish" cousin to "Oh my fishes" and "wasted." Thus we can now continue with the evening's events.

Anytime we are around Jorge, Pamela, and Hector, we will end up playing a sick game called "Mao"...if you've never played and if you don't like detective work, then this is not for you, save your tears and play something simple and friendly like: monopoly...

ANYWAYS...

Hector brought a whole carton of grape juice into the room for drinks while we played, and so the joke of being "wasted" just kept going. The worst part to it...we're all baptists...well...there is this one presby... So, Josh warned Janie not to get wasted, and her face colored, as most of the people in the room are under 20 anyways, but....it's the DR, there is no drinking age.

Connor's phone has an epic time laps thing, and so we used it to watch the Mao game progress.  Keep in mind two things as you watch the game.

1) 10 seconds = 1 hour
2) overtime the cards are placed on the table the game as been paused for arguing until the Mao makes us pick them up again...

video

Video by: Connor


Jorge was Mao...shock.
But...Knepps still won! GO KNEPPS!!!

After Mao we went to Valentino's!!!!! I rode with Pamela and Edwardo and ordered chinola and Mama Que Bueno (it tasted like Nutella and something crunchy). On the way over Emanuel backed into Patrick's car, but thankfully no one was at all hurt and the cars are good to go! The whole time of Valentino's I tried to figure out who had the better university: Pamela or Emanuel. I learned a lot about the Dominican education system but even more about how dominican's argue and laugh together.
The DRians are precious. They speak their mind, no filter, like it is, but they love and laugh just as crazy.

When all the ice cream was devoured and all American's sleepy we went home. The girls went to bed straight away while Connor, Mr. R, and Josh jammed till after midnight.


I can't get over how wonderful it's been to read I Thessalonians with the girls every night. I'm loving every night more and looking forward to it in the afternoons. It's been bonding us together more than I imagined it would be.
I read the first chapter then it's Rogers, Knepps, and Janie and we're taking turns with the 5th chapter in the prayerful hopes that Jenn will join us and be our 5th chapter reader.

Praises:
- no one is sick!
- the church is entirely painted
- lots of wonderful bonding has either been created or strengthened

Prayer Requests:
- that no one gets sick
- that Jenn can come
- that the rest of our trip will go smoothly

love,
Jessie Bear


John 14:26
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."

Friday, July 3, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 4

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I woke up later than I wanted to due to still feeling (in Knepps' words) "off". We decided that by now it's just the exhaustion and not really a sickness. All that's left to do is just chill and relax. When I came out I discovered that Andrew had already been doing the laundry. This was a perfect example of his character. He saw a need and fulfilled it. Also Josh had started a lovely steak and egg breakfast. Rogers added bread and the jam to it. It was fantastic breakfast for the group.

As soon as we finished we gathered up our stuff and went to the church to paint the rest of the building and do a second coat on the parts we'd started yesterday. Due to not having quite enough equipment for everyone to work at the same time Patrick, Josh, and Connor took a short break and made up songs for us to enjoy. It was thoroughly entertaining for all of the group.

The plan had been for us to have sandwiches and juices for lunch, but plans never work out in the DR. So, Mr. R's sister made us a lunch of pork roast, rice and beans, steamed veggies, ripe plantains, and "arepas de yuca". It was great!! Andrew, Emanuel, and I played jokes on Patrick. It was very fun.

When the professional painters arrived lunch was over. Figures. So, we got back to work painting, but since the painters both made it go faster but also took up more of the tools, more of us were out of work. Thus, I am on this break to write a post for you all!

Meanwhile Josh and Connor do a time laps with Patrick causing trouble for them...

video

Video by: Connor



Josh and Andrew are working on creating a song for the trip with the drum and guitar. It's awesome. Maybe a video later...



If you are on Instagram don't forget to follow our hashtag! #DRdiscipleshiptrip2015


Prayer Requests:
- Jenn to feel better
- paint to be finished
- for the team to grow together
- that no one would get stressed by plans changing

Praises:
- we're almost finished painting!
- I'm almost totally 100% again.

Random thought from last night, we had to go around the dinner table and share an observation from the day. There were many thoughts of teamwork and the culture, but the one that caught my attention the most was that it was a stress free day. Stress free. I hadn't thought about it, but it was true. It struck me because the idea of no stress hasn't been in my vocabulary in months and months. It was true, yesterday was entirely stress free and wonderful.

love,
Jessie Bear

Colossians 4:2
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 3b

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

After we finished painting, we went back to the house to shower and rest for a while. It was then determined that we would go out for dinner.

The place was Adian Tropical, and turned out to be fantastic! I ordered the Fillete Tropical con tostones y piña Ca...or a bit of fish with fried plantain and pineapple with sweeten condensed milk added to it.


This is pigs feet...it was yummy!
It was fun to go over all the Spanish menus and figure out how to order my own diner. I really enjoy being able to ask for my own food (although I did need a bit of coaching from Josh and Patrick). We really missed Jenn. Her ability to tell us everything about the food was severely missed. Connor has a some food allergies so it was neat to find food for him.

Mr. Raimundo and Andrew ordered a "Boca Chica Fish" which was an entire fish (head, fins, everything) with a light breading then fried. This turned out to taste amazing! Given the chance I'd have traded my fish for it. But nonetheless my fish was fantastic. I had a ton of garlic on it...always good.

When we were stuffed to the brim we went back to the apartment with the decision that we would not have a study this night nor one the following night. That was bittersweet news. It was sad not to have a study but it was nice to know that we'd go to bed on time. Maybe secretly we are all just hoping that Jenn will make it for the studies.

It was very late for us and we were so tired from all the painting. It's always amazing how exhausted we all get here in the DR. So for the girls, instead of reading the whole of I Thessalonians, I just read them the first chapter as they fell asleep. I'm really blessed by how even when they are wore smooth out they don't give up on reading at least the chapter we are studying.

love,
Jessie Bear

Psalm 31:24
"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!"

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 3

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Today I had planned to get up earlyish and make coffee, but when I got up I was sore because the poor air bed had died, not fun. My head is almost totally better, I'm just a bit shaky and tired. By tomorrow I should be back to normal!



Breakfast was composed of left over fruit salad (kiwis, mangos, apples, bananas, pears, and cherries) and bread with jam. Just when I went out to make coffee (spanish: café) Mr. R had just started it. So I went back into the girls room. Janie, Rogers, and I talked a bit about what a "typical" day looks like in our lives and what we fear (heights, spiders, drowning, etc.) then we decided to go eat breakfast.

After breakfast we went to the church here in Santo Domingo and had WiFi to call home, email, and like here blog. Then we started to paint the inside of the church a blue grey, the accents are all a peachy color. I like it.




Patrick and Emanuel went to get us lunch. It was Pork, rice and beans, and yuca. Wonderful yummy food. Right now the team is touching up the paint and getting it set so that we can finish a second coat tomorrow.

(Hint to the parents: your minions will be somewhere that you can call them during the day. Also they should have sent you the house's number so that you can call in the evenings till the evening of the 5th: 809-533-6259 you can call us, we just can't call you.)

I'll try to keep you up to date. While the day isn't done, I'm going to post this. There will be times on the trip where I have no internet so please don't worry about the team we're always in the palm of the Living God.

Praises:
- I'm feeling a lot better than before
- Mrs. R got her passport

Prayer Requests:
- Jenn to feel better
- no one to get sick
- everything painted by Sunday

Love,
Jessie Bear

Galatians 6:2
"Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 2

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

For the first time the team is without Jenn. We quickly realize how much we’ve depended on her. Rogers and I are the first people up, and we start to explore the kitchen to make the coffee. Soon Andrew, Connor, and Janie wake up to join the party at about 7:30am. Rogers and I get the bowls, cereal, coffee, and spoons out for the team to have breakfast as they emerge from their slumber.

Since we have 8 members on the trip and only 2 of them are new, it’s easy to have moments where there are “vets” and “new peeps”. Rogers and I talked over coffee about the best ways to include Janie into the girls group in the hope that by the end of the trip she would be seamlessly adopted into the DR Discipleship family. Of everyone on the trip she is the most “new” to the group, even Connor is somewhat previously known by the group because of our meeting at Beka and Sean’s wedding. So we, Rogers and I, worked on ideas of how to get her to be a closer part of the team. Yet, even in the proposed ideas of how to do that, it was a massive blessing on us in seeing how God would brings us here and force us to grow in the perspective of getting outside of ourselves. *mindblown*

Since we’d been talking about Janie and Connor, Janie came over to talk with us. So we asked her for a bit of her background and how she arrived here with us. Her beautiful story not only captured our attention, but attracted almost everyone in the room to come over and listen to her speak of God’s Providence.

After breakfast Janie and I packed the cooler with the 11 left over sandwiches and water bottles for our trip to visit a Sugar Cane plantation. Our van was supposed to arrive at 9:30am, but we weren't ready to go till 9:50am, so it was a good thing that we were running on DRian time because our ride wasn't there. So at 10:00am we began to place bets on when the van would arrive. It was an hour late but at 10:30am the van arrived and we were unable to leave because Patrick and his aunt had left and gone somewhere. So, even with an hour extra we weren't ready. Welcome to the DR y'all. A while later Patrick returned and we got on our way.

During the ride Patrick gave us a lesson in Spanish.

Napkin - servilletas
Fork - tenedor
Knife - cuchillo
Spoon - cuchara
Cup - vaso
Plate - plato
House - casa
Face - cara
Hands - manos
Shirt - camisa
Feet - pies
Hair - cabello
Shoes - zapato
Pants - pantalón
Car - carro
Road - carretera
Food - camida

After the lesson, I wasn't feeling very well and when I would close my eyes I would see crazy colors. I didn't like admitting to myself let alone my team that I was getting a migraine. Due to crazy flights, food schedules, and the stress of traveling, I got a lovely migraine complete with the nausea. Rogers so kindly gave me a neck and head massage. Knepps gave me a painkillers and a pill to help with the nausea.

The car ride became miserable for me very quickly. I tried to sleep as much as I could just to check out of the pain and nausea. When we picked up the lady who ministers to the Haitians her spanish was so loud that sleep was impossible. When we hit dirt roads and the sound of the road changed it hurt more because it was bumpier and louder but at the same time was more comforting because it reminded me of Oklahoma. We picked up the daughters of the lady with us, and began to learn her family's vision.

The people of the Sugar Cane Plantation are considered by Mr. R as the poorest people in the DR. The plantation is staffed with men and families from Haiti, the company has an agreement that allows them to travel between the two countries for free. As soon as the people get their money from the company money lenders come and take it. The children of the people go to the burning dumpsters to find food each day.

The lady's family has a vision to preach the gospel to all those in the plantation. So far, there are THREE church plants because this family has been blessed by God to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It was very inspiring to see her work.



Unfortunately, I was too sick to get out of the van at the Plantation so Patrick stayed with me. I was sleeping and when I opened my eyes, I saw out the window the most beautiful green tree. I was reminded that even in the midst of incredible poverty and hopelessness God still provides beauty and His creation continues to display His glory.

The drive home was even more miserable, but by His grace, I made it back. By the time we were back I was starting to feeling better. We went inside and I laid down. After a while we decided to go to Barra Payan for juices. I (predictably) got chinola Ca. There was a kitten that came over that looked just like my kitties. But we can't play with the cats or dogs here in the DR. When we went home I rested again. The deal was that if when the evening study Janie would come check on me, if I was asleep she'd leave me be, if I was awake then she'd fetch me for the study.

The study was just intros to both the I Thessalonians Study and the Biblical Thinking Study. After that we went over some small rules like "please drink all the water in your water bottle before getting another one" and the like. Then we had our evening prayer with the group, then were dismissed for bed.

The girls decided that we would read I Thessalonians each night, one chapter each (and someone reads a second until Jenn arrives). We finally settled into bed at 11:00pm.

God has been so good to us so far, I know He will continue to be just as good.

Prayer Requests:
- Jenn would heal and come to the DR
- Continued health for the team
- that I would feel better

Much love from the DR,
Jessie Bear

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: 1

Location: Reagan International Airport, Virginia, USA; Orlando International Airport, Florida USA; Santo Domingo Airport, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Last night after showers and dinner with the Groves (the family that came last year) we all went to bed very late. Knepps and I shared a twin bed, it was awesome how God can bond His people together that even after many months we are still a tightly knit family. At around 3am I got up to start the coffee for the group. Last year Tim was usually our coffee starter and as he is not on this trip, someone has to step up to the early hour task of starting the coffee. Today it was me. At 3:30am and the house was waking up to the smells of coffee and music of Josh Groban, Lauren Daigal, Hawk Nelson, Unspoken, and Francesca Batistelli. It was lovely to start with my own personal worship session.

So, Paul (a very sweet and funny man from the Raimundo's church) arrived at the house and the guys piled all the suitcases into the cars. We all hop in and head to the Reagan Airport. Upon arrival there we realized that we were missing Jenn's checked bag!!! So Naomi drives home to get it in the hopes that she can be back in time to get it on the same flight.

We all go to check in and get our tickets. Finally we decide that because we are both needing to be at our gate and wait for Jenn's bag with all her clothes. So the choice is made that the team would go to the gate and Mr. Raimundo would wait for the bag, and if the flight takes off we'd go without him. By God's amazing grace Naomi gets the bag to the airport, Mr. R gets it checked and through TSA, and everyone gets on the same flight to Orlando!! Wow...God is good.

Janie, a new addition to the discipleship family this year, asked why we wear matching team shirts. It is for the following story...

We all had our tickets and go to board the flight to Orlando, but upon the flight attendant scanning in our tickets 5 of the 9 members are rejected. Yet due to matching shirts and obviously being together, they are waived through onto the flight! Again, God is so good!

On the flight Josh and I switch seats so that I can sit with Janie and Rogers. We had lots of wonderful conversations and laughter. Oh, and naps. We journaled, and then when the attendant brought snacks, my bag of doritoes had 3 chips. No joke. (not happy, Bob...not happy)

Don't worry, I got over it.

In Orlando we discovered the food situation. Josh and Connor went to scout in one direction and Janie and I in another. We met up in the middle to talk over the options and bring only the 2 best choices to Mr. R. Turns out that Orlando has only one small food court. On The Border was the best then some little pizza place. A 3rd option was to leave the airport via shuttle and come back through security. (not fun...we'd gotten some unfriendly treatment at the Reagan airport.) Because there was no good option we offered Josh as tribute to be the one to tell Mr. R.

A bit of back story for this, Jenn wasn't feeling very great on the flight to Orlando, and in the Orlando airport she went downhill again. By the time the scouting parties were back at the group it was being figured out if Jenn should be flown back home. Calls back and forth with her DR. Long story short, Jenn flew back to DC. BUT...you must see God's mercy in this story. As we were figuring out how to get Jenn home, in the very gate we were sitting at there was a flight back to DC, and it left before our flight to Santo Domingo! Jenn was able to fly home and the body of Christ worked so beautifully to help. The Groves (the family from last year's trip) was able to pick her up! God's mercy and grace was overflowing on the trip already.

While sitting in the airport, I picked up Andrew's Ukulele and began to learn chords on it with the help of Josh, Andrew, Janie, and Knepps. It's so much fun!! I'm likely going to get one when I get home because it was so easy to pick up and so small to go anywhere.

After this it was decided that we would go to On The Border. It was here that Mr. R went over the food rules of the DR.

- Don't eat chicken. period.
- Don't drink the tap water or ice.
- Don't eat anything that Mr. R doesn't eat.
- Don't eat any fruit that isn't fresh.


Emily "Rogers" and I both have military dads, so we talked about the movies Lone Survivor and American Sniper and how they honor our fathers and families. If you see a veteran, thank them, they sacrifice so much for our freedoms.

During the ending of the military talk there was a baby just screaming and crying and basically freaking out, then his brother joined in with the distress. I happen to carry around a Teddy Bear that I was given by my best friend. So I grabbed my bear (KHB - Katy Huggy Bear) and walked around the seating layout to show the bear to the kids. It was a major success! I talked with the mother who spoke english. They were on our flight to the DR. So I played with the kids for a while, till I was sweaty and tired of running in circles. It was so much fun to have the chance to both play with the kids and let them run around for a while and get the chance to bless the mother.

As soon as I went to sit down one of the girls came to ask to go to the bathroom. See, on the DR trip you are never allowed to be alone. Even to go to the bathroom in America. We always need to be in groups of 2+. I have no idea how many times I "went to the bathroom"...just a lot.

I got tired of lugging around my heavy bags, so I'll be making notes of things to leave behind next year. As you can see in the voting poles at the top right of the page, I do have a fascination of packing as light as possible.

Some of the observations from the team upon landing in the DR and the drive to the house.

Talk about the politics:
- Do you vote?
     - no.
- Why not?
     - not useful.
- What is useful? What would fix the situation?
     - God coming back.

The billboards are dominated with political campaigns though there are really only two candidates, the rest are just endorsing other candidates.
The three main political parties are: Revolution, Liberty, and Social Christian Reforming. Yet, they are all the same with different names, it's about power and money, not the people.

Janie made the observation that there are buildings on top of buildings. (awesome observation!)
Connor made the observation of the forest still growing even in the middle of the city. (this is important to have seen!)

I learned the classification of 1st, 2nd, 3rd world countries.
1st - Involved in the Cold War
2nd - Impacted by the Cold War
3rd - Nothing about the Cold War

We had Juices after dinner! <3 Chinola Ca is my favorite. Chinola is Passion Fruit, Ca is "Ca"rnation sweetened condensed milk.

Some questions to think on from the day:
- How can the gospel change that which is not according to the gospel?
- What is one childhood (good) memory that you remember?
- What are you hoping to learn on this trip?
- How do you want to be growing?

love,
Jessie Bear

Jeremiah 17:5
"Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD."

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: -1

Location: Great Falls, Virginia

This morning started with an AMAZING breakfast by Joshua! Fried eggs that oozed and did all kinds of wonderful things to the little mountain of peas. nom nom nom... It was wonderful.

So far today I've been on my own yet not alone, if that makes sense. The Raimundos are here with me, but everyone is packing and doing "stuff" (laundry, errands, calls, etc.) and thus I have quiet or rather mostly quiet.

Mr. Raimundo spent 20 minutes telling us how he would run America if he was the president. He'd be a great candidate on every point except the part about not being eligible to run for the US president.

A friend sent me this. As neither of us agrees with "Children's Church" this was a fun way of presenting the case. So enjoy.



Later the team is going to be arriving around 5:00pm. I'm so excited!!! I'm posting early because I don't know if I'll get the chance to after everyone arrives and it's crazy. This may also happen in the DR, so be on the look out for mid day posts and even early morning posts! My goal today is to write another short post of this evening so that you'll get one more look into the Pre-Trip life.

Please comment with questions, ideas, thoughts, requests, or even hugs! Also...I'm going to be putting a few questions up on the blog, PLEASE VOTE!!!!

love,
Jessie Bear

Ephesians 1:13-14
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: -2

Location: Great Falls, Virginia


Blog List of the DR trip:
Here obviously,
Jenn Raimundo,
Terri Raimundo,

I will try to update this list through the trip if there are any additions.

About this series:
Days marked with a "-" are before I fly out of the States, days marked with a "+" are days of my trip after getting back to the States but before I get to my home in Oklahoma.


For all the parents, here is the itinerary.


June 30th, 2015

Flight # 723 leaves Reagan International Airport (DCA) at 7:00am and lands at Orlando International Airport (MCO) at 9:10am.
layover
Flight # 1705 leaves Orlando International Airport (MCO) at 2:38pm and lands in Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ) at 5:11pm.


July 17th, 2015

Flight # 410 leaves Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ) at 2:28pm and lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) at 8:30pm.

Flight # 1507 leaves the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) at 10:15pm and lands at Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 11:28pm.


So...today (Sunday)...Jenn, Naomi, and I drove to church together. We had way too much fun rocking out (with the windows down) to Queen, Jazz, and a whole gambit of genres of music! Church was fantastic! Maybe more of this another time...

Us girls jammed out like this on the way home as well. Due to everyone else going to a lunch we were free to do as we wanted. Thus, we played all sorts of music on the drive...and purposely passed up the house to drive around some more just to listen to music. Way too much fun I say, it was awesome!

While this is a short post, I will have more to talk about tomorrow as everyone will be arriving and staying the night. It'll be a crazy night for sure!

Please pray for rest of the whole team!

Goodnight!

love,
Jessie Bear

Hebrews 2:9
"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

2015 DR Discipleship Trip Day: -3

Location: Gainesville, Texas; DFW, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Great Falls, Virginia (all in the States)


If you've read previous Dominican Trip posts, then you know how likely it is that I will write a lot at the start and not at the end. This is not caused so much by lack of writing ability or desire but mostly due to lack of internet. Thus please be forgiving on days I don't post. Although, I and my team would dearly love for your continued prayers.

This is just an introduction to the series for this years trip.


We will be traveling out of country on June 30 and flying back on July 17th. So please do pray for that!

TODAY!!!

I had breakfast in Gainesville, Texas with my dear friend Bianca! She's a fellow missionary, although we've yet to travel together, she's certainly dear family to me. It's been a joy to share stories from trips with her. This morning it was food, mission trip stories, and hugs both hello and goodbye. She just returned from Guatemala and I'm headed out to the DR!

After this, Mom and Beth drove me to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Because I have the habit of attracting the attention of TSA (just ask any of my travel buddies...) I downloaded an app that live streams audio and video. So I started videoing and locked the screen and put it in the little bin to get x-rayed. While in line for the naked body scanner I made friends with a young couple from Brazil. Turns out we were on the same airline to Baltimore, Maryland, so we walked together. Philippe and Gabriella were darling! It was a real joy to have the chance to talk to them. They had been married 10 months and had met in college.

Alright, now for some goofiness...Bianca got me a stone hippo (because I'm obsessed with hippos...but that is a story for another time and place) to take on my adventures. I'm going to try taking pictures of Steve the Hippopotamus and post them for you to enjoy!

So this is Steve's first flight!
Also because all the people around me were speaking a language I couldn't understand (Ethiopian) I couldn't talk to them either...as this is atypical of my flights, I took the chance and went to sleep. Admittedly, I did feel like a kid. We went up, I slept, we landed! It was great! I didn't have to sit there waiting forever on a 3 hour flight.

On the drive home from the airport (My Virginia home with the Raimundos) Josh, Dad (Mr. Raimundo), and I talked about what "is" eternity, we also caught up on each other's lives, but most of the time was spent working out what is eternity in the context of well...God.

When we got home I was introduced to the girl who would be house-sitting while we're gone. Naomi is a sweet 22 yr old linguistics student. Soon after meeting her I totally fell in love with her sense of humor and love of life...and ability to throw pillows at Joshua.

Naomi and Joshua got into an entertaining discussion of how certain songs can be turned into pieces sounding like offertory hymns. To demonstrate his point, Joshua hopped on the piano and turned Taylor Swift's song "Trouble" into a convincing offertory piece.

This lead to the necessary description of what the song actually is, and the discovery that Naomi had never heard the Gollum version of the song. So, Joshua and I quickly remedied that issue.

Goodnight everyone.

love,
Jessie Bear

I Thessalonians 4:7-8
"For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."

P.S.
I wrote this last night, it was getting late so Jenn and I agreed to work "10 more minutes" where I finished the post, everything was finished, so I shut the lap top...before posting it. Sorry!

Friday, April 10, 2015

How do you seal an envelope?


This was a short essay I did as a sort of challenge issued by my best friend. Way back from 2012 even! It is completely ridiculous but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.



Pre-Sticky envelopes Vs. Lick-Sticky Envelopes
So, it was brought to my attention today, that there is a debate between these two camps.
In effort to present both sides in some amount of fairness, I shall attempt to give you the benefits of each. Then at the end of this short essay, I shall present my opinion.

Pre-Stickied Envelopes –
A Pre-Stickied envelope is a standard envelope, with a paper tab covering the tacky glue like substance that will seal the envelope when you peel off the tape. Doing this ensues a very secure seal and is harder to tamper with than other styles of envelopes. It is a much more sanitary way of sealing your envelopes. As there is no need for the sender to LICK a item going to another person! (seriously…its 2012, why do we lick objects??? I did that as a kid, except it was a flag pole, and I am sure apart of my tongue is still adhered to it.) Peeling the paper off the glue to seal your envelope is a much faster method than licking it is. Because of this, most businesses use this product. This style of envelope is convenient, as it is secure, clean, and quick.
Lick-Sticky Envelopes –
A Lick-Sticky envelope is also a standard envelope, it has water activated glue strip that is typically wet with the person’s or human’s tongue, or a wet sponge, then is sealed. This is the most classic way of sealing envelopes. Often used in personal letters, due to the more nostalgic feel of it. Some seem to have a strange fascination with the taste of the glue, and thus, lick them for the sake of that memory invoking sense. Licking an object to send to a loved one, is an odd way of showing affection, but is a personal stamp of that person’s affection. This way of sealing envelopes, is old-school and often a mark of someone who tends to do things the more classical way.

So…my personal opinion on this…
I LOVE the Lick-Sticky Envelopes so much more than a “peel and stick” version. I mean, really, what a way to say I love you…”hey, I found this envelope that lets me get it out of my life as fast as I can! I don’t even have to think anymore!” hey, but if that is you, at least you won’t be getting anymore weird (not to mention awkward to explain!) paper cutes on your tongue…
I find it more personal to send (or receive…) a Lick-Sticky than a “peel and stick” envelope, because I know it takes a moment longer and it takes some thought to do that. And, YES, the taste of licking a envelopes glue strip is a weird memory. What kid doesn’t remember mailing letters for Mom? Getting to lick the envelope, seal it, and run to the mailbox to flip up the red flag! So much fun for a child! Looking back and…man, I didn’t have to buy all those stamps. :P But my thoughts on stamps will have to wait till next time.
And till then…use Lick-Sticky envelopes! It’s a classic, its nostalgic, and nothing says ‘I care’ more than licking glue.


Please comment with your preference of sealing envelopes, or your experiences. Maybe you don't lick them or peel anything, maybe you are really classy and use wax and have your own personal seal?