Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blog news ON THE MOVE with GOD

Thanks for a awe-inspiring 4 years following Mountain Chr Ch's Short Term Missions on this blog! This archive of past Yay God! stories will continue to be available for the foreseeable future, but new stories of how MCC people are going "all in" and "making waves" with God will post to the official Cannonball website under the category Missions Trips.
So for the latest on the June 2011 Student Ministries Dominican Republic trip, the Kenya trip, and MORE, follow the link!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

post from Brazil (Tom M + Bill B) Community Health Evangelism team


After a tiring day of travel Monday, May 9, which included a 4:00am departure from my house and an 8:00pm arrival in Brazil (two hours ahead of EST) Bill Beyer and I were greeted at the International Airport in Sao Paulo airport by Carlos Franco who is CMF Brasil. Half way to our destination we stopped at a highway side restaurant called “Frango Assado” for a chicken stick…its much better than it sounds…really! A few chicken sticks, grape juices and coffees later we were back on the road to Campinas and a horizontal rest…don’t rest well sitting on an airplane.

Tuesday, May 10 -

A day of rest, reminiscing (as I drove to many of the places we frequented when we lived here) and recreation. The evening was capped off with a pizza party with our host families. I ordered my favorite…TUNA PIZZA! It was deliciousJ!

Wednesday, May 11 –

I am writing from 33,000 feet en route to the Western most city in all of Brazil, Recife. From there we will pack our gear into rented vehicle and drive back due east for 350 kilometers (10K = 6.2 miles…do the math) to one of the poorest regions in Brazil. Known as the Sertao (plains) there is precious little rain fall (rains about one week a year). With little rainfall comes little life…little crops…lots of thirst. One of our goals in going there is to see how we can help create a sustainable, holistic, ministry through Community Health Evangelism (CHE). According to Operation World there are only 5% evangelicals in this region. With the lack of presence of the church comes a plethora of occultic experiences. ..people relying on their own devices to find meaning and purpose for their lives. We are starting our descent…ears are popping. Gotta shut down the electronics soon. Will keep you posted on the progress over the next few days…we pray to create a hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dominican Republic team Wed13Apr update

Here is the blog for today...
Today is our last FULL day in the Dominican. And it was one of the best. We started the day with team time and worship up on Many Breezes (a rooftop that overlooks Monte Cristi...and it's Kylie's favorite). 12 Americans and 10 Dominicans boarded a vehicle entitled The Giant Red Turtle. We took a boat ride to a beautiful island with our new beautiful Dominican friends. We were the only people on the island. It was covered with beautiful shells, many of which were collected by our dear friend and cook Francesca. We soaked in the sun (for some, a little too much!) and played in the water. It was a nice and relaxing culmination to our week.
After lunch, we crammed 15 people into la gua gua (a big blue mini-van) and headed to Ciudad de Luz, which is a Christian private school in Monte Cristi, for Field Day. The director of the school, Ebony, was a kind and gracious host. There were 72 children in grades 1-4 that we got to play games with this afternoon. The smiles and the hugs from the kids helped us see that they had a lot of fun. Their favorite game was a relay race in which the kids had to spread out a beach towel, put on a hat and sunglasses, and lay down and read their magazine. They also enjoyed watching their teachers participate in a relay race in which they had to pop balloons by sitting on them. Every part was awesome, but the true highlight was at the end of our time there. Ebony gave several students the chance to express their gratitude and all our hearts were melted. We ended the day with a student praying for us. The assistant director was so grateful and told us that she is planning on practicing these kinds of events in the future. We were able to leave all of our supplies with them so they can create their own field day experience.
Tonight, we will have one last meeting with our Dominican sisters at Iglesia Cristiana Cuerpo de Cristo. We know our time together will be rich and sweet but will also be a little sad. God has been moving a lot in the lives of the women here. God has empowered us to empower them to be better wives, mothers, friends, and leaders in their churches and communities. We came to be a blessing to the women of the Dominican Republic but we think our whole team would say that the women here have been a greater blessing to us.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. We love and miss you all! Maybe we'll bring some Dominican weather back with us!
Dios les bendiga! God Bless You All!
Lisa and Kylie

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday 4-12 Update from DR

We started our day celebrating Theresa's Birthday. We decorated her bed with streamers while she was sleeping and the main room was very festive for when she woke up. We wheeled her around in a wheel chair and gave her a special gift from the team along with a card from husband and son. She was very touched by the thoughtfulness and it started our day off right.
We then did some home visits to the local women of Monte Christi and we got to spend some time in each of their homes. The people here are very proud of what they have. You can tell they spent all morning preparing for us to come and visit. We then went to shop at Alberto's gallery to get some souvenirs to bring home to our loved ones.
We were then off for a two hour van ride to the little town of Barreo to see some of the women who attended our retreat on Saturday. Our Mission was to minister to the women of Barreo about being a good wife, friend and mother while honoring God. 70 women from local churches and surrounding communities came to share with us some laughter, tears and most of all God's Grace. This was a day for the women to feel special. Their children were watched while they got to make sachets and different types of jewelry. They got to write a note to one of their special friends about what their friendship means to them. These women were so grateful for what we did for them and it truly touched their hearts and ours as well. The pastors wife Marta and her friends have such a strong faith in God and it shines through where ever they go. After we said goodbye it was back in the van for a 2 hour trip to Monte Christi but the ride back went so quickly because we learned so much about each other by playing the game "2 truths and 1 Lie". We enjoyed a lot of laughs and it took us 20 minutes to order 15 bottles of Coca Cola at a local stand.
We arrived in time for dinner and to share the evening with the leaders of the Church for some snacks and games.
Another successful and glorious day in the DR.
The DR Team

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Update from DR by Samantha and Wendy

Greetings! This has been such a great day. The weather has been so nice the entire time. Not too hot and even a bit cool at night with the fans. It seems like every small detail planned has been so worth the effort, the planning and carrying 35 heavy bags here. Everything has been received with such gratefulness.
The day started at 7:30 praise and breakfast then at 9am we headed to the local school that is lead by Ebony McDonald to read to the children. We packed snacks for them and read two books to them, one in English and one in Spanish. The children are absolutely beautiful and are so welcoming to us. They were so happy to see us! We were able to spend some great time with the children during their recess time. We got to play some games with them and really just take some time loving on them.
By 10am we were back at the church preparing a tea time for some of the moms in the community. We served tea and light refreshments to the moms and snacks for their children. The ladies made cards and we played games with the children. This was such a special time with them and it's just so wonderful to see how they so lovingly receive everything we have prepared for them.
At 12 noon a wonderful lunch was prepared for us and we had about an hour of rest before getting ready for this evening's event "Date Night". We decorated the church with pink & red, with balloons and table clothes. We prepared a wonderful candle-lit dinner of spaghetti & meatballs with salad and lemonade and then we ended the evening with a shared dessert of cherry dump cake and ice cream. This was a beautiful evening!! Folks came dressed in their best and had a great time. As they arrived we took pictures of them and then as they all ate we printed the pictures and placed them in heart-shaped picture frames and handed them out as they were leaving. The smiles on their faces were absolutely priceless!! They just seemed so overwhelmed by it all. We know that there are some very specific people that God has been working on through all this . We know that God has really touched at least 2 couples in particular because we know it has been difficult for them, so we were just so glad they came. We think it would have been worth all the preparation for just one marriage to be blessed by this.
Lots of info and to be honest, we are still overwhelmed ourselves by how beautifully it all turned out. God is certainly here with us.
God bless you all! See you in a couple days!
Samantha and Wendy

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dominican Republic team Mon11Apr update

Hola Families!

There is so much to tell you since you were last updated. It will be hard to fill you in on all of the details since so many activities filled the past couple days, but we will try our best! We spent Friday night enjoying the company of the church leaders and getting to know them better over ice cream sundaes, minute to win it games (which were such a hoot) and a mean game of spanish word Bingo! The core group of leaders in the church are such willing servants and are so appreciative of our efforts. They have all made us feel so very welcome and cared for. It was nice to see them with their spouses just enjoying a fun evening.

Each evening, the last thing we do before turning into bed is to spend a little time together as a team. This "team time"has been a special way to reflect on our day, share with each other about the things that may have touched our hearts that day. This is a real time of bonding for our team and a really nice way to end our day.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning... and after a...shall we say......... refreshing "bucket shower"......we began to prepare for our big event of the day- a women's retreat for the leaders at 5 churches in the area. Fourteen women joined us for an overnight event that included teaching workshops, a craft, food, and worship. Denise, Susan and Juniper led a workshop related to mothering young children. We gave them some fun ideas of things to do with their own children and we gave them a copy of the book "The Power of A Positive Mom"in Spanish so they can use the information to help equip moms at their own churches. They used many props to help them understand the concepts we were teaching...who ever thought gumdrops, toothpicks and playdoh could be so much fun! Simultaneously, a workshop geared towards mothering teens was happening led by Theresa, Claudine & Lisa. Not surprisingly, we discovered that regardless of your culture, country or language, mothers of teenagers have the same worries and concerns. This group really bonded through mutual encouragement and ended a beautiful session with hugs and tears.

Wendy is such an asset to the team. She was able to really connect and challenge the women during a workshop about marriage. She provided the women with some valuable tools to use at home to strengthen their own marriages and to encourage other women in their churches to be the kind of wives that God wants us all to be. Claudine and Samantha shared some valuable advice for us all during this workshop. The DR women aren't the only ones who want to put these newly aquired skills into practice..our team misses our awesome husbands.

Helen and Jill (pronounced "Hill" in the DR) taught a workshop about friendship and compared cultivating good friendships with the preparation and enjoyment of a homemade chocolate chip cookie. They used real cookies during the demo and had everyone's undivided attention. In case you were wondering, a woman's love for chocolate is universal!

Kylie did a fabulous job explaining spiritual gifts. She gave all the leaders spiritual gift assessments that they can take for themselves and offer to the women in their church to help them discover their gifts and begin to better use them to serve with in their church and their community. The women seemed very receptive to this tool that Kylie provided. The children here, however, seem most fascinated with her long red hair.

Another highlight of the retreat day was a craft time. Susan (aka Susana in Espanol) lovingly prepared the materials to allow the women to create personal journals to use to capture their own prayers and dreams. We encouraged them to use these journals during daily quiet times with God. It was neat to see the expressions on their faces as they created these beautiful journals. The women loved the colorfully feminine patterned papers! I think it is fair to say that scrapbooking is NOT a popular hobby in the DR.

The last workshop of the day was presented with the finely tuned Spanish skills of our own DJ Jazzy Jenny! She taught the women how to incorporate the apprentice model in their churches as they train new leaders to take on new roles with in the church.

It was definitely a full day of teaching and sharing, but all the women were so attentive and open. Our team was so touched when some of the DR church leaders shared with us how much they learned and how they looked forward to using the books and information shared.

We were exhausted by the end of the day...but not too tired for a pajama party, Samantha style. So fun to see these ladies relax and enjoy a little pampering with nail polish, Satin Hands, flip flop decorating, dancing, jewelry making and a t shirt station. The ladies that came created the most elaborate and beautiful T shirts to wear to remember our time together.

Sunday.....after a refreshing bucket shower..... we all piled and we do mean PILED into the church's van to head to church in a nearby town, Buenos Aires. We were all so amazed that such a simple church service in such a simple setting with out the luxuries of sound systems or instruments could be so beautifully moving! Pastor Damion gave such a heartfelt message that even the women on our team who do not speak Spanish were able to understand the essential meaning.

After lunch together we headed to the BEACH! This time, we all piled into the church's open air truck! We felt like we were in a little parade as we passed through Monti Cristi towards the beach. Don't be jealous, but the water is breathtakingly clear and the most beautiful shades of blues and greens. Some of the DR leaders from the retreat came with us and we got to swim and relax.

We headed home to get ready for evening church in Monte Cristi. After a refreshing bucket shower, we headed upstairs for worship... LOTS of worship. LOTS and LOTS of worship! Apparently DR church services have a portion where people can come forward and share a song (kinda like an Open Mic night). Much to our surprise, as it turns out, our team was one of the participants! Thankfully, we had practiced a song with motions for the retreat which really came in handy when we were called up to the stage midservice. It was very evident as worshiped in two languages today, that songs of love to God are so easily understood regardless of your native tongue.

We shared the last two days with women from various countries and churches, languages and cultures. Despite our diversity it was very clear that in the Lord there is unity and only one church, God's church. There were so many special and tender moments shared with the women and children of these churches and these towns, it is impossible to describe all the connections that were made. We can't wait to show you pictures and tell you each about the experiences we are having. It is so obvious that God is present and guiding this trip. Things are going smoothly, everyone is feeling great (especially after a nice refreshing bucket shower).

To all of our families and friends, we love you and miss you! Thank you for your prayers. We feel them. PS- Good Luck tomorrow Steve! :)
Hasta Luego!
Dios te bendiga. Amen.

Love, The DR Team

Saturday, April 9, 2011

News from the DR Team!!! Hola from the equipo (Fri 8 Apr late PM))

Hola everyone, from the team! We are here and everyone is doing well.
We arrived yesterday after a long, long, long ride in the gua gua. It was a memorable ride driving through the traffic, dodging motor bikes, people and large trucks. Obedience to road signs is optional and horn beeping is the way to communicate with other vehicles. ; ) The weather is very pleasant! No mosquitoes...yet.
The view from the church service last night was beautiful. The sounds of worship wafted outside of the church windows and into the town of Monte Cristi. It was a moving experience for all of us. The people are warm, welcoming and loving toward us. Even though most of us cannot speak the language, we felt the love of Christ through them, and we were able to share the love of Christ with them.
We ended our first night with team time together and worshiped our God by singing God of this City by Chris Tomlin. We then closed the night with the song by 33 Miles - The Arms that Hold the Universe. It was a very special time together and with our God.
We awoke this morning and began the day with Team Time. Wendy G shared her testimony with the team. This was a powerful time together. Her words were indeed hand picked by God for her sisters in Christ to hear. We sang a special song together which Wendy chose, Revelation Song. Many tears were shed, all because Christ was shared, and the Spirit was at work in each one of us.
We had cereal and fruit for breakfast, and then headed out in two teams to invite couples to a church event and women/children to other events scheduled throughout the week. The sites, the smells and the housing are new and different. This way of life is so different from ours. We were able to visit with people, enter their homes and even had occasion to pray with them. They are so friendly and hospitable. However, keep your eyes peeled for stray chickens, roosters, pigs and dogs!!! Oh, and of course, motor bikes too!
We returned to regroup and head off to the area hospital to deliver bags with toiletry items and to pray for patients. This was one of the hardest things encountered. People had to bring their own sheets, food, toiletries and toilet paper. As hot as it is here, there was a new mom and her newborn child lying on a black plastic mattress, with no sheet. This is hard to see. This is hard to digest and understand. We prayed for the sick, layed hands on them, and lifted them up to our awesome God. One patient had malaria, another young boy had his appendix removed, another man had pneumonia, and other illnesses. What a blessing to intercede with prayer on their behalf as a team. Part of our team also met a doctor at the hospital who encouraged them to continue to the mission you are doing and that a mansion is waiting for you in heaven. Wow...glimpses of God can be seen even in the darkest places.
We returned to the church for lunch! And, yes, God is good, and we enjoyed CHICHARRONES DE POLLO, rice, plantains and salad!! We all enjoyed this meal tremendously which was prepared by Chava and Nathy.
We just finished a great event for mothers and their children. Approximately 120 moms/kids attended!! We shared a creative Bible story about Noah, the team led stations for the kids and they enjoyed snack together. Juniper fell in love with a little boy who was 3 years old. It was so wonderful to see her connect with this little guy. A young girl connected with Susan and touched her blonde hair. She told Susan she was "muy bonita." She was so sweet. Samantha, Theresa and Lisa helped lead worship! They were so awesome and full of energy. Kylie and Jenny taught a creative Bible story in spanish together for the kids and their moms. Wendy served as greeter, police, guard, interpreter, protector, distributor of the animals among other things! NO KIDDING. Claudine led our craft time with the kids and did a great job teaching mom and their kids how to make an ark out of paper plates. Denise helped moms understand the importance of sharing the Bible story with their kids and gave each mom a Noah book. She too, served as police, guard, interpreter, etc. What a blessing. Our fearless leaders,Helen and Jill were the snack ladies (no hair nets). They were awesome to help coordinate this entire day for us.
We are hoping for some water today to shower. If not, well, we will bucket bath and be happy with that.
We are all of good spirit and relying upon God for all things. Tonight we will share in special time with the church leaders for games and ice cream. We hope that this will be a blessing to them.
Thanks for all your prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you. We love our families and we are praying for all of you.
Love and blessings,