Quick update

24 Jun

I wanted to give you a quick update while we have a little internet.  Sorry friends, our hotel is without internet so our access is very limited. But…….


Yesterday we had some pretty intense home visits.  We were not able to stay as long as we wanted in the homes due to safety, but the Lord has been good to our team and given us time to share the love of Christ.  Kevin, Mari, Angie, Gloria, Kara and Tyler all visited homes of their sponsored children and the the rest of us tagged along. We also spent the morning with 275 kids doing crafts, basketball games and face painting!  It was quite fun.

This morning we attended church where the worship was amazing.  This church in Barahona loves to dance and sing, and we all found ourselves in a huge conga line dancing throughout the building unlike any other church service we have ever been to.  It’s hard to describe.

Amongst all the poverty, amongst the poor we danced with joy.

Tomorrow we hope to give a more extensive update, but continue to pray for our team, for all the work that is yet to be done, for this community that continues to suffer from many problems and for the hearts of those we are spending time with.

Our team sends love to all our family and friends!






Safe and sound

23 Jun

We are safe and sound in Barahona! It was a long day of travel, but tonight we are resting in a beautiful little place by the ocean. Thanks for the prayers .


One More Flight

22 Jun

One more flight to go and then we arrive!

The pilot welcomed the group from Compassion International, and we all cheered. Despite the red eye flight and the McDonald’s for breakfast, we all have energy.



What was I thinking?

21 Jun

By Mari

In 24 hours we will be boarding a plane for the DR! Yesterday I was feeling so anxious and fearful about the trip, and to be honest, wondering why I signed up for this. What if I get sick? What if I am unable to communicate with the people? What if we as a team don’t get along with each other? What was I thinking?!!

But God has called me, and all of us to go, and He knows why. He’s given me the desire to meet the people in the DR, to sponsor a child, and to love them. He has a plan for this trip, and for my life. And His perfect love casts out fear!

God reminded me to cast all my anxiety on Him, because He cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)  So as I give my fears and anxieties to Him, He has also reminded me that He has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)  And I am excited to see what God has for me, and for each one of us as individuals and as a team. I think God might be excited, too!

Trusting in God’s Plan

21 Jun

Author- Julia

Well, we leave for the Dominican Republic in just a few short hours.

There are so many things that go into preparing for a missions trip. Let me run a few by you:

First, you throw the idea out into the open and see who is interested in going; the pastor and trip leaders run interviews and take applications. We are asked many things from what our basic testimony is to what we want to learn and see on the trip.

Next, we plan the trip, this I was not a part of. The trip leaders and the Dominican staff email each other constantly to figure out details. They plan every detail of this trip down to the hour. Where will we eat, where will we stay, when will we have time to talk. Everything.

Then, the group gets together to train for what they will be doing on the trip. For our trip to the Dominican Republic we got together as a group many times. We did multiple full day training sessions, we had dinnertime get-togethers, the church held a prayer night for our trip, we also had a shoe-sorting party (we will be taking 605 pairs of shoes to the DR with us). We held a team work party where we went and painted an elderly recreational center. This piece was crucial to the trip preparation as it was a time to bond with our team and see how we work as well as who has which gifting’s.

Finally, we had our packing party. Just the other night we took those 605 pairs of shoes, all of our craft supplies, all the baby cloths, and shoved them into our bags to take to the DR.

But in the end, none of this will mean much compared to the actual trip, what we said in our interviews about what we wanted to learn, might be completely different from what God has planned for us. And all of the insane planning that the staff and our leaders did could change on a dime when we get down there. All of the team get-togethers in the world could never show us how we are going to react to the complete culture change down there. Even our packing could be for nothing, bags can always be lost or stolen.

Now, this is not to sound cynical, I have no doubt that all of our hard work will be useful, but its crucial to remember that all the planning in the world could never make a perfectly smooth trip. Things will go wrong. But God never does anything without a purpose. So, maybe God has a completely different lesson for us to learn than we thought, or maybe we will be surprised by something we were never able to see in one of our team-mates before, maybe a change in the schedule leads to meeting someone that really needed us.

My point is that you can’t plan what God has in store for you. We will never be able to guess what is going to happen to our team in the DR. But we can open our hearts and minds to change and know that it’s God’s will. No matter how this trip goes, we need to trust that the trip is exactly how God planned.

48 Hours

20 Jun

Author- Angie

Two days from now, we’ll be in the air.  (I’m writing this at 10:41 pm!)  I should really be sleeping.  I feel like the kid in the Disneyland commercial that can’t sleep because he’s, “too excited to sleep!”

Ten months ago, I was in the Dominican Republic.  TEN MONTHS!  I am blessed beyond description at the fact that I get to be back there less than a year after I left.  Honestly, I’ve been praying for the opportunity to go back since the moment we said goodbye.

WE, as a team, left behind friendships, members of the body of Christ, doing their part of God’s story in their part of the world.  These kind of friendships are the kind you form when you spend a week in close quarters, when you hear their stories, and see how they’ve lived, laugh with them, worship with them, and cry with them.

Ten months ago, we left behind children who stole our hearts with their genuine smiles and the hope and the joy that they have despite their circumstances.  A church full of children in Barahona captured our hearts us with their enthusiasm.  A little girl with a big smile and a spunky attitude who put her hand in mine and said, “Take me to the pool!” helped me to understand the depth of God’s love for all of us, just a little bit more.

Please pray for us as we go.   Pray that we would love these children well, that we would each connect and reconnect with those children we come into contact with.  Pray for strength and stamina in the hot, humid climate.  Pray for each of us to be full of grace toward our other teammates.

We know this trip will be much different than 10 months ago.  We have new opportunities and we’re so excited to use our strengths to help strengthen the church in the Dominican Republic.  We look forward, too, to how this trip and these people will strengthen us as well.

Ten months has gone by fast.  48 hours!  I’m too excited to sleep!




17 Jun

Hey Friends,

Can you believe we leave in just a few days?

It’s  time to get the blog up and going as we prepare for the Dominican Republic for 2012 where 30 of us will venture down to Barahona to work at DR 800 with Compassion International!  Check out these familiar faces!

From now until June 30, family and friends can follow the blog for the trip this year.

Please pass on this link to your family and friends so they can follow our trip. We will do the best we can to blog (as long as we can access the Internet).

Take a little time to read the posts from last year, and begin to pray for those we will meet again!

Can’t wait!



Emotions… thoughts… The Overwhelming Love of Jesus Christ

17 Aug

by Ryan Aufenkamp


1 Timothy 1:5 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

I would say that this verse describes the heart and intentions of everyone that went on the Dominican Republic missions trip last week. In the midst of working with everyone, going to the homes of poverty stricken families, playing with children through games and crafts and even talking to them in whatever spanish we knew, the aim was of our charge was certainly love. But this wasn’t a normal love, it wasn’t a earthly love… it was a passion and a zeal for the Lord, a overflowing love, ready to fill other cups. Praise God that He doesn’t want us stagnant, but He wants us to GO and love the church! The bride for which Christ will come back to.

The past week i was surrounded by some of the most inspiring, convicting and intentional people i have ever met. Our six translators; Jose, Juan, Ben, William, Anna and Ginsely showed a passion and honest desire to give their whole lives to the Lord! Hearing their testimonies of growing up in the compassion program, working incredibly hard to get into the Leadership Development Program, and STILL giving everything they have to the Lord, praising Him with their lives gave me a true taste of faith as small as a mustard seed. Looking at my life, all of the things i have been handed, and blessed with… the ability to go to Clark College for free through running start and being placed in a home that encourages me and blesses me daily, its hard to think i haven’t done more, devoted more, and praised the Lord more for everything that He has so graciously laid upon me. I COMPLETELY praise God that it is NOT what we do that matters, for we cannot earn our salvation! It’s because of grace that i am saved, but if i know this so fully, if i know how much i have been blessed, does my faith reflect that? Does it truly reflect my adoration for Jesus Christ who is the author and perfecter of my faith? I praise God that i was able to see a great example of that this week, of a faith that is upon the solid rock, for He is the one who holds the world!

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into his grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

As I think about His sacrifice, about the bonds of sin that He took for us and moreover about my life, and the comfort that i have… I see now that I’m withholding areas of my life for ME. That i want the control, that i want the comfort, and when its not there, ugliness comes out in my life. This past week i was stretched, put in circumstances, emotionally and physically, that i didn’t know how to deal with. That’s the great part… none of us on the trip did. When we are put in these circumstances, the worst in us comes out. You truly start to know someone when you put them in a foreign country, with a foreign language, in completely different conditions than they are used to. Yet, he gave us the spirt to be our strength! For we couldn’t have done any of the things that we did, if not for fully leaning on the strength of the spirt, giving all our energy, all of our emotion and everything that we had left to the Lord.

It’s not our life to live, and the translators showed me that… Jesus Christ has shown me that… and everyone i worked with, and met this week showed me that more fully than i have ever seen or heard. I have freedom here in the States, to go where i want, and do what i want, without any fear of not having food on the table, or clean water to drink. God has given us so much, and i truly do praise Him for it, and give Him glory for it!! Yet in the midst of it… i don’t want to forget our brothers and sisters, i don’t want us to forget the church, the love that we all shared as ONE body, under ONE God who is good and just ALL the time.

Let us not withhold parts of our lives, but give everything to the one who paid it all.

Ephesians 4:20-24 “But that is not the way you learned Chirst!- assuming you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Thank you brothers and sisters for such an amazing week in the Lord. For pouring your hearts out into the lives of the families, mothers and children that we met! Thank you for the way that you showed everyone around you grace and peace, zealousness for Jesus Christ! Amidst being tired, and maybe frustrated at times, you were vulnerable and willing to do whatever was required of you in the name of Christ. I was blessed to be a part, and i was blessed to get to know all of you better.

Keep seeking Him with your lives. Don’t forget to be a missionary right here and right now. The day of the Lord is coming, let us resound on the streets with praises to our God and king.

Hebrews 12:1-3… Run the race with endurance, dropping every weight of sin!

Love you all heaps in Christ,


Barahona Championship

16 Aug

By Phil Ball

Over 13 years ago, when I was in college at Christian Heritage I played on an amazing basketball team. Each of us bought in to Coach Wilmore’s vision of how we should win games (defend, block out, rebound, run the floor and execute our offense). Each of us brought something different to the court when we played. Each of us was aware of our teammate’s strengths and weaknesses. And each of us knew how to work together with our strengths and weaknesses to win the game. We trusted each other so that no matter which 5 players were on the court at a given time, we knew we could get the job done. Coach also told us, “If you get tired and need a rest, just raise your hand. I’ll get you out of the game and when you’re ready, let me know and I’ll get you back in.” Turns out, we won a national championship! It was an awesome feeling! All our hard work, all our dedication paid off! There’s no way I could possibly describe the feeling of that moment when the final buzzer went off and we threw our arms up in the air, hugged each other and celebrated! I never thought I’d ever have an experience like it…but I’ve been wrong before!
This past week in the Dominican Republic, I witnessed God working through our team in new and awesome ways. In particular was our time in Barahona as we took on an Extreme Makeover – Compassion Edition. In just two day’s time, God used us to radically transform their project (we’d call it a community center here in the states). We chipped away cement and picked out big rocks to level the ground for a new basketball court. We removed playground equipment so that we could level the ground there and re-install the playground equipment with a new, safer layout. We dug out a small retaining wall that gave us the dirt necessary to level the basketball court. We helped mix and pour cement used for the basketball court, for reinstalling the playground equipment and to fix the pathway at the front entrance. And we spread about 12 tons of white rock throughout the playground to help it looknice and to be safer for the children.

In addition, many of our team was also leading songs and games with the children over at the adjoining church. They were making bracelets with the wordless book and handing them out. They were putting stickers on faces and hands. We painted fingernails. And they were printing their pictures and giving them something to help them remember our time together. But it was the second day at this project that stood out to me the most.
The second day was sunny and hot and we knew we had a LOT of work to do if we were to finish the job we started the day before. We had some more leveling to do, we were re-installing a teeter-totter, mixing and pouring cement for the basketball court, entrance and playground equipment and there was a lot of rock to spread. But our team came together like a well-oiled machine. One group shoveled the rock into wheel-barrels, another group ran the wheel-barrels to the place it was needed most and dumped it, and then the team with rakes spread and smoothed the rock. On the other side of the project, we had some people mixing the cement, others shoveling the cement to wheel-barrels and others running the cement to the basketball court where it was dumped and smoothed. We had a vision! We had a game plan! We had people rotating in and out of the action so we all were rested and hydrated (well, almost all of us )! And we had God working through us to complete the good work he started in us the day before! The final job of the day was spreading the white rock. Working as a team, by God’s strength, it took us about 2 hours to spread the last 9 TONS of rock! It was amazing!

When it was all done, every one of us was in awe! The place looked nothing like what we’d arrived to the previous morning! And all we could do was sit back and take in what the Lord had done through us, praising Him for the strength and energy!

And there it was…that feeling…just like the national championship I’d been part of 13 years ago. The celebration of seeing the vision fulfilled through countless hours of preparation, commitment to the leaders and each other, hard work, and trusting that the job would get done no matter who was in the game because we all had a role to play. But there was just one mistake.
In the midst of my days playing basketball, Coach Wilmore caught me making the same mistake. It came after my best game of my career. What was that mistake? I showed my potential – and now that I had given him a glimpse of my potential, my coach expected it from me every time I laced my shoes up and hit the floor.
Our DR Team showed me their potential this week – every single member of our team…students, adults and myself included. We showed what we were capable of when we are willing to completely yield ourselves to God and let His spirit take over and move through us! In many ways, it was even better than winning a championship however many years ago because the results are blessing so many people and will last for years to come and will be celebrated in heaven forever! And as the youth pastor, I, like my coach before me, have the duty and honor to hold this team to their potential now that we are home! God is just as present and working in Vancouver as He is in Barahona! If we yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, there’s no reason we cannot transform hearts and lives for Jesus in our homes, our schools and our communities the way we did in the Dominican Republic! Pray with me to that end!

Philippians 1:3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


How Was Your Trip?

14 Aug

 By Julia Jones

“How was your trip?”

“Ummmm… amazing?”

How do you quickly explain to someone how your trip was? There are still so many things running through your head, so many faces, and so many names. And not everyone wants to get your emotional vomit all over them. But they still want to hear about your trip. So how do you explain it?

When people ask me about the trip, all I can think about is a little girl’s face looking up at me:

I met a girl named Francesca. And she had the best smile. I was out side of the church playing the game Dead Fish with the kids, where all of us youth were trying to make the kids smile. In the most undignified of ways, acting like raptors,

and all sorts of crazy things. Then we were called in for closing songs before the kids went home. We went in and all of a sudden there was a little girl holding my hand. I looked down at her and smiled. She went with me everywhere.

We had a huge conga line and she and I danced together.

And she was around my waist the rest of the time. I kept looking down and every time I saw her she was looking up at me with a huge smile. She melted my heart. I don’t know why, but I love her. I never said a word to her. But I love her. It was simple and easy. I don’t know how to explain it. But I know that she loves me too. I know that that is how Christ’s love is for us. We don’t need to ever say a word to him, but he loves us all the same. He holds our hand, and dances with us, he looks at us and smiles, but most importantly he loves us. And that little girl Francesca showed me Christ. With just a smile.