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A short sample of a freestyle jam on 'Amazing Grace' after worship on Sunday Night June 25, 2017

...with Craig, Dave, and the Musicians of Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina in La Romana, Dominican Republic

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Monday Afternoon

We're exhausted after a long day in the sun, but VBS at Batey Bermejo was a successful adventure! The construction site? Perhaps a bit less so. We succeeded in tying some steel rebar to prepare for concrete pouring, but a piece of equipment (a special circular saw for cutting thicker pieces of rebar) failed and had to be taken back to the equipment rental place to be replaced... which in turn held up the rest of the work. Still, some of us got to do some helping break up rock in the foundation area with pickaxes.

When we arrived at Batey Bermejo, it was after a bus ride through countless sugarcane fields, stretching as far as the eye could see. The village nearby is little more than a few buildings and ramshackle huts, but the batey itself is even more basic in terms of accomodations, sanitation, technology. They did however have a decently loud PA speaker connected to a portable gas generator (which was also charging a number of cell phones at any given time). That amplification,…

Tuesday and Wednesday in Review

Construction Tuesday was about 100% more successful than Monday! The power saw for cutting the thicker rebar was working again, and we were off and running. Tying rebar in different configurations to reinforce different parts of the structure, breaking up and removing rock in the ground with pickaxes to further prep the trenches for the foundation, bending rebar into the shapes needed for tying, manually cutting the thinner rebar, carrying those things to where they needed to go, etc.... we did things we never imagined doing!

More construction pictures from Zoraya B. Stern Photography!

That afternoon after another amazing lunch from our host Frano and his wife and helpers, we continued on to Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina’s current site for VBS there, day 1 of 2. The children were so happy to see all of us, but especially the puppets most. The puppets sang, Dave led more songs, and Lynn and the puppets shared the story of the Good Shepherd. At one point, the puppet stage curtain collapse…

More Wednesday

You should have seen Craig Fraedrich working with the musicians of this church! In the morning, Dave, Craig returned to Luz Divina to work further with young musicians, and Zoraya met with Pastor Mede's daughter Briana for training in puppets. We taught the musicians to play Herbie Hancock's "Canteloupe Island" as a way of introducing concepts around form and phrases (to make sure the whole band is in the same place every time a section of a song finishes and/or comes back around), which resulted in a memorable jam after worship that evening. Zoraya and Briana shared with each other stories of being called out of their comfort zones to serve as dedicated volunteers in children's and youth ministry. We've been very blessed on this trip to have people like Zoraya and Monique whose Spanish skills help us connect.

Construction that morning (running concurrently) was most definitely back on track and very productive. While I'm not sure we'll be putting up …