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Sunday Morning

¡Buenos días desde La Romana! (Good morning from La Romana!)

If you look at the last photo from yesterday's post, it's hard not to notice the infectious joy written all over Estella's face. She was born in the D.R., and her husband (Pastor Mede) was born in Haiti, and it was so beautiful to hear their story of finding each other as an answer to their prayers, of how God has given them the dream of a thriving church that serves the needy, and how their differing backgrounds give them language skills that balance each other out: he stronger in Creole, she stronger in Spanish! She works as a teacher, a job much in need here.

Speaking of language skills, it's certainly impressive to see the way Pastor Mede and Estella switch freely between Spanish and Creole, but it's nothing short of amazing to hear our translators and PPM (Praying Pelican Missions) Assistant Trip Leaders translate both languages in fluent English! Meet Gia (right) and Magalie Joseph (left).
Without Gia and Magalie, we would certainly be lost! Moreover, they both love music, love God, and love working with God's children young and old.

Gia is a fan of Twenty One Pilots, and has already convinced Dave to teach her the piano part to "Car Radio" (which she picked up in no time). She has just started working with PPM, but she does not hesitate to give Scott (our PPM Trip Leader) sass--when asked about how good Scott's Spanish skills are, she responded "I plead the fifth!" Magalie is a gifted singer and passionate worshipper-through-music. Craig, an experienced musician/teacher with an ear for musical talent, noticed her singing on the bus on the ride from the airport, connected with Dave, and by the evening the three of us were playing and singing together--Dave on keys and vocals, Magalie on vocals (and translation), Craig on his bright yellow plastic trumpet, and Zoraya and Nathan singing with their puppets Diana and Oscar. Magalie taught us to a number of songs common to both our cultures, and we can't wait to sing them with our new church friends and with kids in the bateys.
It was wonderful to already be learning about how God's people worship here in the D.R. We have been very clear: we are not interested in telling anyone how to worship (what styles, what songs, etc.), but we are all about collaborating and coming alongside them and learning from them! Here is one song Magalie taught us which you may recognize as "This Is the Day" (Psalm 118:24). Dave and Magalie led us in singing these words in both language as a group this morning:
Este es el día (Este es el día)
Que hizo el señor, (Que hizo el señor)
Día de alegria (Día de alegria)
Y de gozo! (Y de gozo)
Now, we are finishing up a meeting with a morning devotion on Psalms 149 and 150, a hearty breakfast, reflections on prayer and stepping out of our "box," a few new words of Spanish from Zoraya (and her puppet alter-ego Diana), and and introduction to bateys (sugarcane company villages) from Scott. He is explaining to us how the economic, political and geographic realities of the last few decades have resulted in numerous poor, undocumented Haitian immigrants living in the bateys, and the complicated ways mechanization and trade have affected their lives.

We are looking forward today to prepping more for music ministry and VBS, visiting and praying over the site where church construction is about to begin, and visiting local shops. Tonight, we worship at Luz Divina's Sunday Service. We will pray for you as you are worshipping back home!

Nos vemos pronto,
Dave Chávez (on behalf of the D.R. team)

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Bienvenidos a todos

We are here in La Romana, Dominican Republic! After connecting with our local missionary, Scott, we piled into a bus and drove along the coast to La Romana where we checked in to our hotel. Our evening was filled with a warm welcome, fantastic food, some impromptu multilingual music-and-puppet jamming, and an inspiring introduction to Pastor Mede (of the Luz Divinia church we are partnering with here), his wonderful wife and our intrepid translators. More details to come tomorrow...

...In the meantime, many thanks to all who have prayed for us, helped us with a variety of resources and logistics, and inspired us to work and serve alongside our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ here in the D.R.!

-Dave Chávez, Music & Worship Minister, on behalf of our entire 18-person-strong D.R. team