November 30, 2010

Sports in the Bateys

Every year the Sports Ministry plans a mission trip of our own. Throughout the year North-Americans travel to my country to serve the people here, and all year long we are blessed by their service. This is our way to give back to our country. This year we went to Batey Nueve in Barahona.

prayer time in the Bateys

G.O. has been working in the Bateys for a long time and this was the first place we went to for our own mission trip in 2007 so it was awesome to return here after 3 years of being away.

Houses in the Bateys. The blue building is an outhouse. There are no indoor bathrooms
Sugar cane fields. many men find their work here

I have to say, I was a little nervous about leaving Jackie and the babies alone for 4 days, but I have learned that when God wants to teach us something He will provide the way to do it. My mother-in-law and father-in-law were here visiting us the week prior to the trip on vacation and watching the babies for us so we could be at our yearly staff retreat. Sheila offered to stay an extra week to help Jackie so I could be a part of the mission trip.

Our time in the Bateys was amazing. God really spoke to me about waiting and about living our lives honoring God and to really look and find His blessings which are all around us.

putting up nets at the court in Batey 9
We used sports as a tool to speak truth into the lives of the kids living in the Bateys. It is a great responsibility for us, to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. To tell the story of the boy who sleeps on the floor at night, or the girl who eats once a day thanks to the G.O. Nutrition Center in Batey Nueve.  We can share God with them and let them know that even though they may have struggles now, they can have more in this life and God has a great plan for them. A plan that we can't even imagine, it's so big and only possible with God.

 Our team with kids from the camp

In my own life I realized that I must be more grateful to God for the many blessings He has given me and Jackie. We have been blessed to both be involved in raising and caring for our girls. I am going back to school full-time next year to finish my degree and will be working with short-term teams so I am trying to really enjoy these moments with my family before the busy season comes and to really thank God for each day He has given us with them!

Here's a short video of Alan teaching and leading the devotions for the sports team. Enjoy!


Jackie loves spending time with the people in the Bateys though it's been over 2 years since she's last been back.  You can read about her last visit to the bateys here, here, and here

November 25, 2010

and we give thanks.

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 145:7

Today we are celebrating! We have so much to be thankful for this year. I will admit, this year has taken the proverbial cake when it comes to personal trials. Having my daughters has been my greatest joy and at times my greatest sacrifice. I am learning how to live and breath and do life all over again. It is a new life. A new way of doing things. A new way of loving.

2010 began for me unlike any other. I found myself basking in the freedom of Christ in a way that I had not experienced. He was my living water and I could not get enough to drink. The climb to the mountaintop was long and painstaking and Christ so gently shed light into so many hidden dark places in my life that needed healing only He could give. I found myself in an almost euphoric state. But alas, we cannot live on the mountaintop and now in the closing of 2010 I am finding myself back in the familiar territory- the valley of the foot of the Cross. Desperately seeking Him, desiring to be His servant, and so needing His healing touch. It truly never ends, this process of holy sanctification. I am forever His and He is mine. Oh how my heart rejoices in such a simple and yet mind-blowing, radical truth. 

I know you must be thinking this was supposed to be about celebration and thankfulness and at 2am, I have to tell you amidst my own personal pain and struggles this year has brought I am triumphantly celebrating the Lord's goodness! He has blessed us with two amazingly unique and special little girls. 

What a fascinatingly long 9 month journey God took me on as He began preparing my heart to care for two little sweet babes.

Celebrating 2 amazing little treasures being knitted together

When I look in their eyes it is as if I am gazing into the heart of Christ and get a special glimpse of the awe and wonder that awaits us in Heaven. It is magical.

Amelia Grayce

Stella Natalia

Alan was granted a medical visa to be there for the birth of the girls. That alone is an amazing testament of His power to meet our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. Read that story here.

A proud papi

Adding to our family, May 25, 2010

We are so very blessed

We have been working for months now to get Alan's permanent residency to the states and Nov. 18 we got it! Another huge answer to prayers. Our family can now travel back and forth freely to the US without worry. 

We stayed at this little hotel across the street from the US Embassy. Our girls stayed in Santiago with Alan's parents. It was a wonderfully refreshing time for Alan and I to reconnect and of course, to sleep!

Even amidst our house being broken into, God was so faithful to protect me and the girls. God has used what was meant to harm and destroy us to bring us closer to Him. Our faith has deepened. The love between Alan and I has been deepened (something uniquely fierce and primal happens when someone you love is in potential danger) 

If I could put a theme to 2010 it would be faithfulness. He is so good and faithful.
When we doubt, He is faithful.
When we fear, He is still faithful.
When we are unfaithful, He is faithful yet.

He has been so faithful to me through a very difficult season, I confess, in my soul I do love these times of clinging to Him as if my very life depended on it. We are climbing that mountain together and will one day be back on top- only to look right back down into the valley where He will once again lead me... Oh how I love my sweet Jesus.

For this, I am so thankful on Thanksgiving. For this, we will celebrate. 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

November 10, 2010

In the States!

I (Jackie) will be traveling to the US in the early part of December to fundraise and share the vision God has given us for ministry in the DR & Haiti. Please let me know if you'd like to meet with me!

Pray for our Residency appt. on Monday for Alan to be able to come to the states with us!

Home. Invaded.

Dear friends and family,

We have recently had our home broken into. I wanted to take a moment and share our story of what happened and how you can help us.

Alan and I had been looking for a new home to move to when we returned to the DR with our girls. Our little two bedroom house just wasn’t cutting it anymore. We had 2 goals in mind: 1. To be closer to those we minister to in Hoya del Caimito and 2. To have a third bedroom to be able to host friends, family and visitors. We found a house within walking distance that we’ve believed achieved those two goals. We thought it was perfect. Too perfect. It seemed like everything we wanted, yet, I always had this unsure certainty about moving there. For one thing, there was a giant field to our left and the wall was only about 5 ft. high. The owners promised to raise the wall for us 5 more feet to make it secure. Also, the street was eerily dark at night with limited street lights and many wanderers passing by. However, I thought it was just my nerves and maybe we’d need a dog.

So, we moved. And we lived in the house for 2 weeks. 2 weeks that never felt quite like home. 2 weeks of fighting with the owners to raise the wall we paid them to raise. (they claimed they ran out of money after we paid them close to $1000 in security deposits and 2 months rent upfront to raise the wall) 2 weeks of constantly feeling like we were being watched.

And then it happened.

Last Friday I awoke to a grayish black sky dropping buckets of rain on us. It was the height of Tropical Storm Tomas. The wind was howling and nobody was passing in the streets. Fanny, Alan’s sister was helping me watch the girls. Alan left for the capital to pick up some papers for his upcoming residency appt. He was 2 ½ hours away. Despite the rain, lots of people were in and out of the house. Alan’s parents stopped by to finally see the new house, and Fanny’s kids all came over (3 total) after school was over. The house was filled with laughter. 

At around 2pm after Alan’s parents had left I told Fanny and her kids I’d drive them home since it was raining so hard. Fanny cleans our house on Fridays and I was so happy to have a clean home for the weekend. We picked up the last little things around the house, locked it up good, and then packed up our kids and headed to her house. Due to the rain it was a slow drive. We made a stop to pick up some killer ant dust for the new house and finally arrived at her house about 20 minutes later. We chatted some and then I decided not to go to Pricemart to pick up formula but instead go home and take a nap while the girls sleep and wait for Alan to get home.

I was gone for a total of about 30-40 minutes. When I got home I opened the big gate and pulled the truck in. Leaving the girls in the running car, I went to open the front door before lugging them in the car seats inside, but I couldn’t get in. I unlocked the door fine, but it had seemed as if the top latch (you know like what you have on apt. doors or in hotels) was caught and not allowing me to get inside. I tried and tried pushing with all my body against the door to get it open but it wouldn’t budge. Now my girls were starting to fuss and I HAD to get inside. It was time for them to eat. I thanked God I had all the different keys for the 3 gates I had to go through to get to our side patio and was able to push the window above the kitchen sink open enough to push the piece of wood out of the window seal and made my climb through the kitchen window. My grocery bag holder was in the middle of the floor and completely empty. I went to the front door and as I went to open it, I realized the latch was completely slid across the door and pushed down. It was no “catch.” This lock had been locked from the inside. The entertainment cabinet was open and all that was inside was strewn in front of it. I looked to my office area and noticed our passports thrown on the floor along with my checks. I quickly opened the front door, ran to the car (without looking in the bedrooms) and quickly got away from the house and drove down the street to a fellow missionary’s house. He called the cops and went to the house in case anyone was inside. It had occurred to me that when I pulled up to the house I saw a flash of white, like a t-shirt, in the field towards the back of our alley. As if someone had just jumped the fence or was checking.

The pipe used to break the bars on the window

I returned to the house with the police and after entering the house again it was clear that more than one person had been inside. They jumped the puny 5 ft. wall and took a 4 ft. steel pole that was supposed to be used to raise our side wall and pried a piece of rebar up on the girls’ bedroom window. They climbed inside Stella’s crib leaving mud on the sheets and tore her mosquito net and then began rummaging through the house looking for electronics and other goods to sell.

This is where they entered. You can see the space they came in was very very small!

 We believe they either heard me pull up and left quickly or they could have still been inside when I came in, as their were things in the crib in my grocery bags that they hadn’t been able to get out with.  Either way, I interrupted them.

I stayed at Tim’s house until Alan came home at 8:30pm. We talked and decided in the morning we’d call the owners of our previous house, which had not been rented to see if we could move back. It was a smaller house, but nothing was more important that our security.

Sleeping in that house that night was restless. We put the girls on our bed and we slept at the foot of it on a futon matress with the machete and a steel pole (and one eye open of course)

The next day in less than 4 hours and with the help of over 20 Dominicans, Haitians and North Americans we were sitting back in our old house along with everything we owned. I was stunned by the way the Body of Christ worked to help get us back into a secure place.

All in all the took both of our laptops, our Ipod, the DVD player, about $100 in US cash and they tried to steal our sense of security and hope and replace it with doubt and fear. We also don't know if the owners will pay us back the $1000 we gave them when we moved. They've lied to us so much it's hard to believe anything they say, and to a certain degree I hold them a little responsible since they failed to make the house secure in the way they said they would. Thankfully we have a secure God who covers us when we and others fall short. 

We are so thankful that God protected us and allowed us a way to get out of a potentially dangerous situation. I believe God was protecting us by letting us move back to our old house from future situations as well. We later learned the house had been broken into at least once before we had moved in.

We have realized the urgent need this brings about for us. We need to replace our stolen items and think to the future for our family as well. We still desire to live closer to those we minister with and to (right now we are about a 3 minute drive away). Living in a 3rd world country amongst those less financially secure brings us into danger nearly always. As a North American, it is assumed that I am "rich" and that we always have things (that many would like to take from us). Basically, we walk around with targets on our backs. While we trust in God for our protection, we need do our part to live in a secure house and to take the neccesary precautions to raise our family in a safe place free from fear.

We would like to ask for 3 things from you.

1. Please pray for us. Daily, we need prayer for protection and for our safety.

2. Please give towards our immediate need. We need to raise an additional 3,000 to replace the stolen goods. And perhaps even the $1000 the owners will likely never repay.

3. Please give to our ongoing needs. Our budget needs to be raised an additional $1000 a month for us to live and do ministry in the Dominican Republic factoring in the cost for rent of a house in the future that will accomplish our goals of living and doing life with those we work/minister with.

If you’d like to help us cover the costs of replacing the electronics or with our general needs, please email me at or you can directly send a check to G.O. Ministries, Inc. 11501 Plantside Dr. Suite 14, Louisville, KY 40299 and put “Alan and Jackie electronics” in the memo line if it's to help in that area. If it's a general donation please mark "Jackie and Alan" in the memo. As always, all gifts are tax-deductible.

We love you guys and are grateful for your support and prayers for our family.

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