The Vine Updates for July 26, 2015
Fall Youth Ministry Kickoff
The Fall youth ministry kickoff for the 2015 semester is coming up Sunday evening August 2nd from 5:00-7:30 PM at Camp Dellwood, which is located just to the North of Chapel Rock on Girls School Rd. Come hungry and ready to have some fun, while finding all about what’s coming up this Fall.
The debrief for the 2015 Dominican Republic Mission Trip originally scheduled for tonight (July 26th) has been postponed to a date to be determined later in August. We’ll announce the date, time, and place at the upcoming Fall Kickoff next weekend. Stay tuned for more information.
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By: Samantha Hoerger
Coming down to my last day here, I am starting to think about all the memories I will have to share about this amazing experience. From building a bridge, to going down 27 water falls; there are many experiences I had this week that many people will never have in a lifetime and I’m so thankful that God has given me this opportunity.
Today, I had the opportunity to sing at the chapel on CMA campus along with Madison, Taryn, Kate, and Nick. Not many people can say they have participated on a worship team in the Dominican Republic. It is always nice to see how different church services do things differently since I have not been to many other churches other than Chapel Rock. The neat part about that is even though it is thousands of miles away from home, they don’t do their service much different than how we do things in The Vine.
We also got to visit a nearby school today and play a big soccer game with our Chapel Rock team along with some CMA students and staff. I don’t play sports that often so it was really fun to experience that type of teamwork. It reminded me of our teamwork from earlier this week in Majaguita.
One of the big things about today that I will always remember is hiking up two and a half miles to the top of a mountain. Not all of us had to do it, so only about nine of us came. Even though it was a hard journey to the top and an even harder journey back down, it was well worth it. The view was amazing and I was right about possibly regretting it if I hadn’t done it. I can say I literally hiked a mountain with my dad and all the other people who chose to come along.
This week has been all about making memories and seeing more of God’s great big beautiful creation. I can’t wait to share more of my journey this week when I get home.
By Olivia Ferguson
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
Sometimes I like to think of myself as an artist, always creating new things and calling them my own. What I’ve failed to understand is that all I am capable of doing is taking everything God has created, simply rearranging it, and then plastering my name on it. The colors we mix together to paint on a canvas are only there because God spoke them into existence. The very words I’m typing at this moment bloom from the personality that He chose specifically for me. My sketch book is full of photographs of His magnificent work that He so graciously gave me eyes to see. He is the artist of all artists and etched into every piece of work is His flawless, painfully original creation.
As we’ve served in the Dominican Republic this past week, this truth has become more and more evident. The mountains stretch out before us and LITERALLY declare that He is God. I’ve never heard anything speak louder than His mountains in Majaguita. How mighty a God we serve that would create such beautiful things. How mighty and humble an artist is He. The artist of all artists.
We serve a patient, humble, and mighty God.
By: Halle Smith
People talk about these moments called “simple God moments” that they have had during their lifetime. For me, one of those moments happened yesterday.
The past three days have been physically exhausting. There isn’t a road that goes to Majaguita; you literally have to walk down the mountain to get there. We also have dug ten 4-foot holes, mixed concrete, built a bridge, shoveled for gravel in a river, and moved pieces of wood. So combine all that with a higher elevation and intense heat, you get sunburnt, sore muscles, and blistered feet. Once the day is over, you have to make another trek up the mountain to get to the bus that goes back to CMA.
So yesterday, once the day was over, I started to make the hike back up to the bus. And, if I’m being honest, I didn’t want to make that walk. Someone in the group had told me about a shortcut up the mountain earlier that day, so I started taking that route with two other group members. The sun was beating down on us and we were sweating. We reached this point where we needed to take a break, so we stopped and took a look at our surroundings. This was my “simple God-moment.”
The view was breathtaking. Like something you would see only in a National Geographic magazine. We were looking down into the valley and could see and hear the river rushing below us. Mountains with lush, green vegetation towered on every side of us. The sky was clear and blue. It’s hard to describe, and pictures don’t do it justice. But it was in the middle of the sweat and aching feet after a long yet productive day that I saw God and how creation magnifies its Creator. It was here that I truly understood the God that we are serving this week.
By Jamie Goodwin
There’s a few precious days in life when you jump on a lumpy bus seat and ride to a rural Dominican village, then find yourself swaying to the rhythm of a portable generator while hammering nails into the bridge you’re building, 30 feet above a river tucked into some jungle mountains. On days like this, you keep blinking. The beauty is too much to be believed the first try. “What? Is this real life?” — “Could this be happening?” Today was one of those days for our team. The blisters and exhaustion reminded us this day was in fact really happening, but the scene and the people were totes from a dream life. We now have passed halfway on the bridge construction, dug holes and set poles for fencing around the tilapia ponds, and cleaned and prepped a greenhouse. There were lots of bugs, mice, and even a few grosser things. We’ve made friends with the kids in the village and the kids at the school too. It was a dream day. There were a few days this past winter that our dishwasher was leaking like crazy and our oven stopped working and I wondered if we made the right choice in bringing our whole little family on this trip. But when the workday was over today, Andy, Nick, Zeke, Katherine and I hitched a ride home from a friend in the back of his truck. At some point on that open-air ride, I leaned over to Andy and said, “This is way better than a new dishwasher.”
It’s not often that to step out of your front door means hundreds of steps a half mile up the mountainside, but such is the daily routine for the people of Majaguita. Our journey was the reverse as we stepped off of the Coaster (bus) and loaded ourselves with tools and supplies and headed down the mountain to the village. We learned that a fierce windstorm had whipped through the village only a couple weeks ago, pretty much finishing off the structure of the 5 greenhouses we thought we’d be working on, so our project has shifted to one of the suspension bridges and some concrete repair work on a fish pond. The bridge we are working on is around 275 feet long and stretches across the valley connecting one side of the village to the other and is one of two bridges in Majaguita that are vital to the area. Months of work by CMA students, and other groups have culminated in our team being able to lay the walk planks on the cable structure and see the bridge begin to take its final form.
We started the morning by carrying dozens of 4X4 timbers from the village, down the mountain several hundred yards to the edge of the water where we would be working. Then it was a stack of hundreds of treads that would be the walk surface that had to be moved and staged near our work area. The students did awesome, even considering the fact that the stack of lumber we were moving contained dozens of friendly tropical surprises like silver dollar sized cock roaches and a few wasp nests. We were also put to shame a little bit by a 62 year old man who jumped in to help us out, and while our most eager young students and leaders were carrying 3-4 boards at a time down the mountain, he would grab 7. He also, (on his insistence) backed a generator down the mountain by himself on one shoulder. We spent most of the morning moving material, and our students did great. It’s hardly possible to take in the beauty that surrounds you in each step, from the beautiful tropical flowers in vibrant shades of violet and red, to the bananas and melons hanging from trees and trellises, to the unique cabanas that line the side of the mountain path through Majaguita… At times it seemed more like a hike through the rain forrest with a heavy pack, only the pack was a giant stack of lumber.
We were treated to lunch back at CMA (Caribbean Mountain Academy), which always consists of some kind of fresh local fruit, and the biggest avocado slices you’ve ever seen. Then it was back to Majaguita for the construction to begin. We spent the afternoon getting into the rhythm of the process it will take to span the river and complete the work. Our girls had the opportunity to take a swim in the river with the CMA female students and had a great time sharing the refreshing experience together.
It’s fantastic to see our team of students really engage with the teenagers that are here at CMA. They’ve been quick to connect and are excited to lead the morning chapel time each morning starting tomorrow (July 2). After dinner we wrapped up the day by heading to a local ice cream parlor, and enjoyed taking in a little bit of the local scene on the plaza in front of the ice cream store. When we were approached by a couple of local kids asking for money, we entered into that awkward tension of not knowing how to respond (what was culturally appropriate, or what our host thought might be most wise); it was neat to see a couple of our students (Zeke and Jalen) spring into action, and with their own money line those boys up at the ice cream counter and buy them each a couple scoop dish of refreshing goodness. We wrapped the evening with worship and a time of sharing with our team out on the open air balcony of the Goshen house. Tomorrow we continue work in Majaguita on the bridge and mixing some concrete… it looks like the morning will begin with bringing a few more supplies down the mountain, including several 100lb. bags of cement… not a bad way to start a morning hike to a beautiful village.
James, the brother of Jesus, begins his letter, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” This is a huge step for this former skeptic to declare with all that he is that Jesus is Lord, and Jesus is Christ, and he (James) is a servant to both God and Christ. Our study while here in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic this week is from James’ letter. The theme emblazoned on our team t-shirts is “This Changes Everything” which comes straight from this letter, and the way that seeing the risen Christ changed everything for James.
It’s particularly noteworthy that with al of this in mind, and we flew into a city in the DR called Santiago (which in Spanish is “St. James), named after this man, James (Jesus’ half brother). Santiago quite literally is the place this week that “everything changes” for us. Leaving behind some of the comforts of home, this team of 19 is seeking to simply be the Lord’s servants this week in all that’s ahead.
Our travel from Indianapolis started before 5a on Tuesday morning and ended when we arrived at the Caribbean mountain Academy well into the night. We had a little bit of a scare that one of our adult leaders, Andy Goodwin, would miss our connecting flight into the DR from Miami, as his incoming flight was delayed from pulling into its gate because of a mechanical problem with a plane in front of it. The crew had actually sealed the door and began to remove the jetway from the plane the rest of the team was on, which was the last flight into the DR for the day. Hope seemed bleak as they sealed the door of our flight and the jetway began to roll back. Then finally Andy was able to exit his flight, and as he made his way to our gate, the gate agent ushered him down the jetway making a way for him to get aboard, and at the very last second, the jetway was reattached and the door unsealed and Andy was able to join us to the sound of our cheers and excitement. It may seem like a little thing, but even in a little bit of a stressful situation Andy said that he had a peace about it, and so did most of us as well. Just one of the many ways we’ve felt the Lord’s provision and protection over this team seeing us safely here for the work ahead.
This morning begins with breakfast and orientation here at CMA, and then it’s off to Majaguita, to possibly start in on some bridge work. We’re excited for the day ahead as we all seek to be the Lord’s servants in whatever capacity He leads.