Two Tiaras and a Sword

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dominican Trip - Singing, Sleeping, and Smores

Could it be?  Could it really be Day 5?  Friday?  It seemed like we had just arrived in the DR, but at the same time, it seemed that we had been there a month.  It was a good thing that I made myself keep a bullet point journal each night, because everything was all running together at this point. Yet all signs pointed to the fact that it really was Friday.

We met in the lobby at 7:20, loaded on the bus and headed to The Palms Christian School.  They were having back to back chapels all morning long, and we were to help.  I lost count, but I think we did five (maybe six) chapels.  Each chapel was for a different age group.  Our kids would do some songs with them to start things off.  Their youth pastor preached for the High School chapel, and I thought it was very sweet that one of the young ladies whose parents are missionaries got up and went over to where our kids were and translated the message for them.  Mrs. M gave a devotion for all of the other chapels. We changed things up a little bit each time.  Some of our kids gave short testimonies.  It was fun watching our kids.  A couple of them had to step out of their comfort zones to perform the songs. Many of them were in their element while performing.  The young prince played his guitar for a couple of the songs, and of course I was proud of him.

 The young lady second from the left in the blue shirt is H.  
She is the one who was so sweet and came over to translate for our kids.

 "If You're Happy and You Know It" Spanish version

 "These are the Stories of the Bible" We love Go Fish, and so do the students at the Palms.

 A sharing a short testimony

 S giving her testimony/favorite Bible verse

 The Oldest Princess sharing her favorite Bible verse

 The Young Prince doing his fish face during a song with the younger children

In between each chapel we would have a few minutes to catch our breath and regroup for the next one.

 Passing break time by playing "toss the rock".  Yes, we are easily amused.


At one point, Mrs. L, the principal, came and asked if a couple of us could go and play with the first graders, and give their teacher a short break.  Her classroom was right next to where we were having chapel.  In the Dominican, the windows do not have glass.  They have built in blinds that you can crank open (to let the breeze blow through) or closed (for privacy or to keep the rain out).  The blinds do very little in the way of reducing sound.  So basically the sweet teacher was dealing with a class of rambunctious first graders, who were ready to be out for the summer, and she was battling the noise of back to back chapels (with fun things going on and really cool music), right outside of her window.  I completely understood her need for a break.  C and N volunteered to go, and I went with them to help.  Let me just tell you, that was probably the hardest thing I did all week!  Those kids were wound up!  Not knowing their names, and having the language barrier (they did speak a little English) made it even tougher. We did some races, we had them play tag, we attempted a number game that did not work at all, we played Simon Says, we tried to play a game they knew (Gatos and Ratons) that we did not completely understand, but mainly we just kept them moving and let them expend a tiny bit of all of their energy.  Not to mention that it was very hot, and we were out in the sun, and feeling the heat.  But we enjoyed playing with them, and we really appreciated the tent and the chairs when we were able to rejoin the rest of the group doing chapel.

 This is the first grade class that we played with.  
I did not get many pictures of this, because, um, well, they kept us too busy to take pictures.

I did make time to snap a selfie with my new sweet friend E.

At another time I looked up as a class was passing by, and the Young Prince was giving each child a "high five" as they passed by.

High fives all around

Mrs. J came and checked on us to be sure that everyone was still well stocked with breakfast foods. She was going to be making a run to the store and would get us more if we needed it.  I told her I would check with everyone and see.

When all of the chapels were completed, we headed back to the church for yet another delicious lunch.  While we were eating lunch, for some reason talk turned to chickens.  The Oldest Princess then prompted C to tell us all (some of us had heard the story before) her chicken story.  C finally obliged and told her story.  Pastor G told her  that he could tell that she was still traumatized by the events that took place, and he was glad that she was telling her story and working through it. And the rest of us hope that the hawk died of food poisoning and that the little baby chicken rests in peace.


C sharing her tragic chicken story

After lunch, the girls cut paper that would be made into beads.  The beads would then be used in making jewelry for MERCY jewelry.  MERCY jewelry is an "arm" of the women's ministry there in the DR.  They use it as a means to teach rescued women an honorable trade, and sales from the jewelry help to make it possible to reach and rescue even more women.  Look them up on Etsy if you are interested in helping them out by buying some of their jewelry.  They also do jewelry parties. Please feel free to contact me if you feel led to host a jewelry party.

The Oldest Princess sporting her MERCY jewelry necklace.

My necklace is MERCY jewelry as well.
Please ignore the windblown hairdo, and focus on the jewelry.

The paper cutting went pretty fast, and then we were told that we would have the afternoon off.  Which was great news considering that we had initially been told we would be helping to paint a wall.  So we thankfully went back to the hotel for a little rest and relaxation.  I was FINALLY able to connect with my Prince and the Youngest Princess on Face Time, and it was wonderful to be able to talk to them after so long.  Several of the kids took the opportunity to go swimming.  I went to the pool just to hang out.  The young prince helped me move a chair into the shade.  Then I walked to the other side to put my stuff down so that I could walk on the beach with the young prince, and a man came and sat in the chair that we had just moved into the shade.  You are welcome, sir.  So, I skipped sitting in the shade and walked down to the beach with the Young Prince instead.  We had a good time looking for coral and crabs and such.  We saw snails with interesting shells, and small fish, but not much else.

 The very rocky coast makes it impossible to go all the way to the water, but
it is absolutely beautiful.

 Some of the kids in the pool

 D on the beach, and a wait that is N, in the tree.

I went in to rest for a little while.  I thought I would read, but I could not hold my eyes open long enough to do so.  Before I knew it, the girls were back to get ready for dinner.  We got ready and joined everyone else on the bus back to the church for a dinner of taco salad.  On the bus, I mentioned to Mrs. S that I had seen the picture she took of the the Young Prince and I taking our walk on the beach.  I told her thank you for taking it, and that it was just the kind of picture I liked...far away, and from the back.  She and I had a little conversation about that.  Little did we know that our precious daughters were listening to our conversation...

The picture Mrs. S took of the Young Prince and I

After dinner, we headed back to The Palms.  They had planned a bon fire and a service for the older students and their parents.  When we got there, we began preparing paper bags with a package of graham crackers, 1/2 a Hershey bar, some marshmallows, and a skewer, because what is a bon fire without S'mores right?  And we sat up chairs in the bon fire area.  The Young Prince met with Y and D (the youth pastor and his wife) to work on the worship music.  I was very proud of him for bringing his guitar and helping out.  They say that he learned the Spanish song they were going to do like a champ, and was even able to make changes last minute when needed.  I was a proud mom.


After a couple of worship songs, Y preached to the students and parents.  Then our kids did a couple of their black light songs.  We laughed, because several of the girls has on bright toenail polish, and sandals, so when the black lights came on, before they started their routine, their toes were the only things we could see.
 Glowing shoes and toenails...the picture gives you an idea, but does not do it justice.

The black light routine

Mrs. M had prepared a couple of black light games for the students to play, so we did those next.

Then it was time for the bon fire and the s'mores.  I enjoyed watching the kids trying to get close enough to the fire to roast their marshmallows.  Some of them were quite comical.  One little boy convinced the Young Prince to roast his for him.

 The Young Prince helping his new friend make a s'more

The Young Prince and the youth pastor chatting while watching the fire.

We had the photo booth set up under the tent, and people would stop by there and have their picture made before they left.  Our kids took many pictures with their Dominican friends there too.  Grammy and the Young Prince and Oldest Princess got in on the action and had some pictures made together. Fun times!  Again, it was sad to say goodbye to some of the kids we may not see again for a long time, but we are thankful for the time we did have together, and the new friendships that were formed.  Plus, many of them are on social media, so we will be able to stay in touch.

 Fun in the photo booth

We cleaned up, and headed back to the hotel.  The girls sang almost all the way home.  I closed my eyes and just listened and counted my blessing to be a part of such a sweet group of young people.
Back at the hotel, we had our nightly meeting to go over the day and find out the next day's schedule. After the meeting, the Oldest Princess and S pulled Mrs. S and I to the side.  They had been listening to our conversation earlier, and thought that we were sad that there weren't a lot of pictures of us (not what we said at all, but what the girls understood us to say), so they had clandestinely taken pictures of us throughout the evening.  Oh my!  They were beautiful pictures of us by the way.  They caught us in just the right light with just the right angles - NOT!  Our sweet girls!  Always thinking of their mothers!  We all got a laugh about it anyway.

I was again able to connect with my Prince via Face Time (as he was checking out of Target), for a few minutes, and that made my night even better.

When I got back to the room, I noticed that the toilet was running.  I fixed it.  Or at least I thought I did.  Later when there was water dripping all over the floor, from the tank, I realized maybe I hadn't fixed it.  I took the top off, and water was shooting straight up, yes, all the way to the ceiling.  It was lovely.  I prayed for help, because I know nothing about toilets and I couldn't call my Prince to come to my rescue.  Then I realized that a little tube had come loose.  I popped it back into place.  And then it was fixed.  Woo Hoo!  I had done it, and managed to keep my cool in the process!  Because when the water was going everywhere, at the end of a long day, at the end of a long week, I had really just wanted to sit and cry.  But it was taken care of, with God's help.  I mopped up the water, and got ready for bed.

We still had work to do though.  Tomorrow, we were going to do the Bible club, and we were making picture frames as a craft.  We needed to partially assemble the picture frames to make it easier for the children the next day.  The Oldest Princess and I worked quickly to get those done, then we called it a day.
 Working on the picture frames

C decided that our pillows were just the greatest (insert a tiny amount of sarcasm here) pillows ever. In fact, she deemed hers the Hunchback of Pillow Dame.  Mine was comparable to C's, but it did not stop me from falling promptly into a wonderful, deep sleep.

Tomorrow...another one of my favorites!

Once again...not all of the photos are mine...some are borrowed from my wonderful, generous friends.

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