We want to thank each of you for your prayers and encouragement over the last few months as we have transitioned into our new ministry. January started off with us getting settled into our new home (video coming soom!) and Catherine spending time preparing for her new part-time teaching position at Santiago Christian School, which officially started on January 12! We also began the planning and preparation for our Drama Group and Amaury’s first Protocol and Etiquette class, so it has been a full first month!
At Santiago Christian School, Catherine is teaching two classes of British Literature to Seniors and a Grammar/Writing Seminar to Juniors, and she has loved being back in the classroom, sharing her love of literature and writing while also sharing her faith with her students! SCS is an English instruction school in Santiago that is accredited by the Southern Association of Christian Schools and offers students both US and Dominican diplomas. Initially, the school population was primarily children of missionaries, but now 90% of the students are Dominican, and the school’s focus is “shaping the lives of those who shape the nation.” The SCS web-site is included in the “links” section to the right if you would like more information about the school!
Catherine’s first day at SCS also happened to be the day when the earthquake struck the island, and we were at home when it happened. It is a bit disconcerting, to say the least, to watch the concrete block walls of your home moving! Amaury has experienced earthquakes before, and he announced that we had to get outside, immediately! Outside, we saw all of our neighbors in front of their homes as well, and after a few minutes, the ground stopped moving, and it was safe to go back inside.
Unfortunately, as we breathed a sigh of relief and reentered our homes, we were not aware of the massive destruction that had taken place on the other side of the island. As news reports started to come in that night and over the next few days, we were shocked and saddened by the amount of devastation we saw, and we prayed. We prayed for our friends who had lost loved ones and for God’s protection and provision for those who had survived.
A few days after the earthquake, the leadership of G.O. Ministries contacted Amaury to see if he could help them as they were beginning to coordinate their relief effort, and Amaury jumped at the chance – he was anxious to get involved and help in any way he could. That meant a middle of the night trip on Friday, January 15, for him and his brother, Nico, who is a pastor with G.O., to take money and supplies to the Haitian border, and a sleepless night for Catherine, until she heard they were safe. Then, over the next few days, Amaury helped the leadership get set-up to purchase large quantities of food, medicine, and other necessary items.
As G.O.’s relief effort became operational, Amaury was able to step aside and focus on planning and preparing for our Drama Group and beginning a new Protocol and Etiquette class. Our first step was to find a location for the classes to meet, and we investigated several possibilities, including the Centro de la Cultura (Cultural Center) in Santiago, which was our first choice. However, their rooms were all full with the ongoing activities they sponsor, so we had to look elsewhere. Eventually, through one of Amaury’s brother’s contacts, we were able to secure space in a local Fundacion de Desarrollo (Development Foundation) building, free of charge! This was a huge blessing, which will allow us to utilize our available ministry money for materials for both classes, as well as props, costumes, sets, and theatre rental for our Drama Group’s production in early May!
Our second step was to begin getting word out about the classes, so during the last week, we visited two local high schools and were given permission to make announcements and hand out fliers. So far, we have handed out nearly 500 fliers about each class, and interested young people have been calling to sign-up – both classes are nearly full (there is a limit of 30 in each class)!
Both sets of classes will meet on Saturdays, beginning February 13, with the Protocol and Etiquette class meeting in the morning from 10-11:30 am for seven weeks, and the Drama Group meeting from 2:30-4 pm for twelve weeks. Please pray that we will share the light and love of Christ with these students as well as the material we have prepared for them!
Finally, we would like to share with you the three main scriptures on which our sending agency, Kingdom Seeker Ministries, is based. These speak to our hearts and clearly reflect our goals here in the Dominican, and we hope they will speak to you as well!
1 - PSALM 27:4--DWELL WITH THE LORD, GAZE UPON HIS BEAUTY, SAVOR THE SWEETNESS OF THE LORD AND SEEK HIM IN HIS TEMPLE
2 - 2 TIMOTHY 2:2--TEACH WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED TO RELIABLE PEOPLE (WHO WILL LATER DO THE SAME)
3 - REVELATIONS 7:9-10--WITNESS THE RESULTS/REWARDS--A GREAT MULTITUDE FROM EVERY NATION STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE
Dios les bendiga! God bless you!
With love in Christ,
Catherine and Amaury
P.S. Here are a couple of "fun" pictures of recent "additions" to our family - On Dec. 17, our boxer, Moma, gave birth to Memo, and on Jan 1, we brought our kitten, Mimi, home from Palo Alto.