Thursday, Feb. 25
We did not see the kids today, :( but had Alfredo of Endeavor drive us to ICC. (Iglesias Communtaria Christiano or in English, Christian Community Church). Pastor Raphael met us and escorted us to the main office of the private school that the church runs. There we settled in to here how the school, 2 yrs. old to 3rd grade, is filling a need for the community. They accept students on a sliding scale, but everyone must pay something every month. So the fee for the poorest, for example, may be $10; and for the ones who can afford the full tuition it is $85/month.
ICC also feeds about 90 homeless people every day at lunch time. Pastor Raphael said it is like feeding Jesus 90 times. Our team assisted in serving. This was started by one lady in the church who, on Saturdays, went out into the streets and gave the homeless sandwiches. Without a budget or a plan, the church began serving lunch, and always the Lord has met their financial needs to keep this ministry growing. Volunteers cook, serve and clean-up. This is an incredible story of faith that the Lord will provide.
ICC dreams are to offer a addiction recovery program in the near future because there is such a great need.
We all squished into the big van and left ICC to have lunch at a restaurant close by. It was very good -- a special chicken marinated in lime or orange, olive oil, parsley or oregano, garlic and water called wasakaka, rice, pasta salad, fried plantains. and french fries. Most of us had a yummy drink made with pineapple juice and milk over ice. Others, who wanted caffeine, had Pepsi.
Full and happy, Alfredo drove us to the IJM (International Justice and Missions) office. We were met by Johnny and Fernando, who run the office in the DR. There primary focus is to educate the police, judges and attorneys about child sex traffic. There second goal is to rescue girls under 18 and prosecute offenders. This is a monumental task as they meet with a great deal of resistance.
We ended our day by visiting the Colonial City -- the original city where Christopher Columbus (known here as Christopher Colón) began the settlement. It is a typical tourist site with lots of shops and restaurants, with a big square and a big cathedral.
Friday, Feb. 26
Today was FUN DAY! with our sponsored child. We met them at the Compassion International building, and then the 2 busses drove to a water park outside of the city. Each child and their mother or teacher had an interpreter, so it made it possible to get to know each other better.
The pictures will tell the story, but we played in the pools, played on the swings, had lunch, swam a little more, played a little basketball, and before leaving had the kids open up their new backpacks with gifts in them. After one last group picture, we sadly split up with the kids and their moms or teachers in one bus to go back to the school/Vision Celestial; and us, their sponsors, into the other bus to drive back to the guest house.