For lots of kids, birthdays feel different than all the other days of the year. They’re special. Noah’s 7th birthday was no exception. On August 24th, he woke up early, excited for the day and the upcoming celebrations. We sent him off to school like normal with hugs and promises of cake and presents that evening.
When Noah rushed through the door after school, his face was beaming. He had two balloons in hand and a backpack full of goodies. Surprised, I asked him who had brought him all the fun treats. He excitedly pulled the gifts out of his bookbag and explained in great detail each item that his friends had given him.
“Mom! Check this out! Weison gave me this colorful hacky sack! And he brought me those two balloons! One is green and one is orange! And look! Seba gave me a new coloring book. It has all these pictures I can color. Oh, and Berwee brought me all these things, see? I got a plastic baby car rattle, a turtle compass, and a whole army set!”
“Wow, buddy! That is so neat! I hope you told them how thankful you were for those sweet gestures. They probably worked hard to get those things for you. What good friends you have!”
Later, I was talking with Noah’s teacher, Emma. She said that his friends used their good behavior “points” they earn to “buy” those presents from the school store. As sweet as that was, she was especially touched by Weison’s gift of the two balloons. He had bought them at his village colmado the day before, specifically with Noah in mind. Weison had to put some thought into the gift – what a neat thing to see one of our students planning ahead to put someone else first!
Weison, Noah, Sebastian, Berwee
I am thankful for the unique influence that Noah has in the lives of his classmates. He already communicates with them in a way I certainly can’t. Oh, how I pray these four young men grow up to love the Lord with all they have. Such special boys!
Our summer in pictures! Click on the photos to see a few snapshots of our furlough and the start to our new school year!
May furlough! We loved the opportunity to update our supporters and spend time with family! We visited Maryland, Ohio, and Indiana!
Noah enjoyed taking Caleigh for spins in the family wagon
Caleigh loved her trip to the zoo
Noah got to touch a snake – Leyton wasn’t too sure about it.
Indiana-bound! The boys thought it was cool to watch Memaw and Pepaw sing on stage one Sunday morning.
Thinking of my sugarcane fields even in the States – Domino sugar comes from the area where we work!
Back to the DR! Our Coaster bus broke down on the way back to Freedom.
The entire Freedom team visited our newest village, Bejucal, to get to know new students.
Book fun with Krista!
Flavia has joined the Freedom team as our Kindergarten teacher!
Jimary is one of our 1st graders.
The Freedom team praying together for the campus and the new school year.
The Salsbery family hit the ground running! Sofia was able to come play for a few days while her parents worked on setting up their house, car, and more.
Rachel is now working heavily with our Accelerate! classes. It’s neat to see this program grow and students receive specialized help where it’s needed.
Pam is hard at work treating lots of pink eye as we start the new school year.
First day of school for our new 3’s. Elizabeth was a bit tuckered out.
Smiles from PK4 student Klemily!
Mr. Kurt is now the Vice Principal!
The multi-use building is complete! Students love eating lunch here with their friends.
Our very first chapel!
We’re excited to see our students be challenged as they learn about the Lord this year.
Abby and Heather are back on the field after an extended furlough full of support-raising.
Miss Becky is doing such a wonderful job in pre-school!
Our interns are the best! They are taking on lots of responsibilities – and cuddles!
The footers are being dug for our second 8-unit apartment building. Caleigh loves watching the men work from our back porch!
VBS in Bejucal each week!
Click the images below to check out some of the happenings of the last two months!
We visited our newest village Behucal to enroll new students for the upcoming school year!
This little guy was not a happy camper that mom had left him in the doorway.
Anderson First Church of the Nazarene came to play for a week!
They were a big help in the school and around construction site!
We also loved a visit from Scott’s home church – Bethany Christian Church youth plugged in!
Loudnie during the water relay at camp in the afternoon
Alaina getting some snuggles in PK3
Seeing Memaw and Pepaw for a week is always fun!
Bethany youth organized a sweet little Easter egg hunt for the MK’s. So fun!
Our Freedom Olympics tradition continues!
The kids had fun placing in different track and field events.
Noah was proud of his silver and bronze medals he won!
Uncle Lyndell came for a quick visit and fixed our kitchen cabinets!
Noah-man lost yet another tooth!
The shell of the multi-use building is complete!
Parent-teacher conferences in the villages. Yuleisy with Yilena’s mom.
Emma and Rachel discussing students’ behavior in Cabeza de Toro.
Elizabeth will start school with us in June! Her older brother Yefrey will begin 4th grade with us.
VBS in Cabeza de Toro! Quick stop at a weigh station to watch sugarcane being loaded onto train cars.
The MK’s tried some sugarcane!
Getting ready for songs, testimonies, and an Easter story.
Caleigh and Maicol.
Our parents at a Mother’s Day celebration. They are beginning to listen more, value their children’s education, and become more involved!
Berwee and his mom in 1st grade.
Noah read a little sample of a book in Spanish!
Elle, Becky and Jane make a good team in PK3!
Gagá is celebrated in the villages at Easter time.
Happy Easter from the Mitcheners
Thanks for my pretty dress, Memaw!
Cute little bunny.
Last day of school in Miss Olivia’s class means ice cream sundaes!
Miss Abby wrote little notes to all of her students!
Miss Yuleisy with her 3rd graders!
Last day of 1st grade and PK4 for Noah and Leyton.
Another year has begun! Click on the images to check out some highlights from our first month of 2017.
The Suons have arrived! We are so happy to have Becky and her family working with us. She’s getting acclimated to school and learning Spanish with Maribel.
VBS in a new village – Behucal!
Here comes the multi-use building!
Pouring a ceiling on the kitchen end of the multi-use
Field Day! Yuleisy and Edward at the photo booth.
It has become a tradition – grilled hot dogs for lunch on Field Day!
Patricia having fun dressing up
Carmel Christian helped us with small groups during Field Day.
Caleigh and 3rd grader Marcia
One of our newer kindergarten students Jose Manuel praying with Miss Rachel
Noah loves to “play school” in his spare time. He’s growing up!
Another end to another year! How I pray that the Lord was glorified. I hope that our family looks to Him for strength and joy as 2017 begins.
Our students visited the zoo this year for their field trip!
Checking out the flamingos
Our team enjoyed another Thanksgiving together as a group
Thanksgiving getaway! A great time of fellowship for the weekend.
We’ve been trying to battle a serious mold problem! Gross!
We finally took our new desks and cabinets apart and painted all the areas where the pressed wood was exposed. Yeah, it’s humid here.
Miss Rachel and Miss Emma planned a 100th Day of School party for their kindergarten cuties
Silly Jesús with his 100 Days crown
We had fun putting our tree up a little earlier than usual this year!
Caleigh tested out our new LED lights for us
Scott confirmed that he was NOT pregnant. He battled some scary abdominal pain for a few days!
We thought for a moment that we may have had a case of appendicitis! Caleigh helped take care of Dad while he was on the mend.
God is so good. Katie brought us dinner one evening while Scott was sick!
Parent-teacher conferences in the villages!
One of our families in Cabeza de Toro made a Christmas tree out of green pop bottles!
Our two-night Christmas program was a success!
Noah helped his teacher Miss Mery pass out papers to the parents one evening at the program
Our Freedom team! So thankful for these people!
Staff Christmas party fun!
A church back home sweetly sent our family an entire suitcase of goodies for Christmas!
We loved spending some time with Memaw and Pepaw over Christmas!
Another full month in the DR! Highlights: Day camp for 2nd/3rd grade and more construction progress!
Third grade circling up for an afternoon of fun at their first-ever day camp!
The kids enjoyed a group game where they introduced themselves with animal noises/silly actions.
Guys and girls competed to see who could carry their volunteers the fastest across the human bridge!
Enmanuel playing a game with his small group
Marcia posing for the camera
Fabiola coloring a picture after listening to the lesson
We love these two! Thankful Rachel is back in the DR as a full-time missionary, and thankful that Katherine has been doing much better behaviorally in school recently!
Three little goobers
We’re reaching the 3rd story!
Lots of floor pours this month!
Caleigh continues to keep us on our toes! We had a little milk mishap one afternoon.
We got in the Christmas spirit a little early when Dad found a couple of Christmas cookie box sets on super sale at the store!
The Pyle girls joined us for the making of some melty snowmen!
Rachel has been settling back in to Kindergarten! The kiddos have been learning lots!
Patricia showing off her writing notebook
Just answering some emails with Dad
Three more months, and 2016 will be history. It’s funny how days seem long, yet the months and years just fly. At the close of each day, I fall into bed so very exhausted. But, the Lord! He’s so faithful and constant and near. As difficult and full as each day is, I’m thankful for His presence and strength. You can pray that our family would keep our eyes solely on our Jesus as we make our way through each day.
Enjoy some pictures of this past month in the DR!
This section of the school building has reached 3 stories! Scaffolding gone – looks pretty impressive!
More footers and subwalls for new classrooms. God’s provision!
Scott continues with music class!
Noah loves that his dad gets to spend a little part of the day with him. Enjoying class with Sebastian.
Leyton and Cristofer are buddies!
Our Accelerate! program continues – Desiree helping her students read through Spanish syllables.
Two shipping containers arrived with more tools and supplies to continue the ministry!
Airport run! We decided to take the back route through the bateyes. When we were unsure of where to turn, we just asked people along the way if we were headed in the right direction! Who needs maps?!
This little one-year-old is developing quite the personality.
During our down week, we were able to work on some house projects. Thanks to Gabe for helping make loft beds for the boys!
Leyton continues growing. Trying to take advantage of Tuesday and Thursday mornings with this big man.
Someone forgot to close the bathroom door one afternoon. We heard splashing and found Caleigh enjoying a new place to play! Bathtime ensued (immediately after the picture). Always an adventure…