It was an incredible privilege to host my dear friend for the first time since we met in 2008. After so many visits to her home country, this was a great opportunity to share new experiences. If you met Angelica during her visit, please share any reflections.
Thanks to our guest blogger--Demarise Abbett! Dios te bendiga!
During November 2019, a friend of Sisters Village from Sosua came to visit Indiana. She stayed for a week and shared with many people here, the work being done in her home country, the Domincan Republic. We sat in the kitchen of the Huge household, sipping tea. It was enlightening to sit across from Barb and Angelica. Barb is a family friend and mentor of mine and founder of Sisters Village. Angelica is a leader in her community as a physical therapist and director of a free health center. The two connected in 2008 on Barb’s first trip to Sosua.
As we sat and talked she shared with us bits and pieces of her journey. As a physical therapy student, upon meeting Barb, she sought out mentorship in the field. She described wanting a mentor because she knew there was more to learn outside of the classroom. She discussed what it is like in a third world country where not only is access to medical treatment limited for the people, but resources are also limited for the medical professionals there. When Barb visits, the two collaborate on workshops for the professional development of the native physical therapists there. The topics they have focused on so far are pregnancy, pelvic floor dysfunction, postural back pain, and bone health.
We talked about what motivates her as a physical therapist and a director of the health center. She said, “it works and it’s worth it”. She feels it is important to teach people about how to take care of their bodies because one’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit”. In her work she has the opportunity to help many families, specifically mothers and children. She said that when she is able to help, it “goes farther than the life of a child and it changes the family”.
We also discussed the role of education in her life. She talked about how for many Dominican women, the expectation is to possibly finish high school and get married. But she feels that it is okay to want more education in addition to getting married and having a family. She emphasized the importance of women learning together. This seems fitting because that is a core value for Sisters Village, the process of being able to learn together, “aprendemos juntos”. We strive to learn together across cultures and languages, from medical education and what our bodies need, to our faith and what our souls need.
Demarise J. Abbett
BA Marian University 2015
November 2019 Update!! Sewing Machine Purchase!!
(Slightly complicated post; clear evidence that God’s plan is better than mine! Hang in there as you read)
At our Silent Auction (May 2018) we had very generous donations towards the purchase of sewing machines in the DR. This small purchase can truly create an unending ripple of change and empowerment in the communities we serve. I am thrilled to report that a Sewing Machine is allowing 10 boys in a homeless shelter to attend school. Just imagine the future opportunities being opened up for these boys! Let me give you the back story about this process, which I couldn’t have predicted, and it was way beyond what I had in mind!
In 2008, Dan and I went to the Dominican Republic for our first mission trip. We were so blessed to meet John and Melissa Hanley, and their young daughter Kate, who were the on the ground missionaries for New Missions. They are a wonderful family, very dedicated servants and inspiring in their commitment to the people of the DR. They had a vision to open a children’s home, which God turned into reality for them. Their ministry has grown to serve homeless kids in a second location; this shelter is in the first town in Haiti once you cross the border from the DR. There is a marketplace on the border and boys as young as 11 come here to work, usually escaping abusive home situations. John and Melissa are able to provide employment for locals as they care for these young people. Their story is remarkable, please check out their website if you need some motivation! www.godleadsus.com
Next chapter: The house parent at the border location took a sewing course at a technical school when he started work at the shelter, showing great vision and initiative. Attending school in the DR and Haiti is impossible without a uniform, and a month ago John and Melissa shared that they were in need of a sewing machine. Sisters Village had money in that designated fund from our 2018 Silent Auction!! Jurgens, the house Dad, went to work quickly and made uniforms for 10 boys. Great picture here of 8 of those boys who started school in September! The potential for these young lives positively exploded from this series of events. The donors to the sewing machine fund received this information first, along with deep gratitude for trusting in Gods plan and provision for the donations. He knew those boys would be the recipients of that generosity….what a blessing!
Our 2020 team is deep in preparation and you can help us make a difference! We value your continued support in prayer, in sharing the story of Sisters Village and in donations of any amount. Stay tuned for more updates….Dios te bendiga! 💜💜💜
It’s been a very full 2 weeks since Sisters Village was truly “showered” with blessings…..so many new friends came out to support our Sisters in the Dominican Republic. We had a similar event in 2018, so our goals for this year set the bar higher….aiming for 35 participants to assemble 40 baby bundles (which not only bring joy, they also meet a tangible need for the new mothers we meet during our mission trips.)
Guess what????? We exceeded both of those goals….40 participants and 63 bundles made the 2019 Showers of Blessings a wonderful example of God’s abundance. Thanks so much to all who contributed in any way. Here are some pictures from our afternoon together. Deep gratitude for the hard work of our Board of Directors and volunteers; congratulations to Sandy Speer, Volunteer of the Year. Sandy designed our logo, sparked the creation of our no-sew baby blankets and has been a consistent encouraging presence since our founding.
Watch for a “Save the Date” for our mission team packing party and our supply wish list for the Feb 2020 trip. The team has begun conference/planning calls which will continue monthly. Most of all, your prayers are greatly appreciated. Know that all of you are in our prayers regularly. Dios te bendiga!
It is definitely summer here in Indiana and we are looking forward to our next service event. This year we are again collecting new baby items for our "shower" for the new Moms in the Dominican Republic. The date is July 28 at 2:30 at the Fishers library. Our goal for this year is 50 baby bundles which will be distributed by the mission team on our next trip. The picture above is from one of our Mom and Baby events in 2018. It is always a wonderful time of support, encouragement, and learning when we gather with our Sisters in Sosua.
Click the link below for details and to get registered! Dios te bendiga!
We had such a great afternoon, being creative and sharing the story of Sisters Village. Ten new Indiana “Sisters “ joined us, and our class was excellent thanks to my long time friend and artist, Diane Rahke (4th from the R in the back row).
We are eagerly looking forward to warmer weather here in Central Indiana! Blooming trees and flowers, birds chirping and beautiful sunshine all seem to make any day better. With that in mind, we are gathering to be creative while we share the story of Sisters Village. Please join us on March 17 in Fishers. Link below has all the details. ☀️💜🙏🏻😎Dios te bendiga!
In just a few days, our first Sisters Village team of 11 members will gather in Puerto Plata (on the north coast above). Many hours of preparation, conference calls, fundraising, packing of supplies and of course LOTS of texts and emails have brought us to this week. Stay tuned for updates or follow our trip on Instagram or Facebook (links below). We love to hear your comments, so we know you are with us in spirit! Specific prayer requests include unity for the team, willingness to let go of our American biases, safety and strength for each day and that we shine the light of God to all we meet on the trip. We are so appreciative of all our supporters....muchas gracias and Dios te bendiga!
Barb Settles Huge
Passionate about women's health, education and creating connection and opportunity. Physical therapist, faith-filled wife/mom/nana
Such a special day in Centro de Salud! Many of these “Sisters” were part of the pregnancy workshop in April. They were so excited to be together again, comparing notes on their babies, discussing post-partum challenges and offering encouragement to the pregnant attendees this time. All of us enjoyed some baby cuddling time as well!
One of the ongoing projects for Sisters Village is providing high quality prenatal vitamins and baby clothes for the local women. Also included in these gift bundles are artisan soap and lotion from Barnyard Creations, https://barnyardcreations.org/ , created by my longtime friend Cathy Konkler. (Cathy was part of the 2016 health team in Sosua.)
More to come in the next blog....still sorting through the almost 500 pictures of our week! Dios te bendiga!
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Doing some brainstorming lately regarding projects for our trip in November. There is so much need for health education in the communities we visit on the north coast. Topcs covered in the past include back care for parents of children with special needs and heart health for women. Future possibilities are truly endless: healthy eating, benefits of exercise, and managing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The added challenge in the Dominican Republic is limited access to a myriad of items that we completely take for granted. From food choices to clothing and shoes, the breadth of choices is slim in many areas. Unfortunately, one area of “progress” in the country is the availability of junk food....which of course has a big impact on the population. Changing attitudes and practices is slow (just like in the US), however, I have seen consistent interest in these educational programs over the years. I am optomistic that our friends in the DR have the willingness to make life better for future generations. Please comment below if you have creative suggestions that have worked in your family to improve health....Aprendemos Juntos!! (We learn together)
First Trip to the DR 2008
Barb Settles Huge - Founder and President
Dan Huge- Vice President