Hello, friends! I’m faced with the attempt to summarize our 2020 global mission efforts in a world turned upside down……. may you truly feel our thanks radiating off the page as you read!
We are so encouraged by your support of our trip, virtual events, and campaigns during 2020. In addition, our Board of Directors completed a Strategic Planning process and will continue to think creatively about serving remotely until we are able to return to Sosua with a team. Your prayers are a priceless component of that encouragement- prayers for a return to health and peace for the planet, and wisdom for Sisters Village regarding our future — on-the-ground or from the US.
We are participating in #GivingTuesday again this year. Watch for more details for “Coffee from the Caribbean” on Dec 1st at 8:00 am. Join us for for an update from Ángelica Castillo, from her physical therapy office. Door prizes and incentives for bringing a friend! Please enjoy these pictures along with our deep gratitude. Dios te bendiga! #Godsloveinaction
Hello, friends! Hard to believe it is October already; and, that it has been 7 months since we were in Sosua. The challenge of 2020 has stretched each of us…… and has caused me personally, and our Board, to reflect on our image as a non-profit. As an organization, we have had tough conversations, more questions than answers…. I imagine you can relate. The future is unclear regarding our on-the-ground presence in the Dominican Republic; what is overwhelmingly obvious, however, is the tremendous difference each of you has been as a supporter of Sisters Village here in the US. Regardless of how soon a group of us are able to serve in person again, we will continue to “connect with and empower" our friends through remote support and communication. (More on that later!) Instead of my voice telling the story of our March 2020 team, I am thrilled to post a “guest blog” which comes from Mark and Linda, longtime friends, who composed this after their 2nd Sisters Village experience. It was edited (slightly) from a letter they sent to their friends and family who donated funds and/or supplies. Thanks in advance for your time on this “virtual mission trip”. Dios te bendiga!
"Our team of 11 included 2 physical therapists, a nurse practitioner, 2 RN’s, an anatomy professor, a health educator, and 4 “all-in” awesome folks with big hearts. 💜 Our projects for the week included three medical clinics, human body/anatomy art projects, age-appropriate reproductive health lessons (5th-12th graders), baby wellness check-ups with proud new mothers, and a new project this year, a dental health lesson followed by tooth brushing and dental fluoride sealant applications. This was an interesting, “all-hands-on-deck” approach. This is a chronic issue in the DR as fluoridated water is not available. Each student received a toothbrush and toothpaste to take home, thanks to your generous donations.
We held three medical clinics in different communities with anywhere from 55-62 patients (very young to very old ). Dominican Republic doctors joined us at each of those locations. Haleigh (in collaboration with a translator) was our intake nurse, asking each person about their immediate health concerns. Vital signs and weights were taken, fingers were stuck for glucose monitoring, and they were seen by a nurse practitioner or doctor. Prescriptions were filled by “pharmacist” Laura and directions conveyed to the patient by Heather (a nurse practitioner who works with New Missions and is fluent in Spanish). We saw several people with diabetes, high blood pressure, contagious skin disorders, allergies, and general malaise. Our “waiting room” consisted of several rows of chairs and we were amazed by the patience of the people, especially the young ones.
One of the highlights of the week was a meeting between team members and their New Missions sponsored children. We met the kids at one of the schools, took a bus ride to the local beach for some games, and then enjoyed ice cream before returning to the school. It was so wonderful to see our 10-year old Danika and learn more about her and her family! She likes to cook rice and red beans. Laura and Haleigh decided to sponsor a child during our week as well! Sponsorship helps support the cost of uniforms, books, and school equipment at their New Missions school.
We attended three worship services: one English (for local missionaries, their families, incoming mission teams, and ex-pats) and two Spanish services. The Spanish services were very moving. While we couldn’t understand what was being said or sung, the devotion to prayer, spirit of gratitude, joyful singing, and a collective love of Christ was obvious and inspiring. In a culture of want and need, they rejoiced in whose arms they are held.
As always on such trips, one questions how much of a difference you made. It reminds me of the following story or parable: “One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir.” The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?” The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!” Our impulse is to measure success in some quantifiable form. In these circumstances, a simple “ministry of presence” is a powerful witness to students and staff when we come to serve in Sosua as Christ’s servants of hope, joy, peace, and comfort. As our bus driver, Freddy, told us one evening after dinner, 'we are angels from God.' This trip has blessed each of us in unique and powerful ways and we are so grateful for your partnership."
Thanks to Mark and Linda for their wonderful words and dedicated hearts for Sisters Village! I wish there was a concrete way to express how incredibly grateful we are for every one of our supporters at every level of involvement. Please know that our friends in the DR have felt your love and encouragement in the form of food, medical care and shoes for their children. Please share our information with your circle of caring friends and help us continue to demonstrate "God's love in action"!
If you feel called, a donation of any amount this fall will go towards providing essential health needs for pregnant women and new babies (food, prenatal vitamins, baby items and health center supplies, such as gloves, blood pressure cuffs, etc). Check out the slide show below for details. Thanks again for all you do as part of our community!
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!
First Trip to the DR 2008
Barb Settles Huge - Founder and President
Dan Huge- Advisory Council Chair