Gummel Wedding – 12/13/14

12/13/14 was a great day … thank you Jonathan & CeCe for allowing me to photograph your special day. I had such a fun time, I hope you enjoy this sneak peek.

 

A little Black & White

I’m a huge fan of black & white! WOW, I just thought about how long I’ve been shooting with B&W film and it’s been more than 30 years! Since I’ve embraced shooting digital, I’ve lost some of the skill of shooting in B&W. That makes me sad! I really enjoy(ed) the process of seeing (visualizing) what the image would look like in B&W and then shooting.

This November I’ve had a little project where I change the color mode to monochrome in my DSLR camera and shoot in black & white. It’s been so much fun! It’s been fun again visualizing (seeing) in B&W!

Here is an image I saw and thought would look interesting in black & white.

 
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I’ll post some more soon.

Ciccarello Wedding – A Sneak Peek

I’m excited to share a sneak peak of Anthony & Bekah’s wedding. They could not have asked for a better day to have a wedding, it was fantastic. You could see their attention to detail throughout the whole wedding day from beginning to end.

 

Anthony & Bekah, thank you for allowing me to photograph your big day, I had a great time.

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Ciccarello Wedding 0281 Ciccarello Wedding 0277 Ciccarello Wedding 0200

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Ciccarello Wedding 0327 Ciccarello Wedding 0605 Ciccarello Wedding 0633 AB wedding N 0941

AB wedding C 0753 AB wedding C 0720 Ciccarello Wedding 0640 Ciccarello Wedding 0652 Ciccarello Wedding 0656 AB wedding N 1005 AB wedding N 0996

Saturday – A mountain top experience, a surprise birthday & Roof Time

Saturday was full of adventure and team bonding.

We started our day early in the morning with a long drive to the middle of no where and ended at Spirt Mountain Organic Coffee Farm. The drive took us to Jarabacoa and then up a mountain to the coffee farm, nearly a four hour drive from Puerto Plata.

We were given a tour of the coffee farm, we learned about the process of growing a coffee plant, harvesting the fruit and then processing the bean. The day was fascinating.

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One of several building on the mountain where the coffee is processed.

One of several building on the mountain where the coffee is processed.

David is the farm manager at Spirit Mountain coffee farm.

David is the farm manager at Spirit Mountain coffee farm.

Through English translation, David explained how he would grow a variety of coffee plants in the nursery and then would later replant them on the mountainside.

Through English translation, David explained how he would grow a variety of coffee plants in the nursery and then would later replant them on the mountainside.

A bag of fruit (cherry or berry) of the coffee plant.

A bag of fruit (cherry or berry) of the coffee plant.

David holds seeds (beans) from the fruit of the plant.

David holds seeds (beans) from the fruit of the plant.

David had his dog by his side during the whole tour.

David had his dog by his side during the whole tour.

It was evident that David was a very talented & experienced coffee farmer.

It was evident that David was a very talented & experienced coffee farmer.

We had a home cooked meal at the farm and then quickly left the mountain with a storm approaching. There was a concern with the amount of rain and water coming off the mountain, possibly making for the drive off the mountain difficult. The drive ended well and we arrived safely back at the Mak House just in time for dinner.

After dinner, we surprised a young girl of a missionary family and celebrated her 9th birthday with singing happy birthday and giving her a birthday cake. She was so surprised and excited that we would do that for her. Before the family left, we took time to pray for the missionary couple and children.

Saturday was our last day in the Dominican Republic. Doug & Margaret our host couple were so kind and carrying for the team this week. We shared with them thanking them for such a great time in the DR and took the opportunity to pray for them as a team.

Back at the Mak House, we took time to say good bye to our hosts Doug & Margaret. We prayed for them and their ministry at Makarios.

Back at the Mak House, we took time to say good bye to our hosts Doug & Margaret. We prayed for them and their ministry at Makarios.

The team ended the night with Roof Time, something we would do every evening this week to close out the day. Brian asked everyone to share a take away, a blessing and an encouragement. It was a fun time by all.

Sunday morning we will get up, have breakfast, go to Church, return to the Mak House one last time to eat a quick lunch, get our luggage and drive to the airport to fly HOME! Pray for our morning with many new Dominican friends (saying goodbye will be hard) and our safe travels back to the States.

Friday, 12 gallons of paint, a basketball & 8 machetes

Friday was a great day!

In the morning I went to Makarios and took pictures of all the buildings for the school. While I was there I took a group picture of all the students and staff. It was a fun time.

The Makarios children & staff.

The Makarios children & staff.

Yesterday we took part in a short work project in the village of Pancho Mateo. Today we went back to Pancho Mateo and we spent most of the day painting the walls of the basketball court and spending time with the children. The opportunity was so unique, as we (believers in Christ) were able to come alongside one another to work for something bigger than ourselves. The sun was hot with very little shade but the afternoon passed quickly as we attempted to multitask, painting with multiple children climbing on and playing with the students.

Group picture in Pancho Mateo before our day of painting.

Group picture in Pancho Mateo before our day of painting.

ALL the kids loved Chad and wanted to be around him every moment.

ALL the kids loved Chad and wanted to be around him every moment.

You can see the girls playing with the children on the court ... while Chad is a human ladder for Cakito in the distance.

You can see the girls playing with the children on the court … while Chad is a human ladder for Cakito in the distance.

The kids both young and old wanted to help in every way and painted alongside the team members.

The kids both young and old wanted to help in every way and painted alongside the team members.

A lot of work going on & a lot being accomplished.

A lot of work going on & a lot being accomplished.

On our drive back to the Mak House, we drove by the river. It was interesting to see men in the water catching fish in the river.

On our drive back to the Mak House, we drove by the river. It was interesting to see men in the water catching fish in the river.

We returned to the Mak House later in the afternoon and had a well needed rest & cleaned up before returning back to the village of Pancho Mateo in the early evening. While the day was physically exhausting, we were so blessed to see a small outcome of our work project that evening. Because of the newly painted basketball court, Cakito the Makarios chaplain planned one of his frequent community outreaches. Seeing the village come alive because of the project we spent so many hours on, made every soaked piece of clothing worth it. The students made memories that will last a life time, and the goodbyes were hard to say.

During the community outreach, we played the knock-out game on the newly painted basketball court and everybody played. It was a great time.

During the community outreach, we played the knock-out game on the newly painted basketball court and everybody played. It was a great time.

The team sang How Great is our God in Spanish, we were a hit.

The team sang How Great is our God in Spanish, we were a hit.

Carissa, Cassie and Steve had the opportunity to share their testimony to those that came to the community outreach.

Carissa, Cassie and Steve had the opportunity to share their testimony to those that came to the community outreach.

We had to take another group picture in front of the newly painted Pancho Mateo wall with many of the children that helped throughout the day.

We had to take another group picture in front of the newly painted Pancho Mateo wall with many of the children that helped throughout the day.

Cakito had been wanting and planning this project for more than a year. He was so happy to see the project happen.

Cakito had been wanting and planning this project for more than a year. He was so happy to see the project happen.

Darren & Becky Young and their 2 girls are a missionary family who work at Makarios and graduated from Cedarville back in the 90’s. They had dinner with us back at the Mak House and shared their story of how they are in the DR. They have a great story! Their passion and willingness to spread the gospel across the world was an encouragement to the students.

“In all the day was very sunny and very happy and mostly just rewarding! Community is so evident here and it becomes more obvious with everyday we end together, drinking coffee and laughing at the day’s events-especially our failed attempts at speaking Spanish.” Charlotte

Darren, Jenna, Audry and Becky.

Darren, Jenna, Audry and Becky.

At the Mak House, there are 2 men (Miguel & Josue) that rotate each evening and watch the grounds during the night. The crazy thing is that they walk around with a machete. While we were out at lunch today many of the team members wanted to buy a machete. The students & Brian wanted to get a picture with Miguel.

The machete gang with Miguel. No safety concerns tonight.

The machete gang with Miguel. No safety concerns tonight.

We are so excited for tomorrow when we get to drive through the country to see the coffee farm that helps support the ministry of Makarios we have grown to love so much.

Thursday, recess, a village walk & a salon

Thursday was a full day. In the morning we spent time with the children at Makarios during all the recess times. We had lunch again at lunch at El Riconsito Anyuli and in the afternoon we went to Pancho Mateo, a village where many of the Makarios children live.

In this blog I asked any of the team members to share a highlight from today …

 

Team picture with a group of pre-K children after recess.

Team picture with a group of pre-K children after recess.

Heather – “Spending time at the school is the most exhausting but the most FUN part of this trip. Makarios is big and yellow and happy and full of kids who just want to be loved. They run up to you, just asking to be up on your shoulders. They don’t know us, we don’t know them, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The kids are incredible and you can’t leave them without a smile!”

 

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Lexi – “Yesterday I met a little girl in Chichigua named Elisabel. We spent an hour playing and laughing in the dirt, loving our time together. Seeing her home and her lifestyle, my heart was so burdened for her and for her future. Today I got to see Elisabel again, this time at Makarios, and I got a glimpse of her future. She is happy and thriving. She is learning and being loved. Every day her teachers are pouring into her life. I was so encouraged by how God is blessing Elisabel and raising her up to be a leader in her community. Elisabel’s story reminded me that God’s plans for us are perfect, and his love for us cannot be limited by earthly obstacles.”

Cakito is the Makarios chaplain.  Several of the team members took part in chapel with the children.

Cakito is the Makarios chaplain. Several of the team members took part in chapel with the children.

Jesse – “The children here remind me so incredibly much of the kids I work with in Inner City Springfield. They just want to be loved, known, and cared for. This whole trip is helping me understand that we are all truly one in Christ. We are all people made by God in His image — being cross-culture helps me see that in a way I couldn’t before. Blessings & peace & love.”

All smiles with Jesse & the children during recess.

All smiles with Jesse & the children during recess.

Many of the team members spending time with the children during their recess.

Many of the team members spending time with the children during their recess.

Darrin is the Makarios nurse & CU grad.

Darren is the Makarios doctor & a CU grad.

After a full action packed morning at Makarios with the children, we went to Pancho Mateo where many of the children at Makarios live.  We took a walk around the village.

After a full action packed morning at Makarios with the children, we went to Pancho Mateo where many of the children at Makarios live. We took a walk around the village.

 

Chad – “I really did not know what to expect in coming on this missions trip. What I definitely was not ready to accept was the sheer amount of joy that we have encountered. These precious kiddos speak no English and I speak very little Spanish, but the language barrier has yet to have an effect on interacting with these little bundles of happiness, who never seem to want to stop loving on us. I came on this trip thinking I might “make a change in the Dominican,” when in reality I am learning so much more from these people than I could have ever imagined.”

Cassie- “Today we got to spend time and energy pouring into the students. I spent some time talking to two of the older missionary kids. I got to see bits of their hearts and show them pieces of mine. Being an MK is not the easiest thing but they have an amazing attitude about it all and a spirit of adventure. They have blessed me more then they could know.”

Charlotte – “Today was numero tres in the Dominican (thats day three, for you non-Spanish speakers)- AND IT WAS BY FAR MY FAVORITE. We were at the school all morning and the joy and playfulness of the kids was contagious. The most impactful conversation however came from a young teacher at Makarios. The passion i saw in her was so evident and she challenged me with her willingness to help in all circumstances. She was basically the bomb.”

After our walk around the village, we spent some time cleaning up the area basketball court and played around with the children.

After our walk around the village, we spent some time cleaning up the area basketball court and played around with the children.

 

Friday we will be spending the whole day in Pancho Mateo, we are excited to be spending time with the children in the village and participating in a work project. Please pray for our continued safety in the DR.

Wednesday, a school, a village & a barbed wire fence

Today was a full day!

Before breakfast we were introduced to the children at Makarios. At the Mak House, before every meal a child or two is prayed for, it’s a long standing tradition that the hosts ask all the short term mission teams to do.

We spent the morning at Makarios. We were told the story of Makarios and played with many of the children during their recess. In the afternoon after lunch, we went to Chichiqua, a village where several of the children at Makarios live. It was a great time for the team.

All the children at Makarios are represented on a wall at the Mak House.

All the children at Makarios are represented on a wall at the Mak House.

Praying for the children before breakfast.

Praying for the children before breakfast.

Steve having fun with one of the Makarios children during recess.

Steve having fun with one of the Makarios children during recess.

We took a short walk around the streets near Makarios.

We took a short walk around the streets near Makarios and observed everyday life.

Moto's are everywhere and the main form of transportation ... even to deliver doors from one location to another.

Moto’s are everywhere and the main form of transportation … even to deliver doors from one location to another.

Lunch at El Riconsito Anyuli near the school.

Lunch at El Riconsito Anyuli near the school.

Many people have specialties and Canelio Bara Dominguez cleans and does general repair of shoes.

Many people have specialties and Canelio Bara Dominguez cleans and does general repair of shoes.

In the village of Chichiqua, a little boy is getting his haircut.

In the village of Chichiqua, a little boy gets a haircut.

Lexi is getting her hair done by a young girl.

Lexi is getting her hair done by a young girl.

Casie and her new friend share their art work ...

Casie and her new friend share their art work …

We played soccer with the guys in Chichiqua. You can see the barbed wire fence in the background.

We played soccer with the guys in Chichiqua. You can see the barbed wire fence in the background.

Carissa & Casie played jump rope with several of the children in Chichiqua.

Carissa & Casie played jump rope with several of the children in Chichiqua.

A team picture before leaving Chichiqua.

A team picture before leaving Chichiqua.

In the evening to close out the day we had a team time up on the roof of the Mak House. The team members had an opportunity to share and Steve shared some thoughts that pretty much summed up how many were feeling after day like today. I asked Steve to share …

“Today was my first full day in the Dominican Republic, supporting the Makarios school. We had the opportunity to play with kids, to tour a school, and to get thoroughly destroyed in soccer ( Scott Huck has battle scars from some barbed wire on his legs to tell the story). But it felt to me more like I was a tourist than a missionary. I was only going around seeing things and playing with kids. What about DOING things? What about preaching the Gospel? What about working or building something? I saw many people who I felt could use help; who appeared to be in need. I couldn’t even speak to any of them, save a few fragmented sentences in Spanish. I felt like I wasn’t DOING enough.

But God has shown me something through this day. At some point, as I began to talk with others about how I felt, God slowed me down and reminded me of something: what the true “end” of life is. Life is not just about what we do. We can’t afford to find our identity in what we do. All of these people who appeared to be in need didn’t have ten meetings a day. They didn’t need to do anything to affirm themselves. They were content in what they had and in the relationships they had.

I began to slow down and think: what is our true goal? Surely it isn’t just in all of our “doing.” What does it matter that we have so many meetings in a day or type so many words or complete so many assignments or build so many buildings if God is not glorified? What do any of our temporary works matter if Christ is not preached?

Today I didn’t have much of a chance to preach, or to do. But I had a chance to be. I had a chance to share joy and play with kids, and that might write itself into their memories for a lifetime. That’s what it’s about. If I return to Cedarville and my life is simply about “doing” and I miss a chance to pour into the lives of the men I live with, I miss the point. If I preach a great sermon but fail to love someone God puts in my path, I miss the point. The point is to glorify and love God. Our ministries, jobs, and lives should all work towards that point.

Let us slow down and remember to love God and his people. Because that is the point. Let our ministries, jobs, and lives not be an end goal, but a means to complete our end goal of glorifying God by living exceptionally in all that we do.” Steve

We look forward to what God has in store for us on Thursday. Please pray with us that we will be the hands and feet of Christ.