by Rachel Sawyer
NEVER live like you are too old, too young, too (fill in the blank) to do the Lord's work. Joy J. doesn't! A 10 year old from Arkansas, Joy created a ministry called "Art from the Heart" in 2014 in which she raises funds, collects art supplies and ships them around the world to children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to do art in their homes. Makarios kids are SO HAPPY that Joy didn't let her youth prevent her from her mission - to share art everywhere, especially in impoverished and war stricken areas!
Over the summer months, art packs were shipped to the Makarios Austin office and then packed into suitcases for several of our mission teams to bring over (shipping is $$$$!). Last month, the Art from the Heart packs were distributed, and let these happy faces tell the rest of the story . . . .
Here is our unpolished yet very heartfelt thank you from some of the younger Makarios students from the community of Chichigua - with a little help and coaching from Makarios principal Laurie Majcher.
Thank you, Joy J., Art From the Heart, and all those that partnered to send art supplies to Makarios kids in the Dominican Republic! We know you are just getting started and we have been blessed to be on the receiving end of such kindness!
If you are as touched as we are by this ministry, visit Art from the Heart of Joy on their facebook page and send them some encouragement, consider partnering with them or contact them about other mission organizations that you may know that would like to have their students blessed. Thanks for your heart, Joy!
By Emily Spencer, Austin Intern
Let’s just start off by saying that my experience here in the Makarios office has
absolutely exceeded my wildest expectations in the best way possible.
Have you ever had an idea of what something would be like only to realize you couldn’t
be more wrong?
Well, I certainly have and this experience was one of them.
Nonprofit organizations seem to be everywhere and appear as though they are all seeking
to combat and alleviated the same negative conditions this world holds. Ignorantly
enough, I made the mistake of assuming the hearts of the people behind each of these
organizations were generally all the same as well.
This summer I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the height, the depth, the width,
and the length of the love being pouring out on the children of the Dominican Republic
through the work being done by the staff behind the scenes at Makarios. They serve
Makarios as unto the Lord with open hearts fully abandoned to the greatest call Jesus
gave His followers before He went to be with His Father, “Go and make disciples of all
The purity of heart and the integrity in which they perform their roles in the
office seeps into every crack and crevasse of the organization as a whole. I am honored to
serve alongside these courageous men and women who have surrendered to the Lord by
laying down the opinions of man and the standards for which the world calls us to live.
We are God’s instruments, created for His glory, made in the image and likeness of Him
causing us to believe we were made for so much more than what we can fathom on our
own. Makarios has welcomed the voice of God into their daily work to give them the
direction, wisdom, and guidance they need in order to move them forward as a family.
They acknowledge that we as God’s people must walk by faith and not by sight as we
live each day clinging to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Here in the office, reaching out a hand to the ‘least of these’ looks like administrative
details, a list of things to do, making phone calls, filing papers, and scheduling trips. This
may not seem like the frontlines of the mission field but here at Makarios it is declared
worthy and considered an honorary role given by the Lord who is well pleased with ALL
the work being doing for His glory. As today is called today, we as the children of God,
must choose to make His name great in every aspect of our lives no matter how big or
small we might think they seem.
Our interns are AWESOME! Interested in becoming a Makarios intern either in the Austin office or in the D.R.? Click Here.
by Richie Sparling, Outreach Coordinator
Photos by Rachel Sawyer
It has been almost 8 years ago that I prepared for the first time to speak in front of a group of people in connection with my job. Those people were Junior Highers and I was the newly hired JH Youth Pastor. The nervousness of that night was unique. I was not a very polished public speaker, but with time and practice I would eventually find a rhythm and comfort in front of people. I guess more than anything else, the newness of it all and my desire that it would be good; a good night, a good message, a good beginning to my new phase of life, weighed heavily on my shoulders and I could feel that pit in my stomach that you get only when you are nervous about something really important to you.
Fast-forward to the present and the feeling that I haven't experienced in 8 years is welling up inside of me, reminding me of that first message so long ago. Things have certainly changed; one area in particular is that I can now stand in front of a group of people to deliver a message without my hands shaking. Public speaking no longer makes me nervous, but yet I'm nervous. Nervous because of the desire to have this night go well. It's not just that I poured time and energy into this meeting, or that responsibility falls on my shoulders, but that the meeting is the beginning of something so crucial to our ministry in the Dominican Republic: empowering and partnering with the parents of our students for their children's future.
My challenge to the parents for the night is three-fold:
1. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3) and are to be protected (Matt 18:6).
2. The Parent has the primary role in the development of their child (Prov 22:6; 29:15).
3. These Parents are not alone: there is a community around them to support them including Makarios and the local church.
My final challenge to them was that statistics demonstrate that parents who are involved in their child's education, specifically at home, are more successful, and that the number one influence in a child's spiritual life is spiritual conversations in the home. What this means for these parents is that they need to not just embrace the help given to them but own it! Get involved in their child's education and know what's being taught. Not just place them in a place to be spiritually challenged but to model that in their own lives!
I could sense that these words were having an impact on the audience. The Holy Spirit was working in the hearts of the parents. The impact was evident in their response. I invited each of them to visit the classrooms of their children, talk with the teachers, discover what they are learning and what they can be doing in the home. I asked them to lead the charge of change in their children's lives and they jumped to it! Their are not words to describe the emotions of seeing parents grilling teachers on what's happing in the classroom, of seeing our teachers having prepared and welcoming these parents into the classroom and more importantly into the partnership of educating.
It has been an amazing beginning, but at this point that is all that it is: a beginning. The first step has been taken in creating regular parent trainings, now it's time to faithfully work that the Lord may use our efforts to his glory and that the families of the students of Makarios are complete in Jesus Christ. Please pray for the work as it continues.
Have a heart for outreach? Join us in empowering families in our local communities by supporting our outreach efforts by giving towards outreach. Click here , select "General Fund" and put "outreach" in the notes. Gracias!
What is your favorite resource for parent training? Leave a comment!
Enjoy a little peak into the first day of school this year! The Makarios family is excited to begin a new school year! Behold our 5th, 6th and 7th graders in their pristine Adonai uniforms (the partner school where we are sending these grades to while we work on getting our Dominican school code). We know you will be as captivated as we are by the cute characters we have been entrusted with this year.
Thank you to Richie Sparling, Outreach Coordinator, for capturing the photos and videos for this snapshot into Day 1, 2015.
If you are intersted in sponsoring one of the Makarios students still in need of a sponsor, click here.
by Rachel Sawyer
From my observation, teaching a bunch of 3 year olds is like herding kittens. Just when you manage to get them all in a huddle, or a line, one or two run off. Profe Gabrielle and Profe Gloria (along with our other Makarios teachers) need to be recommended for some sort of amazing prize, medal, reward, certificate. Something. They don't do what they do for the prize or the recognition, but a standing ovation might be nice every once and a while! Certainly they will have lots of jewels on their crowns in heaven! The patience level of teachers anywhere is something to be marvled at, but Makarios teachers take it up a notch.
It's the end of a school year and the children have made a lot of progress. Water is a big deal. Playing in water is a luxury that most don't have the opportunity to enjoy. So to celebrate the end of the year, the Pre K 3 class had a water day at the Makarios house. What a sight to behold . . .
They embraced the water with WILD abandon!
From the pool to the slip-n-slide to the popsicle treats, they had a BLAST!
Cuteness + el agua = Good times!
by Miranda Wauson
Pancho Mateo is a small batey that sits on the banks of the Camu river. Looking at a map of the Dominican Republic’s North Coast, you won’t find this ‘city’ of around 5,000. Bateys were initially started as camps and living quarters for Haitian sugar cane field workers. They eventually grew into communities of permanent residents, and in some cases came to include Dominicans, as is the case in Pancho Mateo. The village struggles with the same infrastructural difficulties that plague the Dominican Republic: unstable electricity and long blackouts, clean water shortages, and high unemployment.
In 2005, Makarios entered the village of Pancho Mateo, with the goal of impacting local kids through education and a message of hope in Christ. Classes were offered in a small house in the middle of the village, and a 12 year old boy named Francis “Cakito” Batista began to attend. That decision that would affect his life both as a youth and as an adult, leading him to eventually come on staff with Makarios full time. Now 22 years old, Cakito serves as Makarios chaplain and primary disciplinarian. Reflecting on the changes he has seen in Pancho Mateo over the years, he sees progress and hope.
“Education has made the neighborhood better,” he says. “There are more opportunities, and because of the efforts of Makarios parents feel more committed to their kids. There is someone holding them accountable.”
Cakito has dreams for the future of Pancho Mateo. “Right now there are a lot of people sitting around doing nothing. I want people to live believing there is hope. Especially teenagers, knowing they can go to university, have different jobs, have a career.”
Though Makarios eventually moved to a larger property across the river in Tamarindo, the ministry continues to serve the community of Pancho by employing teachers and serving more than 50 students enrolled in Colegio Makarios. Cakito is actively involved in his community, working with the New Life Christian Church, heading up a basketball league for local youth, and running a summer soccer camp. Each of his jobs provide ample opportunity to share a message of hope in the midst of suffering.
“Living so close together, there are conflicts. In spite of that, I am able to preach the gospel not just with words, but with actions. We feel like a family, and it’s evident when you walk down the street. People here love you and make you feel special, even though you are broken. You don’t have to be rich or important to be loved, you just have to be yourself.”
A Peek Into Makarios' Austin Office
Those sweet, smiling faces in the pictures that melt your heart- talk about daily motivation. In our Austin office, the walls are covered with beautiful reminders (thank you Esther Havens) of why we do what we do, and why we do it to the best of our ability. While our school is in the Dominican Republic along with our teachers, students, and staff members, a few of us work and live in Austin. We strive to invite as many people as possible into the ministry that is Makarios. The DR staff and the Austin staff may be miles apart, but we are family. We work together in casting vision, and in making that vision a reality.
In the Austin office, you will find people planning mission trips, booking flights, buying insurance for travelers, interviewing potential staff, launching fundraising campaigns, collaborating with interns, guiding missionaries who are fundraising, keeping finances in order, Skyping with DR staff leaders (sometimes a hilariously broken connection), recruiting teachers, and meeting with people who are interested in serving with Makarios. We get to offer churches an opportunity to serve towards something we deeply believe in, and be the bridge between communities in the United States and communities in the Dominican Republic. We are here in part to maintain those relationships and communicate the resource needs of the DR as well as the relational needs. It’s a life-giving and chaotic environment full of collaboration and respect. We encourage each other, pray over each other, serve each other, laugh together, and challenge one another to grow. It’s messy at times. Life usually is. Many issues come up that make us look around and realize that none of us have the answer. Praise God for those moments, where we recognize our desperation for God, and the urgency to lean into Him for all decisions. This desperation is a call to humility. Humility does not produce boundaries, but is a reminder that we serve a limitless God- humility allows us to dream big and set big goals. After all, we have seen Makarios flourish over the years by the grace of God, and because of people’s willingness to be obedient.
It is an honor to serve an organization that cares so intentionally for people. To know that our kids have opportunities they may never have had without a conviction followed by obedience. Lives are being changed, education offered, and we are all invited to be part of it!
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Yet, some of us read the word ‘go’ and our hearts drop. We don’t feel encouraged, but we should. We feel like we are lacking in purpose- but we shouldn’t. We ask ourselves: what do we do when we’re not ‘called to the nations’ right now?
Two things have been made very clear since joining the Makarios family:
1. No job is too small. We are all parts of the same body, working together interdependently. This is true both in the office, and in the broader organization. If dishes need to be washed, we wash them. If a card needs to be mailed, we mail it. If a fundraising campaign needs to be launched, we will launch it. Any and all of these tasks can become the responsibility of an intern, a trip planner, or the executive director himself. This mentality becomes essential in cultivating a culture of service. Every task we complete, is in the service of someone whether they are sitting next to us or across the ocean. In the Austin office, we have the privilege of knowing that on the receiving end of our work, there are missionaries in the Dominican Republic who are able to better focus on what they have been called to do. It’s not a lack of purpose, it’s just a different one.
2. You have to be where you are. We have to look around and recognize that while we are serving people through our work, there’s a reason we are not serving alongside our DR staff. We have community here, and the second we think about all the things we could be doing abroad, is the second we cease to be present. We look around for who to serve and how to love. Sometimes that means making friends with the homeless man walking into the office. Sometimes it means initiating “Taco Truck Tuesday” and inviting friends to support Maria in her taco stand. The important thing is not how far we extend geographically, but how far we extend relationally.
The truth is that whether any of us have been overseas before or not, we are working in this particular office for a reason. We have to accept peace in the fact that we have not been ‘called to the nations’ in this particular season of our lives. We are, however, called to Jesus.
No matter where we are, our mission is clear: we are to love, educate, and empower.
by Rachel Sawyer
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27
Spoon cannons were created, imitations were presented, balloons were tossed over the MAK house and caught with sheets, an amazing speaker brought the word, ministering happened, the Lord was worshipped in multiple languages, island excursions were filled with laughter, wrestling, water sliding, and sea creature shows, a vision was cast and mission statement revisited.
Once a year the Makarios staff enjoy a funfilled, action packed, worshipful time of fellowship at a staff retreat which refuels, renews and re-energizes us as we love, learn and serve the Lord together. This is an important part of healthy maintanence of the body of staff that are serving with Makarios. These times of silliness and seriousness of worshipping and waling (with laughter usually) are like a unifying glue that bind us together and helps us in part to remember why we are here when the times are tough.
The DNA of Makarios is the GOSPEL. And to that end, we love, encourage, pray and challenge one another. AND, sometimes people get thrown into the ocean. Lots of people - of the male species.
We had such a great time together and we missed our staff that were not with us (shout out to the Majcher family who is in the states training and fundraising!) Though Laurie Majchercita did make an appearance.
Retreat allows us to worship together, pray together, play together, enjoy together and to see and appreciate all the different gifts that the Lord has given us as a staff. It helps us to remember that we aren't just body parts, but that we are part of the body of Christ that the Lord has assembled for this time. HE is good.
Guest Blog by Jacob Jordan
This past January, I had the opportunity to partner with Makarios in a week long mission trip in which
we sought to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to the families of Montellano, Dominican
Republic (DR). While we served Makarios in many ways, leading a Vacation Bible School at the local church
and providing physical labor at the Makarios School, this was not what impacted me most. What impacted me
most was the servants’ hearts in which the Makarios staff served their communities.
When I first signed up to go on this trip, I expected to encounter an impoverished people in need of
physical and spiritual healing. What I did not expect to find was a group of people so full of God’s love that they
had no choice but to pour it out onto those around them. From day 1, it was clear that the staff of Makarios was
a group of men and women who truly sought to serve the Lord with all of their being. Their impact was evident
not just within their communities but within myself as well. As I witnessed their genuine unabashed love of
Jesus wash over the people, it became clear to me that my own heart was not in the right place. So often, I had
viewed my work for God as an obligation, something to be done out of duty or burden. This attitude had
pervaded its way into every corner of life, from school work to relationships with friends and family. Using the
Makarios staff, the Lord quickly convicted me of this and softened my heart to the needs of those around me,
making it a true joy to serve.
One example in particular that I can remember in which a Makarios staff member acted out of love was
during our Vacation Bible School camp in the village of Tamarindo. Before camp had started, we were asked to
walk the streets with a Mak staff member and invite families out to the camp. I, along with a couple others,
joined camp coordinator Tomy Alcantara. We continued from house to house inviting children to church until we
reached a man selling supplies out of small shop. Tomy engaged with the man for several minutes before we
left the building. Afterwards, I asked him what he had said. He told me that the Lord had blessed him with a
great opportunity to serve. The man he spoke with leads a small boys’ soccer team and had been looking for a
spiritual leader to lead the boys in truth and guidance. Tomy immediately jumped onto the opportunity, and
agreed to meet with them at their next practice. That day Tomy showed me that one man’s willingness to live in
submission to God can bring truth and love to whole team of boys, the impact of which will never be fully
While the people of Makarios are in need of grace themselves, it is clear to me that they have been
made new in the image of God, washed clean by the blood of Christ, and given their entire beings to the
service of Christ’s kingdom. The love they work with is contagious and continues to affect both myself and the
Dominican community in untold ways. I pray that Makarios continues to find hope and strength in Jesus, relying
on Him when the task ahead seems too much and praising His name when He unveils the fruit of our labor. It is
through Christ that all things are possible.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a
clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and
if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have,
and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3
Recently, we had to say good-bye to one of our close friends and co-worker, Chelsea Frazier, as she is going on to focus on her new family of 3 (#davystrong) and other endeavors that the Lord is calling her to. Her dedication and work ethic is as inspiring as her faith and passion for Jesus. We are thankful and blessed by the work and energy she put into this ministry.
Chelsea, you mean so much to us and have blessed all of our lives immensely. Here are some words from the Mak family.