by Rachel Sawyer
Poverty is a robber of the basics: clean water, basic hygiene, hydration, etc. But God is the GIVER of life and truth, and He is a most excellent Provider. Once a year, Makarios welcomes a medical mission team that provides check-ups and care for Makarios students and their families as well as the staff and their families. At the end of October, a medical team of 6 from Maryland and Ohio, consisting of 2 providers, 2 nurses, and 2 techs, provided medical care in the form of well child checks and also identified other issues that needed to be treated (fungal infections, stomach problems, pneumonia.
This post is not just about people receiving the health care that they need but can't afford (which is a HUGE blessing!), but it is also about using the gifts that God gives us to glorify Him, AND about the spiritual return when spiritual investments are made! The last medical team captured the heart of these truths best in their own words:
Provider Julia Circle, who has served with Makarios on a medical mission team multiple times, says "God has blessed us all with our special and specific gifts. We all make the human body of Christ with all its required pieces (gifts) for a healthy life. Using our gifts, in whatever capacity, is the ultimate fulfillment of God's plan for our lives."
Providing health care to those who otherwise would not receive it is a privilege and goes beyond medical provision. Provider Jessica Wohl recalls that "I felt like I was able to help medically while connecting spiritually. It was an opportunity I hope to experience again and will most definitely never forget."
Once our teams hit the rocky, dusty ground in the D.R. in the communities where Makarios serves, they are met by genuineness and authenticity by our Dominican and Haitian families. Brittany Logan speaks about one of her most memorable moments saying "We were visiting Chichigua, and there was a lady that was so happy to see us and invited us in her home, and then invited us to church."
"A captivating moment I had was walking in Pancho Mateo. The people were so welcoming and gracious. There was a sense of pride as Francis (Cackito) showed us Makarios' first location and the village where he grew up. He spoke with such passion and love that it was a moment where I felt I was a part of something great. The children were also tiny blessings: holding hands, skipping and giggling with them through Pancho Mateo was another special moment," Jessica Wohl recalls the sense of divine purpose as part of the bigger picture she experienced during her moments serving with Makarios.
Amanda Mitchum reflects on what she took away from her time serving as part of a medical mission team, "One of the biggest things I will take with me from my trip to the DR is how appreciative a majority of the people we were able to treat were. It felt so refreshing to be surrounded by people who were grateful, caring, and respectful. If we could all learn to be nice to one another and to appreciate the people we are surrounded by, the world would be a much better place. Something that sounds so simple could have such a huge impact."
The medical team saw 240 patients in 4 days. And the need is always greater than the time and resources allow.
In the face of such overwhelming need, it could be easy to feel discouraged, but Nurse Dan Kallemyn thinks of it this way, "I guess the one big thing about ministering in a medical capacity is the need. It really reminds me of the story of the boy who was throwing starfish that had washed up on the shore back into the ocean - helping one at a time. It was important for me to keep that in mind throughout the week."
Perhaps one of the greatest blessings for those who return to serve again and again is the ability to see areas of impact over the long haul. "Each time I travel to the school, I feel God has a new lesson for me to learn. Each year my relationship with Him and the community grows. One blessing has been that each year I have become more comfortable in caring in a human capacity and not just as a medical provider. Luke 9:6 says "So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere." This year was a blessing and encouraging that I felt the "good news" was being told back to me . . . I could feel God's presence growing."
The Makarios staff, students and families would like to offer a huge high five to this last medical team that blessed our communities! Furthermore, we are utterly greatful to know that others can see the presence of God increasing in Makarios' areas of influence - thanks be to God who is the one that makes this happen and for the fact that He allows us to partner with Him in what He is doing!
If you would like to be a part of what the Lord is doing through meeting medical needs in our communities, there are several ways that you can help: fund a medical mission trip, come on a medical mission trip and/or give to the medical fund! Also, in the not so distant future Makarios will need a new Director of Health. If you know anyone who would be interested in serving in this capacity, please share this link with them and have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staying Healthy at Makarios:
Working in a one-room clinic in a school on the north coast in a poor area of the Dominican Republic is a big change from doing pediatric emergency medicine in a large urban hospital. I had been working in the ER for over 11 years when we were called to work full-time with Makarios. I had also done some adult ER and Family Practice before that. I am a Physician Assistant (PA-C) and my training makes me a great fit for this job. My family and I took our first medical trip to Makarios in 2007 and came back once a year, every year, until we came on full-time. We have been here for almost 2 years now. I would like to share a little about my work with Makarios.
My main responsibility is to provide health care to the students at the Makarios School (there are currently 140 kids). I also provide care to their families, the staff at the school and their families, and the clinic is open to walk-ins from the surrounding community. A normal day involves giving ADHD medication to one of our students, seeing acutely sick and injured kids, and walk in patients from the community. I also take phone calls and emails from other missionaries and ex-pats in the area. Sometimes I need to take patients to get labs and x-rays. Other times I need to go to the hospital to visit patients or even take people to the hospital. One of the students has HIV so I need to make sure he gets his medication and regular visits to an HIV clinic.
No two days are the same. In the clinic, I see normal illnesses that we see in the United States (ear infections, fevers, rashes, pneumonia, wheezing, lacerations, abscesses) but I also have to be aware of tropical diseases that are not in the States, for example: Dengue Fever, intestinal parasites, and most recently Chikungunya. I have some basic tests such as quick strep, urine pregnancy, urine dips, and blood sugars that I can do at the clinic but all other lab tests need to be done at a local lab. I spend time looking up medications that have been prescribed to my patients by other health care providers that we don’t have in the United States but are used in Latin and South America (all in Spanish, which is a challenge).
All of the care and medication that I provide is free of charge to everyone. I keep track of all of the heights and weights of the students to make sure they are growing. A lot of our students have been malnourished in the past and some are still struggling with being malnourished. Many patients that I see also have anemia. It is challenging to keep patients healthy if they aren’t getting the vitamins and nutrients that their bodies need and this makes them more susceptible to disease and chronic health issues. At the school we provide the students with both breakfast and lunch along with a multivitamin every day so this helps with their overall health. I also do some health education at the school where I emphasize good hand washing, staying hydrated, educate on how germs are spread, and making healthy choices.
As part of our ministry, we have teams come to the DR that range from five to six people up to forty-five people. With all of these people there are a fair amount of injuries and illness that I am responsible to provide care for. I also prepare the schedule and charts for medical and dental teams that visits once a year each. In the future my hope is to have a medical team visit every six months. If you would like to be involved in one of those trips please let us know. We also have a medical fund that people can give to so that we are able to purchase the needed tests and medications, please consider this opportunity. Click here to donate to the medical fund.
This job is challenging yet rewarding. My mission is to promote health to all that we serve. Not just physical health, but mental, emotional, intellectual, and most importantly spiritual health.
Darren Young, PA-C, MPAS
Makarios International Director of Health
by Darren Young, Makarios Director of Health
The other day, I bought a coffin for a patient who had died. I had never done this before, however, I was
able to serve the family by providing emotional support and praying with them. I know I serve Christ and
not man, but it’s hard when something like this happens. At only 52 years of age, this man was the
father of an extremely poor Haitian family living in the Dominican Republic. We have four of his six kids
in school at Makarios. This is why I serve.
As a medical missionary, I really admire the life of missionary doctor David Livingstone. He spent his life
in Africa, treating all sorts of diseases while preaching the good news of the gospel - his main purpose.
He is a true example of sacrifice and service for the greater cause. Yet, this is what he had to say
about his life:
“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa…Is that a
sacrifice which brings its own blest reward? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a
thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or
danger…All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for
us. I never made a sacrifice.”
How many Christians today could say that serving is a privilege? When my family left for the
Dominican Republic, people praised our “sacrifice” in leaving behind the comforts of the American
lifestyle. But I now know it truly is a privilege to be able to serve, and I try to have an eternal
perspective on our work.
It is easy to let our desires rule us or to lose focus of our priorities. Often, you may think, “I’m too busy
to serve,” or, “I don’t feel like serving.” It’s not about our feelings; it’s about being obedient to what our
Lord has called us to do. It is so easy to be involved in the business of our schedules that we forget
why we are doing what we are doing. Ask God what he wants you to do in the lives of others. Part of
service is figuring out what people truly need and being prepared to serve in a way that you may not
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing
that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Certainly our Father in heaven has a well-defined plan for each of His children, and the extent to which
that plan is found and followed determines how you will attain completeness and true greatness.
It truly is a privilege to serve. Remember the words of David Livingstone: “I never made a sacrifice.”
How Can I SERVE?
in your path. Make this an intentional habit that becomes part of your life. (Galatians 6:10)
Want to partner in the privilege of serving by providing resources to meet medical and health needs for our community? Click here to donate to the Makarios Medical Fund.
by Rachel Sawyer
One of our amazing Dominican staff, Miguel Arias Hernandez, a.k.a. Aldo, is a professional singer, and he wrote a song about Makarios. Our choir of staff have a great deal of fun performing this song for our incoming mission teams.
The Makarios Song by Miguel Arias
Dios Tu me has vendecido para ayudar a los demas / God, you have blessed me to be a great help to others
Jesus gracias por tu fidelidad quiero proclamarlo hoy / Jesus thank you for your faithfulness I want to proclaim it today
Y es que sabemos amar / This is how we know how to love
es que saberlo educar / This is how we know how to teach
con el amor de Jesus en nuetros corazones / With the love of Jesus in our hearts
Le damos gozo y alegria y educamos a los ninos to'lo dia / We give you joy and happiness and we teach the kids everyday
lo Makarios, lo Makarios / The Makarios, The Makarios
Mi senor me ario la puerta me dio el perdon y con su bondad se gano mi corazon su amor y sacrificio me hizo
libre y le dire al mundo entero que me Cristo vive . . HEY! / My Lord opened the door. He forgave me and with kindness He won my heart. His love and sacrifice set me free and I will tell the whole world that Christ lives. Hey!
Aldo is playing the box drum and his beautiful wife, Bella, is playing the guitar, and some of our amazing National staff: Yomo, Gloria, Marnelia, Genesis, Narolin, Katherine, Leandro, Junior, Belizeuer and Tommy are the joyous singers. Have I mentioned we're a singing bunch????.
If the Lord is putting a song in your heart to partner with our staff in what they are doing here on the ground in the D.R., please click here for more information on how to sponsor a teacher.
by Rachel Sawyer
Living in another culture is a tricky life in many ways. The fish bowl effect is in full force most of the time - not because we are spectacular, but because despite our best efforts most of us walk around with a strange unusualness, despite our best efforts to acclimate to our host culture and establish a "normalcy" within it. And living set apart - IN not OF the world - remains a challenge for all staff here, whether we are living in our passport country, like our Makarios National Staff, or outside of it, like the Makarios American missionaries.
In a real sense, all the staff at Makarios are missionaries, whether in or out of home country, wether raising funds or receiving a salary. Both groups have sacrificed, feel called to share the gospel, live to increase the kingdom and change the impoverished landscape by bringing the riches of a personal walk with Jesus front and center. Some days we do well at this, and some days we fail miserably - but every day our hearts beat with the sense that this world is not our home, with the urgency to share the goodnews with all these little faces and their families whom we adore that we've been entrusted with to walk alongside at Makarios.
Our amazing Art Teacher, Kelly Case, has a very significant tattoo on her calf, created from her mother's handwriting, after her mother unexpectedly left the earth for heaven back in April 2010. Permanently inked on her phyiscal body this reminder made real by her mother's death, has actually given Kelly multiple opportunities to speak to Makarios students and other locals about a heavenly home that awaits those who call Jesus their Savior.
Let Kelly's account of a recent special moment inked in time resonate in your spirit:
"I have one particularly curious student in my fifth grade art class and his curiosity developed over time. It started with, "Profe, what does your leg say?" and last Thursday developed into, "Were you sad when your mom died? How did she die?" Last Thursday that curious student played a very important role in a life changing, come to Jesus moment for his fellow classmate, Luigi. That student's question led to an honest response and a Spirit led opportunity to share the hope of the Gospel in a very personal way. The next thing I knew, Luigi was sobbing and we were praying in the supply closet. I am so thankful to have been able to witness such a powerful moment, and give all glory and praise to God. You never know when or how He will use a piece of your own testimony to share the hope of Jesus with another person."
At the request of inquisitive minds and hearts, Kelly met childlike questions carrying the weight of eternity with Christ like confidence in being able to share the reason for the hope that she has - which is the shared goal for all of the Makarios staff; that our lives, actions and conversations would ultimately lead our students to find that same hope in Christ Jesus.
Last week, through tears and hashing out of truth, Kelly was able to lead Luigi to his Savior, and now this world is not his home either! Hallelujah!
"14 For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.15 With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. 16 Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God." ~ Hebrews 13: 14 - 16
By Rachel Sawyer
"Shout joyfully to the world, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises." Psalm 98:4
The blogs this month are dedicated to celebrating the uniqueness and awesomeness of the Makarios staff that the Lord has assembled, and there is nothing more fitting to showcase one of these special qualities than pointing to the singing and praising to the Lord that comes out of the mouths, hearts, lives of our staff - and often through music.
We have some talented singers on our staff and also those who praise God with wild abandon - it's a beautiful thing! During the summer time, our mission groups had the opportunity to experience our choir of national staff praise the Lord through singing.
Some of our visiting soon- to- be -staff were given a warm "How are you?" this way . . .
There is a sincerity, a playfullness and a genuine love for the Lord among this staff. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we've all been rescued - and of course we're going to sing about it!
Another amazing thing about the staff is that most can praise the Lord in two languages, if not three or four!
Like the Makarios staff, we pray that you have a song in your heart for the Lord and that you are boldly sharing it with uninhibited gladness!
By Rachel Sawyer
If I do say so myself, there are MANY endearing qualities about the Makarios Staff as a whole and as individuals. This is a VERY SPECIAL group of people that the Lord has assembled, Dominicans, Haitians and Americans united by the love of Christ that makes us brothers and sisters and bondservants.
One of the things that I LOVE about this staff is how arrivals and departures of those coming to serve and headed home after serving are celebrated together - with posters and signs and music and prayers and sometimes tears. It is overwhelming, really, to be received with such joy and love by people that one doesn't really know . . . yet. Or, to be sent off with prayers for a new journey.
Doing life together on the field in community sometimes gets, well, messy and complicated. Sometimes we misunderstand, miscommunicate, and make mistakes, offering opportunities along the way to offer and receive grace from one another, as well as come alongside one another in ways that we likely did not forsee.
So, the everything in between part is filled with joys, sorrows, hardships, laughter, struggles, heartbrakes, prayers - only slightly more heightened because being on the field is like being under a magnifying glass in the blazing sun - everything is bigger and more intense! But really, we celebrate life together regularly as we walk out our callings.
When there are "hellos" to be given, the staff are there. When there are "goodbyes" to eek out, the staff are there. When someone is sick, has a baby, needs prayers, a break, a helping hand . . . you guessed it, the staff are there! It is truly a remarkable and special trait about the general culture of Makarios staff. If you've been blessed by Makarios staff, leave a comment or take a moment and send them some encouragement!
By Rachel Sawyer and Sarah Holland
One of the most difficult things about being on the mission field is the steady coming and going of fellow servants. In early September, Makarios said "Adios, amiga! Vaya con Dios" to one of our staff members, Sarah Holland, a.k.a. Cita, a young lady who loves, teaches, serves and spreads genuine sweetness wherever she goes. There is a Cita sized hole in our lives now, but in losing her (it does feel like a loss even though friendships remain), a young lady that she loved gained a sponsor. This is Cita's sponsorship story.
Within my first few weeks in the Dominican Republic, I met sweet Nelissa. School hadn’t started yet, and I was watching a few of my new coworkers play basketball in Pancho Mateo. A young girl came up to me and sat next to me. My coworker Belizeur introduced me to her and told me that she was going to be in his class. I spent the rest of my time in Pancho that day playing with Nelissa and watched very little basketball. She and I bonded quickly and deeply. I couldn’t help but think, “I wish she was going to be in my class. Maybe next year she will.”
Sure enough, Nelissa was in my class my second year of teaching at Makarios. She and I had kept up our bond of the year and I was so excited to have her in my class. Nelissa is spunky, sassy, and a little bit defiant at times. But she captured my heart and I knew my bond with her was a special one. She was one my students that I could pull aside and give her a “You know I love you. You know Jesus loves you. I expect more out of you, pull it together” talk and it worked. It was an absolute joy to work with her.
About three quarters of the way through that second school year, I had to decide if I was going to renew my contract with Makarios or not. The Lord gave me peace about going home, but I still kept thinking about Nelissa. The Lord had placed a burden for her on my heart and I knew I wanted to stay involved in her life. A few weeks later, our sponsorship coordinator Becky sent out an email with an updated list of students needing sponsors. Nelissa’s name was on the list. I thought to myself, “Lord this is it. This is how I’m going to stay involved in her life. THANK YOU.”
I ran down to the office to tell Becky to take Nelissa’s name off the list. I wanted to be her sponsor.
The Lord was so sweet to open that door. I was so thankful that even though I was leaving and I was no longer going to be her teacher, I was going to be able to pour into her life. A few weeks before I left, I was able to go to her house to tell her that was I was going to be her sponsor. She just melted into my arms.
I am no longer “on the front lines” and teaching at Makarios, but I now have the honor and privilege of supporting one of my precious former student’s education. I know how the staff there is loving on her and sharing Jesus with her. I am able to show her that God loves her in a different way. Jesus is doing big things through Makarios and in the lives of all of the sweet students there. I am so thankful to have been a part of it in two different aspects.
Is the Lord opening a door for you to become a sponsor? Click here for more information or email email@example.com to start sponsoring a student today! We currently have 15 students that still need sponsors.
By Rachel Sawyer
Being invited to participate in a parade is super exciting - even if the invite comes on a Friday morning for a Monday morning parade. On September 8th, the 4th and 5th graders and their teachers were invited to walk in the parade celebrating the 175th birthday of Gregorio Luperon, a key person in the history of the Dominican Republic, particularly in the arena of fighting for independence.
So Monday morning, the streets of Montellano were filled with drum lines, Dominican flags, patriotic kids in their school uniforms as they marched from one end of town to the other.
Watching a parade is fun. Taking photos of a parade is fun. But the BEST parades are those that we are invited to
join, moving from a place of watching to a place of partaking.
Will you join us in our mission to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of impoverished people in the developing world through Christ-centered, sustainable educational and outreach programs? We invite you to take a place in the parade of people who have joined with Makarios to offer hope for a better future to these beautiful kids by becoming sponsors! Makarios has an amazing line up of sponsors - one after another - who have dedicated prayers and sacrificed resources to fully participate in what the Lord's work on the North Coast thru Makarios International. Take your place in this parade of awesomeness by becoming a sponsor today. Click here for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We currently have 15 students who still need sponsors.
By Kaylee Howard, Makarios Summer Intern 2014
Ever since I have left the Dominican Republic after my two months there this summer, I have felt a weird sense of being home-sick. It is strange to me, however, because I didn’t ever feel homesick for America while I was in the DR. When people would talk about how they could not wait to get back to America to have a certain thing, or a certain comfort, or even simply to be in AC, I internally disagreed. I have found myself missing the Dominican Republic way more than I thought I would.
After two months living and working with Makarios this summer, I fell in complete love. I felt at home and leaving was hard, really hard. However, there is so much joy in knowing that I get to be apart of their lives in a different way from the States. I have been continuously checking on blog updates, pictures from Makarios and other staff and have absolutely loved seeing the joy of starting school again. Lately, with all of the posts about needing more sponsors, my heart has been moved. I am the biggest supporter of sponsoring kids through Makarios because of the incredible joy that I have experienced through my sponsor kids.
My sister and I started sponsoring Jeriel (a spunky, fun, adorable 5 year old) in May before I went to the Dominican Republic. (You can read more about my relationship with Jeriel here.) God had been tugging on my heart since my first trip in January to say yes to Him and sponsor a child, looking back I cannot believe it took me so long to commit. Through saying yes, I learned what it meant to blindly give to a kid I did not know. I knew it was going to affect this kid’s life for the better and I loved that I got to have some sort of part in God’s plan to grow up Jeriel in a Christian school that would provide for him.
Little did I know that Jesus would spoil me with getting to form a close relationship with not only him, but his whole family. This summer, Jeriel’s family blessed me way more than I could ever bless them. Through this experience this summer, I got to see first-hand the joys of giving. The joys of getting to be a part of God’s incredible work through Makarios. Now when I look at the list of kids needing sponsors, I feel a completely different feeling than when I looked at the list of kids who needed a sponsor in May. I recognize these faces and I see more than just an adorable picture. Flashbacks of memories with these kids flood my mind, memories of Marileidy and her unforgettable sweetness and times spent at her house in Pancho Mateo. Or memories of never being able to understand precious Darving because of his adorable high-pitched voice. Memories of the wonderful Sawyer kids, Allie, Gracie and Annabelle and all the struggles and joys they experience by growing up in a different culture in order to serve this ministry alongside their parents. And the list goes on and on.
My first reaction when I look at this list is to want to support them all myself. However, that is not only incredibly impractical, but it is incredibly selfish because of the other people who will be blessed by sponsoring these remaining kids. I think it is easy for someone to look at these pictures and think that these kids are incredibly adorable, but to move on with their days and miss out on the incredible joys of getting to sponsor a child.
My dad’s first response when I decided to sponsor Jeriel in May was a little hesitant. I had just graduated from college and would be leaving in a few weeks for my internship in the DR, only to not know what I would be doing when I came back in the fall. Now that I have a job here in Austin, I have an even stricter budget than I could have ever anticipated. However, that in no way deterred me from sponsoring Jeriel. Because yes, being a sponsor is a sacrifice. I am giving up $50 a month that I could be spending on things people my age buy. I could buy that cute shirt that I want, I could eat out a few more times, but who I get to give my money to is so much better than that. It is eternal, it is providing daily for Jeriel in more ways than I will ever know. And it turns out, God was calling me to sacrifice even more and I could not be more excited.
A couple weeks ago, I got an email about how Rosita needed a sponsor. This was an answered prayer. This might sound crazy considering my age, and my dad will testify that it is even crazier considering my income. However, to me it seems to be the clear choice. Yes, it would be nice to be able to eat out as much as I am used to. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy shopping. Yes, I love living comfortably. But even more than that, I adore my precious Rosita and my crazy Jeriel. Rosita taught me how to laugh, be joyful and love so beautifully and freely (not to mention she knows the phrase “tickle me please” in perfect English, does it get any cuter?). Jeriel taught me how to be lively, energetic and has the cutest giggle I have ever heard (and if you ever heard him say “i love you so much” in his not so perfect English, your heart would literally melt). These two have a special place in my heart and I cannot thank God enough for spoiling me with these relationships.
I challenge anyone who is reading this to look at those pictures and look even closer to see a kid who has a story that God is unfolding. These kids are getting an education that is unheard of in their areas. Their basic needs are being provided. But more than that, if you could only see the teachers that they get to have. God may not be calling you to support these kids, but if you feel a little tug on your heart to let God use you in their stories, LISTEN. You will not regret it.
Has your heart been moved? For more information of how to sponsor a child thru Makarios, click here.