By Rachel Sawyer
Classrooms have been readied. Shoes, socks, underwear, pants and school shirts have been passed out. Teachers have gone through orientation. Parent meetings have happened.
In just a few days, Colegio Makarios will have it's first day of class on September 1, 2014. A van will go and pick up the students from the farthest village, Chichigua, and kids will cross the river from Pancho Mateo and wind through the maze that is Tamarindo to make their way to school. There will be hugging and smiling and singing and praising and reuniting and maybe some crying for the new three year olds, but mostly there will be rejoicing because God is good! He has continually met the needs and increased His provision for the kids, families, staff of Makarios. Makarios is HIS.
AND, there is opportunity knocking on the door of hearts that have been prepared for a time such as this: SEVENTEEN.
The number of children at Makarios who still need sponsors for this school year.
The number of smiles that could benefit from a christian education, medical and dental checkups, two meals a day, vitamins, and someone dedicated to covering them in prayer, etc.
The number of people that MAKARIOS needs to come forward to participate in student sponsorships. (However, more is more - so if 50 people come forward there will be the need to match the people!)
To gather inspiration from some of our current sponsors, go here and here. You will be glad you did!
Makarios sponsors are incredible and intentional and have a very special calling!
To learn more about sponsorship and to see the children who needs sponsors, click here. To initiate a conversation about sponsorship, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Wade Owens
Wade is the Missions Pastor at Sagemont Church in Houston, TX. Sagemont Church brings several short term mission teams a year and is a Makarios partner.
Life. Changing. Moments. Ever experienced one? You probably have. I have. God has a way of allowing us to come face to face with something that just about engulfs us…
One such instance stands out to me. It happened in the summer of 2001. I was having coffee (robust blend, just a little sugar, no cream! . . . just like Jesus would have enjoyed) with my wife and we were chatting about something that had been stirring in me for more than a year. I had been restless for some time and I knew God was pushing me towards something, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I had an idea, but I didn’t want to force something and take unnecessary risks. But I couldn’t stop the stirring in my soul. We talked often about this, but on this occasion, it was as if God literally spoke to me right through her.
She asked me this question . . .
“Wade, what would you attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?”
Well, that was easy for me. I knew immediately what I would do. I didn’t hesitate. I almost instinctively answered, “I would surrender to full time ministry, become a pastor, and preach the best news the world has ever heard to anyone and everyone who will listen . . . and even those who won’t.”
Then, she looked me right in the eye and said, “Then be courageous. Lead us and go be a pastor.”
I knew in that moment that I had to trust the Lord and step out and follow him. I had no clue what it all meant. Seminary? Training? What about 5 years of experience? There were a thousand questions that flooded my mind. I was unsure about almost everything. However, I was certain that God placed a calling and a dream inside my heart, and God used Kim to ask the right question that propelled us to take a leap of faith.
So, enough about me, what about you? What would you attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?
Are you currently living out the answer to that question? Life is short friends. God placed us here to impact the world by living out His calling on our lives. God is calling you to experience a grand adventure making His name famous and advancing His kingdom.
Do not be held captive by fear. We serve a risen Savior who sits at the right hand of the most high God.
GOD > Your fear!!
You will not know every answer, know every what if, have every solution, and the journey will not be pain free. But! God said “I will never leave you or forsake you.” He is the One who goes before us. He holds the world in His hand.
Think about this . . . If the thing that you would attempt scare you, makes you have sleepless nights, makes you feel inadequate, screams at you that failure is a sure thing unless God gets involved . . . you might be on the brink of something epic. God has a history of showing Himself strong in the midst of our weakness.
What would you attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?
You’re not waiting on Him. He’s waiting on you. Do you need to make a move, come visit the DR, bring a team to the DR, MOVE to the DR, share Christ with someone in your neighborhood, change careers, become a pastor?
What is it that burns in your heart and draws you to Him?
Can you imagine what your life, the DR, and even the world would be like if all of us allowed that question to drive the vision for our lives?
For more information about ways that you can get involved with what the Lord is doing in the D.R. through Makarios, click here. God is BIG.
What better way to finish the summer than with a group from Austin Ridge? This group had to endure some sad moments like saying goodbye to two of our staff members and the embarkment of our interns, but they still managed to have a blast! They helped us throw a water party for the last day of school and got to witness our kids' soccer championship. Check it out!
The Prichett family joined a team from the Austin Stone this summer to come on a mission trip as a family. This was their first time participating in an international mission trip. This article is written by Rachel, 16, and represents the thoughts of the whole Prichett family.
After returning from our mission trip to Makarios, I wouldn’t call my team of 22 anything but a family. But what made this trip different for me is that my group also included my actual, literal family – Thomas (14), Rachel (16)(that’s me), Susan (Mom), and Steve (Dad). From packing to landing in a foreign country, the support provided by going as a family was invaluable for all of us. I think that knowing we had our family to fall back on helped give us the security to branch out more immediately, whether to locals, staff, or our other group members.
For Thomas and me, one of the biggest benefits of going as a family was, well, going. It’s fair to say that sending your teenaged kids off to a developing country with near-strangers is not at the top of any parent’s to-do list. Going with your teens allows joy rather than worry. According to Mom and Dad, “As parents, it brought joy to watch our kids interact with the local children, and to grow as human beings, both spiritually and emotionally”. Not to mention, going with our parents eliminated a lot of pre-trip anxiety for Thomas and me.
The trip was also powerful for Mom and Dad as a married couple. They’ve said that anytime you do something spiritual together, it bonds you as husband and wife. An especially powerful experience was the interaction with a village teenage girl with cerebral palsy. After having had similar experiences with Mom’s sisters back in the States, Mom and Dad were able to connect and experience something deep in a way they had before as a couple. Because of their past together they were able to bring something special to the D.R. and connect in an unusual way.
Our shared experience, however, was not nearly as vital while on the trip as it was upon our return. For me (Rachel), reverse culture-shock had hit hard before I even got off the plane. It didn’t help at all when I had to say goodbye to my newly-formed mission family at the airport. However, I’m lucky to have gone home with three of them, and to see them every day. We all shared the same wonderful, powerful experience. It brought us together rather than putting an impassable wall between us, as going alone may well have done. We’ve all tried many times to explain our experience to others, but it’s simply impossible to do it justice. It’s so nice to have an immediate family that understands, because they were all there. We’re still talking about the mission trip, and will be for a while. It gave us a unique spiritual experience that has invaluably bonded us as a family.
Makarios hosts short term mission teams year round, representing various people groups from youth groups to family groups to medical and dental teams to mixed adult and youth groups. For more information on how you can join us for a short term trip, click here.
The youth from Austin Stone have been coming to serve with us for quite a few years now, and we love hosting them! Each year we are amazed at how willing they are to serve and to give up part of their summer to honor The Lord abroad. Check out to see how they spent their week here:
By Kinzie Milare, recent group member from Fellowship Round Rock, Austin, Tx. Kinzie just graduated from high school and will be attending Texas Tech in the fall. This was her first overseas mission trip.
People go on mission trips for many reasons; however, the common factor is always to serve. My intent for going to the Dominican Republic was exactly that: to serve. I received so much more than I contributed. Playing with the children and sharing their genuine delight and joy, or the satisfaction of knowing you contributed to the Makarios house and school is enriching. However, the most rewarding thing I experienced was God’s presence and spiritual fulfillment.
I entered the mission trip entirely blind. I thought I at least had a loose mental map of expectations, but I never could have predicted the way God would move while there. The Christian community, the loving teachers, the amazing host family (shout out to Doug and Margaret who made the MAK House an amazing, positive place to live), and honesty of the children made the trip an unforgettable experience. The complete trust that the teachers, interns, and staff had in the Lord was truly inspirational.
Throughout the week, amazing relationships were formed with other teens, who also went on this mission trip. The most important was the strengthening of my personal relationship with God. It did not occur immediately and it required a few tears with complete sacrifice, but I realized that God was and is in complete control. This message was revealed to me throughout the week and was laid on my heart to share as a devotional. As I shared, I truly felt Him working through me and using me as an instrument for His word. It was an encouraging, uplifting and overwhelming experience. I know I never would have encountered this wonder without the community and loving atmosphere of the Makarios house.
I am so incredibly grateful for the privilege of visiting the Dominican Republic and staying at the Makarios house, but more importantly, the enrichment and sharing of God’s grace and love. I can’t wait for the opportunity to visit again, and pour out more of what God had for me.
Truly in God’s Love,
We love hearing from our group members after their time serving with Makarios and we always look forward to the energy and excitement that short term teams bring. For more information on bringing a short term team to serve alongside Makarios and take in the beauty of the Dominican culture, click here.
By Rachel Sawyer, featuring some of our amazing sponsors: Kaylee Howard, Colt & Daphne McCarthy, Brittany Ewald and Alex Scaro
Makarios means "blessed" in ancient greek, and that is just what we are, blessed, to have the amazing sponsors that we do! It doesn't take but a moment of being around them to know that they are passionately dedicated to the children that they each sponsor. In talking with each of them, there are some defining characteristics that this group brings to the table, and I dare say that these characteristics are common to all of our sponsors.
Let's dive deeper into the hearts of our sponsors! What makes them so special?
Makarios sponsors are INTENTIONAL.
Kaylee Howard, a recent college graduate, and her sister, Alexa, began sponsoring a child in May.
"I came on a trip to Makarios in January 2014 and I fell in absolute love with this place! I wanted to sponsor a child. The second I saw his picture I was sold and said yes!"
Daphne and Colt McCarthy, sponsors for 3 years, recount their thought process in sponsoring a child.
"We asked if there were any children with "special needs" who might require a larger monthly sponsorship. Wilner was suggested as he has some medical needs that require medical insurance, regular medications and doctor visits. We agreed and his medical needs have been added to our monthly sponsorship fees. It has been a joy to provide this additional resource for Wilner."
Brittany Ewald, sponsor of siblings for two years, remembers what motivated her to become a sponsor, "I saw the need first hand and knew how great of an organization I was giving to. It has been 100% wort it."
While he was on a mission trip just a few weeks ago, Alex Scaro talked with the Makarios Sponsorship coordinator, learned more about sponsorship and set out to find a child to sponsor.
"After hearing about sponsorship from Becky I decided to try and meet some of the children that I had seen on the website (in need of sponsors). I was speaking with Becky when Imani came up and told me that one of her students had asked for me to come eat lunch with him. That child just happened to be Ricardo and I also recognized that he was one of the children that needed a sponsor. We ate lunch together that day and spent some time with each other at recess. I really enjoyed the time I spent with him that day and since he had sought me out I decided he was going to be the child I would sponsor."
Makarios Sponsors are INVESTED.
The investment for sponsors goes well beyond the money that they sacrificially and generously give each month, and is much more about developing a long term relationship.
Brittany talks about the time she was able to spend with her sponsor children this summer and what it meant to her.
"This year was my third year to go and the kids were in school so I got to see them every day. It was AWESOME! I was able to build more of a relationship with them instead of just a quick hi/bye kind of thing. They remembered me and it was such a blessing for me to be able to spend quality time with them. I got to hug and kiss them and tell them how much I love them and play games. I taught Elizabel how to take a picture with my camera without having her fingers in the picture. We also played frisbee and Luigi finally learned how to throw it as well as Elizabel. You see, it's not the money I'm investing in them, it's my emotion, my heart, my love. I think about them all the time and pray for them. I love them as if they were my own kids."
Daphne and Colt suggest that there is a wonderful, underside - of - the - tapestry principle at work through sponsorship:
"Our family gets the privilege of shepherding another child. We have our own child that lives with us, and eats with us and we pray for her constantly. To sponsor Wilner has been a privilege of providing these things in other ways. Yes, we send financial support to ensure that this child is safe, educated and fed. However, we get to pray for this child everyday, just as we pray for our own. It's a privilege we may not be able to fully understand this side of heaven. It's beautiful and filled with hope, that God is a gracious Father, providing everything we need . . . . even prayer from our family in Austin, TX, for a boy in a small village in Chichigua. It's a perfectly woven plan that continually reveals more of God every day."
Kaylee describes the potential outcome of her investment:
"Sometimes God calls us to give blindly even if we never get to see the effect that the giving will have, but sometimes, like with Alexa and I, we will get to know this little boy and hopefully we will get to see him grow up and be loved, educated and hopefully go back and make a difference in other people's lives sharing God's love."
Makarios sponsors are HONORED TO GIVE.
"I love knowing that I have some portion of my money every month being used by the Lord. This is something that I get to see carried out and put to use, first hand. I know that these kids need it so much more than I do. I feel honored to be able to be their sponsor, " says Brittany.
Kaylee describes her experience being a sponsor in a unique way, "God has spoiled me through sponsoring Jeriel and I can't even begin to be grateful enough. For me, I fell in love with the idea that this little boy who so quickly stole my heart will grow up with an education that will strive to point him to the only thing that matters, Jesus Christ. I can't believe God has invited me to be a part of that in such a small way."
Makarios sponsors are CHEERFUL GIVERS.
Kaylee discusses how her sacrifice pales in comparison to what her sponsored child gains: "Sponsoring is such a JOY. It is money that I can easily give up in order for this boy that I adore to get opportunities he would not have gotten without Makarios. I am so grateful that God has blessed me so much more than I could have ever imagined with my sweet, sweet, crazy, sweet Jeriel!" Kaylee
"Sponsoring Wilner has been a tremendous joy. We feel he is an extension of our family and we would do anything to pray for or provide for him," says Daphne and Colt.
Makarios sponsors are BLESSED.
Brittany talks about the root of the blessing, an opportunity to partner with God in what He is doing in the D.R. through Makarios.
"I encourage anyone and everyone who loves the Lord to sponsor a child. Not that you should do it just to gain something, but I will say I have received so much more of a blessing out of it that what I have put in. You will be blessed. You will have a purpose and an important part in God's work, and that is something that makes me smile every day."
Kaylee, a Makarios intern this summer, had the opportunity to not only meet and spend time with her sponsor child this summer, but also with his whole family, as his parents are teachers at Makarios. However, she did not know that when she signed up to sponsor him! When Kaylee arrived at the beginning of the summer as a Makarios intern, she had no idea what kind of suprise was in store for her concerning her sponsored child:
"During the first welcome dinner of the summer, Bella and Aldo, teachers at Makarios, came to welcome the first team. While talking with Bella, she was pointing to the prayer wall at the MAK house at which pictures were her children. When she pointed to Jeriel, my heart was so full. Ever since then, what started as blindly giving to a sweet boy whose picture I fell in love with, turned into his family loving me so well. From daily conversations at the school, to sweet visits to their house with the interns, to a day at the beach with Jeriel, but to form a realtionship with his mother, father, sister and their baby boy that is due soon too!?"
Kaylee goes onto to say: "I thought that I would simpy get to bless a child here by helping provide for him. But I was wrong. This family has blessed me way more than I could ever imagine. God has overwhelmingly spoiled me by letting me freely give what isn't even mine."
Daphne and Colt describe how broken hearts are a blessing.
"These children are in need, and Makarios is there to meet this need. They just need your prayers and financial partnership to make it happen. We all play a role in the kingdom of God and the body of Christ. Some will be on the front lines, like Makarios; teaching, feeding and ministering directly to these children. Others, like our family, are called to pray and provide resources to enable Makarios' ministry to be both fruitful and effective. We are beyond blessed to be a part of this ministry and the Lord has used it to draw us closer to Him and break our hearts for His people in new and exciting ways."
Makarios sponsors TRUST GOD.
Daphne and Colt discuss both the difficulty and the beauty of sponsorship.
"It is very difficult for us to pray for Wilner daily and not get to see his sweet face. However, it is teaching us so much about God's sovereignty and how He can be trusted to provide exactly what Wilner needs, whe he needs it. We cannot "fix" Wilner : where he lives, his health, etc. But we can trust that God will provide and that He is using us as an instrument of his grace to pray and sponsor Wilner. The D.R. is where he has Wilner, the U.S. is where he has our family. We must trust that this is a perfectly designed plan, and the distance between us is still God's goodness to us, even if it's difficult."
Kaylee knows that God has called her to partner but also that He is able to provide without her:
"However, it is also good to remember that Jeriel doesn't NEED my money. If I were to stop sponsoring him today, God would find another way to provide for Jeriel. But God let's me give monthly in order to be apart of God's work in Jeriel's life. I am so grateful that God has blessed me so much more than I could have ever imagined with my sweet, sweet, crazy, sweet Jeriel!"
Makarios sponsors are CHANGED and AGENTS OF CHANGE.
Alex says, "I love Makarios and all the people who are serving with them. It's organizations like this that are changing the world and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to be a part of it."
Daphne and Colt describe what sponsorship has done for them.
"God has changed our hearts through a small boy, an ocean away, to love Him and trust Him more. Sponsorship is about extending the testimony of our lives and what grace God has hand on us. One day, God willing, Wilner's testimony through his time at Makarios will be the same: God's greace met him there, provided for him there and brought him to know his Heavenly Father there. Sponsorship is a good thing. It's a very, very, very good thing. I pray that God moves many hearts towards sponsorship. It will transform your relationship with the Lord and your partnership in His Gospel."
Are you being called to be intentional, invested, a cheerful giver, God's parnter and/or changed? Are you being called to sponsor a child? Click here to begin blessing a life today, including yours!
by Erin Fonner
(Erin Fonner and her family live in the U.S. and sponsor a Makarios child in the D.R.)
Those big brown eyes. That was what first captured me about Juan Carlos, a then
three year old boy whose photo had been posted to the Makarios website. He had
a big, happy smile and cute, curly hair – but my goodness, those eyes! Deep and
piercing, as if he were looking right into my soul, reaching all the way from the far
away island of the Dominican Republic, right into my living room in Austin, Texas, as
if to say, “Pick me.”
When I first heard about Makarios, I instantly resonated with their mission and
the way they approached their ministry. The Holy Spirit drew me to them with the
passion of a Brazilian World Cup fan – “I must be a part of this!” I thought, “Even if
it’s from the sidelines, I must show my support!“ To do that, I didn’t paint my face or
chant at the top of my lungs. I instead chose to sponsor a child.
My husband and I started sponsoring Juan Carlos two years ago, when our own son,
Carson, turned three. We did so for a couple of reasons. Not only do we want to be
a part of Makarios’ mission but we also want to invite our children to join us in the
joy of serving Christ. We intentionally chose a three year old boy so that our three
year old son could pray for him, relate to him as they grow up, get excited about the
toys and clothes we buy him, write to him, and eventually meet him one day. Next
year, when our oldest daughter turns three, we will look to sponsor a three year old
girl, and when our baby girl turns three, we will do the same.
While it’s neat to be able to send money each month, it’s so much more fun, and
more rewarding, to pour into our relationship with our sponsored child – both for
him and for us! Our son takes pride in picking out pajamas or a swimsuit or a small
toy to send to Juan Carlos. And he lights up when he gets a photo of him wearing
that swimsuit and holding a sign that says “Gracias.” One time, a Makarios teacher
traced Juan Carlos’ hand on a piece of paper and sent it to us. It was fun for Carson
to put his hand inside the print to see whose was bigger.
Carson is learning Spanish in school, and his relationship with Juan Carlos helps
reinforce how useful it is to learn another language. We haven’t made it to the DR
yet, though we desperately want to. Having young children makes travel difficult for
now, but our vision with Makarios is long term. Once our daughters grow up a bit,
we hope to visit Juan Carlos and our future sponsored children every other summer.
These trips are an essential component of fostering a faith that rises above culture
and translates into action, and we hope to be a blessing to the Dominicans in the
We pray that each of our kids grows to have a heart of compassion, a sense of
gratitude, a global perspective, and most of all a passionate relationship with Jesus.
We pray these same things for Juan Carlos. There’s a love and tenderness we feel
for him that transcends the miles between us. We are excited to watch him grow in
the years to come and eagerly await the day when we can look into those big brown
eyes and give him a big ‘ol hug.
To have your "PICK ME!" moment, please click here to see the children who are currently in need of sponsors.
By Rachel Sawyer
Some of you already have. You have carried kids on your hips and on your backs. You’re hair has been braided, perhaps, or the hat on your head grabbed in a game of cat and mouse. You’ve played Pato Pato Ganzo and laughed when two laps were run instead of one! You’ve shot baskets on basketball courts in the blazing sun (or maybe just sat and visited in that little strip of shade at Pancho Mateo). You’ve played soccer with guys in bare feet and kids running every which way in Chichigua. You’ve colored and you’ve painted nails and you’ve offered your hand to hold - or maybe even your hand was especially chosen by a wide eyed child in search of adoration. You have been adored and you’ve adored. You’ve shared bible stories, songs, and the love of Christ.
You’ve maybe gulped down tears - not pity tears - but tears about your own brokenness, and the Lord has turned your heart upside down on it’s head. You’ve maybe reconsidered your initial definition of blessing. Its taken on a multidimensional meaning that have less to do with stuff and more to do about such things that this life is actually made of - truly. You’ve thoughtfully questioned what your response should be to your one week in the D.R. How will you remember the hands you held here in your daily life in the U.S.? A question only you can answer.
But, on the chance that you are reading this, and you haven’t been here in the D.R. (maybe your contemplating a trip, are on your way soon or you just stumbled across this website somehow), we invite you to come closer. Come closer because when you do your life will be altered in the most beautiful of ways, and so will someone elses. Come closer and you will see the good and the bad and the broken and the beautiful (that’s all of us, right?). Come closer where hope and creativity and resourcefulness mix with broken systems, broken people and broken servants, all rallying for the life changing grace of redemption and relationship and restoration.
At Makarios, we know that we know that we know that the only ONE that can redeem and restore is Jesus Christ, and it is in relationship with Him that our lives are transformed and because of Him that we have any chance of offering hope to others even when we really can’t see how He is going to work in a situation.
So what does it look like when not worlds, but people, collide on the ground here? It looks like relationship - not in a fix the broken sense, but in the broken walking alongside the broken way. It’s about learning about another culture, listening and caring and loving.
Come closer because these relationships represent hope, and hope does not disappoint. Sometimes coming closer is a call to action, it could be a call to prayer, a call to sponsor, a call to partner, a call to share in the broken beautiful, which has the power to transcend the constraints of the time spent in one week.
Come closer because we can’t do this alone. We. Need. You. AND the power of relationships rooted in Christ Jesus. Come Closer.
Whether you have been here in the D.R. serving alongside us or not, it is with a deep sense of hope and excitement that we invite you to come closer in a tangible way. Please click here to see the faces of the children currently in need of sponsors and join us by entering into a beautiful relationship!
Makarios' first group of the summer, Grace Student Ministry, produced their own D.R. testimonial video about their time serving alongside Makarios and the insights that they gained. We know you will enjoy their take - aways from the trip. If you have been on a trip to serve alongside Makarios, what are some of your take-aways and how do you apply them back in the U.S?