Shortly after Grace Bible's group headed back to The States, a wonderful group from The Fellowship Round Rock arrived. They picked up right where Grace Bible left off, and did so with the glorification of The Lord in their hearts. This group got the unique opportunity to participate in Makarios' annual soccer camp which is possible thanks to our very own Cakito, and our stellar intern, Rhett. This church came to visit us last year, so we were very happy to see them again! Check out this video to see how they spent their week:
A few weeks ago, The Lord blessed us with a group from Dallas to come serve with us here in the Dominican Republic. Although they did not get the opportunity to interact with our awesome students (since summer school was not in session), they still maintained wonderful hearts of service. Grace Bible Student Ministry helped make improvements to the school and ran a VBS for the neighborhood kids around the Mak house. Watch their experience here:
His eyes sparkle with passionate intention. He praises God in two languages - if not three. Fervently he seeks the Lord, and compassionately he shares Him. He honorably serves the Lord in all that he does. Like a kindled fire reaching toward heaven, his life in word and deed points to the Creator - even, especially, without fail, in his own brokenness. His name is ________________ .
Many years ago he was sponsored by a couple that he has never met. I wonder how their hearts would rise toward heaven in praise if they could see him today - a young man in his twenties turning squabbles in the school yard into gateways to the gospel, a young man leading his young countrymen to the path of life? I wonder what dollar amount would they put on their investment . . . . $X a year for Xyears - no! Glory for all eternity!!!! This one decision altered his life forever, and therefore the lives of many others that he has influenced for the Kingdom of Heaven, who will rejoice on the streets of gold because he shared Jesus with them in a school yard on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic at a school called Makarios. The sponsored child now a man serving the Lord with all of his heart. That is what we hope for for every sponsored child, a life of surrender to the Lord cloaked with the hope of all eternity, rich in love.
Practically speaking, sponsoring a child at Makarios means that that child receives two meals a day, biblical teaching, the opportunity for dicipleship, vitamins, dental and medical checkups, etc. that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive. What’s not to love about that? The tangible things that sponsorship provides are a huge blessing to the students who receive them, but even greater than these are the intangible things that can’t be quantified or packaged so neatly. Spiritually speaking, the biblical foundation that a sponsored child receives has the potential to alter the course of not just one life, but many, for all eternity, as in the case of the one whose eyes reflect the heart of Christ mentioned above.
What do you say . . . would you like to impact a life on the other side of the ocean for the potential opportunity to see them on the other side of eternity?
To the Sponsors of . . . . .
To learn more about sponsoring a child, click http://www.makariosinternational.org/student.html
This is Brayan, one of our first grade students here at the Makarios School.
About four years ago, Brayan and his mom moved from a Haitian community to Pancho Mateo, one of the villages our school serves. His mom spends long hours walking to nearby towns selling fruits and vegetables from a basket she carries on her head. Unfortunately, this means Brayan spends a lot of time alone in his home without much supervision from anyone.
Having grown up in a community where Haitian Creole was spoken and having a mom who only speaks Creole, Brayan didn’t know any Spanish when he moved to Pancho Mateo. He had never been to school prior to Makarios and was never fully immersed in a Spanish speaking environment. When Brayan was first enrolled with Makarios two years ago, they worried he might not make it through the year due to his lack of Spanish and how much he was falling behind because of it. It is a requirement that our students speak Spanish because we are a Spanish instructing school. This is part of our goal to help them succeed in this society and to open doors for more opportunities for their future. Throughout his first year, his teachers worked with Brayan on his Spanish to ensure he could stay with Makarios and succeed at our school. One of our Creole speaking staff members would even help translate for his teacher at times.
Now Brayan is completely fluent in both Creole and Spanish and is finishing up his second year at Makarios. He has grown so much since he first joined Makarios and is having a great end to the school year. He loves to read and write and has enjoyed learning how to add this year in math class, as well as learn about the Bible in Bible class. He attends church regularly in Pancho Mateo on his own and loves to learn about the Word. He says he wants to be a pastor when he is older so he can talk about the Word with others and work for the kingdom. We pray that this desire only grows from here, that he will continue to walk with the Lord all his life, and that he will one day preach the Word like he says! Join us in praying these things over Brayan's life.
Since joining Makarios, Brayan now has daily structure, is surrounded by a community that loves him, is taught the Word, is disciplined in a biblical way, is receiving a quality education, and has teachers who care about him and pray for his future.
You too could be a part of the work God is doing through Makarios International. By sponsoring a student like Brayan you not only provide the means for them to attend the Makarios school and receive all the benefits it gives, but you have the opportunity to invest in a child’s life and come alongside us in providing them hope for a better future.
Many people ask what a student sponsorship does for our Makarios students. Others ask, does my donation do more than just cloth, feed and educate a child? It is easy to see the ways our students physical and educational needs are being met on a daily basis. But what about our students spiritual and emotional needs, how are they being met? Let me share what I see when I look around at the school.
I see the love of God displayed in many ways. I see hugs. Lots and lots of hugs given to each of the students every day from the staff. I see teachers encouraging their students in and out of the classroom. I see smiles from our students when they are praised. I see young lives being changed from the inside out all because someone cares about them. Really cares! Someone, a sponsor, teacher or staff member, who cares about who they are and who they can become not where they come from. I see kids striving to be better and working hard at school because someone cares, loves and encourages them!
And because of that love, I see children whose spiritual lives are changing forever. Young people that are choosing to live a life with God. Kids that are being taught from the Bible, what is true. Children that are choosing a path that is different than anyone else in their family. Children who are becoming change agents in their homes and communities. I see potential leaders in the community, leaders for Christ.
How can you measure what your student sponsorship provides for our students? By who they are. By who they are becoming. By how they are changing the world around them. By the way they are being built up emotionally and spiritually while at school. I see lives being changed when I look at our students.
Meet Valentina, one of our very bright fifth grade students at the Makarios School.
Valentina first joined us at the Makarios School when she was in second grade. We have been blessed with the opportunity to watch Valentina grow and transform over the past 4 years and would like to share a bit of her story with you.
Valentina lives with her great grandmother and little brother in Pancho Mateo, one of the nearby villages Makarios serves. It is not uncommon for our students to live with grandparents or other family members. Her mom works long hours in a beauty parlor and her dad is in the army and lives in another part of the country. Valentina’s mom is still a part of her life and she is able to stay with her frequently, but she only sees her dad around once a month.
Valentina has always been one of the best students in her class and has a very sweet demeanor. She spends a lot of time with three of the other fifth grade girls in her class. The four of them are inseparable! Unfortunately the four of them started getting into a little trouble this year and were having problems getting along with some of the younger girls. As the cattiness increased, Valentina’s attitude started changing and she was acting out more in class. One day the four of them were called into the office to have a talk with our Principal, Assistant principal, and school chaplain. They talked to the girls out of love and concern for where their behavior was leading. They reminded them the value of the blood of Christ and the sacrifice He made for them on the cross. They continued to share the Gospel with them and offered an opportunity to make a change in their lives. The girls listened, but didn’t say much.
A few days later, Valentina pulled our Assistant Principal aside in the cafeteria. She told him she had been thinking about what they talked about in the office and she wanted to accept Jesus into her life and the other three girls wanted to as well. He gathered the four of them and they went to talk more about this decision and prayed. All four of them decided to follow Jesus that day!
It was a very bold decision for them to make, especially for Valentina. "For her to have a life in Christ is not easy. A lot of the young women in their villages are not believers. She sees the opposite lifestyle around her. To accept Christ at such a young age is not normal where she lives.”- Francis Bautista, school Chaplain. But Valentina wanted her life to be different. We believe and pray God can use her as a light to other young women in Pancho Mateo. We would love for you to join us in praying for Valentina's walk with the Lord. That amongst the darkness and sin that is so present, she will continue to choose Jesus and follow Him the rest of her life.
(Below is a photo of Valentina reading the Bible with her friend Neifi, who also made the decision to accept Christ)
Every student has his or her own story, and for each one we give all the glory to God. We are thankful and blessed He allows us to be a part of His work here in the Dominican Republic and are thankful for all of the people He uses to complete that work.
You too could be a part of the work God is doing in the Dominican Republic. By sponsoring a student like Valentina you not only provide the means for them to attend Makarios and receive all the benefits the school gives, but you have the opportunity to invest in a child’s life and come alongside Makarios in sharing the gospel with them.
Our teachers work hard to engage their students by making learning fun. Everyday they prepare lessons that are educational and that teach about the love of God. This is our sweet Maternal, PreK 3, class singing along with their Profe Yomo. They make singing and doing motions super cute!
Many of our teachers are studying at the university to further their education. We currently have five teachers, including Yomo who is featured in the video, that are in need of more sponsors. PLEASE consider being a part of Makarios by becoming a sponsor to one of our amazing staff members. Email email@example.com if you are interested in sponsoring a teacher.
Marching time! This year the Makarios School was honored to participate in the annual Independence Day Parade in Monte Llano. The parade consisted of students and staff of twelve local schools. Participating in this tradition is a BIG deal for our school, and this is the first year we have been invited.
Many of the schools displayed their banners and national flags while others danced and marched with small bands. Our students and staff braved the long walk with smiles and waves for all those watching the festivities. We held the flags of the Dominican Republic and the banner for Colegio Makarios with pride while marching along with drums played by several of our teachers. We even had two of our boys dressed as Juan Pablo Duarte, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic.
Overall, we all had a wonderful time being with our city on this special day. We are thankful for the invitation to participate and hope that this becomes an annual tradition for Colegio Makarios.
The 2014 annual Makarios staff retreat was nothing short of a fantastic time. The purpose of the retreat is to rest, spend time with the Lord, and bond as a whole staff. It is the only time of the year the Austin staff and Dominican Republic staff are all in one place, for the most part. The Austin staff flies down for the week and we all pile into some gua-guas and head to the beautiful mountain town, Jarabacoa, where the temperature is cooler and the air is fresher. Just as our leadership had prayed and planned, I rested, I spent time with the Lord, and I bonded. It’s not like I had deep, life changing conversations with each individual on our staff, but there is something to be said about spending a weekend away with a group of people that makes you feel like you’ve known someone forever. Or maybe it was the shared rafting experience of flying/falling down rapids in a boat full of laughing and screaming Makarianos who, for some, were one hundred percent terrified. Either way, bonding definitely happened amongst the Mak staff.
I can be sure that each person experienced something different that weekend and experienced God in his or her own way. For some it was restful. Honestly restful without the daily distractions or responsibilities their life back in Montellano demands from them every day. For others it may not have been as restful, as there were different responsibilities for different people, but instead maybe they were being blessed by the chance to see a new place, to be in fresh air surrounded by a thousand trees, to be fed three delicious meals each day at no cost, to cry after fits of laughter at who even remembers what, to be poured into by the amazing leadership team we have. Whatever it may have been, I have no doubt that God blessed each staff member in His own perfect way.
For me it was getting to sit/stand/snuggle alongside my Mak family and spend the nights and mornings worshipping our Lord and Savior. Haitian, Dominican, American, all worshipping and praying in our preferred language and all worshipping our same God, just like Psalm 86:9 describes. While I absolutely love worshipping in Spanish now, I still deeply miss worshipping at my Austin church the Austin Stone. So when Sharla informed us that she was bringing one of the worship residents from the Stone with her to come lead bilingual worship for the retreat I was PUMPED. How sweet is our God to give us the desires of our heart! One night in particular stood out to me. We were all piled into one of the lodges and were singing, “Set a Fire”, which consists of very simple lyrics that our Dominican Republic staff picked up pretty quickly. As I looked around the room at the mixture of wonderful people I get the pleasure of serving alongside and as the words “There is no place I’d rather be than here in Your Love” were being belted whole heartedly, I thought man if this isn’t a teeny slice of what Heaven will be like I don’t know what is! All I knew was as long as I am on this side of Heaven there was no place I’d rather have been in that moment than worshipping my Savior with my Makarios family.
Written by Kelly Case
Our students love showing off their smiles! And who better to show off to than a professional filming crew and a dental team. In February, Makarios was blessed to have Wellington and Ingrid Gonzalez at the school to film the many different aspects of the ministry. Wellington and Ingrid have been long time supporters and have a heart for Makarios which showed in all they did for the school during their time here. Ingrid and Wellington spent hours filming in order to provide videos that will help tell the whole mission behind our work. Our ministry will be able to use this footage in so many practical ways. We are truly blessed by their friendship and love. They also took time out of their busy schedules for laughter and hugs with the students and staff.
During this same time, the annual dental team arrived to treat our students and staff. This team worked very hard to provide good dental care for our students and staff. They were patient and gentle providing lots of love and support to everyone they saw. It was very exciting to hear the dentist say that he has never seen our students teeth look so good! Daily brushing of teeth and annual dental exams are showing in our smiles.