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.
By Richie Sparling, Outreach Coordinator
There is NEVER a shortage of excitement at Colegio Makarios, especially on the first day of a new school year! A big thank you to Richie Sparling for capturing these momemts from the first day of school last week! Please remember that some of these beautiful faces are still in need of sponsors! Follow the link below to learn more.
For more information on sponsorship and to see the children that still need sponsors, click here.
By Rachel Sawyer
Backwards is forwards in some cases. Let me explain. Last week Makarios posted that we needed 17 sponsors to come forward to sponsor 17 students. New sponsors have joined our team within the last week, BUT in the mean time we had more students inscribe for the 2014-15 school year at the last minute.
NOW there is MORE OPPORTUNITY for MORE PEOPLE to say "YES!" to what the Lord is doing here in the D.R. and to be a part of that in a vital way! This means more students will receive a quality, christian education and all of the things that go with that (medical check ups, dental, daily vitamins, 2 meals a day, discipleship, etc.) Hallelujah! Backwards is forwards because ultimately Makarios wants to impact as many lives as the Lord allows.
22 is the NEW 17!!!!
Will you prayerfully consider being a sponsor for one of the 22 students that still needs sponsors?
To start a conversation about how you can say "YES!" to hope and education for one of our students email sponsorship.makarios@gmail. To see the students who need sponsors, click here.
By Rachel Sawyer
The first day of school for 2014-15 for Colegio Makarios was yesterday! Here are some photos from day #1. Please keep the students, teachers and their families in your prayers.
Some Makarios students are still in need of sponsors and/or half sponsors! Would you consider partnering with us to bring hope and a quality christian education to these students? Click here for more information on sponsorship.
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.