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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.
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.