Our Family Empowerment team has launched a Literacy Program that seeks to teach Makarios parents how to read and write. We are striving always to help our parents be both transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and become ethical leaders in their communities. We caught up with Adrianne Christian who co-leads this program with Andrea Guerrero and this is what she had to say.
The Literacy Program will have completed 3 weeks this Thursday. We started Cycle I on March 5th and are meeting Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-7:00 and will last through mid-June. Cycle II will begin this September. The first half hour of each class is a devotional time. Over half of the ladies who are participating are not believers. It is our hope that by participating in the program they will come to know the Lord and be able to read their Bibles one day, in addition to the practical day-to-day advantages that reading will give them.
We have a support team which is made up of people from the communities, moms who can read, and teachers from Makarios as well as local church members. The ladies are extremely excited to finally be learning to read and write and we have seen so much progress in just these first couple of weeks. The program is meant to help each person learn at their own pace. Now in the third week, we are already seeing some who learn quickly and others who need more individual help and even a different approach.
The Literacy Program is one of many pilot programs the Family Empowerment Ministry is hoping will become permanent programs offered to parents who need help. What that means is that we are adjusting the program and saving everything as we go so that it can be a sustainable program used over and over again. Other pilot programs in the works are geared towards Leadership, Discipleship, and Adult Education classes that focus on vocational skills, health, stewardship, and citizenship.
Please join us in prayer that God would continue to draw people in need to our ministries. Pray also that He would raise up leaders within these communities that would capture the vision of Makarios, and partner with us to impact everyone we can. Thank you for supporting the mission of Makarios and covering our efforts in prayer.
Over the next year we are incredibly excited about what God has in store for Makarios. In 2017 we celebrated the Makarios School’s 10 year anniversary, and broke ground on the new school building that will bring additional classrooms to expand our efforts to Educate in the Dominican Republic. Stories like Hayley’s are reminders of the power of partnerships and relationships. After hearing about the impactful experiences of our partners over the years, we’ve added two new strategic positions in the US that will help us continue to establish partnerships that will fuel our anticipated growth.
We are proud to introduce you to Scott Denton and Brian Black, who have joined Makarios staff to build and maintain relationships through partnerships and development. Both Brian and Scott were introduced to Makarios as pastors of churches who partnered with us. They have seen the work we do on the ground in the DR through Ministry Trips, and they have been personally impacted by our staff and students. That experience led them to accept roles on the Makarios staff that will enable us to sustainably grow the ministry.
Scott Denton is joining the Makarios team as the new Director of Partnerships and Development. He and his family live in Missouri City, Texas and will be working to support Makarios from there, cultivating relationships in Texas and beyond. Scott has been to Makarios four times in the past 3 years, leading church groups and facilitating a teacher’s conference this past October to provide training for the Makarios staff. Scott has spent the last 20 years leading in both educational and ministry environments. As a public school teacher and administrator, he worked to improve educational systems and knows the value of empowering students and teachers to be their best. In ministry, Scott invested in relationships and provided the framework for spiritual growth, while leading hundreds of volunteers to engage in God’s mission locally and globally. Most recently, Scott stepped aside as a campus pastor for a large multi-campus church in Houston to begin his journey with Makarios full time. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University and will complete his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2018. He is married to his best friend, Amy, and they have 4 kids: Jacob, Emma Grace, Scottie and Zoey.
Brian Black is joining Makarios as the Regional Director of Partnerships and Development. Brian and his wife of 15 years, Sumitra, live in Round Rock, TX with their two daughters; Mackenzie and Sidney. Most recently, Brian was the Student Associate Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock and had also served in several different capacities including Campus Pastor, and Connections Pastor during his four years there. Brian spent almost 20 years in the business world with most of that in Logistics in the Dallas area before moving to Round Rock in 2009. Brian grew up in the Dallas area as the son of a full-time Young Life staffer. Most of his childhood was set at a YL summer camp or ski trip in Colorado or at YL Club in many cities around the DFW area.
That foundation of faith is what matters most to Brian, and it’s propelled him from the business world into vocational ministry. Being uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between business and ministry, Brian hopes to continue establishing relationships that will allow God’s vision of Makarios to unfold. He looks forward to forging relationships with all of the Makarios staff and renewing those established on his first trip to the DR in the summer of 2017. Brian believes that God has great things in store for Makarios, and knows that as we all draw closer to Him, His favor will go before us into the next season.
If you are reading this, you have partnered with us at some point in our mission to love, educate, and empower. Partnerships are the lifeblood of Makarios, the invitation into this family. For our partnership story we wanted to hear from YOU, the people who have been instrumental in strengthening our focus on relationship. One of our long-time sponsors, Hayley Savens, shares her story of how she became a Makarios sponsor and how that has changed her life here in the States.
MEET HAYLEY SAVENS
I am just honored to be a part of the Mak family. There is a song that we sing called “We are Makarios” and I think that sums it up perfectly. This isn’t some sponsorship system when you give a donation and get a picture of a kid, but never really know what happens with them. Makarios cares deeply about the sponsorship relationship and desires deep connection between sponsors and their kiddos or the staff members they support. There are so many opportunities to go visit your kiddos through scheduled trips, and we often receive letters and videos of them, updating us on how they are. It’s such a special connection and I feel so blessed to be a part of this beautiful family.
1. How did you become a Makarios sponsor?
I became a Makarios sponsor after going on a short term trip to the DR with the Austin Stone. After spending a week with the students and staff of Makarios, I knew I wanted to sponsor someone. I believe wholeheartedly in what Makarios is doing for the families in the Dominican Republic; I am honored to partner with them. I signed up to sponsor and chose a student randomly.
2. Tell us about your sponsor student.
My sponsor student is Yiskiery. She is 9 years old, but will be a big 10 year old in just a couple weeks! I did not meet Yiskiery on my first trip to the DR, but started sponsoring her about 6 months later and then returned to the DR on another short term trip to meet her.
Yiskiery is quite possibly the sweetest soul you’ll meet. When she found out that I was her sponsor, she wrapped me in the biggest hug and never left my side. She cares deeply for her friends and loves her teachers well. She is a spunky little thing and a great big sister to her younger brother, also a Makarios student. Yiskiery is growing in her love for the Lord and sends me updates about loving her Jesus Storybook Bible, which I just adore.
3. What’s been the most impactful thing about sponsorship?
The most impactful thing about sponsorship has been the relationship with Yiskiery and her family. I have sponsored other children through various organizations, but actually getting to meet Yiskiery, spend a week with her, and continue to cultivate our relationship through letters has been just incredible. Now, when I give each month, it’s not just about supporting a cause I believe in. I see Yiskiery’s face each time. It’s her. It’s about supporting her and her family, and showing the love of Christ through sponsorship and relationship.
4. How did you know you wanted to sponsor Yiskiery?
On one of the first days of our visit , our team got to take an entire grade level to the beach. I was so excited when I found out we would take 2nd grade because that was Yiskiery’s grade and I could not wait to meet her. When the students arrived, I recognized her immediately and introduced myself. I didn’t tell her that I was her sponsor just yet, as she seemed pretty shy. So we just started playing in the sand and the water with other children and tried to get to know each other. About an hour into our time together, I had her teacher tell her who I was. As soon as she did, Yiskiery jumped into my arms and gave me the biggest hug. With a significant language barrier, our communication had been pretty limited before, but this spoke volumes. From that point forward, during our week together, Yiskiery and I were side by side whenever possible. That week, I was able to meet her family in Pancho Mateo. One day, while she was in class and our team was setting things up in the cafeteria, Yiskiery and her teacher appeared in the doorway. Her teacher told me that some of the other girls had been saying some mean things to Yiskiery and she had asked her teacher if she could come give me a hug because it would make her feel better. The opportunity to comfort her was a moment l I will cherish forever.
5. What has the Lord taught you through sponsorship?
The Lord has been so faithful during my time as a sponsor. He has broken my heart for the people of the Dominican Republic, but also shown me so much about my own brokenness. The reality is that we are all just as broken without Jesus. Our financial stability has nothing to do with our eternity. Sponsorship has taught me to pray, not just for the physical well-being of these children and families, but primarily for their salvation and for Jesus to redeem any spiritual brokenness.
6. What would you say to people who are on the fence about whether or not to become a sponsor?
Just do it. You will absolutely be blessed by your experience and this is how children like Yiskiery get to meet Jesus, grow up in a loving community, and learn things they never would be able to otherwise. When you become a sponsor, you think you’re doing something good for someone else. The reality is that God will likely do more in your heart than even in theirs.
7. Other than financial, how do you view your responsibilities to your sponsor student?
I sort of view my role as Yiskiery’s big sister that lives far away. I want her to know that I love her and care about her. I want her to know that she is special, important, and worthy of so much love and affection. I pray for her salvation, her family, and her everyday comings and goings. My financial sponsorship allows her to go to Makarios, but if I didn’t do that, someone else would have that opportunity. What makes our relationship different is that I know her, I’ve come to love her, and I am deeply invested in much more than her education.
8. Have you seen the student impacted by sponsorship?
My biggest hope is that Yiskiery knows how much she is loved. Little things like sending gifts or letters might not seem big or important, but it has proven to be impactful to her and the other children that are sponsored. Yiskiery gets to hear the gospel everyday, encounter Jesus in her community and school.
9. What is your favorite thing about sponsoring?
My favorite thing about sponsoring is the relationship I’ve built with Yiskiery. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity and the privilege it is to know Yiskiery and partner with Makarios.
CURRENT SPONSORS: HAVE YOU HEARD OF SPONSORSHIP WEEK?
Makarios family, please join us in congratulating and celebrating these members of our staff. We are happy to announce the graduation of 10 of our teachers. Because of your investment in our local staff, their hard work has been rewarded with a diploma.
Our students are incredibly blessed to have these teachers as role models. Each one of our teachers are fierce in prayer, humble in spirit, and passionate about the future of their students.
We are so honored to have them on our team, and so humbled that this is the way we get to end 2017. We are thankful to celebrate these teachers, and thankful to the entire Makarios family for making this celebration possible.
To sponsor a Local Staff member, or learn more about our program, CLICK HERE.
MEET FRAMELY YENYETE
A 23 year old mother of 3 from Tamarindo
Framely has faced many hardships in her lifetime, especially in the recent passing of her husband. Her story, her strength, and her involvement with Makarios has inspired us to recognize the challenges our students and families overcome everyday. She has reminded us of the hope that is found in community, and the importance of the work we do with your help.
Framely’s parents are from Santo Domingo, where her mom was a housekeeper and her father worked in construction. As a child, she lost her younger brother, and 4 years ago she lost her father. At 16 years old, she became a wife. By attending the nighttime high school program for adults, she was able to finish high school despite the challenges around her. In search of a better life, Framely and her husband moved to Montellano.
The hardest challenge she has faced is what she is facing today. Framely lost her husband a few months ago and is in the midst of adjusting to life without him and thinking towards the future of her family. In addition to grief, there are pressing burdens that make daily life more overwhelming. Her husband’s sudden passing left her with no access to the basic health insurance they previously had. Without a job, she was forced to move to her mom's home, which currently houses Framely's sister, brother, mother, nieces, and nephews. In the last few months, Framely has faced hostility from her late husband's side of the family concerning her ability to take care of her children. Through the difficulty, God has provided people to help her. Her older brother has taken on the responsibility of caring for his entire family. With very little, he has been the direct support of his own family, his mom, sister, and five children. Her church has been a blessing for her and her family, and her husband's former employer has offered her support through the last few months.
MAKARIOS AS AN ANSWER TO PRAYERS
At the age of 17, Framely became a believer. For the next 4 years, she was committed to her faith but has since struggled. A couple of years ago, Framely applied to Makarios and put her children's names on the waiting list.
After the death of her husband, Makarios’ family ministry visited Framely at her home to share the news that her daughter, Maily, would be a member of Makarios’ kinder class. To Framely, this moment was a representation of God’s promises. The timing and the nature of this news helped her realized He has not and never will abandon her.
However, our Family Empowerment program did not stop there. Makarios was not only interested in educating her daughter, but wanted to invite her whole family into our family. We wanted to invest in her.
MAKARIOS IMPACTING HER FAITH
We asked Framely to describe to us what her experience has been as a part of the Makarios Family.
“It was recently, in a Family Empowerment meeting where I heard Laurie Majcher, the director of the school, who was invited to speak to the families. She said something that really caught my attention and my heart. Laurie was describing the way we as parents become mirrors for our kids. That’s when I became aware of the impact I can have on my kids. I don’t want my kids to be led to the wrong path because of me. Whatever they see me do will teach them something. I AM A MIRROR TO MY KIDS. It really challenged me to rethink my journey with the Lord.”
MAKARIOS IMPACTING THE FAMILY
“I am so grateful for Makarios.”
Framely described that her daughter, Maily, comes home from school every day explaining something new she learned in class. Just as often as she talks about her classroom experience, she tells stories of how the staff outside the classroom loves and cares for her, not just her teachers.
“ It makes me hopeful that my daughter receives that kind of treatment outside of our home.”
Framely has been regularly attending Family Empowerment meetings. Recently, she participated in a parent training she heard of through Makarios, given by a local organization called CONANI. She learned some new strategies to implement in parenting; they have been really helpful in keeping family routines. Framely said, “When I told Maily that we were going to do a chore chart, she immediately asked what her duties for the morning were.”
Framely’s story is unique, but the challenges she faces are common amongst families in our communities. We believe in the power of relationships, and the light they can bring to people going through any struggle. The challenges we see point us to the power of God and the hope we find in Him.
“God gives me Hope, and He also gives me hope through my kids.
I believe that with Him I am going to be okay.”