Friday, March 27, 2009

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

Day 2: Puerto Plata. As the sun rose over the Dominican shoreline, the senior class awoke to the "harmonious" sound of Mrs. Bonorandi's singing, Japanese alarm clock...and her singing. We all traveled--in what is actually a mini bus, contrary to my previous blog--through the city on the way to our first ministry destination: Metro West Caribbean Mission's primary school. We traveled throughout the city, witnessing scenes of Puerto Plata unkonwn to the tourists who flock here each day. Poverty, stray dogs, and roads worn by countless motorbikes make up a majority of the inner parts of this Caribbean city.
We arrived at the school where we held a chapel service for the 3rd through 6th grade students. A few of us led them in song, Jennie shared her testimony (with Mike translating), and Mike preached to them as well. Following the chapel, we held a "kid's fair" for the children, playing baseball, jump rope, and soccer. A few of us also made crafts for the kids while others made balloon animals that the children enjoyed playing with. We struggled at first to recall as much Spanish as we could to communicate with the children, but finally, Spanish class paid off and many of us were able to talk to the students and enjoy their company.

After lunch, we boarded the bus bound for Mustard Seed Orphanage for disabled children. An uneasiness could be felt in the air as we filed through the rooms of young children, many of whom are unable to move on their own or even feed themselves. It was far beyond what many of us expected. However, it warmed my heart to see that in only a matter of moments, so many of us surrounded these children with love and compassion. Though these children may not have been able to understand the words that were spoken or the purpose of our visit, they certainly could understand the love of a caring embrace--and that is what we set out to do. Some of us organized the clothing and hygiene products for the orphanage, while others gave massages and manicures to the women who work at Mustard Seed. Still, others played with the children and fed them their lunch. There are not words that can describe the feeling of holding a baby with cerebral palsy or simply being there to hug a child who is deaf, blind, and mute. God clearly moved in the hearts of many of us, and He led us to reach out to those children in need.

Following our visit at Mustard Seed, we had the opportunity of heading back to repeat the morning's activities with kindergarten through 2nd grade children. In addition, we got to exchange our American money for Dominican currency as well as visit a local "supermercado" (a Dominican equivalent of a Super Target).

Tonight, we gathered for dinner, and had a time of devotion and sharing led by Jennie and Jessica. As most of us now prepare for bed, we look forward to the exciting day that lies ahead of us. Tomorrow we will be trekking through waterfalls outside of Puerto Plata, which is sure to be a blast. God is already working in amazing ways, and we are eagerly waiting, with the faith of a mustard seed, to see how He will bring this class both further and closer--as paradoxical as it may seem. Everyone here sends their love and regards back home! Ben, we miss you and we're continuing to pray for you. Feel better! Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. God bless, and good night from Puerto Plata.

Posted by: Steven Gallo


Anonymous Mrs. Weil said...

It's so fun to hear from you and thanks for the pictures too!!! Yay for soccer!! I understand that's really the universal language! =)

May God continue to bless your trip with many opportunities to share His love with those you meet. It sounds like it's been amazing so far!

I miss you, Jennie! Love you...

3/27/2009 11:25 PM  
Blogger Juniors said...

I miss you too Jennie!! Woohoo!!

I get to communicate with you.. lol
Hope you're doing really well and having lots of Fun!

I cant wait to see you soon..
I'm doing well. We're having fun and stuff, so thats good!

God Bless You!!
Much Love-Andrew

3/28/2009 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing to see God's word come to life. Healing the blind, deaf and lame.... you are truly His eyes, and hands when ministering to the least of these. It sounds like you guys are having a great time, minus Mrs. B's alarm clock. Where did she get that thing? Looking forward to the next day's events. Have fun and enjoy! Lol, Mrs. Harrison

3/28/2009 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Burklin said...

Thank you, Steven, for being the senior spokesperson and keeping us all up-to-date! We are praying for you all that God will use you in miraculous ways!! Keep the blogs coming!

Steffi, we miss you terribly! Thank you for the texts!! We love you! :-)

3/28/2009 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Caperna said...

Steven - thank you for your wonderful blog. You made your experience come alive for those of us at home. It touched me and brought tears to my eyes. Thank God for the opportunity he has given your class to touch the hearts of those disabled children. Yet, I get the sense that they were not the only ones touched and impacted. I was also thrilled that Jennie had the opportunity to share her testimony. Her love for Christ is evident, with or without a language barrier! We are excited to see God working through all of you and look forward to your next blog update.

Have fun and continue serving our awesome Lord!

Love you all,
Mrs. Caperna

3/28/2009 10:31 AM  
Blogger Eileen Kunmann said...

It makes my heart jump with joy to see you singing on that stage for those kids! I love you all and am praying for you! So proud of you.. Can wait to hear all of what God has done in your lives on this trip. God Bless. greetings to my adopted son....

3/28/2009 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi senior class,
We miss you! Ryckur everyone at the wedding missed you. They wish you lots of love and prayers. Toni is happy you are using the crafts and jump ropes. Hugs too everyone. Be safe. Love your blogs.
Dayna and kurtis

3/28/2009 1:13 PM  

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