Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sea Glass, Mules, and Techno Music

Day 4: Puerto Plata. Early this morning, the students headed out to Fortaleza San Felipe, a historic fort that dates back to the mid-1500s. Grassy lawns surrounded the edifice constructed of stone and coral, and we all had the chance to sightsee and learn about the fort on a guided tour. We also had the chance to take photographs at the picturesque site. Following our exploration of the fort, we enjoyed lunch under the Dominican sun. The beachside location allowed for exploration along the shore, where some students found blue and green shards of washed-up sea glass.
After our visit to the fort, we traveled to a nearby market where we had the opportunity to take part in a significant aspect of the Dominican consumer's lifestyle: bargaining. Some of the neat purchases included paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, nearly all handmade. Will got the deal of the day, buying a $160 dollar shark sculpture for only $10 after some tactful bargaining! Not only that, but a random man asked us if we were interested in purchasing a mule. A mule?
We returned home for an early dinner before boarding the bus again for church. Contrary to American culture, services are traditionally held on Sunday night rather than Sunday morning. In addition to the sermon, which was translated by our awesome chaperone Mike, our musical group had the opportunity to play music, and Jessica shared her testimony with the congregation as well. Following the two-hour service, we had the chance to interact with the younger members of the church. Some of them spoke as much as English as most of us speak Spanish, but they were such a pleasure to get to know. We even had the chance to play music and sing with them; it was so much fun. Music truly is a universal language! It was uplifiting to interact with the body of Christ across the sea, and I'm sure it was just as encouraging to them.

At last, we are back at the mission house, and we are a bit tired to say the least. Evidently, a resort is holding some sort of concert or party across the cove, but the music is loud enough to be heard from here. Despite the perpetual ambiance music, one upside to the local celebration was a firewords show that we had the chance to enjoy. However, as the night grows older, we are beginning to prepare for bed. Tomorrow will bring us to Santiago, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. The hour-and-a-half bus ride will take us to our next ministry destinations, which include a school, children's hospital, and the homes of local residents.

We continue to thank you for your comments! We have been printing them out and posting them in the hallway for all of the students to read. Ben, we miss you and hope you're feeling better! Also, Nick's knee is still a bit weak, but he has gained a lot more mobility and we continue to pray for a full recovery soon. All of us send our love to our family and friends back home, and as the stars shine brightly over Puerto Plata (and as the techno music from down the street continues to pulsate), we wish you a good night from the class of 2009.

Posted by: Steven Gallo


Blogger Eileen Kunmann said...

YES YES!!! MUSIC IS THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE! I am so happy you are blessed to be able to share that with those cross paths with on your trip...Love the pictures. Just miss you guys and can't wait for hugs and stories of how great our God is. xoxoxox Eileen Kunmann

3/30/2009 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading the blog about your adventures. Thank you so much.
Interesting about the mule. I wonder if they thought you needed a mule because of how stubborn Will was in his negotiating skills? Way to go Will! Praying that you will continue to see the hand of the Lord and learn to listen to His still small voice.
-Mrs. Riter

3/30/2009 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Gayle said...

Steven, you do such a great job writing about each day - it is like reading pictures. :)

I am praying for all of you and we love you so much! Stay safe and use each day to learn more about Him!


3/30/2009 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the new update. Seeing you all together as one is just what Jesus has in mind. It's a wall hanger!! I love the picture of you guys praising the Lord. Katy what can I say? Have a memorable day today as you go into Santo Domingo and to the hospital. Please be ready to experience the Holy Spirit in a brand new way....
Continuing to pray for you and continuing to love you all the more.
Via con Dios,
Mrs. C

3/30/2009 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love sea glass and mules... Hoping that Nick feels better and praying that you have a great day! Any more sightings of the Japanese alarm clock? Don't forget how nuch Mrs. B loves practical jokes! Have fun! Mrs. Harrison

3/30/2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Weil said...

I'm glad to hear Nick's doing a little better...crutches?

Have an amazing day today!

I still think soccer is the universal language! =)

3/30/2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To hear that Nicholas is doing better is indeed answered prayer! Our 8th Bible class prayed specifically that it would not be as severe as it sounded. Take it easy, Nicholas! Can't wait until your chapel on Friday! God Bless, Mrs. Stapleton

3/30/2009 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Katy's sister :) said...

HEY SENIORS!!! Whats up??? Hope you all are having an amazing time!!! Hey Katy i miss you!! I HATE NOT BEING ABLE TO CONTACT YOU THROUGH TEXT LOL!! Anyways hope all is well and hope to see you soon!!!

P.S Thanks for leaving me shorts katy!!! (sarastic sarcastic!)

3/30/2009 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Seniors . . . Oh my goodness it is quiet upstairs without you little puddins. Have a WONDERFUL time together, make some great memories, and have a million laughs. I love you all. Mrs. Blickle

3/30/2009 7:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Stephanie Sigalos said...

Mrs. Bonorandi,

You and your precious students are in my prayers daily. I love to read about your encounters in this foreign land. What an amazing experience! God be with all of you as you do great works for Him. I can't wait 'til chapel time on Friday. I wish the middle schoolers could see your slide show! Enjoy the remaining days of your trip!

3/30/2009 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Weil said...

I was just looking at your pictures again! It's so fun to see you all together in such a beautiful place ministering for your Lord! It looks like an incredible trip in every way!

I do miss you, though, Jennie! It's way too quiet around here with you all gone! =)

Hope Nick is feeling better... we're still praying...

Blessings to you all...

3/30/2009 10:33 PM  

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