Showing posts from August, 2018

2 for 2

I KNOW that sometimes, life just takes longer in Latin America. I've heard the horror stories, but so far I'm 2 for 2 in accomplishing things with surprising efficiency. Getting a SIM card  only took one visit to Claro, and my trip to the capital for step #1 in obtaining a residency card couldn't have gone smoother. The Warren family (Regional Business Manager Blake, wife Lizz, and their 3 girls), Jamielynn, and I left Santiago at 6 am on Friday morning, bound for the immigration office in Santo Domingo (pictured below). After circling the block a few times to find a parking spot, if you can call it that, we headed inside to connect with our immigration lawyer, Mildred. She handed me my passport & residency documents (and 3 mo. old Joanna's to the Warrens) and gave us the address of a nearby clinic where I'd undergo the obligatory checkup; infants are exempt. We were on our way in less time than it had taken to find a parking spot. The clinic was about

Making Disciples of All Nations

Classes at Seminario Concordia El Reformador in Palmar Arriba, a Santiago suburb, begin next week, but almost all of the students have already arrived from their respective home countries. Thursday evening, I had the unique opportunity to accompany them on "visits." The concept was totally new to me, but it's a regular part of what these guys - who are being trained to be church planters by church planters - do. We divided into four groups of 3 and were each given a list of 3-4 homes in our target community, Licey, to visit. I was with Marcelo and Mario, the two students from the furthest away (Chile and Spain, respectively). Talk about making disciples of all nations! The "order" for a visit is as follows: Introductions Invocation Bible reading (in our case, Psalm 32) Reflection Prayer Benediction Invitation to worship Stop #1: Críspulo & Negra Críspulo & Negra are the parents of Yban (the vicar at our Lutheran church plant in Licey). They&

Walking the Walk

Language and culture are intricately intertwined. I'm "Advanced Low" when it comes to Spanish ability according to the placement test I took, but becoming  dominicana  is about walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Sometimes, becoming a student of Dominican culture means discussing questions from a booklet called "To Investigate." Compiled by a former missionary, it introduces 38 wide-ranging topics (Social Interaction, Slang and Informality, Body Language, and The Fine Arts, to name a few). Other times, like last Thursday, we hit the town! Our plan to start off at the cathedral was interrupted by a funeral; a leading member of the chief political party had died suddenly of a heart attack. The president was on hand for the occasion.  Plan B was the nearby Palacio Consistorial, a two story building with a display of Carnaval mannequins and masks on the first floor and an art exhibition on the second. Pictured is a traditional character known a

Hey, Mr. Postman!

I'm getting more and more dominicana by the day. Today, that meant a new SIM card. I feel so much more independent now, but also a keen sense of what it's like to be stripped of identity, a concept my fellow new missionaries & I have been discussing in our on-field orientation Bible study about missionaries as sojourners. Not that my old phone number was intimately linked to who I am as a person, but I did lose something I've been able to claim as mine for 10+ years. Mushy musings aside, the point is that my phone number isn't the only thing that's changed recently. I've also gotten several inquiries about how to send me mail. So... NEW email address: NEW phone number:  Send me an email or private Facebook message or leave a comment below, and I'd be glad to share it with you. (If we've chatted on WhatsApp, you should have gotten a notification regarding this.) NEW address (obviously!): For letters, postcards, etc.

You Can Thank My Neighbors for This Post

My neighbors and their loud music that have currently rendered it impossible to nap, read, or finish watching the movie I started on Netflix. Guess I'll blog! I started on-field orientation on Thursday. My cohort consists of Johanna, a Santiago-based GEO missionary, and two families who'll be serving in Panama and Puerto Rico, respectively. Our days will start filling up with cultural outings (and cooking lessons!?) soon; thus far all sessions have been held in the regional office building (pictured below): Part 1 of a church planting seminar Intro to language & culture  Potluck luncheon Part 1 of a Bible study on being a sojourner Presentation on the history of Lutheran hymnals in Spanish Reflections on teamwork, boundaries, and safety from Ted, our Regional Director Jacqui and Sandra, two of the three Spanish teachers that work with LAC missionaries, led the language & culture session and stayed for the potluck. They both seem incredibly sweet and eag


OK, I'm not a futbol announcer. I have reason to holler at the top of my lungs like one, though. As soon as I learned that the LAC regional missionary conference started on August 6, my personal aim was to go. And I did! I would have been just as hardcore about support-raising regardless, but a target date gave my goal-oriented self something to shoot for.  My colleagues live anywhere from Montreal to Montevideo, so meeting them all in one place - and sharing time in the Word and fellowship with one another - was what I was after. Approximately 110 people gathered at the Memories Splash resort in Punta Cana on Monday. Someone keenly pointed out that the later one arrived, the more of a red carpet welcome he/she got! The next three days began and ended with worship, concluding with Divine Service on Thursday afternoon. Rev. Dr. John Bombaro led us in a large group Bible study on the distinctive advantages of Christianity through the lens of early Church history each morning; w

Real Life

I got back from the annual missionary conference in Punta Cana Monday night around 7:30 - more on that soon. The gua gua  pictured below transported nine people plus luggage back to Santiago. It hit me that I was in Punta Cana longer than I've been in Santiago, so it's nice to be back to "real life," if there is such a thing at this point. I still need someone to pinch me and remind me that this is my job, although I haven't done much in the way of volunteer coordination yet. The few days that I was here before we left for the conference were atypical, and starting tomorrow I'll have several weeks of on-field orientation before I truly get down to business.  Aside from unpacking, my first full day in Santiago (a Friday) consisted of Getting photos taken for my residency card (although I had to go back yesterday for profile shots) Sending said photos, my apostilled documents , and my passport to a lawyer in Santo Domingo  Accompanying fellow mi

La casa de Danelle es mi casa

Good morning from sunny Santo Domingo! Danelle, the missionary I'm staying with for a few weeks, and I drove here yesterday morning for church; the plan is to leave for Punta Cana by midday for the regional retreat followed by a regional leadership team meeting. Backing up a bit, I arrived safely here in the DR on Thursday evening. Since then, I've mostly been settling in and putting faces to lots of names that I'm trying valiantly to keep straight. I'm still pondering the best way to fill you in on my exploits and introduce you to certain aspects of life here without regaling every humdrum detail. I thought a good starting point might be some photos of my temporary accommodations. Danelle's is one of the newer homes in our neighborhood, Cerro Alto, but it'll give you a good idea of what a typical residence looks like. A few fun facts about Danelle are that she grew up in Montana, was also a Spanish major, and also previously served as a GEO Missionary. She&

Adieu to the Lou

My last day in the US: it sounds so monumental. I had laid out everything in my "to bring" pile on Sunday night after the farewell party and packed on Tuesday morning with the help of my mom & sister, so I wasn't frantically cramming things into suitcases. I also no longer had a car as of Tuesday, so I couldn't run any solo errands. I bought my 2003 Honda Accord from my grandpa the summer before my sophomore year of college and, 89,375 miles later, sold it to this lovely lady - and newly licensed driver.  Then came Wednesday. The day before deployment day. I could have made a big deal of it, but August 1, 2018, was blissful in its normalcy. I got up and went for a run (it was in the low 60's!). My mom made pancakes for breakfast. I sat outside and finished reading the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated . My 2 yr. old nephew was over, so we played outside and went to Wal-Mart and the downtown Kirkwood farmers' market. I had leftover