2023 Varsity Bible Church Team Trip
Day 5 :
Treasure in Friendship
An African proverb says:
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.”
And so it is that we have walked together with our faithful friends in the DR. We have seen their faithfulness through the good and the difficult, their perseverance and dedication, but most of all their love for their people.
Pastor Hector and his family dedicate their lives to the Haitian community.
Obed Peñuela and his family devote their time to the children of the barrio through education and their love for soccer.
Fey Ramírez served as a youth pastor and now as the senior pastor at El Camino Church. He and his family have been an important part of the TEARS team from the beginning.
On behalf of the team,
Judy and Curtis
Day 4 :
"Celebrating 20 years of Partnership In Deed"
What an unexpected celebration we had this week honouring the 20 years of partnership between Varsity Bible Church, Partners in Deed and our D.R partners (TEARS). What a privilege to be part of this event which included graduates and teachers from the high school and TEARS leaders.
Rod Davis reflected on how the partnership started and why it has lasted so long:
Ask lots of questions, be learners, rather than coming with solutions.
Focus on building relationships, rather than projects. Unconditionally love the community.
Commit for the long term.
When things get hard and challenging, stay the course. Don’t give up.
Continue in love, faith and hope.
It has been a very rewarding partnership for everyone. We look forward to the next 20 years together!
We look forward to sharing more with you when we get home.
On behalf of the group,
Jim and Jan
P.S. Here is a picture of the original team from 2003! Happy 20 years!
Day 3 :
This week, whether it is our first trip to the Dominican Republic, or the twentieth, each of us are learning about the meaning of “acompañamiento”. The word could be used to describe an unhurried walk together:
where we suspend the certainty of our own knowledge and expertise;
submit to listening, watching, and learning from those
who know the landscape and terrain better than we do.
It takes time and commitment
to attain a shared rhythm and cadence,
walking at a pace that allows for conversation and communion.
The good thing about walking together this way
is that often Christ comes alongside
to accompany us,
like he did on the road to Emmaus;
and that walk -
as you know -
led to a meal together,
Cliff and Margot (on behalf of the team)
Day 2 :
Today was Valentine's Day here in the D.R. It was very special to visit the Early Learning Centre and see all the little two and three year olds wearing red and practicing giving each other hugs. The attached photo gives a glimpse of what we saw. As the day unfolded we realized we also were experiencing that same love, openness and hospitality from community members.
After lunch we had the opportunity to learn more about all of the school, water purification and aquaponics programs. All of these are pieces of God's love in this community.
Happy Valentine's Day!
On behalf of the team,
Laurel, Elyse, Erin and Margot
Day 1 :
After a hearty breakfast our group divided into two: one team for the Early Childhood Centre, and the second working on the gardening project. We pray the young children and the young plants will both grow and mature to reflect God's beauty.
The children imprinted their painted hands on hearts, sang songs, and learned about God's love for them. Later in the afternoon we painted cheerful art murals on the walls to brighten up the Centre.
The garden team planted young tropical plants that will eventually grow into a beautiful variegated hedge. They also cleared and levelled an area and began assembling 6 large raised beds which will be completed tomorrow.
Don and Amay (on behalf of the group)