Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

Youth Events

Two Women’s Ministries Scholarship Winners Announced

DioNEB Women’s Ministries is happy to announce the annual scholarship winners, Angela Byrne and Reiley Jo Hillman.

All women are part of Episcopal Church Women and Women’s Ministries.  The board created a scholarship to acknowledge young women who have been active in church and  to encourage them as they further their education. A quilt was raffled to create the scholarship fund.

 

Angela Byrne

Angela Byrne

Doane University freshman Angela Byrne received a Women’s Ministries Scholarship this fall. Pictured with Angela are Christine Grosh, Women’s Ministries Convener (left) and Beth Agar , Province VI Representative, National Episcopal Church Women(right). Angela is majoring in Elementary Education and playing soccer at Doane. Among her high school activities: Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, German Club, basketball, and soccer. Her church participation includes mission trips to Rosebud Reservation and the Dominican Republic, serving as acolyte at Church of the Holy Spirit, Bellevue, her home parish. Angela attended Journey to Adulthood, Sunday school and she has helped with many church activities there.

Reiley Jo Hillman

Reiley Jo Hillman

University of Nebraska at Kearney Freshman, Reiley Jo Hillman received a Women’s Ministries Scholarship. Reiley is majoring in Computer Science with the goal of becoming a software systems developer. In her application, Reiley outlined leadership roles in high school and at St. Stephen’s, Grand Island, her home  parish.  She was  in  show  choir,  concert and marching band, playing the flute, baritone, and violin. She also participated in One Act; her group won competitions at district and conference levels. Her church activities include singing in the choir, serving as acolyte, thurifer and subdeacon. Reiley also served as Youth Rector at NOVO which is a 3-day retreat for youth from all over the diocese.

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Thank you for supporting Camp Canterbury 2016!

Camp Canterbury Counselors 2016

Camp Canterbury Counselors 2016

We had such a great week at camp we didn’t even notice the heat. Just kidding! The heat forced us to change up some of our plans, but we found ways to work around the high temps and still have a good time!

We hope your child/ren found camp to be a place of welcome, relaxation and fun. We hope they deepened their own faith lives and came to know Jesus is a real way. Thank you for making church camp part of their summer plans.

Thank you to our volunteers who make this week possible (in the photo above). If you see the following people, be sure to thank them for having a heart for camp! A huge shout out to our cabin counselors and support staff: Rev. Susanna Des Marais, Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Karly Johnson, Chris Mattsen, Rev. Mark Selvey, Heath Hovendick, Claire Atkins, MJ Matthews, Jordyn Reese, Hailey Vernon, Rev Ben Varnum, Rev. John Adams, Rev Karen Watson, Anne Hebert, Rev. Sarah Miller, Dean Craig Loya, Tony Anderson, Deacon Wes Agar, Schuyler Mattsen (camp nurse), Canon Elizabeth Eastson, and Bishop J. Scott Barker.

Special thanks to our wonderful and efficient check in crew: Nicole Cloudt, Sandra Squires, Mary Jane Smith, Barb Alf, Carol Ott, Mary Beth Barone. And to our guest speaker, Stacey Lichtenberg, from The Bridge in Fremont. And a huge thank you to Craig Huffman and his staff at Calvin Crest Camp and Retreat Center for being such accommodating hosts.

The photo album on the diocesan facebook page wlll continue to be updated in the days to come. And a video will be shown at Annual Council in October.

Last but not least. We have some Camp Canterbury Lost and Found. Take a look and see if you recognize any of these items.

Lost:
  • a pair of boys tennis shoes
Found:
  • one white beach towel with blue and red lobsters
  • a light blue fitted twin size sheet
  • a red Crete Cardinals drawstring knapsack
  • a silver water bottle with a black lid (no markings)
  • a blue and white striped beach towel in a red knapsack
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Trinity Cathedral Launches Cantate Choral Academy

Photo courtesy of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska has announced the opening of Cantate Choral Academy. This new program, based at the cathedral, offers opportunities for choral music education for children and youth using the Royal School of Church Music curriculum.

“The mission of Cantate Choral Academy is formation for lifelong praise of God through sacred choral music in the Anglican tradition,” explained Marty Wheeler Burnett, Canon Precentor and Director of the Academy.  “We seek to equip singers for this mission through music education of the highest quality and engagement of mind, body, and spirit in sacred choral offerings.”

Starting this fall, Cantate Choral Academy will offer two ensembles for children and youth: Laudate Choir, a preparatory choir for grades 1-3, and Cantate Choir, an advanced choir for grades 4-8. The curriculum for both choirs includes choral singing, music theory, vocal technique, and spiritual formation.

The choirs are open to all children and youth in the Omaha area. Each singer and his or her parent or caregiver will meet with the director prior to admission to discuss expectations. “The choirs will sing at Trinity Cathedral two Sunday mornings each semester,” stated Burnett, “which allows young people from any church to participate in this outstanding educational program while remaining active members of their own congregations.” The choirs will also sing twice each semester at times other than Sunday morning at churches, health care facilities, and community events.

The goals of Cantate Choral Academy include encouraging high quality liturgical singing by children and youth in the Omaha area, supplementing musical education and experiences provided in local parishes and schools, and offering the unique RSCM curriculum which encourages and expects a high level of musical achievement from young people

The RSCM curriculum provides a standardized system of award ribbons signifying achievement of musical milestones through the years of participation. The opportunity to work toward these ribbons, which are worn with the choir vestment, provides motivation for students to achieve higher levels of musical achievement and literacy. RSCM also provides summer courses for older students which feature a week of intensive study and singing at one of several college campuses in the United States. Members of the Cantate Choir will be eligible to apply for summer courses starting in 2017.

The Director of Cantate Choral Academy, Marty Wheeler Burnett, holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Rice University, a doctorate from The University of the South, and has over 30 years of choral conducting experience. She received the Nebraska Choral Directors Association’s “Outstanding Choral Director of the Year” award in 2011. Burnett will be joined by assisting faculty who will provide instruction and keyboard accompaniment. All faculty and volunteers have completed Safeguarding God’s Children training and are committed to providing a safe, structured, and nurturing educational environment.

For younger children, the Academy offers Kindermusik classes in partnership with the Jennifer Tritz Voice Studio. Kindermusik is recognized as one of the premier programs of music and movement for infants through kindergarten students. These classes, offered at Trinity Cathedral, provide a strong foundation for future music study and choir participation. “As a result of our partnership, we are able to offer this outstanding early childhood music program with very affordable tuition, making it accessible to more children in our community,” stated Burnett.

For more information, please visit http://trinityepiscopal.org/cantate, email music@trinitycathedral.org, or call Burnett at 402-342-7010 extension 117.

 

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Calling All Prayer Partners: Youth Mission to Dominican Republic June 15-22, 2016

Pray for the youth and leaders who will be wearing this T-Shirt!

Pray for the youth and leaders who will be wearing this T-Shirt!

 

CALLING ALL PRAYER PARTNERS

 

The DioNEB Youth Mission to the Dominican Republic is June 15-22.

 

Thank you for sharing in and supporting this youth mission to the Dominican Republic. As a prayer partner, you will be a vital part of our mission each day we are away. Our team will be greatly blessed and strengthened by your prayers. Below is our itinerary so that you can follow our activities with us:

 

Wednesday, June 15th.  Pray for safe travel as mission team members meet at 4:20 AM at Eppley Airport.   Pray for unity of mind and mission for our team of 14 as we fly from Omaha to Santo Domingo, DR. Pray for our hosts as they meet us at the airport with a warm welcome and food, and provide us historical and cultural orientation to their beautiful country.  Pray for us as we venture out into the community to explore Epiphany Cathedral and the Episcopal Seminary. Pray for our rest at the end of the long day as we stay at the dormitory at the Diocesan Office.

 

Thursday, June 16th.  Pray for us as we start our day together at VIllar Brothers for breakfast. Pray for travel mercies as we take a three-hour bus ride up the mountain to The Episcopal Camp of The Mount of the Transfiguration in El Pedregal. Pray that old friendships will be rekindled and new ones made as we visit the community, check on previous projects, and plan to successfully complete our current projects.

 

 

Friday, June 17th. Awakened by the roosters, we begin our work projects today. Pray for the grace to be flexible in the tasks we are called to do—our construction project will be to repaint, repair and extend the playground at the Episcopal school we helped build in 2014. This work will be done in the mornings.  We will conduct our Music project in the afternoons. This project will result in a music program being established at the school.

 

Saturday, June 18th.  Please continue prayers for our various projects. Pray especially that any language barrier might be bridged by The Holy Spirit, and that God’s Message of Love is evident. Pray that we find and witness Christ in each other on this day!

 

Sunday, June 19th.  Pray that God will bind our hearts together during our bilingual Eucharist today. Pray for peace, wisdom, and joy in all we do today. Pray for those who reside in the homes in which we are called to minister. We give thanks for this wonderful community!

 

 

El Pedregal Map

El Pedregal Map

Monday, June 20th.  Pray for the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of the team and of our Dominican friends who are working alongside us.

As we complete our work today, pray with thanksgiving and dedicate this work to God.  Pray for open hearts that love deeply as we celebrate with our new Dominican family.

 

Tuesday June 21st.  With our projects complete, pray for the families and for the youth in the community of El Pedregal. Pray once again for safe travels as we return by bus to Santo Domingo. Pray that our time in the historic Colonial Zone further strengthens the bond our team has made with this beautiful country.  Pray for our peace, reflection and understanding of the importance of the work we have done.  Pray for a restful final night which we are together in the DR.

 

Wednesday, June 22th.  Pray that the greatest treasure we pack for home will be our new friendships. On this day, please pray for our youth missioners.  They will return home forever changed. Pray that this change is accepted as a gift from God that will bless our youth missioners each day of their lives.

 

Each day thereafter….Please continue to pray for the people of El Pedregal and the Dominican Republic.

 

Thank you,

 

Your 2016 NE Youth Mission Team

 

Jim Drazdowski, Don and Melissa Peeler, Lauren White, Audrey Coonce, Hannah Coonce, Aly Trofholz, Lexi O’Connor, James Henry, Anna Kay Sitzman, Lizzy Nelson, Hannah Jensen, Josh Guerrero, and Mason Lamb .

 

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Youth DR Mission Needs Your Help

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

With all the need and suffering in our world, it is understandable that we may turn to God and ask….”Why don’t You do something???” And God answers…..”I did. I created you!!!”

The 2016 NE Youth DR Mission Team…. NEEDS YOU NOW.

Two missioner places are again open which ideally will be filled with one clergy missioner and one youth missioner. Two youth missioners may also complete our team of fifteen.

It is in response to His call that we will travel this June 15-22 to serve in the rural mountains of the Dominican Republic. Yet this mission is not the mission of those traveling…it is a call to mission for all of DioNeb.

All are called to do their part, and there are many parts to be fulfilled. Those remaining at home are an equally important part of the mission and success of the NE Youth DR Mission Team.

How can you and your parish help?

First, pray for those who are traveling to seek and serve our Lord. Also, please pray for the community in which we will work.

Second, consider a donation of items needed for this mission work. We will need up to three cordless drills, and paint brushes of several sizes for our playground construction project. Thanks to the generosity of several folks, the children’s hand musical instruments to be used for our afternoon music programs with the children of the community have been received, and are no longer needed. These instruments will be left with the local Episcopal School so that music education may be added to their curriculum.

Finally, there may be youth in your parish who desire to participate, but cannot afford the $1500 cost of this life affirming experience. Please consider sponsoring, or helping to sponsor, a youth. Your investment will change lives. At this time we are looking for two $1000 Scholarships, but financial assistance in any amount will be greatly appreciated. We are still hoping to raise $4500 to defray the cost of projects and to assist our youth.

Together, we CAN do something!!!!

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at dpeeler@cox.net or at 402-578-5355 with any questions. Arrangements to pick up donated items can be made with the Peeler’s, or items may be delivered to St. Andrews or the Diocesan Office in Omaha. Financial gifts may be sent directly to Beth Byrne, Director of Finance,109 North 18th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102. Please note your gift is for the 2016 NE Youth DR Mission.

….and God said, “I did. I created you!!!”

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2016 Youth DR Mission to Build Relationships through Construction and Music Ministry

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

The 2016 Youth Mission to Dominican Republic is filling fast, but a few spots remain for youth ages 16 through 2016 high school graduates.    The Youth Mission Team is also in need of financial support to conduct a very special music ministry.  Please consider a gift of funds or materials, and watch it multiply in many beautiful ways !!!

 

Keep reading here to see how lives are transformed through the love of Jesus Christ. The life changed may even be your own!

 

The Diocese of Nebraska will continue its work in the mountains of central Dominican Republic June 15-22, 2016. We are still looking for a few youth participants age 16 through high school graduate to join in helping to make a difference in the lives of others.

We have been called to conduct two very special projects in the community of El Pedregal.  We will work in the mornings to paint, repair and expand the school playground we completed in 2014.  In the afternoons, we will conduct a very special music ministry with the children of the community.  We will also work, worship and recreate with the greater community through various activities, including a very special celebration of fiesta.

The Mortar Bucket Brigade – Working Together

The Mortar Bucket Brigade – Working Together

Our Wednesday to Wednesday itinerary permits a unique opportunity to visit the Diocesan Offices and Seminary. and experience worship at the beautiful Epiphany Cathedral in Santo Domingo. Our mission experience will once again culminate in discovery of the Historic Colonial Zone on our final afternoon and evening prior to returning home.

Our work in EL Pedregal will be directed by Padre Daniel Samuel. We will stay in dormitory-style accommodations at the gated Diocesan Camp where our meals will be specially prepared for us. Safe, bottled water will also be available. Team orientation to mission work, Dominican culture, and team building will occur beginning in April 2016 to prepare us for this life affirming opportunity.

 

 

The cost for the 2016 Mission will be $1500. A $100 deposit is necessary now to confirm participation, and all funds must be paid by May 8, 2016. Deposits may be sent to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please contact Don or Melissa Peeler now at 402-572-7556 or at dpeeler@cox.net for more information.

 

Improving the playground

Improving the playground

Give and watch your gift multiply….

We are blessed beyond measure to have been asked to bring music to this rural, mountain community.  However, the cost involved to provide a meaningful quality music ministry will require coordination of English and Spanish music leaders, music, instruments, and other expenses.  We have estimated the cost of this ministry to be approximately $2000.  We are also looking for donations of small children’s hand instruments, such as rhythm sticks, cymbals and tambourines. We will leave all donated instruments at the local Episcopal School so that music classes may be conducted during the school year.

Any gift of funding or materials will be much appreciated. Please sending monetary gifts to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please indicate your gift is to support the NE Youth DR Mission.

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at 402-572-7556, or at dpeeler@cox.net regarding the gift of instruments. If you would like the Peelers to visit your parish to speak on DR Youth Ministry, please contact them. The 2016 mission will be their 8th mission to the Dominican Republic, and the Peelers are happy to share their experience.

Join Our Team…the Life Changed Will Be Your Own!

Join Our Team…the Life Changed Will Be Your Own!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 Youth Mission Team to the Dominican Republic is Forming NOW !!!

Caption

Rowan Ptomey, Uniting Hearts

The Diocese of Nebraska will continue its work in the mountains of central Dominican Republic June 15-22, 2016. High school youth over the age of sixteen, and their leaders, from across our Diocese will engage upon relationship building with the community of El Pedregal. This is the place we have helped complete several construction projects in recent years. We are now called to minister directly to our brothers and sisters of the community.

Potential ministry projects may include VBS with Bible exploration through special art and music projects. Other social ministry projects addressing the specific needs of the community, such as the distribution of supplies to those in need, are also being considered. It is also likely that we will do existing facility improvement involving painting or minor repairs in the community.

Caption

The Mortar Bucket Brigade – Working Together

Our Wednesday to Wednesday itinerary permits a unique opportunity to visit the Diocesan Offices and Seminary, and experience worship at the Epiphany Cathedral in Santo Domingo. Our experience will once again culminate in discovery of the Historic Colonial Zone where we will visit, shop and relax on our final afternoon and evening prior to returning home.

Our work in EL Pedregal will be directed by Padre Daniel Samuel. We will stay in dormitory-style accommodations at the gated Diocesan Camp where our meals will be specially prepared for us. Safe, bottled water will also be available. Team orientation to mission work, Dominican culture, and team building will occur beginning in March 2016 to prepare us for this life affirming opportunity.

 

 

The cost for the 2016 Mission will be $1500. A $100 deposit is necessary now to confirm participation, and all funds must be paid by May 8, 2016. Deposits may be sent to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Deposits may also be given to Don or Melissa Peeler.

 

 

Caption

Improving the Playground

How can you help?

First, please keep our 2015 NE Youth DR Mission Team in your prayers. Second, school supplies, books and used laptops may be donated for delivery this June to the School of the Mount of the Transfiguration. All donated laptops will be returned to factory settings prior to delivery. Finally, you may financially support this mission to change lives by sending monetary gifts to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please indicate your gift is to support the NE Youth DR Mission.

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at 402-572-7556, or at dpeeler@cox.net, with any questions you may have regarding this life affirming ministry. If you would like the Peelers to visit your parish to speak on DR Youth Ministry, please contact them. The 2016 mission will be their 8th mission to the Dominican Republic, and the Peelers are happy to share their experience.

 

Caption

Join Our Team…the Life Changed Will Be Your Own!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 UTO Young Adult and Seminarian Grant Application Process and Forms

 

 

Linked below are the invitation letter, applications and bishops/deans forms for the Young Adult and Seminarian Grant Programs from the United Thank Offering. We are pleased to announce that not only are we accepting grant applications from Young Adults, the UTO Board has also created a process for seminarians to apply for UTO grants for projects either at their field education site or in their home diocese.

There are a couple of changes from last year for the Young Adult grants:
Instead of awarding one per province, the Board will select the top ten applications to fund.
A video is not required, but applicants are welcome to submit one if they feel so called.
Just a reminder that Young Adult grants are for projects led by people 21-30 (not for projects to minister to that age group)

All of the applications are also available on our website – http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/united-thank-offering

 

The deadline for applications from the Diocese to my office is January 29th at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

If you have questions, please let me know.

All the best,

Heather Melton
MISSIONER, THE UNITED THANK OFFERING

2016 Young Adult Application
http://nebraskaepiscopalian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FINAL-2016-young-adult-application.docx

2016 Young Adult Bishop Approval
http://nebraskaepiscopalian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FINAL-2016-young-adult-bishop-approval.docx

2016 Seminarian Application
http://nebraskaepiscopalian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final-2016-seminarian-application.docx

2016 Seminarian Dean Approval Form
http://nebraskaepiscopalian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FINAL-2016-seminarian-dean-approval-form.docx

2016 Young Adult Seminarian Invitation Letter from UTO
http://nebraskaepiscopalian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-Young-Adult-Seminarian-Invitation-Letter-from-UTO.docx

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Nebraska Youth Summit on Climate – January 27 & 28

nys

 

Senator Ken Haar has been on the forefront of climate change advocacy in the Nebraska Legislature. But there are young voices missing – those for whom climate change will have the most impact.

 

The Senator will be hosting a day-long Summit at the State Capitol for 50 young people, ages 15 to 25, eager to learn how to have an impact on climate change policy in Nebraska. The Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucas will be our special guest.

 

Participants limited to 50–application required.

 

Visit  https://www.facebook.com/nebraskayouthsummit to apply.

 

Click here to download a printable flyer.

 

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2015 Youth Mission Dominican Republic Trip & Photos

01-oma-airport

Youth Mission Team at Omaha Airport

 Con Mucho Amor….NE Youth Serve in the DR

 

“This mission reaffirmed my belief that God directs me to what I truly need in my life even before I know I need it.” A 2015 Youth Missioner

 

Eighteen youth and adults from Nebraska traveled to the Dominican Republic June 22 through 29, 2015 to help build a home for a family in El Pedregal, and to renovate a building to become a Children’s Shelter at the Mount of the Transfiguration School. Work on both projects was done again this year in partnership with Christ Church Valdosta Georgia. A third construction project of our team was to establish a dedicated media room on the second floor of the Stevens Dormitory where educational and entertainment programs may be offered to the community and those visiting the camp.

Team members also brought gifts for the community, including laptop computers for the school, clothing, school supplies, back packs, and Spanish and Bilingual children’s books for the school library. A gift of baseball equipment, vestments, altar items, and tools were also made to the Diocesan Office to be delivered where the need is greatest. Medical supplies were also presented to Dr. Israel De La Cruz for use in a hospital and clinic near Santiago. Several suitcases which carried the supplies were also left behind to be used for storage and closets in the community.

02-supplies

A small part of the supplies presented by our team

Sponsoring parishes sending missioners and supplies were Trinity Cathedral-Omaha, Church of the Holy Spirit-Bellevue, Holy Trinity-Lincoln, Christ Church-Sidney and St. Andrews-Omaha. The additional financial support of St. Mary’s-Blair, and St. Matthew’s-Alliance, and the generous gifts of altar items and school supplies from St. Augustine’s-Elkhorn are also gratefully acknowledged.

In preparation for this mission, our team met to worship at four of the parishes we represented. This presented a valuable opportunity for our group to become acquainted, share mission plans, and inform our home parishes of our mission goals. One June 7, 2015, our team met at Holy Trinity-Lincoln. We enjoyed a picnic lunch together on the South lawn of the church before working as a team at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo doing landscaping maintenance. This special event gave us our first chance to work together as a team in service to others locally. It was especially rewarding to help make the Children’s Zoo more beautiful for its many young visitors.

Nebraska’s Youth Mission Team

Nebraska’s Youth Mission Team

On June 21, 2015, our Team gathered at Trinity Cathedral for commissioning and the blessing of the gifts we would share. After the service, we were treated to ice cream sundaes by the youth of Trinity, and we enjoyed them while we made our final preparations for this mission.

We arrived in Santo Domingo in the early afternoon of June 22, 2015, and anxiously boarded our bus ready for the beach at Boca Chica and a picnic lunch. The beach experience quickly introduced us to life in the DR. By mid-afternoon, we were back on the bus for the three hour ride north to the Diocesan Camp near Jarabacoa. Along the way, we stopped at Plaza Jacaranda near Bonao to stretch our legs. We arrived at camp, and settled into the Gordon Dormitory before dinner. Our first evening closed with compline and reflection to end a very long and exciting day.

Beach Picnic

Beach Picnic

 

We spent our first full day at the camp familiarizing ourselves with the construction status of the home and children’s shelter. We also visited several homes in the community and sites of prior mission work. Our team divided into three groups with one working at the home, one working at the children’s shelter, and the other working on the media room. We got right to work cleaning up the work-sites and sifting sand which we would later use to make mortar.

Sifting Sand to Make Mortar

Sifting Sand to Make Mortar

We spent the afternoon mixing mortar and laying block at the shelter, and assisting the Dominican laborer at the home construction site.   Before dinner, youth from the community joined our youth for a time of recreation and fellowship. This time ended with ice-cream being enjoyed by all. After dinner, we retired again to the second floor balcony of the Stevens Dormitory for reflection and compline. Compline ended with a moment of silence where we sat in the darkness and listened to the sounds of the community. This was a powerful experience that our youth repeated each evening.

Community time = best time

Community time = best time

Our work on June 24th brought much progress on the media room project and wonderful opportunities for fellowship with the community. The septic location was changed at the home, and a hole was dug. The rest of our group painted one side of the zinc sheets and treated the wood that would become the rafters of the home and shelter. After lunch, we enjoyed 2 hours with the community at the river. Before dinner, we stacked the zinc sheets, wood and blocks in preparation for the next morning’s work. After dinner, we projected the movie Rio in Spanish in the new media room. About 50 community children enjoyed this opportunity to be with our youth. Ice cream, cookies and sodas were shared with the children following the movie, and wonderful friendships were made.

 

Painting zinc sheets for roof

Painting zinc sheets for roof

June 25th was a very busy day for us. All the block was laid. The zinc sheets were painted, and all the wood for the rafters were treated. The hole for the septic tank was completely dug. We made great progress to both our construction projects. After dinner we went back to the media room to spend the evening with the community. We projected “Madagascar” in Spanish to almost 100 children from the school. It was amazing to share this experience with so many children. We again served ice cream, cookies, candy and sodas to the children following the movie. We were all touched by the joy a movie brings to the community.

Children’s shelter construction

Children’s shelter construction

On June 26th most of the roof went on Altagracia’s home. The placing of the rafters at the shelter was a difficult task. There was little work for our team to do, and most of this day was spent playing with the children of the community….just as God planned. It was another hot day, and our youth were treated to cold soft drinks at the local Colmada. It was interesting for the youth to see and experience this tiny local market. The evening culminated with our Fiesta during which we shared a delicious meal, music and dancing with the community. This was a time of thanksgiving and celebration which was enjoyed by everyone.

June 27th was our last full day in camp. We desired to pour the floors of Altagracia’s home, but were told the floors would not be poured until the electrical was installed in the home. As no electrician was present to do this work, our work at Altagracia’s home stopped after leveling the dirt floors. We helped with the roof construction at the children’s shelter. We lifted rafter timbers up to the laborers in the morning. Work at this site also ceased at noon.

After lunch, our group and a large delegation from the community trekked to the waterfalls about a 45 minutes hike away from the camp. A taxi took those members of our group who were not up to this vigorous hike. Our time at the falls was beyond beautiful. It was a blessed celebration of friendship. A young man in the community suffered a considerable head injury while cliff diving. The community rushed to his aid and assistance. We were all touched by the response and care of this close community. We were also relieved to learn the injury was not as severe as it first seemed.

Trek to waterfalls

Trek to waterfalls

A great surprise awaited us when we returned from the waterfalls. Glennys and Charlie Polanco Peralta and Israel De La Cruz were at the camp waiting for us. They had dinner with us, and shortly before sunset joined us for a bonfire. Our visitors brought musical instruments and played several songs for us. Our youth even requested a few songs that we all sang together around the fire. There was dancing and much laughter. Our youth presented their two songs to the great enjoyment of our visitors. After the bonfire, Charlie and Glennys spoke from their hearts to our group. They thanked us for loving them and coming to the DR to help others. They told us just how much it means to them that we do care for their people, and we come to be with them. It was a very emotional time as many in our group realized, possibly for the first time, that we have definitely made a very big difference. Medical Supplies were delivered to Dr. Israel De La Cruz. He told us that he and his family are continuing the work of his father to help the poor people in the mountains near Tamboril. Reflection time on this night proved to be a blessed sharing of emotion. It was unanimous that a part of each of us would remain in the DR, and a part of the DR will be forever held in our hearts. Compline and reflection brought peace and a tearful end to our most rewarding day in the DR.

Visiting friends

Visiting friends

On the morning of June 28, 2015, we worshipped with our Dominican family at 9 AM. Rev. Susanna DesMarais participated in the service. Melissa and Lindsay translated Padre Alvaro’s sermon. Altagracia thanked us for coming to help build her family a home. After service, we presented a house warming gift from Julius and Julia Ariail to Altagracia’s family at the site of her new home. We also had our photograph taken at Altagracia’s home.   Our bus to take us back to Santo Domingo was waiting when we returned to camp, and our time at the camp concluded with many goodbyes’ as we loaded our remaining luggage into a much smaller trailer.

Presentation of house warming gift to Altagacia

Presentation of house warming gift to Altagacia

Our 3 hours bus ride back to Santo Domingo was a mixed blessing of joy and sadness. We already missed our friends, but we were excited to visit the Colonial Zone. We stopped for much needed soft drink at Jacaranda Plaza. For our team, it was the first time in 8 days that we had a connection to the Internet. Messages were hurriedly sent and received. Our arrival in Santo Domingo and the Hodelpa Caribe Colonial was perfect. We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of exploration of the historic Colonial Zone. Each missioner found a perfect memento of their wonderful time together on the island. The evening ended with a delicious pizza dinner on the rooftop of Café Angelo with missionaries Karen Carroll and Charlie Nakash.

In the historic Colonial Zone

In the historic Colonial Zone

Our final morning in Santo Domingo was spent enjoying a relaxing and bountiful breakfast before checking out of the hotel. We each wrote our name on the hotel lobby portico as guests are encouraged to do. We had a beautiful ride to the airport with the Caribbean Sea bidding us a fond farewell.

The people of the Dominican Republic were perfect hosts, generous with their spirit, and sincere with their love and caring for us. It is difficult to find the words which explain the impact this experience has had on each of our hearts. Only the photographs and memories we bring home can adequately share the story of our Team. The fun and fellowship we shared, and the generosity of our sponsors will never be forgotten. Our precious week in the DR culminated with an understanding of how much it means to the folks in the DR that others care about them. We heard many times that it is not what we bring with us, but the fact we came which is most important. It is the relationships that will grow and continue to form that is the greatest gift of all.

We return home able to give the assurance that the Diocese of Nebraska is well loved in El Pedregal and throughout the Dominican Republic. We can also give an assurance that we have found a second ‘home’ in the DR with family anxiously awaiting our return. We have learned that our youth mission team can accomplish many, many important things con mucho amor (with much love).

Every day, we felt and observed a deeper loving relationship…and our Team is ready to grow this excitement and further share our joy. May God bless this growing ministry!

Jim Drazdowski Rev. Susanna DesMarais Alyson Trofholz Melissa Peeler
Steve White Angela Byrne Michael Gearhart Lauren White
Isabelle Adcock Haidan O’Keefe Summer Sanabria Don Peeler
Madison Miles Lindsey Wilson Kelly Dornan Dan Coonce
Audrey Coonce Hannah Coonce

 
– Don Peeler

The completed children’s shelter

The completed children’s shelter

Altagracia serving a meal in her new home.

Altagracia serving a meal in her new home.

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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