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Not All Who Wander Are Lost… Everything you ever wanted to know about my Dominican mission work

I love it when a plan comes together…

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A thousand years ago, when I worked in the world of business, that was one of my favorite sayings. My career revolved around plans, policies, budgets and paperwork. I don’t miss it… but I AM a natural planner and organizer, so now I use those skills to pull together all the details of my mission projects. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, it’s scary, it’s overwhelming… I love it.

Lately, I feel like many aspects of my “plan” (which is something you make to cause God to laugh) are coming together even better with the help of my friends. This past Fall, for instance, the owner/director of a private primary school used the Dominican Republic, and my experiences there, as a teaching tool and community service project for her students. They learned about the country and collected hundreds of pairs of shoes for me to take on my next trip. I spent a few hours at the school, showed the children pictures of their friends in the DR, did a little public relations with the local TV station, and came home with a heart overflowing with love.
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Meanwhile, a very sweet co-worker and her family decided to pool their money and make a monthly donation to any mission-related expenses I deemed worthy. I tried to offer her the chance to tell me how she wanted the money spent, but she said I should just use it as it is needed. Every time I try to thank her, she says, “Don’t thank me, thank Jesus.” So, thanks to this friend, Jesus, and several other friends who have made cash contributions, I will soon be contacting Solid Rock International (the organization that I work with in the Dominican Republic) to arrange for the purchase of a new defibrillator for the Medical Clinic, which is now being built with 100% donated funds!

Under the “Oh my gosh, it’s a small world” heading, the Dad of one of those private school students happens to be someone who was one year behind me in high school and whose wrestling coach was also my volleyball coach. This man contacted me to ask how he could help the children of the Dominican Republic, and quickly sent a very generous check… to be used at my discretion! I gave it a lot of thought, and sought the input of the nurse and the social worker at Solid Rock. Thanks to my kind fellow SHS alum/athlete, there will be plenty of funds to purchase pediatric medications, vitamins and supplies for this year’s trip, along with a brand new bassinette in the Labor and Delivery section of the SRI Medical Clinic in San Juan de la Maguana.

In March (to celebrate National Women’s Day), I will give a 5-8 minute presentation on my mission work at Faith Christian Church. My dear church members have been very supportive of my mission projects and will again help me collect supplies and suitcases. My friends at Maynard’s Consignment store, TnT Treasures and The Lion, The Niche and The Wardrobe have all been kind enough to stock and sell my handcrafted Mission Necklaces. Last year, the sale of these necklaces funded my trip 100%. This year, I expect to cover at least 75% of my costs with my handcrafted necklaces and scarves.
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The countdown app on my phone tells me that I will leave for the Dominican Republic in 85 days. Before that happens, my friend, co-researcher, and former BSN instructor and I will finalize the application for a grant to pay for the supplies we will need to continue our Breast Self-Exam (BSE) teaching project in the villages of the DR. This year, we hope to continue the work we started in 2013, by training local women to be BSE teachers in their own villages. If we can get our paper published and the grant approved, we will be able to impact hundreds, if not thousands of women on the importance of early detection. This is a life-saving project.

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I’m so fortunate to have the resources and the support of family and friends (near and far) to help me with the passion I have for this mission work in the Dominican Republic. Most days, at least part of my mind is clicking away on something Dominican. For the next three months, I guarantee that there will be a bigger percentage of brain-power and energy devoted to making this trip happen. With luck, everyone here will stay healthy, funding and publication will fall into place, and I will be back at work in the Dominican Republic very soon!

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