Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Time to leave

“How do you think a missionary knows when it’s the right time to leave? I don’t think I will ever feel like God is calling me away from the Dominican Republic.”   I remember asking this question to other fellow missionaries about two years ago.  I have always felt that I think God specifically designed this job with my name on it.  For the past 7 years, I have had the privilege of working with Dominican girls using the sport I love most, volleyball. Is there any job better than that? 

Despite my love, and maybe potential bias, for what we do here, Breddy and I feel God is calling us to move back the U.S.  We are thankful to have worked with Students International using our passion for sports to minister to kids in the community  However, we feel like things are at a good place for us to step out.  One of my girls, Mabelis, started in the program when she was 8th grade.  She has been serving as my assistant for the past couple years and is now more than ready to take over.  Mabelis is about to graduate college and plans to use her psychology major to continue helping other young Dominican girls. If you are interested in supporting Mabelis, please email me at and I will send you the information.

As much as we love this place, we feel peace about our decision to return home. Plus, our new baby Jaylene, needs to know her crazy grandparents! Upon our return in November, I will be taking a permanent substitute position in a Spanish immersion school, teaching science. Breddy also has potential work lined up as well. Please pray for our family in this transition.  This place is very much our home and I know it will be tough to leave the people who have become family.  We are thankful to have a home church to go back to and we know our “new” family ready for us with open arms.  Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support for so many years. 

We are still in need of a couple one-time donations to help cover our returning flights.  If you would like to help us out, please visit this link to send a donation.

In other news, things continue to run as normal! We are now holding tryouts for our freshmen, JV and varsity teams.  The picture below was a rainy day so not as many girls came but on our 3rd day of tryouts, we had over 35 girls!

And... if you were wondering how Jaylene was doing... she is doing great! She will be 5 months old soon. She loves blowing bubbles and smiling at whoever walks by. It has been such a joy to have her in our lives. Check out her skills in the video below! 

Jaylene at each month

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Welcome Jaylene Rae Paez!

Birth Story: It's interesting babies don't always comply with the order of your to-do list.  April 13, I had a blog post written and ready to put up on my blog.  However, the internet wasn't working that day so I didn't get a chance to post it. One hour later, I had a sharp pain in my stomach and  called Dr. Fernando and he said I should come in to get it checked out.  He noticed that Jaylene's heart beat was a little slow and sent us home with a heart beat monitor to keep an eye on it. Breddy checked it at noon and it was still a bit slow.  Dr. Fernando had us come in and when they did an ultrasound, they saw that Jaylene had the umbilical cord really tight around her neck. The pain that I felt had been a contraction and it was pulling down on Jaylene, but the cord was pulling her back up and this caused the cord to get even tighter around her neck and was affecting her heartbeat.  So after Dr. Fernando saw the ultrasound he said, "Well Jess, you will have your babies in your arms within the next hour."  And so it was! I feel like I didn't even get the chance to get scared because it all happened so fast! So about 45 minutes and a C-section later, I had Jaylene Rae Paez in my arms.  She was 7 pounds and had a full head of hair!

The last 2 months have gone by really fast.... except the nights, those seem to last forever! I was fortunate to have my mom here for a couple weeks after the birth which was a huge help as I was recovering.  Then 2 weeks ago, Josh and Heather came down and stocked my freezer with lots of meals and got some good uncle and auntie time!

Jaylene now weighs 13 lbs and we love watching her start to smile more.  Breddy is a great dad and does a great job caring for her and helping me out. We will be coming home late July and staying for a couple weeks, so if you live in our area, we hope to see you! Thank you for your continuous prayers and support! If you still haven't had enough baby pictures.... here you go!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

April Post (Sorry for the delay)

So I had this post ready to publish April 13, but the internet wasn't working... and then I had a baby that same day (2 weeks early) so I didn't get a chance to post it! So, better late than never!

“I realized how much God really does love me. If others could really understand that, I think other lives would be changed.” ~Naomy
“I learned that God can fight for me. We try to fight our own battles, yet we have a God would can carry my burden for me.” ~Ileana
These were just a few of the many great testimonies shared after our third annual purity retreat. We had over 60 youth involved in this retreat and God moved in huge ways. In addition, a couple of the youth leaders shared how, since the last retreat, God has really helped them to have victory in things they struggled with in the past. This year, we used a boxing theme to portray the message that, if we let him, God can be in the ring with us. We often try to fight our battles alone, yet find ourselves always coming up short. We invited the youth to let God come into their lives and fight with HIS power. It was a great lesson for leaders and youth alike.
We had over 60 youth attend the retreat!
In other news, just two more weeks until baby Jaylene will be making her way into this world! Mabelis and Esther are prepared to take over the site while I am on maternity leave. Please pray for them as they balance the full-time job of running the site, as well as their college studies. This summer, we will continue to run volleyball teams and graduate a group of 8 seniors.
Our college girls are excelling in so many areas. We are finishing “When I Don’t Desire God” by Timothy Keller. They will be starting a bible study based on the movie “War Room” and will do that throughout the summer. Last month, three of them also played in a 3v3 beach volleyball tournament and got second place! There were teams from all over the country, including two teams that had players who play for the Dominican National Volleyball Team! So overall, a huge success for those girls.
Winning team and their very round coach! 
Thank you so much for your support and prayers of this ministry. I feel so blessed to be a part of what God is doing here in Jarabacoa through Students International.
Prayer Requests • Energy and wisdom for Mabelis and Esther as they take over the site and work with summer teams. • Healthy birth for Jaylene (and that she will be a baby that likes to sleep!) • College Sponsor for Ashley Cheyenne. We still need 3 sponsors for her to continue to attend college. We need a $100, $60 and $40/month sponsors. • Especially after making life-changing decisions at the retreat, please join us in prayer that these girls can continue to stay firm in their faith and resist temptations that they face daily

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 up and running!

Things are going great here in Jarabacoa.  I’ll give you a brief update on how the teams are going, the college girls, Zika (the new mosquito virus) and how Breddy & baby Jaylene are doing!

Volleyball Teams: All 7 volleyball teams are up and running.  The JV team will be going through a dvd series called “God’s Story” which helps the girls better picture of what the bible is all about.  The varsity team is learning about being real in their faith.  We are now busy planning our third annual purity retreat for April.
All of our VC Revolution Teams

College Girls: Along with their studies, the girls are busy serving at their different ministry sites and doing a great job. In our college bible study, we just started reading Desiring God by John Piper.  I have been really impressed of how smart these girls are and are able to have great discussions. 

Zika: You may have heard about Zika, a virus that is transmitted through mosquitoes.  The danger of the virus is that if pregnant women contract the disease, it can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly in their baby.  It can cause the baby to have an abnormally small head.  They say the virus is most dangerous if mom contracts the virus in her first trimester.  The virus is not very widespread here and is not a huge concern.  However, I will still be taking extra precautions to keep any mosquitoes away.  Please pray for baby Jaylene and all the other pregnant mothers in the world who could potentially contract this virus. 

Páez Family: It was nice to spend some quality time with family and friends in December.  We were also blessed to have two baby showers!  At shower put on by some ladies at our home church, it was neat to see so many women who have been such positive influences in my life.  I pray that Jaylene will have the same opportunity to have so many Godly women in their lives guiding them as they guided me.  We also had a shower with the “Gates” side of the family!  Since I have missed so many great Thanksgiving dinners, it has been at least 5 years since I’ve seen most of those relatives.  One of the hardest parts of living overseas is missing those family members and feeling disconnected.  However, they made us feel right at home!

Shower with Detroit Gators

Shower with BHBC Ladies

Breddy has been busy working at the men’s sports site.  He also had the opportunity to compete in a local motocross race and won fourth in his division! But even more than motocross, Breddy is getting excited about becoming a dad.  I am now at 28 weeks and its hard to believe I am going to get bigger.  Tying my shoes is now a challenge and even during practices, I find I have to sit more.  And you know me, I don’t like sitting down very much. Mabelis and Esther are gradually taking over more responsibilities so that come baby time, they will be in charge while I take maternity leave!
Motocross race

Baby bump pic! 

Prayer Requests
·    Continued passion with teams.  Some days I just get excited about becoming a mom. However, I don’t want that to stop me from fully invested in the spring groups that come down.
·      Health for our baby and all others that could potentially get infected with the Zika virus

·      New supporters for our college sponsorship program.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Survivor Trip 2015

We just completed our fourth “survivor” trip and guess what… everyone survived! To see some highlights, don't miss the video at the end of this post! As part of our discipleship program, we took the varsity and JV team up in the mountains where they had to rough it for a couple days.  The weekend was full of challenges that stretched the girls physically and emotionally.  The goal is that as they run out of stamina, they learn to depend on the encouragement of their teammates and that they ultimately seek God for strength.  So what did this Survivor weekend look like?  We hiked up into the mountains to a little community called Manabao to do some camping. Different activities were planned that helped them to learn about the importance of putting on the amour of God. The girls had to walk to a waterfall, all holding on to the same rope. Oh and they couldn’t talk.  They had a relay race where they had to get through different obstacles and answer questions about the amour of God.  The biggest highlight of the weekend was having 20 out of the 30 girls stand up and make decisions to follow Christ. 

JV & Varsity Team
It’s amazing how when we get out of our comfort zones, we often hear God more clearly.  The girls talked at the end of the weekend of how it actually was freeing to not have their cell phones.  They actually TALKED to each other and built relationships. Imagine that! I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of this.  I “distract” myself with music, tv, or even facebook and put my relationship with God and others on hold.  This weekend was an encouragement to me too of the importance of getting rid of the those distractions and making time for the most important things in my life. Thank you for your support and prayers of this ministry. Please pray for these girls and that they would take steps in their relationship with the Lord and pursue a church.
On their way up to Manabao

Check out the video that Courtney (one of the leaders on the trip) made of the weekend!
Thank you to Chelsie, Heidy, Mabelis, Esther and Courtney who did a great job leading this trip and really made it a success! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Watch me do it.

Watch me do it.   Let’s do it together.   Now you do it. 

Brian Entrekin, our field director here in the DR, made this quote summarizing of how to do discipleship.  As I think back to this summer, I get excited to see this model being carried out especially in our two site assistants, Mabelis and Esther.  Mabe and Esterlita, as I call them, are both players who played in our VC Revolution volleyball ministry for about 4 years.  They now have graduated and are college students, but are starting to run the show at our women’s sports site! Normally, each American that comes to serve shares a testimony or devotional at the beginning of every practice. I normally translate those. However, by the last half of the summer, Esther was translating all the devotionals! Both girls preached up storm every single practice that I just got to sit back at watch! In addition, the last two outreaches, both girls shared their entire testimony to the teams in English.  As we look forward to this new school year, I am excited to see these girls lead their own teams so that we can expand and reach more girls in Jarabacoa. For four years as players, “They watched me do it.”  Now for the past year, “we have been doing it together.”  And now this next year, I am excited to step back and “watch them do it!”

Esther translating at graduation for Intern Taylor

Esther & Mabelis with some of the players from Olivet Nazarene 

Our high school graduates!
GRADUATION: In other news, we had solid four girls graduate from Varsity. What are their plans? Starting from the left, Micah Trautwein, will be headed to Stanford to study medicine.   (I taught her everything she knows… haha… not!) Ashley, will be on scholarship and is interested in studying Industrial Engineering and will be doing her volunteer work at Genesis (a school for special needs children).  The next in line was our intern, Taylor!  She headed back to Shorter College in Georgia and I know will continue to show God’s love to others, just as she did here.  Edely will also be on scholarship and will be studying Bioanalysis and serving alongside Dianny & Caroly at the Community Health Site.  Last but not least, Ambar will be studying Physical Education and serving as the assistant coach of the JV team. I am so proud of these girls.  They are ALL so strong in their faiths and I have full confidence they will do GRANDE things in the future!

What’s in store for this next school year? 
1.     Coaches clinic- We will host our first coaches clinic this year.  We want to train our coaches up so that they will be equipped to serve in the sport of volleyball.
2.     New coaching staff! We have 7 teams this year! Not only that, but between we have coaches for all teams and other younger varsity players serving as assistant coaches of those teams!
3.     2 new college students- we still need college sponsors for Ashley and Edely.  If you would consider helping these girls to get a college education, click on the “college sponsorship” tab to see how you can get involved.

Páez Support Status Update
We are at $250 of our $500 of what we would like to raise for 2015! We were so blown away that just this past summer, we had 9 more people join us as monthly supporters! If you are interested in joining our team, please send me an email and I can give you more information. One-time donations are also great! If you would like to set up a donation online today, you can do so directly at

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We are so excited for what this next year holds.  We hope to continue to training up girls, so they can train other girls, so they can train more girls! You get the picture right?  Adios! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Snap Shot!

Summer is super busy with new teams coming in every two weeks. Each day I come home exhausted, probably a bit sunburnt, somedays a bit dehydrated... but my joy is renewed because I get to serve the Lord using volleyball! Does it get any better than that?  I wanted to give you at update in how God has blessed Breddy and I with new monthly supporters and how the women's sports site is going Also, at the end are some prayer requests!

Support Update: So I mentioned just 2 months ago that we needed to raise our monthly support by $500. Well in just two months, God has moved in the lives of many of the outreach participants that have come down and we now have 5 new monthly supporters!  With those new supporters, we currently have $200 of the $500 we need. And just this last outreach, 3 men approached Breddy and said they wanted to support him!! Here are some pictures of Breddy working at the mens sports site during this past outreach.

Coaching in Buena Vista

Breddy giving a talk before practice

Women's Sports Site Update:  This summer has been really great. Two of our varsity graduates have been helping as volunteers this summer and that has been a HUGE blessing. Esther now translates the messages every morning and Mabelis helps run the practices. It's been so neat to see them step into coaching roles and be such great role models for the girls.  We now are coaching 4 main groups of girls and have about 75 girls in our program! Now that we have 2 new coaches (Mabelis and Esther) and one more senior graduating this year, I hope to expand the program even more so that those girls start coaching their own teams and we can reach more girls through volleyball! 
Praying after practice with one of our beginner teams

Olivet Nazarene Volleyball team with some of the varsity girls 

Prayer Request: Please pray for energy during these last two weeks and that we will fully invest in each group of students, even though they each come for just a week. (During the summer, normal outreaches are 2 weeks long).  Also pray that we can reach our donation goal soon!