Friday, August 22, 2014

Highlights from the Wedding!


The day just came and flew by.  It’s amazing of how much work goes into planning a wedding and yet the big day just seems to fly by!  Rather than talk about it, I just wanted to show you some highlights of the week and the big day!

Highlight #1:  Family Support
Having family come down and getting to show them my life here.  It meant so much to be able to show them around and really get to enjoy this week with them! Dad even reffed a men’s basketball tournament going on here that Breddy has been playing in.  The best part was, after the game, when one of the Dominicans asked if he reffed in the NBA back in the states!

Highlight #2:  First-Look with the Varsity Girls
I had all my varsity girls be the junior bridesmaids.  Even though Breddy and I didn’t see each other before the wedding, we had a really special moment when my girls saw me for the first time. That’s when the first tears began to flow!


Highlight #3: Ceremony
It was just a beautiful ceremony.  I am pretty sure I cried through the whole thing… I am such a cry baby! I loved the violin/worship songs, foot-washing ceremony, having my veil fly in the wind so I couldn’t see anything, having my best friends by my side were just some of the things I loved!



Highlight #4:  Father/Daughter Fake Dance
You all know I'm not a big dancer, so my dad and I did a new spin on the father/daughter dance. The clip was too long to put on the blog, but here's the link to watch it on youtube. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OCnTy-eDpo&feature=youtu.be 

Highlight #5 (and potentially the best part of all):   Maid of Honor Spanglish Rap
video


It’s hard to sum up the day with just 5 things.  I am so thankful for so many supportive friends and family members that came to our stateside reception.  In addition, the wedding decoration was beyond what I (or even pinterest) could have imagined thanks to so many great friends here.  And my bridesmaids kept me totally chill all week long so I really was able to enjoy this special time. Thanks to all for making this celebration undeniable unforgettable. Here are some extra pictures to just see a bit more!









Friday, May 9, 2014

Missions Trip: Dominicans Serving Dominicans


As you may have read before, we have been doing a discipleship program with 12 girls this spring.  In this program, girls learn how to read scripture and discover more of their identity in Christ!  In addition we try to put these things into practice and give them opportunities to serve! 

The "FRONTERA" discipleship program recently went on a weekend mission trip to the small community of Caraballo. 

How cool that they got a chance to serve others in their own country?!

      As a group, they were able to be a part of the AWANA program at a Kids Alive school in Caraballo. They played games with the kids, memorized scripture with them, and walked through their community- it was a full day!

      The next day we were also able to help out with some construction at the school. BUT, it was more about the work that the Lord did in their hearts, and not what we did at the school. Their eyes were opened to poverty in their country- which was greater than what they have experienced in their own lives.

 If you haven't already, watch this super short 2 min video and hear personal stories from the girls!! 
:)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Player Teaches Coach Jess a Lesson


The day had arrived. Every year, there is a big 3on3 beach volleyball tournament in my small town in the Dominican Republic. Even some Dominican National players came in for this event.  I went into the tournament pretty confident as I had joined two other players who had been previously successful in this tournament in years past.  After making in through pool play and losing in the semi-finals, we were faced to fight for third place against a team that was composed of two of my previous players and my co-site leader Chelsie.  We had beat this team twice in the tournament already so we thought this would be an easy win.  Coach vs. player.  Unfortunately, our team just couldn’t build enough momentum.  With the support of the entire crowd, team “Jarabacoa City” rallied together and ended up beating us!

Now, I a pretty competitive person. After our tough loss, I stayed down by the river for a while to cool down.  I honestly did not want to face any of my players!  So finally, when I pulled myself together, I walked back to the crowd to congratulate the girls.  I feel like any normal teenager (or at least myself when I was a teenager) would take advantage of this opportunity to gloat a bit in their coaches face.  I braced myself for the taunting as I walked up to them.  To my surprise the girls just hugged me and said, “Coach, you know we won because of all that you’ve taught us.”  As I tearfully write this, I feel so humbled to have the opportunity to work with these girls. When I think I am teaching them things, God uses them to teach me.  So that was the day that I will always remember that my players became my coach.

Enjoy the pics from the game!
Our team (pink) vs. Team Jarabacoa City


Prayer Requests
·      Continued support for college girls
·      Help new set of girls who are graduating from high school make plans for college.  This group of girls have dreamed even beyond the DR and want to even study in other countries. 
·      Potentially planning a trip to the States with the new group of varsity girls.
·      Pray for me as I continue to do ministry and get married in August! 






Monday, March 3, 2014

Basketball turns into engagement ring!

About a week ago, I planned to surprise my boyfriend Breddy with a visit.  Okay, let me first bring you up to speed.  Breddy got a visa to live in the states in October of 2013.  After living in New York for a couple months, he decided he wanted to be in an area where more people speak English.  He also wanted to get to know my family better. So, after spending Christmas with my family, he accepted my brothers invitation to move to COLD Michigan and live in an apartment with my brother.  Since January, he has been working at a restaurant called Arnies.  So back to the story...

I told Breddy that Saturday, February 15, our varsity team had a tournament in Santiago.  My goal was to make him think that I was making plans to throw him off so he wouldn't think I was coming home.  He replied "Great! I am playing basketball with some guys at work in the afternoon, so we'll both be having fun!"  When I arrived Saturday morning (my parents had told him that they were going to pick up my grandparents from the airport... well that's what I thought they told him. They were in on it too.), I snuck up from behind and as I hugged him, I saw tears roll down his face. Surprise? SUCCESS! (Or at least I thought)

So that afternoon, he said he still wanted to go play basketball with his buddies.  After begging him to cancel, I finally relented and decided I should be a good girlfriend and go support him.  So we show up not to a basketball court... but the river.  Something is up, I thought. As we walked along the river, I realized that this was definitely not a sporting event!  We got to the top of the bridge, he got down on one knee.... and you know the rest!

What's next: Breddy is in the process of getting what is called a "re-entry permit" so that he can come live in the DR and not lose his residency.  If everything goes as planned, he will come back to the DR in June and we will get married in August!  I'm so thankful for this man God has brought into my life. Breddy loves sports just like me and loves God even more! I'm excited to spend my life with this man!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Personal Testimony

Greetings from the DR! Just wanted to give you an update of what's going on down here.

We started with a new group of Frontera, a discipleship program for new believers or girls who may not be believers, but want to learn more. Right now, we have 12 girls and we are going through at program called "God's Story" to give the girls a biblical foundation.  We will do our "survivor" trip at the end of this month so we are looking forward to that!

We also started up our JV team, which Chelsie is coaching and our varsity team which I will be coaching. We also continue to spend mornings up at a middle school in a town called Corocito running gym classes.  The college girls are all doing a great job.  They continue to serve at sites such as the special ed school, community health, as well as helping as serving as assistant coaches at our site.

Here is a picture of our varsity team with the Joshua outreach.  During January, we had the privilege to have two great teams come serve with us. Forge and Joshua were two great teams and they were a huge blessing and encouragement to us and the girls!

Varsity alongside Joshua team participants 
*If you want to see a short blog post from one of the Joshua girls about her time in the DR, you can visit this site: http://joshuawilderness.org/2014/01/social-work-and-womens-sports/

We wanted to give you a little glimpse of what God is doing in the lives of some of our girls. Click the link below to hear about Mabelis' story.  Mabelis played on VC Revolution for four years and is now studying psychology so that she go on and help others! Watch to hear what God has done in her life/

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bootcamp!

I gasped as I saw Edely pass out after just 10 minutes of Survivor Boot Camp. “Oh no,” I thought. “What in the world have I gotten my girls into?”  This year, 11 girls have volunteered to be a part of our Frontera discipleship program because they wanted to grow in their walk with God.  In addition to bible study in the classroom, we took them on trips to help stretch them to depend on God. On one of our adventure weekends, we did a “Survivor” theme which included bringing in one of our missionaries who used to serve in the Dominican Army.  As a part of this team building weekend, he took the girls through a typical “boot camp” training.   The girls had to remain mentally tough while their drill sergeant barked orders at them.  Like Edely, many girls hit breaking points when they thought they couldn’t go on.  However, after a five minute break and pep-talk, every single girl gained the strength and courage to march back to their platoon.  

Crew lining up to start "boot-camp"

Tough girls after completing 3 hours of training!

Once the weekend was completed, all the girls were elated with pride. They realized that as a team, they overcame something really hard and were stronger for it!

We also did a missions trip to a poor city in the Dominican Republic called "Caraballo". The girls helped out the local missionaries with their Awana program as well as helped with some construction projects.  It was neat to see the girls really using their gifts to serve the Lord.  After walking through the neighborhood, they were also astonished to see the even greater proverty. 

Stephanie helping out with Awana

Mabelis, Ashley and Mary-Emily helping to pour cement!

Girls after carrying 100+ loads of rocks and dirt!

After a days work... Champs! 

I feel so blessed to be a part of this sports ministry in the Dominican Republic.  Just like enduring “boot camp”, many of these girls have to work hard and push through tough things in their lives.  Most of them come from fatherless and/or abusive homes and must choose to lift themselves up and courageously run to the Lord. Through our volleyball teams and discipleship program, we are really starting to see these grow into girls who are discovering what it means to find victory in the Lord.  God is good and I’m thankful to fight on his side!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Pee-Wee!!!

So, I'd like to attribute my lack of blog posts to my incredible work ethic that just pours out Jesus' love into girls that I just don't have time write on blog.  Unfortunately, that's not 100% true.  I am pouring out Jesus' love, but I'm afraid thats not directly correlated with my scarce blogging. Anyways, enough excuses.  I apologize that it's been so long. I'm going to try to break up the things that have been happening over the next couple blog posts.  But since I'm assuming you are busy too... its going to be a lot of pictures and less talking!

Event #1: We split up VC Revolution into "seasons"
We found it was hard to really pour into all our girls when we were running 4-5 teams at once. So this year we split up our teams into seasons. Three teams play from May-Dec and the others Jan-July.  This has been a great thing and has allowed us to really invest in these girls. Take a look!

My "teenager" team from Corocito.
Dianny (far right) is one of our graduated girls that will be attending college as well as helping coach the girls from her community. 

Freshman team- Coached by Chelsie Blackburn
These are girls from all over town that are mainly freshmen. Chelsie has really invested in these girls during their season and they have improved so much! 
Loreidy (far right) just finished her first semester at college while serving as the Freshman assistant coach. 

Pee-Wee Team
Great group of girls from Corocito that are 10&11 yrs. old. We just started this team this year and they have done such a great job! 
Another picture of some of our pee-wees because they are just so cute! 

Stay tuned... In the next blog post I'll be talking about our new discipleship program including their experiences of "boot camp"