Surprise VBS!!

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Our one month team in the Dominican focuses on evangelism for the first two weeks and then helps with the medical clinics their third week. Once both of those teams leave, we plan a special project for the one monthers to complete during their final week.

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We often leave this project up to our partner pastors as they know the greatest needs in their community. Examples would include building a house, painting a playground or installing a water pump.

Except, this year, SURPRISE!!

Pastor Tito decided that his community’s greatest need was… THE GOSPEL for their children. He organized an impromptu VBS for 2 days and told our team about it the night before. When they asked how many children to expect, he said, “at least 90, maybe 400.”

FOUR HUNDRED!! 

That might seem amazing, until you realize that RIM’s two week team and medical team have both already gone home, leaving only SIX team members to plan, organize and run this program.

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Our quick-thinking team made a quick call to the RIM office in Georgia, where we provided them with a curriculum and spent an hour on conference call training them how to run the program.

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Then they dashed off to the store to buy supplies, and they stayed up half the night prepping posters and crafts.

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Back at the office, our hearts were torn… 90 kids sounded manageable, but 400 kids to share the Gospel with would be incredible. But could the team do it?? No worries however, this amazing team didn’t even break a sweat…

BRING IT ON!! They felt ready for whatever the Lord had in store!

Meanwhile, RIM staffed tapped our prayer networks and asked people to pray for these two days. And hundreds of folks agreed to help – people shared our prayer posts of social media, commented with prayers, and promised to keep this team before the Lord the whole time. We’re so blessed and encouraged to see such an incredible community back home support those on the field! 

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When the VBS program began the next day, 300 KIDS showed up.

THREE HUNDRED CHILDREN!!

And they heard the Gospel, and they responded… Our team knocked it out of the park sharing with them and praying with them. What an awesome time! We can’t imagine a better way to have finished out this trip!!

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Except of course for a beach day… Our team spent their final moments on the beach reminding each other of all the Lord has done this summer and encouraging each other about the transition back to home.

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Girls Home (Chiang Kham)

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The final week or so of the trip, our Thailand team is living at a girls home in Chiang Kham, a rural area about 5 hours to the east of Chiangmai. About 100 Thai girls live there and are parented by a pastor and his wife.

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Most of these girls all come from families where they’re at high risk for trafficking, being sold to forced labor, abandonment or neglect. Living at the girls home keeps them safe and allows them to finish their education through 12th grade so that they can escape from the poverty cycle.

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Wednesday we spent the afternoon at Faikwang High School with 100 students. We did English activities and shared about God’s love. Thursday we spent time with all the students at the primary school.

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That afternoon, we started a sidewalk cleaning project. The sidewalks were really mossy and slick, so that afternoon we bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and went to work.

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Wednesday and Thursday night were great group times, with lots of games, activities, praying and singing.

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On Friday, we continued on with the deslick the sidewalk project, along with starting work with the rice fields.

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Friday night we had a dance night with the girls at HOB, including line dances, us performing our dance, and the high schoool girls performing a dance for us.

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Saturday was a big rice field day for everyone, and we finished!!

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Saturday evening was a ministry night with the HOB girls. We performed a drama, explained it, and Katey gave her testimony. Then we got in our groups and prayed for each person individually, followed by ice cream for everyone!

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Primary School Improvements (By Sarah)

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As you know, we’ve been working hard on a paint project at the school. We’re brightening up the entrance-way to the school and making it more inviting. This also goes a long way to helping elevate the professionalism of the school. This is really important in Uganda. Parents here choose which school to send their children too based on its reputation and prestige.
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Things like a smart-looking entrance and the knowledge that international teachers visit raise people’s impression of the school. RIM’s partner church opened Hephzibah International Primary School less than two years ago. It is their desire to fill the school with students because that’s one of the most effective ways to reach community families for Christ so we’re thrilled to be a part of activities (painting and teaching) that make that Kingdom reality!
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I’ve attached pictures of our paint project. There are more, but these are some of the best ones. The teachers are so excited about it, and we know it will have a huge impact on the professionalism of the school!  So that is super cool! The entire project should be finished on Tuesday!!
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Anyway, thanks so much for loving and supporting us. We booked our trip to Kampala tonight and we are all SOOO JAZZED about it. We’ll be spending two days in the city. During that time, we plan to visit another school to gather ideas to bring back to Hephzibah. We’ll also be printing and binding a teacher training manual for the teachers we’ve been working with and buying gifts for our students. Then on Friday, we’ll have a final celebration with the students and teachers at Hephzibah to remember all that the Lord has done in the last few weeks.
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Over the weekend, we’ll spend some more time with the church, and then Sunday night we head out to our safari destination.
Love you guys!! Thanks for all your prayers!
Sarah
(RIM Project Director)

The Need to Teach Teachers

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Ugandan School ChildrenThis week our team has worked hard at the Ugandan school, and they have one more day of classes before the weekend.

Playground at Uganda School

Sarah and Tiffany have facilitated a professional development program for the school teachers and an administrator. They’ve worked hard to teach principles of classroom management and how to build relationships with students. They’ve also tried to share techniques for effectively teaching different subjects. The teachers have thoroughly engaged in the process and have expresses appreciation for how much they’re learning.

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Meanwhile, the other girls have been running classes for all the students. They alternate between teaching them what the Ugandan teachers have planned for the day (acting as substitutes during the teacher development program), and running actual English camps.

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During the English camps, our girls use all sorts of games, songs and hand motions to help students learn and remember. They also help to correct pronunciation and grammar that has been learned incorrectly. It’s a huge value add for the school to have American English speakers to help!

Teaching English Camps in Uganda

As you can imagine, each day brings something new in Uganda. For every great ministry moment, there’s also a surprise or a challenge. For example, what do you do when a little boy brings his goat to school??

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Keep praying for our team, they have Friday and Monday in the school, and then they’ll return the following Friday for a big celebration.

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During the middle of next week, the team will be involved in some additional ministries in Kampala (the big city, about an hour away).

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Here’s a fun picture from one of their earlier trips into town…

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And also an update on the painting project the girls have been working on at the school!

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Finally, what post would be complete without a picture of Tiffany holding a sweet little baby?!

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Date Night in Chiangdao

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For the last few days, we’ve continued to serve at Fountain of Hope Orphanage in Chiangdao, Thailand. We’ve totally rocked a couple days working the farm (which feeds the kids), and we’ve really enjoyed building relationships with all of the children.

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We are most impressed by Sri and Aaron, the married couple who run the orphanage, and their devotion to the children. In the 4 1/2 years they’ve served, one of them always has to be home for the kids… which means they never have any date nights. As a way to honor them and bless them for the investment they’ve made in these kids, we really wanted to give them an opportunity to have time alone together, away from the orphanage.

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At first, they hesitated. Could our team handle all the kids on their own? But we convinced them, and they headed out. They had a beautiful evening to go to dinner and hangout without the kids.

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Meanwhile, I’m please to report that our team successfully entertained the children… no fires or injuries, just a fun time for all. Praise God!

 

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