Monday, October 24, 2011

Sometimes people mention to Brian and I that they aren't sure what we do in the Dominican Republic. It makes us wonder if we need to explain better what Brian's job entails with Meeting God in Missions.  Facebook is a great way for us to keep connected with friends and family from home but just like you, you don't post your work post your play!  We may have caused some confusion with the pictures and comments placed on facebook. It may have left some to conclude we are always at play.  Not the case!  I hope this blog will help explain better what the ministry of MGM is and the important role Brian plays.

Meeting God in Missions is an non-denominational ministry seeking to support the body of Christ and experience God through helping others in short-term mission ventures.  Our purpose is to bring Americans to the Dominican Republic  to have a life-changing experience with God. Our hope is that it will  impact them the week they are serving and that they bring that back to the churches they came from.  The Haitians and Dominicans benefit from the help the Americans bring by the following ministries: construction, dentistry, optical, medical, sports, vbs, prayer/village care, and whatever else the Lord does in that week.  Consequently, the Americans get challenged and blessed by serving the Lord on a mission trip.

Our family works as support to the ministry of MGM.  Brian's title is head of maintenance. He heads up the buildings, houses, vehicles, tools and grounds.  Brian's knowledge helps keep the center  functioning as well as can be.  From plumbing to electric, Brian is constantly at work keeping the center safe and effective so the Americans have a reliable place to stay while on their trip.  It is no wonder why Brian is such a good fit for MGM, he can fix just about anything. 

When the groups are not in session, Brian spends lots of  time with maintenance on the facilities to get them ready for the next season of ministry.  When groups come in and out each week, it takes a toll on the center and Brian is constantly repairing and upgrading.  Not only that but our neighbors come and ask Brian for his help on projects in their homes and churches.  He is a busy guy from early morning to late into the evening.

Brian also has been mentoring some of the teen boys who live in our community.  They come and work alongside Brian to learn a skill that will help them in the future.  Brian has played a "father figure" to these boys.  Most of them do not have a Godly man influence in their immediate life, so Brian has been able to set an example to them.

The kids and I are busy during days doing school.  When groups are in from America, I have been helping with the shopping for the center.  I also spend time with the Americans and the local folks building relationships, listening and praying with the ones who desire it.  I took on a new role learning to create a snack each night for the Americans as they returned from church.  A baker is born (sort of)

Jamie likes to try to go to the villages when she is done with school.  Jamie is interested in medicine and has a compassionate heart. She has been our champ in learning the language and helps us when we need to communicate.  This summer Jamie and her Dominican big brother, Freddy, ran a small camp store.  Half the proceeds went to Freddy to help him buy a scooter.  Jamie is saving her money.  It is fun to watch her mentor her brother in money exchange and also inventory.

Elliott is also used in the camp.  He has a way of connecting with both Americans and the locals. He brings lots of joy and laughter to everyone.  Elliott is a pro M.K. and is excited about getting back to his friends in Hato Mayor.  He likes to brag that he is the most popular person in the Dominican Republic.

Our family is currently stateside until after Christmas doing school, speaking at church groups about MGM, and also working to build up our savings to head back for another season of ministry in January 2012. Brian has been working various jobs around the area. I have got a few jobs speaking to help with our savings. Brian will be flying back to the Dom Rep without us in early December to work on a water system and the roof of the center.  We will miss him but glad the center will be ready for the beginning of the January short-term trips.

Please continue to pray for us as we are new to overseas missions and have lots to learn about being missionaries.  We desire for the Lord's name to get all the glory as He alone deserves it.  We are thrilled He's called us to represent Him in this way.

Dios te Bendiga
Brian and Jen, Jamie and Elliott

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Summer Highlights

         We made it through a very busy summer at MGM!  What a great adventure spending 6 weeks in a row with some very amazing folks! The first group was the largest group from CVCA School.  They brought 139 people to begin our summer session.  The following week was less people but a little stressful as one of our missionary couples needed to head home for an emergency.  We were much relieved to see them back the following week of 109. The following weeks seemed simple after such a demanding start.  The best way to describe it would be a youth group retreat for six weeks in a row!   

         We saw the Lord work not only in the Americans who came to serve as missionaries, but we heard several stories of God using the teams to meet spiritual needs, physical needs, emotional needs, and financial needs of the people living in the Dominican Republic. What a great way to spend our Summer!

         Our family had a personal ministry this summer.  We opened a MGM store where folks could purchase snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. The proceeds of the store helped Freddy, a Dominican teen in need.  We were able to purchase Freddy a scooter with some of the proceeds from the store.  Our family hopes Freddy will be able to get to school easier and be able to find work now that he has his own wheels.  It was a good day for all of us as he drove in to show us his new ride!

     After a demanding six weeks we were ready to head home for some R&R. It had been seven months and it was time to head home for a visit.  Our family landed in Pittsburgh on July 27th.  Since being home in the States we have enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends from home.  Our family has been blessed to get to go on a vacation to the Outer Banks.  We are looking forward to a week at the beach before school begins.

    Jamie and Elliott will be starting school in less than two weeks at Creekside Christian School.  The kids will be stateside doing traditional school until we all head back to the Dominican Republic after Christmas.
They are happy to get to go back and be with their friends.

     Brian was offered a job the first week back.  We are thankful for the Lord providing work for him as our schedule is so crazy. Brian will be heading back to the Dominican Republic in October without us for a few weeks.  We will miss him but know what he is doing is important for MGM.

     I am asking the Lord to fill my days with ministry opportunities while home. I am putting the word out that I am home and available to be used in ministry areas.  So far, the Lord has already opened a few doors for me to meet with some teens in crisis, speak with a mission board, and set up some commitments to share with some churches about MGM and our family's personal journey.

     While we are stateside, our family is working with MGM. We are helping to promote the mission to churches and answer questions for groups heading down.   If you know of a church that would like more information, please contact us and we will be glad to help.  We enjoy sharing about the mission of MGM.

Until the Nets are Full,
Brian & Jen, Jamie & Elliott 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Update

          I am learning so much about the love of God by being a parent.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who can say that.  Elliott has a few fears.  The biggest fear is the dark.  He won't go in his bedroom alone at night because it's dark.  However, when his daddy is with him, he's fearless.  As limited as Brian is, Elliott has confidence that his daddy will take good care of him and he becomes willing to go into the dark places. 

         I'm not going to lie, we had some scary moments in the Dominican Republic.  So many times I wanted to hide in my bedroom with the door locked.  God reminded me that "He is my protector."  "He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  So I can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, why should I fear.  What can man possibly do to me."  It was like God reached out His mighty hand and said, "I got you Jen."

         As fears creep into our lives, whether valid or ridiculous, our Father is all-powerful without limits. I just wonder what fears you and I need to put into God's mighty hands and walk with confidence into the dark places knowing He is with us?

         Have you ever played, jump to daddy?  You know like when you put your kid on the side of the pool, "jump to daddy."  How crazy would it be if Brian told Elliott, "jump to daddy" then intentionally let him sink?  He'd never do that.  Or throw your kid up in the air and not catch him.  That would be jacked up!  So when our Father leads us to an edge of a cliff and asks us to jump, why would we doubt that He would catch us?  If He lead you to it, He'll lead you through it.  We can jump into the unknown and scary things not because of who we are, but because our Daddy is good and will catch us.

         I will end this blog with this, "God has not given to us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind."  Go with Jesus anywhere He leads you...He's got you!

         Prayer requests: 

1.June 6th begins 6 straight weeks of groups.  The very first group is perhaps the biggest MGM has had.  Pray the facility and staff will be ready to handle such a high demand on water, food, transportation, septic, etc.
2. Pray for huge impacts on the Americans who are coming.  Pray that they won't leave here unchanged.
3. Pray for our family.  There is a big demand esp on Brian when groups are here.  Pray we stay tight and keep focused.
4. Pray for my sister and my brother-in-law.  They have been very generous to let us stay in their apartment when we are stateside.  The apartment flooded and they have a mess to clean up without our help.  They are tired but doing a good thing helping us out.  Pray for endurance.

  1.  We are thankful for all our supporters!  We praise God for raising up people to pray for us and to back up the ministry with your bucks.
  2.  The kids finished school!  We are thankful for the possibility of sending Jamie to Creekside Christian School for part of the upcoming school year so she can graduate with her 8th grade class and so Elliott can be with his good friend Holden!
  3.  Thankful for our MANY new friends we have come to know here in the Dominican Republic!
  4.  Thankful for our puppy Samson.  He was very sick and we thought he died but today he was brought back to us looking much better.
  5.  Thankful to be called, children of God!  What a great truth!  WOW!!!  camp on that for a little while.
  6.  Thankful for all the emails and facebook messages.  Keep them coming.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

To live is Christ, to die is gain!

There are billboards up in the Dominican Republic and all over the world right now saying that Christ is returning May 21st.  There are folks concerned the world is coming to an end because the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012. 

Let's just pretend that we KNEW when our last breath on Earth would be.  Of course the Bible says that no one knows when Christ will return.  It will be like a thief in the night.  But God does know when and how you and I will end this life on Earth as we know it.  Whether death or the return of Christ, we all will face God.  If we knew the timeline, how would we live our last days?  Would we go on as we did today? 

I don't know about you but if you are like me, I wasted some time today.  I messed up several times, was selfish, and lazy.  If I were to walk off the planet today, I would not feel like I finished the race strong.  I know the Father would still embrace me with loving arms and declare I am His but...hmm.  I know there are no tears in Heaven (so not sure I will have regrets) but there are rewards.  Would I get one for today?  What can I offer Christ in return for giving His life?

If asked why Jesus came to Earth most of us would say He came to die for our sins.  But He also LIVED!  Why was he born on December 25th, die December 26th, then 3 days later come back to life? Why did He have to live 33 years to complete His mission? It must have been important for Him to live. I wonder though...  What if Jesus lived his first 32 years of life like I lived mine.What if He was lazy. What if He lived for Himself? What if He didn't hang with nasty people who were less than Him but only people He was comfortable with.  What if He didn't leave home and just was a Carpenter until time to die.  No miracles, no disciples, no sermons...just a easy life.  He must have known when His last days were, He was fully God.  Why didn't He just relax until it was about time to go to the cross.  Sounds dumb but that is how we live isn't it. I've heard folks say that they don't want to "get religion until they get older." We wait to get serious about our life with Jesus and serving Him until we get news that Christ is returning or a bad report from the doctor. 

Some of my friends here are concerned about the May 21st date.  Of course, we cannot add to our salvation.  It was completed by Jesus 100%  but we will be held accountable for how we lived and used the gifts the Holy Spirit has equipped us with.  So how would you live today over if you knew it was your last?

I know I would have spent a lot more time with the Father and people who need Christ.  I would be spending time making sure Jamie and Elliott knew Christ and were committed to living ALL their days with Him...not messing around with Face book, working overtime, dumb TV shows, sports,or hobbies...I would give it ALL to living with intentionality.  I would spend time with Brian and tell him how much he means to me.  I would make amends with anyone I needed to ask forgiveness to. I'd be giving away my "stuff" to folks who need it.  I would share the good news of Jesus with as many people that would listen.  I would encourage my sisters and brothers in Christ to RUN HARD THE RACE AND FINISH STRONG!!!

So with that said...starting now, what would you do different?  I wonder if you and I will commit to take up a challenge and live the last week of April and the month of May as if  Jesus was coming May 21st!  What would your mission field look like?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Madness/ March Miracles

 This March we have been blessed with  Miracles so perhaps we should rename it to
March Miracles instead of March Madness? 

      MGM  had two groups the month of March.  One at the beginning of March and one at very end.  When groups are in session, MGM hires teen boys for various jobs around the center.  Not only do they get paid, they get to eat the days they are scheduled to work.  Without the groups, some of the boys have found their way to our house for meals and entertainment.  We want very much to meet their needs but were discouraged at the cost involved. Not only financial but time investment.  As we looked at our financial situation and homeschooling, we felt concerned about how we could take care of so many.

     Grandma Ginny arrived with a care package!  What a blessing to see so many encouraging notes, treats, and MONEY!!!  YEP!!!  She brought with her a gift of money from a lady from home. We were able to take the teen boys with us to the pool and the beach that week.  We were able to feed them almost everyday at least one meal if not more. Not only that, Grandma Ginny has inherited a few more Grand babies. Thank you for helping!  Miracle 1

    The next week  we stressed again wondering how to take care of the flock. We know that  the scripture says, "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat... What you have done for the least of these, you have done for me."  Our solution was to feed the boys on Sundays and take them to church with us. Sundays would be the day we would set aside for them. If Brian needed help from one of them during the week, we would feed them for their work.  We felt that was the best we could do.  It was necessary so that Jamie and Elliott had quiet time without the boys hanging out to accomplish schoolwork.  We had the boys over for dinner that evening and told them the news, although our hearts were aching the whole time.

       We watched the Blindside and Jamie said we were like that family on the movie. Our hearts broke again.  We just told the boys only Sundays. We prayed and asked God to help us make a better solution for the teens and us. 

        The next day we went grocery shopping.  We brought along one of the teen boys to help us translate.  With his help, we spent less money and got lots of food!   We were pumped.  Jen made dinner and don't you know...there was plenty of leftovers!!!  The next night, same thing, and the next!!!  It was as if the Lord took our fish and bread and multiplied it! Miracle 2

         Jamie and Elliott got behind in school with Grandma Ginny's visit.  Within a week  they are now caught up and ahead!  Jamie and Elliott worked hard this week and doubled up on their schoolwork.  Brian was able to work with some of the boys outside the house and we had mostly quiet days. Late afternoons the boys were invited to join  MGM"s basketball team.  The evenings were quiet because the boys have school at night. Our family had some needed down time. Everyone  had their needs met.  Miracle 3

         We noticed that giving was down the month of February.  It was a little discouraging yet we told the Lord He was in control.  We got good news this week that we get an income tax return!  Praise the Lord!  We also got notice that First Baptist Church sent us a support check!  Just to top it off, we were told that a gift of money came from an independent donor family!  How big is our GOD!!!  Miracle 4

          Brian was approached by a young man to build a table for his apartment.  He is all alone.  His mom left when he was 7 and his dad kicked him out.  Brian told him he would help him build it but he needed to come and work with Brian.  Brian was able to find enough scrap pieces from the earlier groups to help him build a table.  We delivered it this week!  It was amazing to see his place, how little he had compared to us and yet how how grateful he was to get a table.  He offered to pay Brian.  No way!  God used Brian's gifts and your support to help bring a blessing to our new young friend.  Miracle 5

          We will finish March with our last group until June. We look forward to April and May, how God uses us and the resources He has supplied to meet the needs here. We are thrilled to serve a God who not only hears us but gives in abundance to take care of His people.  We are glad to be used as His hands and feet.

            So what do you think?  March Madness or March Miracles?  You know what we think!

Brian and Jen, Jamie and Elliott and the boys

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February Highlights

DEEP THOUGHTS: Another month is almost behind us and we are certain that the Lord has us here for this time in our lives.  A quote that Jim McDonald challenged the groups with in morning devotions was this, "The Christian life is only a struggle when you're in control."  When God is in control, the outcome is always for the good.  It may not "feel" like it or "look" like it, but we can know that "He works ALL things to the good of those He loves and who has been called for His purpose."  Sometimes pruning is necessary. Pruning produces bigger fruit.  At times we will experience a dark night of the soul,  but we take heart in His promise and provisions.  "Absolute surrender is the most significant thing in your life after salvation."  How are we doing with that?

NOT SO DEEP THOUGHTS: We have had some great adventures this month.  From chasing a rat around our living room at 11:30 pm with baseball bats to going to the most spectacular beach we've ever seen! Elliott turned 6 years old on the 9th and we celebrated in style with surprise visit from 3 clowns!  We enjoyed hosting a couple movie nights with our Dominican friends in Spanish with English subtitles. We watched the superbowl with pizza! Had a few eat outs (including McDonalds- they serve beer!) and visited some churches.  We have made many friends and have experienced so much love. We have enjoyed meeting many Americans and Dominicans/Haitians. 

Our work here is filled with learning experiences.  We are finding our way, adjusting to the new culture and expecations placed on our family.  It proves to be an adventure almost daily and we are enjoying the ride!  We do miss our loved ones from home and the conviences of America but we are grateful for this season of ministry God has brought us to and embrace it.

We are grateful to everyone for your prayers, messages, support and care packages!  WOW!!  We are glad to be your missionaries and look foward to YOU coming for a visit! Come and see what Meeting God In Missions is all about.  We bet you will never be the same.

P.S.  For all of you that keep saying you can't make it here because you are afraid of spiders or rats...Jen has  seen 3 snakes and still here!  So no more excuses!

                                                                                                         Loads of Love,
                                                                                                 Brian & Jen, Jamie & Elliott

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The first month went by so very fast!  Amazing how much ministry happened in such a short time.  I am not a numbers type of person but I can confidently say, MANY lives were transformed this month!!!  It was a blast to be part of it all.

This week we enjoy a break from the teams and hope to catch up on some needed rest, play, and connecting with team and neighbors. 

I thought it would be fun to share our top 10 biggest adjustments to living in the Dominican Republic as missionaries:

                                        1. SPANISH!  language is a huge prayer need.
                                        2. Missing family and friends from home- but enjoying mgm team so much!
                                        3. Food- no pretzels on island??? really!
                                        4. No flushing paper down toilet.
                                        5. Transportation- sporting scooters to get supplies is always an adventure
                                        6. Don't drink the water!  Don't  put your toothbrush in the water! Try it for a day!
                                        7. Bugs- MANY of them and they are HUGE!
                                        8. Power goes out daily- sometimes up to 4 times a day
                                        9. Church- LOUD and LONG!!!  and SPIRIT FILLED!!!!  LOVE IT!
                                       10.There's no snow here. NONE! 

 So there you have it.  Hope you enjoy the playful list and look forward to your comments! 
                                                                                                        Dios te Bendiga
                                                                                                   Brian&Jen, Jamie&Elliott

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First days in the Dominican Republic

We made it to Hato Mayor on Dec 30th around 5pm.  After a sleepless night we were thrilled to finally be home!  We were greeted by some of the staff with a wonderful dinner.  Right from the beginning we felt loved!

As we settled into our house that night the sounds of the Dominican Republic seemed extra loud.  We knew we were not in PA anymore!!!  Brian and I both wondered if we did the right thing but gave anxious thoughts and fears over to Christ and went to sleep. 

Our first full day was full of unpacking, cleaning, inventory, mgm meetings, fixing broken things, and trying to understand our roles as the following day the first group would be arriving.  It was quite overwhelming.  That night, we were invited to a bonfire to celebrate New Years.  It would be a New Years we will always remember, our first, as missionaries to the Dominican Republic!

Jeremiah 1:17 "Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you." 
"For I am with you, and I will take care of you." Jeremiah 1:19

Our prayer is when confronted with a task, that we be ready to be used by God as His instrument, knowing He is holding us close and will protect us.  We are ready for action!!!  No room for fear because God's promises are TRUE!