Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, Day 3, 7/23/2011

Banana trees in our backyard!  Very convenient!

We started today at 6:30 am.  Kristen brought breakfast, oatmeal, so I ate crackers!  :-)  We had stopped yesterday at the Supermercado and gotten cereal for Cam, so thats what he ate.  Miguel came and got us around 8:30.  We had a devotional time before he got here.  We loaded into 2 vans and Miguel's truck.  I and Keri were the only adults in the bed of the truck with 8 kids!  FUN!  The view was gorgeous!  Very breathtaking!  It took about 15 minutes to get out there.  We parked in a field by their playa.  A few people came out to greet us.  Miguel had never been to this area before.  It was really run down.  Their houses were just shacks with tin roofs.  They sit outside all the time, because it is just too hot inside.  They have a lot of animals, chicken, goats, cows, dogs and cats.  A lot of them have some sort of field, like rice, corn or beans. 

The people were all super receptive, just like the rest of the Dominican.  We started with a prayer walk.  We split into groups of 3 and went out walking the "neighborhood".  We prayed out loud as we walked by people's establishments saying HOLA!  At one house there was a mother, and a grandfather and 3 children.  One was a baby boy about 4 months old.  The grandpa asked if I wanted to hold I did...he was SOOO sweet!  We headed back to the Playa.  Then we prayed and broke up into the groups again.  This time we were telling people about our Bible School at 3 in the afternoon.  We went to a house with a thatched roof.  They asked us to sit.  There was a couple of older women.  One had no kids and one had 13 kids!  They lived there with her neices and nephews...and there were a bunch of them!  I asked what she did during the day.  She said she cooked, cleaned, worked the fields and trees.  She said "very busy".  I asked her if she knew Jesus.  She said Yes.  I asked her if she knew what Heaven was.  But I used the word Cielo....she said, "no".  I said do you want to know about Cielo?  She said "no".  That took me by surprise.  I was stuck then.  So we told them about bible school at 3 and went to the next house.  It wasn't until later that I asked Miguel about it and apparently, my word Cielo, which I was taught to be understood as "the sky" in the DR.  Oops.  She probably thought I was a crazy lady asking her if she wanted to know about the sky!  :-) the next house there was a grandma, a daughter and 2 kids.  Chiquira is about 8 and has mental disabilities.  She acts more like a 3 or 4 year old.  There was also the cutest baby boy.  I don't remember names well, so I don't know his, but he was about 3-4 months old and naked as most of the kids under 5 are.  This really bothered Cam...but he got used to it.  Anyway, I was asked if I wanted to hold I did....when suddenly I felt a warm fluid on me...he peed on me!  But then he didn't want me to leave, he put out his arms and cried everytime I walked away.  He must have "marked" me or something!  :-) 

We made it back to the truck.  I piled in the back with 10 other people.  I had to sit on the side this time.  Brooke wasn't feeling well.  Poor thing, we had to pull over at one point so she could throw up.  We made it home and I laid down to take a nap.  When I woke up it was lunch time.  We had the same things for lunch that we've had at every lunch...rice, beans and really bony chicken.  Cam loves the rice!  A man named Francisco brings it by motorcycle.  After lunch it started raining hard.  The decision was made that we couldn't go back.  We were told that rain will even cancel schools here and so the people would expect it to be cancelled.  We decided to evangelize in this uppper scale neighborhood. A  team also went to plant banana trees on Miguels prepoerty where he hopes to build a house some day.  One team went to talk to adults, and one team (mine and Cam's) went around looking for kids to do a little kids play time at our house.  We found a lot of kids, about 10 came over.  We played games, sang songs, colored and blew bubbles.  One little boy was Antoni.  He was about 18 months old.  He mom was 18 and lived down the street.  Kristin told me she had a Haitian accent.  The Dominicans HATE the Haitians.  We asked her and her mom was Dominican and her dad was Haitian.  Apparently Kristen could tell because there was Creole in her accent.  I was none the wiser!  I told her I was going to take him home in my luggage and she said "Esta Bien" (that's fine).  A lot of mom's try to push their babies off on Americans so they can have a better life. After lunch and dinner Cam and I took the leftover food to the neighbor.  She lives with her mom and her 4 children.  2 are twin girls with a bit of a mental disability.  They are sweet though, they crawled all over me.  They loved my watch and my earrings.  We stayed until they cleaned the tupperware then they pull up a chair also.  My Spanish is limited unfortunately ( I only had 8 years of'd think I would be better...but they talk so different in the DR.  They don't always pronouce their "S"'s and they usually drop the tail end of the word off...which makes it it makes for some awkward pauses. 
This is one of the twin girls....

Miguel eating lunch with us...also picture, Heather and Jen.
 Miguels daughter Nicole...also known as Buga!!
 Playing Hackeysack in the the street....
After dinner Miguel came back to share his story.  He has a fabulous story.  His heart has beein in the DR since he was 17 years old.  He left home and moved to Mexico for training at 18 and never went back to the states, except to visit.  He's been inthe DR for 5 years now.  I pray that someday I will have an AHA, or God moment like he did.  I pray that Jeff will too.  He needs it bad.  Speaking of Jeff, I hope everything is okay back home.  We've been so busy I haven't got to think about it too much, but when I'm around the Dominican kids, I miss my other three babies.  We had some time last night to talk within our family units.  Cam and I came upstairs.  He said he's having a great time, but he hasn't felt God teach him anything yet.  I'm a little worried about it.  I'm having fun too, but I've also had my eyes openend to a lot of things and realizations too.  He says he hasn't.  Jen told me not to worry about it, he would.  I hope so.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Hey guys!  Sorry for the delay....I have had Leadership Summit at our church Thursday and Friday...then Saturday was packed with things around the house and lots of errands....then today I was at church early to go over our Dominican Debrief for the congregation...then we did the first service...during first service I had a Life Group Leaders meeting...then the Dominican Debrief for the second service....then I sat through the second service...then Cam and I had the ACTUAL Dominican Debrief with Pastor John over a lunch...and we got home around 2....then we got our new entertainment center from dad...he is moving....and giving us his old one...then we were busy getting that all put in and reorganizing furniture....couple that with the fact that I have been sleeping horribly...and I am just pooped! Journal entry today for the Dominican!  Hopefully I'll be up and running again tomorrow...after my Spanish test!

Talk to you later!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday, Day 2, 7/22/2011

Today started at 8AM...way too early!  We tried to shower for the last time for 10 days in the little rundown thing they called a shower...but it wouldn't work.  Oh well.  We were surprised there was a shower anyway!  We were packed and ready to be at breakfast at 8:30.  They had a breakfast of eggs, rolls, and ham for us.  Yummy!  The nuns cooked it!  They had a FANTASTIC juice!  It was half Orange Juice and half pineapple juice!  YUM YUM!  Poor Cam couldn't eat anything because of the eggs....even the rolls had eggs in them.  Miguel had been kind enough to bring extra egg free snacks with him though, so Cam had cheesy crackers for breakfast!  We filled our water bottles with good water, go in the van and started a 3.5 hour drive to San Juan de Maguana.  It was awesome to see everything, the culture, the people, the vegitation...EVERYTHING!  We drove crazy again...nothing new there.  Everytime the van would slow down or stop people would jump on the van and try to sell somethingl ike bananas or avocado's even corn.  They would look in the windows, blow kisses, whatever!  They would even ride along a little on the base runners of the van!  There are no enforced traffic laws, so it is just chaos.  I've never seen so many motorcycles in my whole life....not even in Jamaica or Mexico!  They are all over the place...and I mean that quite literally!  The drive once we were out of Santo Domingo was beautiful except for the trash that was laying around everywhere.  It's kinda sad how much trash lays around in such a beautiful place.  We went through little towns, villages, here and there and a couple military check points.  Cam liked to see the big rifles the military men had!  I couldn't stay awake.  I fell did Cam.  We had a Dominican driver and a helper.  The helper sat by the door and protected it when we slowed down because people would try to get in for a ride or to sell stuff.  When we were on the open road though...the helper took a nap on Dave's shoulder!  They are REALLY friendly here!  :-)  We got to San Juan around lunch time.  It is a medium sized town.  We didn't know where we would be staying.....we were told to be prepared for anything...but Miguel really came through for us!  He rented a nice house in the only upscale neighborhood in San Juan.  Most of the people in this neighborhood were government officials.  They are the only people who have money in the Dominican because the government is so corrupt.  This particular house was owned by a judge.  The house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a living/dining area...there is no furniture, except bunk beds and matresses.  Everyone had a soft place to sleep at least.  The bathrooms are nice, but we still can't flush the toilet and we can't use the shower.  Well...we can use it to stand in and pour water over us from a bucket...but we can't "USE" the shower.  There is also no we spend our time outside as it is cooler than inside.  Most of the houses in the Dominican don't have windows anyway...they just have these shutter things that open and close to get a breeze in.

Here is a picture of some of the kids playing hackey sack under our balcony.  Cam is in the green shirt.
We ate lunch outside, rice, beans and REALLY bony chicken.  It was tasty though.  I took a lot of Ibuprofen as it was my first full day with no mountain dew.  I did alright considering!  After lu nch wel earned about our ouse, how to take care of it, etc.  Then we learned about the Domoinican people and what is okay to them, what is not okay, etc. my horror....he sent us out on a scavenger hunt.  We broke up into three groups.  I was the primary Spanish speaker in my group.  I was very much so that I was sick to my stomach.  I did learn how to "flush" a #2 before we left!  :-) roommate Jen, showed me how to bucket flush.  Quite the experience.  ANYWAY.....

Here is a picture from our balcony looking at the street and some of the homes around us.
Here is another picture from our balcony.
Cam, myself, Darwin, Brooke, Heather and Maggie were in our group.  Our first location to find was the Cathedral.  We asked several people, "Donde esta el catedral?"  We got a lot of "Derecha....y derecha..."  which means right.  I couldn't figure out why they kept telling us to go took me awhile to remember that "derecha' means right....but "derechO" means straight!  Oops!  They also don't pronounce the end of their words my defense!  We finally gave up...and went looking for the Mercado nuevo.  We found it...then went looking for the emprintar carrias....most people said, "no se", so we ended up at el super mercado de tituras which was our final destination.  We were the first to get there....but we also didn't find two of the locations!  We did observe many things...they are very resourceful people!  I saw a stool made out of a tire, there are water barrels all over collecting rain water, they know how to get an entire family...and then some...around on their motorcycle!  We even saw a mattress going down the street on the back of a motorcycle!  We saw women carrying water on their heads, children doing the same.  And EVERYONE without a doubt, EVERYONE is SUPER nice!  They are very touchy feely though...which bothered Cam...but that's good for him!  People invite you in and they don't even know you! 

Here is a picture of some of their resourcefulness.  Notice the blue tub on the top of this collects rain water.  It rains almost daily there, so they get some pretty good water that way.

We did a little shopping at el supermercado titura.  Cam got Zacaritos because we will have eggs most mornings...and he is allergic to eggs.  Zacarios are Spanish Frosted Flakes!  Even Tony the Tiger was on the box!  We made it back to the was SCORCHING hot out.  We debriefed in the back...while Cam and a lot of the other kids tried to catch lizards!  Dinner was Carne, Yucca and Plaintains.  We will have this at every dinner meal also.  The carne was good...but I don't know WHAT kind of carne it was...nobody seemed to know.  Scary....   After dinner, Cam and I did the dishes and we sat around and did a couple more testimonies.  Then we sang songs in Spanish and English.  The neighbor lady goes to bed around 9:30, and she likes it quiet.  So we wanted to respect we also had a bedtime of 9:30.  These houses are so close together and made out of concrete that even a whisper travels we wanted to be very quiet.  Before bed though, Cam and I filled out buckets with rain water and took them to different bathrooms.  The girls slept upstairs and the boys slept downstairs.  There were two bathrooms upstairs and two bathrooms it was perfect.  Anyway, in the shower....we had a cup and we just poured freezing cold rain water all over ourselves...we still don't want to get it in our mouths we had to be very careful.  The water was startling at first because it was so cold...but it was refreshing as I had been sweating all day....but as soon as I got out to dry off...I started sweating again!  I was very discouraged!   Here is a picture of some of our team coming back from taking our dinner left overs to the neighbors across the street.  The mom has 4 children...two are twin girls that are mentally handicapped....she lives with her mother.  They are in financial need, so we take them plenty of food after each meal.

I laid down with my little battery powered Walmart fan, put my iPod on and relaxed.  The evening cools fairly well, so we had our door to the balcony open....but the dogs were obnoxious.  They are EVERYWHERE and they are LOUD!  There are little dog gangs....seriously!  They bark and fight a majority of the night...making sleeping a bit more difficult...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slideshows working!

I FINALLY managed to get the slideshows working!  There are two of them.  The first two top ones on the left hand side of the blog are from the dominican!  Enjoy!!!!

Day One, Thursday 7/21/11

Today was a travel day.  We woke up at 6:30 finished last minute packing and were headed to the airpot at 7:45.  I was very sick on the way to the airport, my nerves got the best of me.  I thought I was going to have to ask Jeff to pull over so I could throw up!  Once we were at the airport, I felt a little better.  We got all checked was slow.  21 of us getting checked in and getting through security is no easy task!  I was elected to go through the X-Ray machine though!  Very exciting!  :-)  Cam was SUPER nervous.  He was starting to drive me a little crazy!  I thought I was bad!  We boarded our flight to Chicago around 9:45.  We were on an itty bitty airlplane!  I've never been on one so little.  It was definitely NOT reassuring!  Some of our men had to crouch to walk down the aisle because they were too tall!  It ended up being a really nice flight though!  We ate in Chicago...I tried to call Jeff but he wasn't I called my dad.  We played cards,

read some magazines and we were headed to Miami at 2.  That was a longer flight, but it was a nice big airbus!  Can't complain!  I took a little nap....Cam played his iPod.  Cam had woken up with a croupy cough that morning, so I had taken his nebulizer with us on our carry on.  I had him do it in Chicago...but he was NOT at all happy about having to use it!  So...I told him if he was breathing alright, he wouldn't have to use it in Miami...and he was fine!  Thankfully!  Cam loved flying into Miami seeing the ocean, the keys, the swamps...he thought it was fantastic! 

In Miama we had two testimonies.  It is nice hearing about how members of our team came to know Christ.  Then it was food time.  Miami airport STINKS for food.  Neither of us were thrilled with what we got...or the cost!  Around 9:30 pm we finally left.  This was a shorter flight, but a nice big 757.  It was a bilingual that was fun too!  We got to the DR around midnight their time.  They are about an hour ahead of Nebraska time.  We had some passport issues when we got there...not Cam and I...but someone on our team had put their passports in their carry on luggage, and then their carry on luggage was checked at the gate...they didn't give the luggage back to them when we landed and  you have to have your passports to get your luggage.  So that was a little bit of a problem considering that nobody at the airport spoke English.  I have my spanish....but it was midnight and I am not TOTALLY fluent.  Luckily Mark Thengvall IS TOTALLY fluent...he was VERY helpful in getting the passports back!  :-)  We paid our entrance fee, got our luggage, went through customs and then met Miguel.  ALL of us had our luggage!!  Can you believe it??  All 21 of us!!  I think that is a record!  Miguel had water ready for us and a van waiting.  We used the restrooms, but found out we CANNOT flush toilet just throw it away in the trash beside the toilet...YUCK!  I was NOT comfortable with that...but you do what you have to do!  We had a 45 minute drive to the catholic retreat that we were staying at for the night.  So we headed out.  The streets were FULL of stray dogs...and it was very hot out, but not unbearable.  Nebraska had quite a few unbearable days this wasn't THAT least at that time!  It was fun to see the culture at night, everything in Spanish...which is cool, but it kinda freaked Cam out.  We got to the Catholic retreat.....each family unit had their own rooms. 

 It was hot and humid...but we had a fan!  Thank the good Lord above!  We didn't get to bed until after 2...and I didn't sleep well.  We got up at 8 the next morning...I was tired to say the least......

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Hi all!!!  We are home and have been for a little over a week...but we have been POOPED!  So sorry this is a slow post to get written!  Between just getting enough rest, and getting over being sick from being way too tired...and getting ready for school which starts tomorrow...we have just been SOOOO busy!  I FINALLY have all the pictures up and edited.  You can find them on my facebook page, my profile is tonya stutzman filleman.  I plan on posting my favorites on the site, but I also plan on having a running slide show on the left had side.  I have the pictures uploaded to Picasa, but for whatever reason the albums don't want to cross to the blog.  So I have to do some tweaking!  I also have about a 50 page journal that I wrote while there...actually...probably longer.  I wrote about 10 pages a day...they were smaller, I have about 100 pages of journaling to share...but don't worry...I won't share it all!  I will just go through my journal and highlight the day!  I will go day by day though, as I plan on using this blog as a bit of a diary for the kids when they get older too of what they/we have done!  So sit back, relax and TUNE IN!  I would encourage you to subscribe if you haven't already.  You can do that on the sidebar.  That way the e-mail comes directly to you and you don't have to worry about logging into blogger every day!  I should get the first of 10 posts up by tomorrow some time!!!  CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE ALL THE FABULOUS THINGS GOD HAS DONE IN OUR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE IN THE DOMINICAN!!!  GOD IS GOOD!!!!

The picture above was taken on the say from Santo Domingo to San Juan.  We flew into Santo Domingo....stayed the night there as we got in after midnight.  The next morning we left for San Juan at 9 am.