Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Drew Burtis: A Week in the Dominican Republic

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth."  3 John 4

HI everyone,
Over a week ago I posted a blog asking you to kindly pray for our son, Drew, as he traveled to the D.R. for a mission trip.  It was one of my most read entries.  That just blesses me and Scott.  Thank you to those of you who read it and even more to to those of you who prayed for him and followed the trip info on facebook.

Tonight I'm excited to tell you what you probably already know, that the team returned late Saturday night safe and sound and hopefully changed forever.  Today we got to skype with Drew for some time and hear much about his trip.  When he finished giving us a play by play, I asked him if he would write it all down and be my "guest blogger".  He sort of rolled his eyes, but said yes.  He is such a good boy!  We both think you deserve a "report" in return for your interest. I couldn't be more pleased that he wrote it all and sent it to me tonight, exhausted as he is.  See what I mean about him being a good boy? :)  Oh, and there weren't even any spelling errors - which kinda makes me happy too! (Because that means for a kid who is his father's clone - he's a little like his mama too.)  Naturally, I just can't wait for you to enjoy it with me. So here we reads like a journal and we've added some pics so you can get a visual.  Here are his words:

Hello prayer warriors and financial supporters! I first of all would like to thank you for your faithfulness in prayer and supporting my trip financially. I would not have been able to have the opportunity to minister to the Dominican people without all of you. You are all such a blessing in my life. Thank you all so very much. I want to give you all a summary of my trip day by day.

Friday April 20 -
Today was the beginning of our journey to the Dominican Republic. We got on the bus to drive to JFK in NYC at 1:00am. It was a 4 hour drive and we arrived at the airport around 5:00am. We went through security and luggage check-in fairly quickly and got to our gate around 7:00am. Our flight did not leave until 8:40am so we started boarding around 7:45am. The flight was very smooth and we arrived in Santo Domingo around 12:00pm. We got our luggage and drove to our hotel which was 30 minutes away. Our afternoon was very uneventful except for our trip to the grocery store. We went so that we could buy food for Haitian refugee families that we were going to visit the next day. We bought them rice, beans, oil and pasta that would feed them for about a week. It was funny watching us herd through the aisles to find all we needed. After that we headed back to the hotel to turn in for the night.

Saturday April 21 -
Our hotel was right on the ocean so we had the privilege to wake up and adore God's beautiful creation every single morning. This was the view from our room. God blessed us so much with just that little piece alone. We hit the road to go to the Haitian village for ministry. We sang our songs in Spanish for them and gave a couple testimonies. We split them into groups based on age and shared the Gospel with them. We used the Evangecube, the rope trick, and the wordless book. Once we finished that, we made balloon animals and swords to play with. They always seem to love that most. We finally got to the part I was most looking forward to, delivering the grocery bags full of food to individual families. Every family we gave to was so grateful and thankful to us. God really opened my eyes to how blessed we are as Americans. We came back to the hotel for lunch and then went out again around 3:00pm. We were headed to a church where they were re-opening their Bible Club. We went around the block and passed out fliers to kids to invite them to the event. Over 200 students came out to it and many of them got saved as a result. God is so good! After the meeting we ate ice cream with them and had fun with them. Overall today was an eye-opening day but we had some awesome ministry. 

Sunday April 22 -
Today we went to 2 churches, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The first church had average attendance with a fair amount of kids. We sang our 2 songs and then split the kids up into age groups to share the gospel and share testimonies. After that we made more balloon animals for the kids to play with. We visited an orphanage for Dominican boys that was started by an American couple. It was named Josiah's House and they raise 4 boys as of now. Their goal is to have 4 houses that hold 8 boys each. They need house parents for the other 3 houses. They raise the boys until they are 18 and then they will adopt more boys. They would like to have a school, medical clinic, and baseball field on property for the boys. This was a really cool organization to see. In the afternoon/evening, we went to a smaller church with not a lot of people. The only thing was that more kids showed up than expected. We played with the kids and used the handbells with them. After that we played tag, swings and even piggy-back with all of the kids. I had gotten sunburned the past 2 days so it was a struggle for me not to complain about all the grabbing and holding. It was such a fun way to end the day.

Monday April 23 -
Today was our first day of ministering in schools in the area. We went to a school in the morning that had about 75 kids in it. We presented the Gospel, sang our songs, gave testimonies and played some camp games with them. They wanted to play us in basketball and soccer so we took the challenge. We got smoked in basketball but won in soccer. I had a lot of fun this morning. In the afternoon we went to another school and repeated our morning program without the basketball and soccer. After that we visited an orphanage for kids with HIV. There were about 25-30 kids living there so we sang our songs and shared the Gospel. Us guys went and played soccer after while the girls made balloons for the rest of the kids. Today was a good day of ministry.

Tuesday April 24 -
Another early morning visiting 2 more schools. The first school was just like the other ones except much bigger! The place we were performing at was not big enough for all the kids to fit in. So they had 4 different age groups come in to watch the program. We performed our songs 4 times to 4 different audiences! I was all sung out! A couple of the other team members and me went to play some basketball with the kids. We had a lot of fun with that. In the afternoon we went to another school and did the same program as yesterday. We sang songs, gave testimonies and played camp games with them. We did this fairly quickly because it looked like it was going to rain. All of the guys left there and went to go play soccer with a bunch of Dominicans the missionary knew. We played for over 2 hours until it was too dark to see the ball! But it was so much fun.

Wednesday April 25 -
Today was different from all the others because it was the first of two days on the Word of Life Camp Property. Now it was time to do manual labor to help out the camp. In the morning we helped dig rivers for the water to drain out from the vicinity of the cabin's foundation. We used pick-axes and shovels and I ended up opening up a blister on each of my hands. We broke for an hour to eat lunch and then I spent the rest of the afternoon (3-4 hours) looking for trees to cut down to make a walking bridge. They were around 24 inches diameter and 20 feet tall. All we had to use was one axe, one hatchet and 7 machetes. We cut down 2 of the 5 in the afternoon and set them in place. The bridge was so the campers could get to the athletic fields during the rainy season. I was beat from all the hard work so I slept very good!

Thursday April 26 -
Today was pretty much the same as yesterday. We cut down 3 more trees and put the whole bridge in place. It looks so good! I was really happy with the 2 work days because I love the feeling of accomplishing a task. I felt like I was a big help to the camp these 2 days.

Friday April 27 -
Today was sight-seeing and shopping day. We toured a castle in Santo Domingo and shopped at a market in the morning. Our afternoon was free so we relaxed and reflected on our trip. 

Saturday April 28 -
We were up at 8:00am and headed to the airport a little after 10:00am. Our flight left at 1:40pm. We landed in NYC at 5:15pm and didn't leave the airport until 7:00pm. Customs took so long to get through! We got back to campus around 12:30am and I finally got to go to sleep! I had such a blast on this trip! God is so good!

God really opened my eyes to how blessed we are in America. We take so much for granted and we don't even realize it sometimes. God challenged me to be grateful with everything I have, even all of the little things like clean water. Thank you again for praying for me. It was much appreciated!  Drew

A few more words from Mom: 
 This has nothing to do with the trip or this report, but I can't help it!  I'm adding here the pics of what our boy brought back for us.  
Scott has a chess set from Kenya and one from Peru (where Drew went last year).  Now he has one from the Dominican Republic.  So awesome.  He loves his Dad.

And he knows his mama too.  He has added this to my Nativity collection.  I have two from Kenya, one from the Holy Land, one from Peru and now this from the D.R.  And he found one with Mary and Joseph wearing red. I.Love.It. butI love him more!

Seriously.....thank you for taking the time to rejoice with us in the good work God accomplished among a beautiful, needy people group!  May HE be glorified in all that was done and experienced.

 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth."
 3 John 4


Grandma D. said...

Drew...this is one proud Grandma. I just loved reading your story and how God has equipped you to minister to the D.R. people. I'm so glad you are home safe and sound and I'm so looking forward to seeing you soon. Love you much. (((((Drew)))))
Grandma D.

Heather said...

Drew! Great words, sounds like an amazing trip, really proud of the way you rock out all your parents have poured into you and are making it all your own. God is so good!