March Comes in like a Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The DTS students arrived back from their outreach to Detroit, Michigan. The contrast in weather was quite significant, but they were so excited about what God did in and through them while there serving! We are so glad to see them (non-zoom) and hear their stories.
Quoshayne celebrated his 16th Birthday and had balloons for the first time. The staff enjoyed his company for the day. He loved battling Jason with noodles in the pool.
Merle has been busy doing all kinds of projects: Working on the trailer for the boat trying to find an impossible part that just wasn't available here, concreting a spot by the pool, resurfacing and repainting two chess tables, with Jerry, helping on the rebuilding of the apartment's new porch! A couple, Jerry and Lisa, came to serve and we were able to take them to a beach or two, but also had a flat tire. The roads here are very rough and full of potholes. We had another tire problem the following week! Two used tires solved the issue.
Two teams of families came to assist with numerous projects, but mostly the porch project. It came out great! Thanks to everyone, especially Ben and Donovan! What hard workers!
There are always cleaning projects, 3 meals a day for 25 people, clean-up, preparation for new teams coming, lots of laundry, and people to organize! This is a busy place! Various people or teams come to serve in many different ways. The reward is warm temperatures away from the cold north, and perhaps a day or two at the beach! The wind is pretty constant, but the temperatures still get into the mid-80's without air conditioning, and especially hot working in the sun. It has been raining on and off since you all started praying in the month of February, so everything is nice and green, the cistern is full, and the pool is still the refreshment of the day, if there is time and energy.
Our fellow Bosnian missionaries, Heather and Sean, came to visit for a couple days. We took quite a bit of time to spend with them - a mini-vacation amidst the work. It was definitely a treat! We saw our first Cruise ship at Frederiksted, which limited our use of the pier area for snorkeling, but there are other beaches, and because we have a car, we can go to other places to enjoy the beauty of God's creation! We saw a big green moray eel, turtles, sting ray, octopus, and multitudes of beautiful colorful fish and coral.
There are still the regular projects, like basketball for the local young men, and playing with the kids at Paradise Mills government housing. It is a weekly break for the kids to play with whomever comes from base, and to hopefully get a taste of a different worldview with some encouragement for their lives.
We had the privilege of sharing about our work in Bosnia at the local church we have been attending, St. Croix Christian Church(meeting outside, above), after the Bible Study on the Attributes of God on Tuesday nights. Merle zoomed into the Thursday night meeting to share, while I "attended" the counseling class at our home church via phone, as I do every Thursday night. Thank you Cynthia and Alison!
Other interesting things on the beautiful base, a former sugarcane/molasses plantation: Hannah's chickens providing some eggs, a grave left from 1817 of a child of the plantation owner, the bits of porcelain I found in the garden, left over from the slaves rebellion where the landowner's china was broken two centuries ago called chaney (a combination word of china and money). Jason's parents, Jay and Sharon, who ran the base in previous years, visited and attended the board meeting. Here is one picture of the wonderful Puerto Rican meals we enjoy because of Vanessa's awesome cooking! Ben, who worked so hard, enjoyed a game night with some of the crew the night before he flew out.
There is a new playground that opened in Frederiksted, with a moko jumbie motif at the entrance, an example of local artwork, and the bountiful gifts and supplies sent by Debbie from our home church in Jonesboro.
Amidst the horrors of war in the world, "For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies...Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise!"