Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4th Celebrations...

Here are some clips from our July 4th Rooftop Party. One of the ladies from the church had red, white and blue cupcakes and "fireworks" for us. You can also check out some of our dance lessons we took from the Dominican people...


Here is a video of the Lifehouse skit the students did at the PDYM Conference...

PDYM Student Band

Check out some of our students playing at the PDYM Conference...

Barbeque Clips...

This is an update Josh A. did from the barbeque at Ms. Lucy's house. Ms. Lucy have adopted over 100 kids from the Dominican and has a staff at her home to help care for them. The kids were so well behaved, so loving and so fun to be around! At the end of this clip, you'll see a few of them singing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cotoui Videos

Here is a collection of videos from the day in Cotoui that we found when we got back. Chase, Maddy J, Sami and Jordan all had some daily updates to give...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome Home!!

Hey guys!  It's Jason!  I'm betting most of the students are totally asleep as I'm writing this... and frankly I'm almost there myself.  But I know a lot of you will be checking this today so I want to encourage everyone who's reading this...

I want to write a special note to first the students!
Ok guys...
I am so proud of you guys!  I feel so honored to have been able to lead with you.  I've cried more tears (most of which were those of the proud tears variety...) more in the past week than I have in so long.  It was fun to have a front row view of God working in you and to you.

I know all of us learned so much. Our hearts were broken... we learned the joy in serving... we saw the importance of being unified as Christians and the power it brings... and we've had God bring up parts of our hearts that He still wants to work with.  If your day is like mine... it's already kinda weird to be back.  I found out my car which broke down on Monday night right before I went to the church to fly out is in such bad shape that it may have to be taken to car heaven.  I also am figuring out what it's going to take to get my computer working again which went into some weird coma while in the DR.  In a normal situation, I'd be stressed out but I don't feel stressed at all right now.  I think for me personally I learned the importance of being flexible and frankly not stressing about "stuff".  We just met a lot of people who joyfully live with so much less.  

But I know there are going to be distractions for you too as you readjust.  Maybe you check your facebook or email and see messages that kind of encourage you to be right back who you were before you left or you find yourself complaining about things that would have seemed silly to complain about when we were in the DR with inconsistent A/C and no hot water.  But, I want you to remember what God taught you this weekend.  Back in the Old Testament, followers of God would sometimes create something called an Ebenezer which was basically a sort of statue of rocks whenever God did something amazing.  So every time they saw that Ebenezer they were reminded how powerful God was.
I want to encourage you to maybe create your own Ebenezer of this trip.  I talked to so many of you who said something like, "I finally feel like I found my purpose" this week and so find a flag, picture, souvenir... anything that reminds  you of the trip and set it in a place you will see it often so that maybe you'll be reminded of God's amazing work in you.  He doesn't want it to stop now.  We can serve, take risks, be flexible, share God's love, etc as much here and at your home, neighborhood and school than you did in the DR.

And now for the parents.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to serve with your students this weekend.  We as leaders were blown away by how great your students were.  Sometimes your students might have even described me as "overly protective" because I felt the pressure of making sure they were safe & healthy.  It means a lot to have you trust us enough & trust God enough to let your children be used on such a trip.

I also know it can be tough for some of the students to open up completely to their parents about details... especially details that require you to really open up your heart... but hopefully this blog gives you some ammo for good questions about the trip.  And speaking of this here blog... thanks for reading it.  Your comments made me cry consistently and your prayers WORKED.  We only had 2 girls that were feeling bad on the whole trip and neither was sick more than 12 hrs.  It seemed like every time something might not go well... God reaffirmed that this trip was completely in His hands.  

Sorry we weren't able to blog as much as we wanted to the past few days.  Internet was almost as hard to find Sat & Sun as time was harder to find.  Just a quick recap on Saturday night & Sunday since we didn't really blog about it... 
  • Saturday night after PDYM we were invited to be guests at a house of a member of El Circulo Church.  They had a surprise 4th of July party and we ate amazing BBQ & literally danced for 4 hrs.  We really saw how much our team loves each other on that trip.  I can literally remember everyone dancing there... even Sarah who was sick just hrs earlier (I didn't recommend this by the way... she just couldn't be left out of the fun :))
  • Sunday was a planned day of relaxing.  We went to a hotel by the beach and just hung out before serving in church on Sunday night.  It was so fun to worship with them.
I also wanted every student to play a part on the blog but unfortunately some weren't able to just b/c the team was so large.  Hopefully what you did hear warmed your heart & gave you specifics to pray for.  

It was somewhat risky to blog just b/c I wouldn't really know what to say if we were struggling or having maybe a bad day... luckily that wasn't an issue.  I literally can't think of a trip of this intensity & with this many people participating that went so well.  I wouldn't say it went "smoothly" just b/c plans changed almost hourly but I think that speaks more to your students' amazing attitude than anything.  I can't remember a student whining or being bummed out b/c of all the changes.

Also, please keep up with the blog.  We'll start blogging more soon as we add some photos and videos we wanted to put up while in the DR.  We'll also get a photobucket account so that we can all upload our photos into different folders.  It will be a blast to see and reminisce.  

We'll also nail down the right time to have a DR reunion.  It's going to be a bummer b/c I know with summer schedules, it'll be impossible for all of us to make it on any given night but we'll do the best we can.  If you can't make it... we'll still love you and brag about you.

OK... I'm off to bed.  I love you all so much.
Still amazed I got to play any role in this...
Jason Petty

DR Mission Trip Facebook Page

Chase Parker just started up a Facebook event page for everyone who went on the trip. If you're on Facebook, come join us there, too!

This is a group for all of you who went on the Dominican Republic missions trip this year! When you join this group you'll be able to find other friends that went on the trip too! Invite more people from the trip!!! Love all of you guys so much!!


We made it in safe - after a crazy long day of traveling we're back at LAX safe and sound. Yeah!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

2:15pm PDYM update...

Hola Padres!
Today Jason has asked me to talk a little bit about the conference that we ran today and how amazing it was! We have had a ton of people give their testimonies and talk about different points in the curiculum that specifically apply to our lives and things we have been through. The band that is on the team, Chase P, Maddy J, Mark B, Jordan G, and Taylor S, got to play and lead worship with the El Circulo worship team and praise God with tons of youth ministry pastors.
We performed a skit (the "Lifehouse" Skit), and the response was amazing! First off, we decided to put this skit together around 9AM and we were told to have it done by 11. Literally impossible, yet God worked through us in amazing ways and we nailed it and seemed to really touch these pastors and got straight to their hearts. Luckily, I think we captured this on the flip cameras and will post it later for you all to see! The people who were in this specific skit were:
Brittany, Taylor S, Taylor G, Payton, Maddy V, Nicole G, Jillian, Nicole J. All of us seemed to really be amazed at how fast we got this together and how we actually pulled this off. God really used us in amazing ways today!
-Taylor Shanton-

Hello from PDYM Santo Domingo!

Hey there! I am writing this in the middle of our PDYM conference here! It's off to a great start. The team is sitting amongst all the pastors, youth pastors, adult volunteers & other students from here. What I love about PEACE is the fact that it's set up where we're not the heroes. We're just helping to work alongside the church that is here all 365 days of the yr. It's such a blessing to be able to share with these amazing youth pastors. Ace Wireless also sent a team of videographers who are filming the conference to be given away to other Dominican pastors for free who couldn't make it. We just finished our first 2 sessions which were highlighted by Taylor G teaching the 5 Biblical purposes and Sami dressing up like a Dutch baseball player (they beat the DR twice in the World Baseball Classic... something we're poking fun of.)

Please pray for the conference! Also, pray for the health of our students. We've had just a few small issues pop up healthwise with a couple of our girls. One had some heat exhaustion last night and another has a bit of a cold. Once again, with a group of 41... this is to be somewhat expected. In fact... it's a real answer to prayer that now is the first time we're struggling with it.

OK... thank you guys so much for praying for us and responding.

Dios Te Bendiga

Friday, July 3, 2009

Describing Your Student in One Word

Here's the list of every student on the trip, and one word to describe them this week.


Braden - Fearless
Austin - Admirable
Tyler - Hilarious
Taylor S - Logical
Taylor G - Humble
Josh A - Knowledgeable
Josh M - Consistent
Mark - Flexible
Bryce - Servant
Chase - Joyful
Payton - Adventurer
Brian - Friend
Kyle - Tactful
Brittany - Strong
Cammy - Leader
Julia G - Compassionate
Julia P - Reliable
Gio - Listener
Nicole J - Brilliant
Nicole G - Encouraging
Jillian - Uplifting
Sarah - Willing
Caroline - Bold
Dakota - Loyal
Lillian - Adaptable
Maddy V - Sensitive
Maddy J - Jovial
Sami - Magnetic
Julianna - Determined
Hayley - Loving
Lauren - Confident
Nikki - Teammate
Jordan - Considerate
MacKenzie - Tender
Paige - Courageous

PDYM Tomorrow - Kurt and Josh Arrive

Kurt Johnson (Wildside pastor) and Josh Griffin (HSM pastor) arrived today - the team has been getting ready to host a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Conference in the city tomorrow morning. Over 300 youth workers will arrive first thing in the morning for about 8 hours of training and encouragement from our students and adult leaders. Students are sharing their stories and even doing some of the teaching!

Right now we're about to record a fun video telling you about a secret 4th of July surprise for your teenagers, too. So fun!

HSM Team

Pictures from Cotoui...

Here are a few pictures that the Dominican Republic video team took of our students in Cotoui. They've been taking tons of pictures and videos of all of us that hopefully you can see soon!

Day 2 Afternoon Highlights...

Check out some highlights for our visit in the city with the children on Thursday. Be sure to look for some awesome leader dancing...

First Day Randomness...

Hey Everyone! Here are a couple of videos from the first day that we thought you would like to see! :)

Friday Update by Julia G!!!

Heyy Guyys!

So we are here right now hanging out at Ace Wireless and meeting a ton of amazing new people! They have started small groups here that meet every week and they basically get paid to learn about God. It is a great way for them to reach out to the nonbelievers that work here, and integrate the church into the workplace. We were able to experience one of their small group times and listen to them share their thoughts. It was obviously difficult since I do not speak spanish but you can just hear the joy in their voices as they share the gospel with one another. We split up into groups that integrated with the workers and were able to get to know them while playing games. Although not all of us speak the same language, we were able to communicate through all the activities we were doing and being able to laugh with each other, enjoying each others company. I have had some great conversations with a few of the people and I am super excited for what this company is being able to accomplish. It is such a great idea that would be interesting to see spread to other workplaces, transforming the peoples hearts and minds.

Later tonight we are planning on having a BBQ. where we are going to hang with the local kids and get to have a blastttt. I miss all of you guys at home and I cannot wait to see you guys. God is doing amazing things and I feel so blessed to have witnessed the changes going on with the Dominican people, as well as the hearts of people in our group.

Love you lots,

A report from Ace Wireless...

Taylor and Hayley give an update on today's adventures so far...

Lillian and Caroline say


We are in the ACE Wireless Group building and computering it up. We played some social games with our new friends here in the DR!!! It was great. We are definitely sweating profusely. We stayed up really late last night 230ish and left this morning at 630 7ish. So we are running on minimal sleep. But its all good!!! We are both terrified of getting food poisoning on account of others having told us horrifying stories of their late night bathroom trips. Just kidding we are all feeling well. Anyway we are both late to lunch so we should go. We love you all and miss you.

Love Lillian and Caroline

4 Days In The Life of Maddy Jones and Sami

Hello all,
Lets start with a shout out from the Dominican ay? Its been going AMAMAMAMAZIIIININNNNNGGGG so far! It hard to believe that its already been 4 days here. We literally spent the wholeeee day traveling on tuesday and still haven't recovered from the jet-lag. We have taken millions of pictures ... well not in the literal sense... more of a figurative million. Check out the videos that we all post because it gives you a pretty good idea of whats going on and where we are. We are currently blogging from the Ace Wireless warehouse...let me just tell you, its incredible. Of all the places we've gotten to visit, the kids in Cotui (did we spell that right? Not sure but you can check on that) are the cuttest, craziest, most lovable little things you will ever get to meet. The leprosy center was totaly life changing and we have so many stories to share just from that visit. The people there are very wise and they were the ones who taught us a lot, which was kind of unexpected. I (Maddy) have had to memorize 3 spanish songs and I am definitly struggling..... can anyone say GRINGO!!!!! The language barrier is the toughest part of the trip we both wish that we would have payed more attention in Spanish Class... sorry Mrs Joyce and Mr Oliphant. "lo sientos mallestros". We are well fed, hydrated, unburnt, unbitten (well for the most part), tired but great. Love and miss you all at home!! See you soon and can`t wait to tell you all about our time here!!!

To the parents of austin and braden...they are doing great. They are outside as we type playing basketball with the huge dominicans (and getting their butts kicked). Enjoy that thought. Adios.

P.S.S. We're adding a picture of them getting their butts kicked for you to see...

Leprosy Center Singing

Hey guys! Check out a couple of videos of our students singing in Spanish and English to some of the patients at the clinic. To say it was extremely moving is an understatement. Many of us were crying (myself included) with joy. The man in the second video had shared his testimony with us and we were all in awe of the amazing things God has done in the man's life so far. Afterwards, we were talking about our experience with the patients and it's safe to say that none of us will ever be able to forget them. Please continue to pray for energy as we're all a bit exhausted as the week progresses. Just to let everyone know, all the students and leaders here have been such amazing servants for God. I feel so blessed to be working with such an incredible team. We love and miss you all!

Your Sister in Christ,
Nikki Melo

P.S. Happy belated birthday, Mom!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Late Thurs. recap from Jason

I feel so silly right now. I'm typing this on a little patio all by myself leashed to the wireless internet and am borderline weeping at what I've seen in and through this trip so far. Hopefully the students' recaps below this post have shed a glimpse on some of the cool things that happened today. It truly has been awesome. Part of me wants to go step by step and talk about what happened but I think the best way to describe it is what I just saw...

While hanging out with some of the students who were blogging with me on the patio... I decided to go check on the rooms. I turned the corner and the students had decided to have an impromptu worship session... just playing music and singing to God. They just wanted to thank God for an awesome day!

If I could describe today with one phrase it would be "sense of urgency." They're realizing that this trip is so short and have been really jumping right into whichever ministry we work at. Watching them at the leprosy center was such a treat. I had to mask my fear to be honest. I didn't feel equipped in any way walking up to meet our new friends. But I watched our students just dive in... hugging, praying, listening, sharing and really just loving. They gave me the courage to do the same and we all left with new friends and a bit of a changed heart. It really reminded me how spiritual physical illness can be. Many of the patients were dropped off at this clinic by family who were ignorant and fearful of the disease. It doesn't take long for them to share the hurt caused by that. At the same time, we all agreed we were surprised by the amount of joy in that place. It really puts our fears into perspective as Maddy V blogged about. And Braden, Julia P and Cammy all mentioned Juan... the amazing man who was blind and used to be a pastor. After hearing them quote the Bible he said, "I wish I could see you guys" which was quickly responded with one of the biggest group hugs you've ever seen. Dangit... I'm crying again.

Afterwards, we joined an ongoing children's ministry at El Circulo which was pure chaos... but awesome. Our time yesterday in Cotui really has helped our students feel comfortable working with kids here. They are like Dominican nino magnets. We decided to have the service in an alley (things change here a lot by the way) instead of the building they normally meet in. Next thing I know... 4 of our dudes are bringing in these giant speakers and we start blaring this Christian Spanish kids worship music. Our teams went into the street and invited the kids to come up and hang out with us. The next thing we know what seemed like the entire neighborhood was hanging out and partying with us. Face paint, soccer, baseball, dancing, singing, Noah & the Ark storytelling, piggybacking and drawing galore. It was awesome.

We finished the day all hanging out in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. Did you know Christopher Columbus landed in the DR when he crossed the ocean blue in 1492? So, we got to see the 1st church in the New World as well as Columbus' son's castle & fort. Legit. It was there I realized how close we were getting as a team. They love each other for sure. There really aren't many "cliques" anymore on this trip and they've been intentional about that.

OK... prayer request time. Here are some things to pray for regarding tomorrow's schedule.
We're doing a new type of ministry for us in the morning. El Circulo, the church we're partnering with, is trying something new and starting a church in the Free Trade Zone. It's a place full of people who work tons of hrs and they're trying to meet them on their turf. So, we're running team-building games during the day... many of which we went through at Saddleback as we tried to unify a team of 41 different people. We're using this to teach them the importance of faith, unity and ethics. Then, we're hosting a concert w/ a band from El Circulo as well as our students. It's been fun watching Maddy J jump in this week and learn these Spanish songs as Nicole G... an amazing singer who happens to be fluent in Spanish is losing her voice a bit. Our band's going to rock and I'm so proud of them for learning these songs in Spanish. Please pray for boldness as our team is still learning how to interact with adults.

After we'll get a little bit more in their wheelhouse and visit a local orphanage to host a BBQ. They have I think around 180 kids aged from a few months-20. It should be a blast. Pray for opportunities once again for God to use them as well as energy to pull it all off. It's going to be a long day with not a lot of sleep.

Also, pray for continued flexibility as well. There hasn't been a day that has perfectly gone as planned so we're learning how to adjust and you'd be proud of the way they have.

Finally, pray for Josh Griffin & Kurt Johnston fly into tomorrow morning to help with the conference on Saturday where we're expecting anywhere from 300-500 youth pastors from the island to come learn from us. I'm humbled to even think of that opportunity.

OK, I'm going to bed after sheepishly realizing I just wrote a novel. I can't help but to brag.

We're hoping to get on some of the computers tomorrow at Ace Wireless... where we're setting up shop in the Free Trade Zone tomorrow to download some of these videos & pictures. Sarah & Nicole J's took literally like 3 hrs from here. We have a lot more.

Thanks again for praying, thinking and commenting. We're reading them to the students here and they love it.

Dios te bendiga (God Bless you!)
The proudest youth pastor ever!

Nicole J's & Sarah's story

Here's a little recap from just one of the amazing stories that happened on our trip to Cotui yesterday (Wed). More videos and pics to come soon!!

The Leprosy Center

Today we all visited the leprosy community and as I was coming off the bus, I realized that some things that I would see today would be very impactful in my trip. As soon as I saw the first person, I immediately felt a sense of urgency and feeling that I should jump right in and give all of the effort I had. An elderly man named Juan asked us to read an English bible, and we read Psalms 40 to him, which he could recite in broken english and the moment that he was giving his thanks and his love to us for being there, I felt God working through me and I realized that this man's strength in Jesus is so strong that I can learn and take things home with me. As I was writing this blog, I realized that my faith in God has been inconsistent and this trip has showed me that I can be continuous and steady no matter where or what I am doing.

Thanks for the prayers and much love,

Braden Peters

An amazing second day out of our comfort zone

I just want to start off by saying this trip has been an experience that I, as well as the other forty people, will always remember. Yesterday, we took a two hour bus ride to a town called Cotui. As we finally arrived, I was grouped with a few others from our group and a leader from the church El Circulo. With my little knowledge of the Spanish language, I was hesitant to walk down the streets and enter homes of these Dominican families. I prayed for help and to be able to interact and connect with them with the huge language barrier. God answered my prayer and sent this little girl named Stephanie who opened up and as I reached out my hand, we held hands and really connected throughout the rest of the day. This experience with all of the little children from Cotui, helped guide us for our day today at the church of El Circulo. We were dropped off and sent to walk the streets and alleys where many families lived. Their homes were a little nicer than yesterday and the parents played more of a role in the childrens' lives, but we were fearless and open to talking and bringing in these children. I'll wrap it up by saying that I'm so proud to be a part of this journey with these wonderful people, that will forever be changed by this trip. We have so many stories for you and can't wait to tell you when we get back. Please keep us in your prayers, and we'll see you soon.

Brittany Barbeau

Hi Family and Friends,

Hope you guys are all doing well in California. The Dominican Republic has been AMAZING and has blown me away. Although it is only about our 2nd day here, it feels as if we have been here for weeks. Today, we got to join El Circulo, a church we have grouped with here, and went house to house inviting kids to join us for basically a party with games, face painting, and dancing. I would have to say that I was nervous for going on this trip only because I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to Kenya earlier this year, and I kept thinking that this trip wasn't going to be as eventful or exciting. But I was wrong! I'm so glad I decided to go to the DR because of how great the trip has been so far. I know I keep saying that, but it has really been amazing. I know all of us can't wait to tell you everything about it. The DR will be the best memory of my summer. Well its 12:34 am, so I'm going to go now, but know our trip is going so well and keep us in your prayers!

In His Love,
Julianna Marraccino

From yours truly; Maddy Rose Vujnov…

Today I felt as if God has completely opened my eyes when we went to the leprosy hospital. All of them have had the disease for probably 80% of their lives, do nothing all day, go through the same routine every single day, and yet they are happy. To me that was such an inspiration. I mean we live in one of the richest countries and complain and worry about the stupidest things. There were a few people who don’t have hands and they don’t mind. But if we get like a zit on our foreheads we freak out. It also made us grateful for what we have. It was such an emotional experience that I will not soon forget.

Thanks for your prayers! And I will be home soon mom, dad, Zac, Ty and Carson.

Thanks for all your love and support guys I love you!

God Bless,
Maddy Rose! ☺

From Julia P. and Cammy...

Today we had the luxury of sleeping in a few hours because of our long day yesterday. After a late breakfast around 9:30, we headed off to a leprosy hospital. There we had the pleasure of meeting some joyous people affected by this rare disease. Each group broke off to talk to the patients, with different stories from everyone. Julia Petit and her group had the joy of meeting a particularly inspirational man named Juan whose life story was extremely compelling and moving. He spoke about how God is necessary in everyone's life and the impact it had on his. Juan was a evangelical pastor who devoted his time to tell locals the good news of Jesus Christ. During his years, Juan picked broken English and was able to communicate very well with us. At one time his life dream was to read an English Bible, but was unable to follow this dream because he went partially blind. Because of his blindness, Julia and her group decided to read the bible to him, a passage from Psalms 40. Along with Julia and her groups experience, myself (Cameron Heavican) was able to meet a wonderful woman name Dolores whose joyful spirit was contagious. We learned that she loved to listen to music, and wished that she had a radio to enjoy devotional music. We thought it would be a delight to sing to her, knowing that we have such good singers on our team. We ended up singing Awesome God in both English and Spanish, combined. This was one of the most amazing moments that i have been apart of, and definitely believe that God was with us during this brief time of worship. Dolores also really enjoyed the music, which made it all worth while. Overall today at the leprosy clinic we all experienced God first through these amazing people. It was a completely enjoyable experience in which we all gained from.

My 17th Birthday

My birthday had more in store for me than I could imagine. It started off with a calming sky that greeted us as we reached our bus ride to Cotui. I prayed for God to ready my heart and to enable me to make connections with the people of the Dominican Republic. We arrived at the Christian school where there were a few kids who shyly waited for us to approach. The language barrier for our group was only a minor barrier in the beginning. We split into groups to go to houses around the neighborhood to invite the children to play and gather with us. The joy on the kids faces playing and interacting with us was truly a blessing to witness and beats any birthday gift. It has been a privilege to serve the Dominicans, especially on my birthday. I can't wait to tell my family and friends at home how God has blessed our trip and has continually been helping us be the messengers of His word. The El Circulo church and our group have been so generous to make my birthday a special one. God Bless.


Tuesday Recap

Ok so here we are sitting in the lounge. Our shirts are drenched with sweat, but other then that, life is good. We had a great conversation last night with the things we did and didn't do well on our first full day in the DR.

Here are some of the things that we did well:
1. Interaction with children
2. Teamwork and unity
3. Flexibility
4. Endurance
5. Positive Attitude

Here are some of things we are trying to improve today:
1. Stepping out of our comfort zone as a team
2. Trying to be more comfortable with adults and teenagers
3. Utilizing the translators
4. Looking for opportunities to talk with DR teenagers

So far today its been going great and you'll be hearing about it in a later post. Keep praying and we love you all!

-Brian Donahue and Bryce Kelley

Back from the Leprosy Clinic

We're grabbing lunch before heading to the Children's Ministry. We are trying to upload some videos as we speak but to be honest... they won't do justice to just how amazing it was. There were many tears shed & laughs shared. I'm SOOOOOO proud of this team on so many levels. So proud.

Like I said... we're trying to upload some photos & videos but we're finding it difficult for them to upload before the internet decides to go out.

Keep praying... 2 things change here often: weather & plans. These students have done great adapting to both.

It encourages them so much to know you're praying & thinking of them.

Dios te bendiga!

Thursday Morning!

Hey guys! It's Jason! The internet is back on where we're staying so I thought I'd send out a quick post. The students are doing great! Yesterday was unreal! Last night felt like the 1st real night since we left at 2am on Tuesday so I was worried the students wouldn't have the energy to put on the activities for the students and do construction but they did so good!

Last night we finally got to rest and then most of them got 8 hrs of sleep and shower which will be great for today. We're loading on the bus (gotta love the AC) to go visit a local church who has a leprosy clinic. Pray for open hearts and the right words. Later today we're connecting with the church we partner with the most (El Circulo) and putting on a program for little kids in the heart of Santo Domingo.

We have so many pictures and videos that I can't wait we show. I'll try to log in at lunch when we return and see if we can download some of them. Until then, most posts will come via our awesome leader, Chip's IPhone.

Once again, we're doing great! No sickness... and God's working in HUGE WAYS

Keep praying!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Hi! We just finished dinner and we are about to return to Santo Domingo to sleep at our camp area. Today was really exciting! We went to a Christian Children's school where we painted the school and played with the ninos. It was a great way tobstart the trip but it was a long day and we are looking forward to some sleep. Keep up with the blog and please lift us up I'm prayer.

God bless!


Jordan Gunderson

6am Wednesday in Santa Domingo

Hello Family and Friends,

We have arrived!!!!!! It is very hot and we are all sweating just so you know. We are up and leaving this morning at 6 am. We are heading off to Cotui today and are going to be doing some construction for a church there. We are all very excited and ready to see what God can use us for today. Please keep praying for us as we work as God's servants today. We love and miss you all.

-Caroline Packard


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looks Like We Made It! Safe in the DR

We made it in safe! Everything went mostly to plan and we're in safe and sound to the Domincan Republic. As an added bonus, ALL of our luggage made it, too! Yeah!

If you need to contact a student in an emergency, call Jason Petty's cell phone (949) 842-5732 and he will be able to give it to your child immediately. Here we go!


Video update from some of the dudes on our trip...

Also... quick update. Our plane looks like it's ready to leave in about an hr... only 45 minutes late. Not too bad! The boys in this video might be a little dramatic...everything's great!

We Made it to Miami!

Hey guys,

We have safely landed in Miami. The 5 hour flight was pretty quiet. Most people slept except for the girl puking and the baby screaming the whole trip. Oh and Bryce Kelly and Kyle Long singing Michael Jackson. We are currently waiting for our plane to Santo Domingo... They're missing a crucial part for a safe flight. (the cockpit, pilot, and left wing)

Josh Miller, Chase Parker, Tyler Shannon, and assorted guys from the team


Flight Info

Here is our flight info once again so you can follow our progress! Remember parents, you'll pick your student up next Monday at LAX!

Flights to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Tuesday, June 30th
American Airlines Flight 456
Depart: LAX 6:10am
Arrive: Miami 2:15pm

American Airlines Flight 1901
Depart: Miami 4:15pm
Arrive: Santo Domingo 6:35pm

Flights back to Los Angeles
Monday, July 6th
American Airlines Flight 432
Depart: Santo Domingo 6:55am
Arrive: Miami 9:04am

American Airlines Flight 271
Depart: Miami 11:20am
Arrive: LAX 1:30pm

We're in Miami!!

So, it was a tiny bit later than expected but we all made it to Miami... safe and sound! We had a little scare with one of our students accidentally leaving their carry-on on the plane but we found it and with a group of 41... that's to be expected.

As I'm typing this, everyone is grabbing what is a late lunch here in Terminal E. Oh... and I don't really know who made those cookies but I'm very appreciative.

I've been praying for patience for today specifically b/c of the lack of sleep and they're doing great! It's also fun to see them already catching the vision of their trip as they made friends with a lot of other high school students traveling to Miami for a volleyball tournament. Listening to them describe their trip to the DR was fun to hear. They've really grasped the idea that there is no such thing as a coincidence and are looking for opportunities to share God's love every chance they get.

Uh oh... we just got word our plane to Santo Domingo might be a little delayed. Flex guys... flex.

Keep praying!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Student Profile: Taylor Genoway

Name: Taylor Daniel Genoway

Nickname: not Tay Tay

School, Grade: Mission, 12

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Con mis amigos playing soccer, Mario Kart Wii, beach, jerking...

Why are you excited for the trip: I am excited to go somewhere completely new and hopefully change the lives of the people we encounter

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Student Spotlight: Maddy Jones

Name: Madison Rae Jones the First

Nickname: Maddy

School, Grade: Tesoro ‘11

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Well, I love singing, hanging out with my friends, and watching a good movie. Did I mention BEACH!!! Oh and bowling??

Why are you excited for the trip: I am so excited to go on this trip because it’s my first out of the country missions trip…. Well technically Mexico is out of the country… so just scratch that previous statement. I can’t wait to go and minister to the Dominican churches and people, and I know this is going to be a life changing experience.

Student Spotlight: Sami Nerney

Name: Samantha Nerney

Nickname: Sami

School, Grade: Tesoro, 10th grade

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Playing soccer, lacrosse, chillin con mis amigos, arts and crafts! & lots of beach time!

Why are you excited for the trip: I am so excited to go on to the Dominican because it is my first mission trip and I’m looking forward to interacting with the people and just helping them out. It’s a really worth wile experience for my summer!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Meeting Change

Hey Guys,

Quick reminder: Our meeting that was on Sunday, June 21st is now on Saturday, June 20th after the 6:30 service. Also, they will have a commissioning prayer for us during the 6:30 HSM service. Don't forget to be there so you can be apart of that with the team, and come to the meeting right after service!

Can't wait to serve with you all!


Student Spotlight: Josh Abuharoon

Name: Josh Abuharoon

Nickname: Joshie

School, Grade: CVHS, 9th Grade

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Playing the guitar, ping pong, and chilling with my peeps.

Why are you excited for the trip: I am excited because I love Dominican Republic and this is my fourth time going so i have a feel for whats going on and i just love to get my hands dirty and help out with missions work. I am excited to see what God has in store for me and how i can bond with friends.

Student Spotlight: Chase Parker

Name: Chase Parker

Nickname: 007

School, Grade: JSerra, 9th Grade

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Playing the drums at church, and school. And I love just hanging with my amigos. (That's friends in Spanish.)

Why are you excited for the trip: I'm excited to go on this trip because I want to be able to spread the word of God to others in the Dominican, as well as help them in any other way that I can. I want to show these people that I love them, and God loves them. This is my first misson trip besides Mexico, so I can't wait to go to a place pretty far away from home and serve others in so many awesome ways.

Student Spotlight: Julia Garland

Name: Julia Garland

Nickname: Julia Gulia

School, Grade: Tesoro High School, 11th grade

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday at 6:30 or Sunday at 11:15

How do you spend your free time: Cheer, hanging out with friends, beach, and sleeping :)

Why are you excited for the trip: I'm super excited because it is an experience that allows me to branch out from my life to go to a world that is completely different than my own. I feel God has blessed me with the oppurtunity to go and I want to get to be able to experience whatever plans he has layed out for me in the Dominican.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Student Spotlight: Braden Peters

Name: Braden Peters

Nickname: Much more than one…
School, Grade: Tesoro High School, 10th Grade
What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30
How do you spend your free time: Baseball, Friends, Eating

Why are you excited for the trip: I am excited for this trip because God has given me the opportunity to take my faith to a different country and to experience the way that other people live. Also I am excited to teach and worship God in a different style than I am accustomed to.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Student Spotlight: Tyler Shannon

Name: Tyler Shannon
Nickname: TShann

School, Grade: El Toro High School, 9th

What HSM service do you attend: The 6:30 service

How do you spend your free time: Being athletic, not being musical, skateboarding

Why are you excited for the trip: I am excited for this trip to be able to help those less fourtunate than I, and also flying from such great heights

Student Spotlight: Kyle Long

Name: Kyle Long

Nickname: Buffalo

School, Grade: Tesoro High School, 9th

What HSM service do you attend: The 6:30 service

How do you spend your free time: Playing lacrosse, hanging out with friends, and playing guitar.

Why are you excited for the trip: I am excited for this trip not only use my killer Spanish skills but to serve God and the people of the DR.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Student Spotlight: Austin Saenz

Name: Austin Saenz

Nickname: Melon

School, Grade: Mission Viejo, 10

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 630

How do you spend your free time: Playing sports and hanging out with friends

Why are you excited for the trip: I'm really excited to get to go on this missions trip, I'm looking forward to be able to spread the word of God to the Dominican culture. I also think that it is going to be really fun to bond with Dominican children.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meeting, This Saturday!

Hey guys! It was fun seeing some of you guys on Saturday night to meet Pastor Fausto from the DR! He's a great dude and couldn't quit talking about how cool he thinks you are!

Wanted to remind you that we're meeting THIS Sunday, May 31st in Room 304 from 1:30-3:00. We're going to talk about details of the team and maybe even create leadership teams for all our ministry projects.

PLEASE make this a priority! Let me know if you can't make it!

Love you guys! See ya there!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Student Spotlight: Cammy Heavican

Name: Cammy Heavican

Nickname: actually my real name is Cameron Heavican but my parentals are the only people that call me that... feel free to call me whatever you like

School, Grade: Tesoro High School, class of 10

What HSM service do you attend: I usually go to Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock but sometimes go to Saturday services, just depends on my schedule

How do you spend your free time: lately I have been dedicating most of my time to school, which can get a little overwhelming so I try to escape the chaos on weekends and go to my sanctuary known as the beach. Basically, I just like to have genuine, innocent fun with my friends and family

Why are you excited for the trip: I am super stoked for this trip because I feel that I have been called by God to do something in my life and become an active Christian who seeks to help others through his word. I am also extremely excited to embark on this trip to become closer to my fellow worshippers and create lasting relationships. Pretty much, I cannot wait to go to the Dominican Republic and pursue my dreams as a follower of Christ. I am hopeful that this trip will get me ready for my main mission, which is going to Africa :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Juan Luis Guerra - "La Cosquillita"

Here's one of the most popular Dominican pop singers. Be ready to get your Dominican groove on! Don't you love the cheesy backround dancers? Jason does! See you on Sunday at our meeting! Love Bryce, Hayley, and Julia :)

Student Spotlight: Hayley Genoway

Name: Hayley Genoway

Nickname: nonexistent…

School, Grade: Mission Viejo High School, 9th

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: soccer, soccer, and friends

Why are you excited for the trip: It will be so exciting to build into the lives of the people there and just be away from the distractions of my life.

Student Spotlight: Julia Petit

Name: Julia Lee Petit

Nickname: Jewels

School, Grade: Misson Viejo High School, 9

What HSM service do you attend: Sat 6: 30

How do you spend your free time: I don’t have very much free time but when I do I usually just hang out with friends and do fun stuff.

Why are you excited for the trip: I’m really excited that God is using me and it will also be cool to get out of orange county and see what life is like for Christians from another country and help out as much we can in the Dominican. I’m also super stoked because we’re going to have an awesome time with the group of high schoolers that’s coming on the trip.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Student Spotlight: Josh Miller

Name: Josh Miller

Nickname: J-Miller or Joshua?

School, Grade: Pacific Coast, 11th

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30 or Sunday 11:15

How do you spend your free time: I work do karate, work at vons, and help out with the 5th and 6th graders at church.

Why are you excited for the trip: I'm super excited to build relationships both with the people on the trip and in the DR.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Student Spotlight: Brian Donahue

Name: Brian Donahue

Nickname: I don't have one

School, Grade: Tesoro, 12th

What HSM service do you attend: Sunday 9:00

How do you spend your free time: I spend most of my time hanging out with friends, going to the movies, or working out.

Why are you excited for the trip: I have wanted to go on another mission trip since I went to Ensenada my sophomore year, and since HSM hasn't gone the last couple years this is my last chance to go before I graduate

DR Meetings!

Hey guys! Here's a list of the remaining DR meetings! PLEASE make these a priority. If you can't make the meetings, please email Jason (

Dominican Republic Student Meetings
Sunday, May 17th, 1:30-3:00, Room 304
Sunday, May 31st, 1:30-3:00, Room 304 (Final Payments Due)
Sunday, June 14th, 1:30-3:00, Room 304
Sunday, June 21st, 1:30-3:00, Room 304

*Trip Itinerary will be available on the Sunday, June 21st meeting

Leader Spotlight: Becka Holley

Name: Rebekah Holley

Nickname: Becka

Hometown: Weaver, AL

What HSM service do you attend: All of them...

How do you spend your free time: I love going to the beach, a luxury I didn't have back home! I also love visiting new places in CA.

Why are you excited for the trip: I absolutely love doing mission work and I am so excited to visit a new place and meet new people. I can't wait to see our students in action and how their lives are going to be changed through this trip!

Student Spotlight: Jillian Konopasky

Name: Jillian Konopasky

Nickname: Lil or Lillian?

School, Grade: Tesoro, 11th

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: I like to hangout with my friends, go to the beach and dance!

Why are you excited for the trip: This is my first time going on a peace trip and I am so excited to see God work on this trip, and to see what he can do through me and the team. I'm excited to grow closer with the people on the team and make a difference in the lives of the people living in the dominican republic.

Student Spotlight: Bryce Kelley

Name: Bryce Kelley

Nickname: BK

School, Grade: Trabuco, 9th

What HSM service do you attend: Saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: Tennis at school, ASB at Trabuco, church, and hanging out with friends

Why are you excited for the trip: I'm super excited about this trip because Vladdy lives in the DR, but mainly because I hope God can use me to change people's lives while I'm there.

Student Spotlight: Paige Emery

Name: paigeeeeeeeeeeeee

Nickname: pudge, paigey, pagina

School, Grade: tesoro junior

What HSM service do you attend: saturday 6:30

How do you spend your free time: drawing, painting, writing music

Why are you excited for the trip: OMG CAN'T WAIITTTT because its going to be so extremely amazing.

Student Spotlight: Nicole Johnson

Name: Nicole Johnson

Nickname: Nick or Niki

School, Grade: Tesoro, 11th

What HSM service do you attend: Sunday 9:00

How do you spend your free time: I work at Goldenspoon and I teach tennis. I'm on Tesoro's Varsity tennis team(hence the dorky pic). And when I'm not busy doing that stuff i like to just hang out with my friends and go to the beach.

Why are you excited for the trip: This is going to be the first peace trip for me so this is a major stepping stone. I'm excited to see my faith grow as i fellowship with my friends and make a difference in other peoples' lives.

HSM Dominican Trip

Hey everyone this is Bryce Kelley, freshman at Trabuco! Welcome to the official blog of the 2009 HSM Dominican Republic trip! This blog will be a fun way to keep you updated on our trip, learn fun facts about the Dominican, and any other ways to keep you informed. Most posts will be from students who are helping out Jason (who happens to be technologically challenged).

So when the HSM group is in the Dominican Republic, this will be a the way we'll keep parents and family updated on how the trip is going, what we are doing, and how God is using us throughout the trip.

Get excited guys about the trip and keep checking back here for more trip information and new posts!