We've always desired to be able to offer a camp ministry to our students. While day camps are already a part of what we do at Freedom, we want to begin offering overnight camps. This will allow our kids to get out of their normal routine and really reflect and grow spiritually in a creative environment!
We have been offered a $37,500 MATCHING GIFT toward this camp ministry ! If met, this will provide us with $75,000 to jump-start the project. This will help us to get things cleared, provide utilities, construct the meeting building and start building cabins!
The match runs through December 21st. If you'd like to be involved in giving our kids this amazing opportunity, you can give today! Click on the Donate button below, and add "Match It!" to the comment section at the bottom of the form.
Freedom's Third Grade Class is still looking for a class sponsor!
Our Sponsorship Program provides amazing opportunities for you to make an impact in our kids' lives! We have two ways that you can be involved - Classroom Sponsorship and Child Sponsorship.
Child Sponsorship ~ Sponsoring a child will provide him/her with a bilingual, Christian education in a stable and loving environment. For $60 a month, you will help provide curriculum, transportation, teacher's salaries and meals for your child. Not only that, but we strongly encourage you to build a relationship with your child through letters and possibly even visits! Most importantly, you can make an impact in their life through prayer!
Classroom Sponsorship ~ Sponsoring a classroom allows you to impact a whole bunch of our adorable kiddos! You will be able to follow an entire class up through twelfth grade! Being a classroom sponsor gives us the ability to make different areas of the school program even better. For example, it provides us with improved meal options, teacher's aids, curriculum flexibility and field trips for first grade and up! Classroom sponsors will receive 3 newsletters a year giving them updates about their class and can also receive letters from the individual kids. Again, prayer is a powerful tool and will make a big impact in the lives of these kids!
We currently have 23 students and 6 classrooms awaiting sponsors! If you are interested in making an impact in a kids life, click here and complete the form!
These cuties are looking for a sponsor!
What we love about Jean Carlos....
His confidence! Jean Carlos is a very intelligent little boy. He is often the first in the class to grasp a new concept! He also has a great smile!
What we love about Miguelina....
Her sweet, curious spirit. Miguelina is an intelligent little girl and is full of energy! She responds well in class and interacts well with her classmates. She seems to be a natural-born leader!
We put on a drama called 'Night of Decision' the first week of October. With a performance every night, we had a total of 892 people go through with 72 indicating that they accepted Christ as their Savior! Praise the Lord!
Welcome Malachi Harper Greeson! Austin and Laura welcomed their first child into the world on October 15th! We love that the Lord continues to expand our team - especially when they are this cute! I think they will have plenty of babysitters!
Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Freedom Team was blessed with the opportunity to get away for a few days! What an amazing time of relaxing, refreshing and growing closer as a team!
Continue to keep our missionaries raising support in your prayers! We currently have two families (the White's and the Schrock's) and two single people (Randy and Jade) raising support. We can't wait to have them on the field with us!
Many of you know that Gabe broke his arm back in May and had to have surgery to repair it. Since then, he's been dealing with an infection that has never completely gone away. As a result, the doctor thinks it's best to go back in to clean out the infection and remove the hardware. His surgery is currently scheduled for December 18th. He will fly to Indiana on the 15th and we will all join him on the 22nd. We are praying that this will bring complete healing to his arm!
We are already 6 weeks into the 2018-2019 school year!
We now have 300 students on our Freedom Campus! Please keep them in your prayers this school year as we desire to see them not only excel in school, but more importantly, we desire to see them come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior! We want to see these kids find their significance in Christ, who gave His life for them,
and desires a personal relationship with each of them! Please also pray for our teachers and staff as we daily disciple these kids. Pray for wisdom and strength, and that we ourselves would grow in our relationships with the Lord. As Luke 6:40 says: The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
Change a Life
You have an opportunity to make a difference in one of our students lives! Through letters and visits, life-long relationships are being developed. This sweet little girl is Betania, and she is one of our new Pre-K 4 students. Click here to find out how you can become her sponsor or to see other students who are still waiting for someone to walk this journey with them!
Noche de Decisión (Decision Night)
Freedom has put together a drama called "Noche de Decisión". The purpose of the drama is to very clearly present the gospel and the need for salvation. Our first production will be Monday, October 1st and will run for the remainder of the week. This past Saturday, we went out into the Bateyes and passed out tickets to the parents of kids in our school and other adults.
In total, we have passed out over 700 tickets! Please pray that these people would actually attend and that the gospel would be clearly heard!
Since this past August, I have stepped into a new role at Freedom. I have officially hung up my chef hat, and I am now working alongside Angela with the Sponsorship Program at Freedom. I've enjoyed every minute so far! There's a lot to learn, but what a joy it's been to be able to see the smile on the kids faces when I deliver a letter from their sponsor!
It's such a joy to see the relationships that are being developed between our kids and their sponsors. And the letters and occasional visits are just a small part of this life changing program. Sponsors are daily lifting up their kiddos in prayer and praying for their salvation and for the Lord to change, shape and mold their lives to look more like Him! Please continue to pray for me as I take on this new role!
Pyle Family Update
We had a slight change of plans with our furlough this year. It was originally scheduled for August but because of a staph infection that Gabe developed in his arm, we had to move it up to July. Gabe's arm healed quickly and it continues to gain strength every day!
So while it was a bit of an unplanned, unexpected trip home, we enjoyed spending the time with family and friends. Because of the unexpectancy of the trip, we didn't get to see as many of you as we would have liked, but we hope that we can catch more of you next year!
The girls continue to grow! This of course brings mixed emotions for mama. Ava turned 10 this past August, and I was in denial for a while that she is now in the double digits. Blakeley and Karsyn will be 9 in November and as you can see, they both tower over their older sister. Ava is quick to remind them that's she is still the oldest, and that makes her the boss! Ava is in the 4th grade this year and Blakeley and Karsyn are in third. They are all doing well and continue to amaze their mama with their spanish skills! While it's hard at times to see your babies grow, it's also such a joy to see them growing and maturing into the people Christ has called them to be! This mama's heart aches at times for those babies she used to hold in her arms but at the same time, rejoices in the fact that they are growing into young adults (soon to be women) whom I pray will daily walk and grow in a relationship with the Lord!
Even in the valley You are faithful You're working for our good ~ Sovereign Over Us
In Like a Lion....Out like a Lamb??
As most of you know, Gabe fell and broke his arm about 3 weeks ago. He badly fractured his humerus bone which resulted in a trip back to Indiana. He went into surgery the next day where they inserted a plate and 7 screws. After spending two weeks in Berne recovering, he is back in the DR and we are so thankful to have him home! We are so grateful for everyone who lifted him up in prayer during that time, as well as the girls and I. We are so thankful for each and every one of you! Gabe's accident seemed to be the cherry on top of an already stressful, crazy year. I can say that 2018 hasn't exactly been kind to us. In fact it seems to have come in like a lion. It's been a year of what feels like mostly valleys. For the first 3-4 months of this year, I found myself battling with anxiety. I've struggled with anxiety and fear for most of my life, but during these past few months, it felt like anxiety was out to destroy me. I found it hard to make it though the day and often found myself flat on the floor, parlayed with fear. Panic attacks were a frequent occurance. On top of that, I was also struggling with some pretty bad back pain. We were also in the midst of a busy group season at Freedom.
Add to the mix the every day trials of life such as work and kids, and our family was pretty much left feeling exhausted, defeated and ready to throw in the towel. But through the frustration, tears and weariness, God has been gently reminding us that it's through the fire and the valleys that we truly learn to depend on the Lord. We learn to let go of our pride and we discover that we can't but He can. Through each valley and fire, we see Him shaping our character. I recently heard somewhere that our trials are like that of a silversmith who is 'testing' silver. The silversmith puts the raw silver in a crazy hot pot. The silver melts and the impurities melt to the top. The silversmith then scraps off the impurities and once again puts it into the fire. He does this over and over again. He knows the silver is done or pure when he can look down and see his own reflection. Wow! The Lord allows us to go through trials so that He can purify us from all our impurities. I don't know about you but when the Lord looks at me, I want Him to be able to see His reflection! So while I'd like to hit the restart button on 2018 or even see it go out like a lamb, I'm going to choose instead to praise the Lord for each trial that has and may come our way. Because I know that each trial matures us into Christ-likness.
What's Happening with Freedom
We are looking for school-year interns! If you're interested in doing a gap year, experiencing another culture, taking on big responsibilities, or loving on kiddos, an internship with Freedom may be right for you!
Spring is often our off-season for groups. We also had several interns who had to leave early which left us a few teachers short in the school. So for the past 3 weeks, I've hung up my chef hat and stepped into the teacher role. I'm currently helping in Prek-3 & 4 in the morning and teaching 2nd grade English in the afternoon. I'm enjoying the change of scenery and also having the opportunity to form stronger relationships with our students!
3 More Days!
The 2017-2018 school year is coming to an end! Our last day is Wednesday, with Kindergarten graduation being held on Tuesday. It's incredible to see the changes that our students have made in one short year. Preschoolers are recognizing letters, shapes and colors in both English and Spanish, 3rd and 4th graders are speaking a lot of English and many of our students have made big improvements in their behavior. Most importantly, our kids are hearing the gospel daily! We had several students this year come to know the Lord as their Savior and that just leaves our hearts bursting with joy!! Continue to pray with us for all our kiddos. Our desire is for all them to know the Lord and for them to live out their true design by bringing glory to God! Prayers would also be appreciated for the upcoming summer as we will be starting a new summer program consisting of English enrichment classes, VBS and camp! We are excited to see how God works in and through this.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10
His Hands & Feet
Several weeks ago I was walking around the campus and really took notice of the team that we were currently hosting. At that time, the team was painting the front of the school, while others on the team were working in the classroom with our preschoolers. It struck me then how many people have in some way or form played a role in this ministry. In the first two months of 2018, we have already had 170 people here from various parts of the US helping further the Kingdom of God in the Dominican Republic. I can't even begin to count how many people have come down over the past 7 years and either laid a block, wired or plumbed a building, dug a footer, painted a wall, sat with a child in class, held a crying 3 year old on their first day of school or helped us prep notebooks for various classes. And that's only a small fraction of the people who have impacted Freedom. We have people
who have never set foot on our campus that have made the decision to sponsor one of our 240 kids, we have churches, individuals and families supporting our missionaries, we have people volunteering their time to help load containers or donate items that we desperately need. We have people that are daily lifting us and the kids in our school up in prayer! How great is our God?! I love that He chooses to use us in so many ways! He doesn't need us to accomplish His will, but yet out of His goodness and grace, He invites us to be a part of it. How amazing it is to see and think of all the people that have played a role in making disciples of Jesus in the Dominican Republic. God has given us all different gifts, talents and abilities yet He has called us to one common goal: to glorify Him with our lives...to love God, love people and live out our design! What an amazing picture Freedom is of so many lives that are living for the glory of God!
Gabe continues to keep busy with construction. The shell on the second 8-unit apartment building is complete and classrooms are being added to the second and third stories of the school. The construction team also held their first "Construction Class" recently. We see this as an amazing opportunity not only for growth but also for building stronger relationships!
Cooking for groups has kept me hoppin' this year. In the first two months of 2018 we've already hosted 170 people. In one week, we will host our biggest team yet.....74 people! That's a lot of mouths to feed! (Prayers would be appreciated!) In the school, we are serving lunch to 150 kids each day. We also started serving breakfast at the beginning of this year for all our kiddos. What a blessing that has been for all involved!
The girls have been staying busy with school! Their Spanish continues to improve and is already a lot better than mine. I'll often hear them speaking Spanish amongst themselves.
With teams here these past few months, they've also had the opportunity to participate in camp. Camp gives us an awesome opportunity to pull kids out of their normal routine and share the love of Christ with each and every one of them! Pray that our girls would be shining lights for each of the kids in their classrooms and that the love of Christ would shine through them!
What might a day at Freedom look like for these cuties? Click here to find out!
A Day in the Life of.......
Have you ever wandered what a day looks like for one of our students?
I've put together a short video that gives you a small glimpse of what it looks like here at Freedom! See link above to view the video.
If that video sparks your interest at all and leaves you wandering in what ways you can get involved, there are several different ways!
First of all, you can take a trip! (click here for more info!)Taking a trip allows you to physically participate in what God is doing at Freedom International. Whether it be through construction or helping out in the school, it gives you the opportunity to make a life-changing difference in the lives of our kids! It's amazing to see the relationships that are formed between teams and our students in just one short week. Those relationships are often strengthened through return trips or even sponsorship!
Speaking of sponsorship.....This is Weslin and his first day at Freedom International was June 12th. The first day of school really wore him out! He's still one of several in our Pre-K 3 class that are looking for someone to sponsor them. Becoming a sponsor gives you the opportunity to develop a life-changing relationship with one of our kids. 100% of your support goes directly to their education. You have the opportunity to exchange letters and can even visit them! What a blessing for these kids to know that they have someone constantly in their lives, who loves them and is lifting them up in prayer! We love seeing the excitement on our kids' faces when they hear that their sponsor is coming to visit! What a sight it would be on graduation day to scan the audience and see a room full of sponsors who have invested in, prayed for and loved on our kiddos! If you are interested in sponsoring Weslin or any of our other kids, click here for more information!
Most importantly, you can pray for all our students. Pray that their lives would be changed by the Holy Spirit, that they would Love God, Love People, Live Design, and that they would go into their communities and the world doing what they were designed to do......to bring glory to God!
Pray for all of us missionaries on the field as well. As Jason (our president) always points out "...everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher." (Luke 6:40) Pray that we would be constantly walking with and growing in our relationship with the Lord. Pray that we would be fully surrendered to Him and that we would allow Him to lead this ministry as He sees fit. After all, we are only stewards. God is the owner. As Hudson Taylor says....."I do thank God for permitting one so unworthy to take any part in this great work, and do not regret having engaged in it. It is His work, not mine or yours; and yet it is ours not because we are engaged in it, but because we are His, and one with Him whose work it is.
Whether you take a trip or sponsor a child, you are all already involved with and play a big part in this ministry. It's your financial support and prayers that allow our family to be here! Thank you for investing in what God is doing here! We love you all and thank God for surrounding us with such an amazing support team!
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ ~ Galatians 1:3
I've been doing a study by She Reads Truth on Galatians and I've been struck by this verse in chapter 1.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ ~ Galatians 1:3
The study points out that the greek word used in this verse for grace is 'charis' and it means "an undeserved act of kindness". The greek word for peace used here is 'eiréné' which means "a sense of health, welfare or wholeness". 'Grace and Peace' Every time these words appear in one of Paul's epistles, we find them in this order. Grace then Peace. I love that Paul puts them in this order! Apart from grace, there can be no peace. As the study puts it "There can be no wholeness apart from God's undeserved kindness." I don't know about you but I constantly find myself trying to find peace outside of the grace of God. My heart wanders and looks often
to the things of this world to satisfy my soul. We sang the song "Come thou Fount" the other week in church and these words really pierced my heart. "Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love. " But yet God's grace and undeserved kindness continues to pursue me! I love the Chris Tomlin version of this old hymn. He adds the following chorus.
How Your kindness yet pursues me How Your mercy never fails me Till the day that death shall loose me I will sing, oh I will sing
All I have to do is rest in the undeserved gift of grace from a God that loves me more than I can imagine! And it's through this undeserved grace that I can in return truly show and demonstrate the love of God to those around me!
What's Happening with Freedom!
This summer, we were able to move into our new kitchen which is located in the multi-use! Thanks to these wonderful ladies, we got it all set up and ready to use in one day! It's been a huge blessing for school lunches and for the teams!
Summer is always packed full with groups. This summer we had close to 200 people. Thats 1600 meals! As you can see, I was super excited to have a commercial 12 burner stove! It also comes in very handy for feeding 120 kids lunch everyday.
Gabe's been busy with getting our second 8-unit apartment building up and running. We just poured the first ceiling yesterday! Currently, all of our apartments are occupied so this building is essential for preparing for more people who are interested in joining our ground team!
Gabe's also been busy finishing up this building! Not long ago, this building consisted of one shop (the lower right side of the building). Now we've added a second shop and also 2, two-bedroom apartments above the shops!
Austin and Laura will be occupying one of those apartments! They arrived on campus this past Monday and we are so excited to have them here! Please keep them in your prayers as they adjust to their new life in the DR.
This summer we started having chapel every Friday morning for students in Kindergarten through 4th grade! We are currently focusing on how to love one another! Check to this short clip of the kids singing!
We've had so many new things going on this summer! I think a favorite of mine is the new playground! These kids went from playing in an open field with a few beat up balls and jump ropes to this! What a blessing it's been! You can see the joy written all over their faces every time they get a chance to play on it.
We are so thankful for everyone who financially and physically made this playground possible! As you can see, my kids and all the MK's are also loving that this is now in their backyard! It's definitely getting good use! (click the photo to see a short video of the zip line!)
If you remember, these girls spent an extra 5 - 6 weeks in the states this summer while waiting on their visas. So many of you were lifting us up in prayer during that time and we can't thank you enough! While they missed about 4 weeks of school, they all got A's and B's on their most recent report cards and are continuing to speak more and more Spanish! Ava just turned 9 in August (she is a 3rd grader this year) and Blakeley and Karsyn will be 8 in November (they are currently in 2nd grade). I'm not sure where my babies went but it's been a joy to watch them grow!