Our Faith Journey

Living Life in the DR

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Suffering is Never for Nothing

 “There have been some hard things in my life, of course, as there have been in yours, and I cannot say to you, I know exactly what you’re going through. But I can say that I know the One who knows. And I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons. And if we’ll trust Him for it, we can come through to the unshakable assurance that He’s in charge. He has a loving purpose. And He can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.” ~ Elizabeth Elliot

The older (and wiser!) I become, the more I yearn for the day when Christ returns.  It seems there isn't a week, or even a day at times, that passes without some sort of heart-breaking or gut-wrenching news. Even the day-to-day events of life can often be difficult, and I can find myself feeling heavy-laden and worn down. I look forward to that day when "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

But while we wait for that triumphant return we aren't called to just survive or even just endure. James 1:2 tells us to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds".Why?  "...Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

How do we find joy amidst suffering? We are currently studying 1 Peter. In chapter 1, it tells us that we have been born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This living hope is an inheritance "that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:4) Peters tells us that it is in this - our living hope - that we "rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Here at Freedom, the past couple of years have been a season of heartache. We've suffered difficult times as a ministry and have also seen our missionaries, teachers, and students walk through personal difficulties. Personally, we've been walking the road of adoption with Estaylin and Eliangel. It's been a season of waiting. Our hearts yearn to be able to travel back to the states with them to introduce them to family and friends, but two years in, we are still waiting. It's easy to feel stuck. During these past two years, I've watched my dad face a fierce battle of depression. Gabe's dad fell and broke his back and he had two uncles pass away. It's hard to be so far away from those you love when they are hurting or walking a difficult journey of their own. It creates a deep feeling of helplessness. While we may not understand the why, we do know the who. We serve a God who works for the good of those who love them. (Romans 8:28) To quote Elisabeth Elliot, "Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.”


Saturday, July 31, 2021



"Let us spread our adoration over all the day, till from the moment when we open our eyes till we close them again at night, we shall be practically worshiping the Lord." ~ Charles Spurgeon

I'm currently reading Adore by Sara Hagerty. In the book, she talks about desiring an authentic, intimate relationship with God amidst the mundane, amidst the demands, heartaches, and unknowns of life. Adoration of God, she reminds us, begins in the everyday moments of life. She states "The mind that anticipates perfect conditions in advance of the perfect encounter of God will either miss the everyday opportunity to interact with Him or will subtly create a dynamic with God where we come clean, and He meets us at our best. The aromatic candle dusted coffee table, and glorious sunset as a backdrop is a gift, but rare if we expect to encounter God in our middle minutes. Adoration happens best in the mess."

    The book focuses on 30 attributes of God: attributes that we know to be true of God but often fail to live out in the middle minutes of life. It's in those middle minutes, in the mess of life, that the Lord desires to engage with us. 

One attribute that has captured my heart recently is that He is The God Who Sees. Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

In the midst of a year of unknowns, we serve the God Who Sees. As a ministry, He saw us as we fought to have our kids back in school. He saw us as we worked to comply with the rules and regulations to open the school back up. As a family, he saw us as we continued to mesh two families and cultures into one. He saw us as we worked toward visas for the boys and were denied. He saw me, as a mother of five, feeling tired and defeated most days. 

We serve a God who meets us where we are at. He's ready to meet us right where we are at. "You have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." ~Pslam 139

In the middle minutes of the day: when we find ourselves washing dishes for the eighth time that day, punching the clock, or running kids to sports events: let us adore the God who sees us. When we feel like we can't get out of bed, failed our family for the millionth time that day, or are feeling the heavyweight of decisions waiting to be made, let us keep our eyes fixed on Him! He sees us. He's the only one who truly knows us: every thought, tear, heartache, celebration. We can adore the one true God who truly loves us beyond our comprehension. Lean into Him today and allow Him to meet you where you're at. He sees you!


Monday, June 7, 2021

His Joy Comes in the Morning!

 His Joy Comes in the Morning!

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~ 1 Peter 5:10

After 14 months of waiting, we are overjoyed to welcome our students back to our Freedom Campus! At 7:45 this morning, the halls that have been far too empty for far too long will once again be bustling with students! The Ministry of Education, along with the Health Department, has made several recent visits to Freedom and has granted us permission to open our doors. We will begin with half days and will continue this current school year through the end of July. The new academic school year will start later this fall.

The days of waiting often felt long and difficult. There were days where questions of "Why God?" seemed to cloud our minds. It often felt like we had hit a brick wall. But God is faithful! He continued to remind us that He knows best. His plan is far bigger than anything we could even imagine or see. He provided opportunity after opportunity for us to be in the community almost daily. He refined us and caused us to fall deeper and deeper into a greater dependence on Him. While we are weak, He is strong! Click here to watch a video about lessons learned during our time of waiting.

As many of you know, we've also been trying for a while now to travel with the boys. One of our biggest desires is to introduce them to all our family and friends! Since we are only guardians at this time, they needed Dominican passports. This past spring, they finally received their passports. Yay! Talk about excitement.
The next step was to apply for their Visas. After a little bit of a runaround, we were sadly denied. Talk about disappointment. Again, the Lord was providing us with another opportunity to be in complete dependence on Him and to find rest in His timing.

After some tears, (from me and the kids!) we started looking into speeding up the adoption process. The process requires that the child lives with you for 5 years before it can be made official. We talked to our lawyer down here and he went to work. Just a few weeks ago, we were given the wonderful news. What was 5 years has now gone to 2 years! After two years of cohabitation, the boys will officially take on the Pyle name! That two-year mark is this October. We are overjoyed and so excited. We hope that all will move quickly and we will be able to introduce them to you all soon!


Thursday, April 8, 2021

March '21 in Photos


Until Next Month!


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Do the Next Thing

Sometimes life seems overwhelming. There are days when I'm just not sure if I can keep going. The tasks in front of me seem too big to tackle, the struggles of life seem to steal my joy, trials are pouring down all around and I find myself feeling inadequate and unqualified for the quest.

Elizabeth Elliot speaks of this after the death of her husband Jim Elliot. She states " When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing. I’ve felt that way [other] times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I’m told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don’t know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend.

There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

Do the next thing. Those words have really resinated with me lately. It's not my job to have it all figured it out. It's not my job to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's my job to walk intimately with the God that knows me better than I know myself: the God who formed not only me, but earth itself, billions of stars, planets and galaxies. He's the God who sees all and knows all. All He asks of me is to walk faithfully with Him. He's the one who guides my steps. My job is to let go and let God. 

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God. Micah 6: 6-8 

There's such freedom in these words! I know I often feel the pressure to do it all. We have the tendency to want results and want them now. We question whether we've done enough or even done the right thing. We like to hold onto the lie that we are in control of our lives. But the truth is, the Lord is the one who guides our path and produces the fruit in our lives. He's in control. We can't change our circumstances, but we can change our perspective. He is sovereign and no one can thwart the plans of God. 

When life seems overwhelming, we can simply do that next thing. In the mundane, do the next thing. Step by step, trust the Lord. He desires a relationship with us. At the end of the day, that's enough. He is enough. Trust Him, lean in to Him and simply do the next thing.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Year to Remember??


    A couple weeks ago, Gabe preached a sermon on the life of Silas. He focused on a passage in Acts 16. 

"The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them."

 Their response in the midst of trials and hardships has really resonated with my heart over these past few weeks. This past year has been a difficult year. It has been a year of disappointments, hardships and trials. We've seen; sickness and death, riots and persecution, people turning on one another. I think it's safe to say that we are all glad to see 2020 go. We are ready to check it off and move on. 

     I'm sure Paul and Silas could have had the opposite response to their situation. They were stripped, beaten, flogged and thrown into prison. Yet in the midst of hardship, they chose to praise the Lord and bring glory to His name. When we talk about 2020, will we praise the Lord despite the hardships? Will we persevere?  Paul and Silas' praises were a testimony to their ability to find rest in the one True God. 

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..."

     Their testimony changed lives! As a result of praising God in the midst of hardships, as a result of persevering despite the trials,  prisoners heard about the Lord. While we don't know if any of them were saved, we do know that when they had the chance to run, they remained with Paul and Silas. We also know that the jailer and his family came to know the Lord along with his whole family!

James 1 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

     I pray that as we enter 2021, we don't just write off 2020 as a year to forget, but as a year to remember. I pray it was a year that brought us closer to the Lord. A year that caused us to realize that none of this is in our strength but solely in His. I pray it was a year that caused us to run hard after the only One who can truly sustain us and comfort us - to thirst for the truth and His word.  We don't know what 2021 holds, but we can pretty much guarantee that 2021 will have its own set of trials and struggles. Whatever this new year may bring, I pray that it causes us to come to realize our deep need for our Savior, that we would persevere and run the race marked out for us, and that our lives would be a living testimony of the one true King!


Thursday, October 15, 2020

September '20 In Photos


Here's what our September looked like! While we are still waiting to find out what this school year will look like, we continue to have opportunities to visit the bateyes weekly. Old relationships are being strengthened and new relationships are being formed. We are so thankful for the ways the Lord continues to work and open doors even during times of uncertainty. 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

We Push on Toward the Goal


"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Galatians 6:9

These days, it's easy to find ourselves discouraged. With all that's going on in the world right now, hopelessness can start to settle in.

We currently find ourselves, here at Freedom, with a school, but no children. Classrooms sit empty, lunch tables aren't being used, hallways are silent and buses sit unused. The government has made the announcement that there will be no in-person classes this year. Everything will be virtual and classes will start November 2nd. If you are at all familiar with our students and their living conditions, you know that this will be nearly impossible for them. We've submitted several proposals with the idea of bringing our kids in and splitting all classes in half to reduce class sizes to 15. Please pray for us as we await the decision, and pray that we find peace no matter what they decide.

We are heartbroken over this, and honestly if feels like a blow to the gut. I mean, this is what we are here for right?! We have a school, we are a school! Our president Jason Hilgeman said something the other day that brought this all back in to perspective. Freedom is not a school! We have a school, and it is a tool we use. But it's not what we are. We are disciple-makers! We exist to make disciples! And while the school has been our main method of discipling in the past, the Lord has provided us with other unique opportunities this year! 

We always say that "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher" (Luke 6:40). So during this time, we are focusing on our teachers. Three days a week, teachers are getting 4 hours of Bible and 3 hours of educational training. We are also taking the opportunity to be more involved in the community. On Tuesdays and Fridays, we head out to the villages and help out with community projects, share short Bible lessons, offer prayer and fellowship! So while this year may not look like what we planned, we don't lose hope! We press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:14), fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)! This did year did not catch God by surprise. God gives and takes away, He is the owner. We are just called to steward well what he has given us!

Augst '20 in Photos

Where has this year gone?! Although it's been a crazy one, it's gone by fast, and it's hard to believe we are already half way through September! I'm so far behind on our monthly photo albums. I'm finally getting August posted, and I completely missed July! Hopefully I'll get that up someday soon! But for now....here's a small window into what our August looked like!



Thursday, July 9, 2020

Go and Make Disciples!

Often when we hear this phrase, at least when I hear it, I associate it with stepping outside of our circle - going to unreached places and people groups. And yes that's true! God call us to that! But far too often, I fail to see the people that God has placed in my life that desperately need Jesus. Those people right in my backyard. Sometimes 'going' just means walking across the street to a neighbor or even reaching out to those in your own family.

A few Saturday's ago, our family went to visit one of Estaylin and Eliangels older siblings - José Miguel. While visiting him, we made a trip to the grave site to see where their mom was buried. I noticed throughout the cemetery that there were many gravesites with a cross over them, which seems pretty normal! But while we were talking, Jose Miguel told us that those with crosses were actually people who weren't Christians - people who had not made the decision to follow Christ during their time here on earth. This seemed so strange to me. But come to find out, the cross over their grave was kind of like their last resort for a "ticket" to heaven. It was a hope that somehow that cross over their grave would save them - sadly it's a false hope. 

As we headed back to José Miguel's house, Eliangel, having heard our conversation, looked at me and asked me if could make José a Christian. I told him that I couldn't make him do anything - he has to make that decision on his own. But I told him that we've also been given the amazing opportunity (command!) to share the gospel with him and tell him about Jesus! In that moment, Eliangel looked at José and asked him if he wanted to be a Christian. José Miguel kinda laughed it off. He said "not right now, buddy. Later, but not right now.".

That is such a common response down here. "Later". But it hit me hard. We don't know if we have a 'later'!  Eliangel and Estaylin come from a large family. They have 9 brothers and 1 sister - all who don't know Jesus. I began to think what an amazing opportunity the Lord had given us by placing these boys in our lives. An opportunity to speak truth into the lives of lost souls - souls right in our backyard. Estaylin and Eliangels lives have been intercepted. They now have such an amazing opportunity to go and make disciples of their siblings!  While they aren't receptive to it now, I pray and I ask that you would all join us in praying that their eyes would be opened to the truth. That they would see the freedom that is available to them through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for boldness for us as we share the gospel with them!

Monday, July 6, 2020

June In Pictures

Our summer has looked a bit different this year. June is usually filled with teams and summer programs at the school. Without teams and not being able to bring kids to the school yet, we've been heading out to the bateyes in the morning for 1 hour class sessions with the kiddos. We missed not being able to see them for 10 weeks so it's been a joy to be reconnected! In the afternoon, the MK's had the opportunity to attend an afternoon camp program!


Monday, June 1, 2020

Month of May '20 in Photos

Another month checked off! It's hard to believe it's already June. The last day of school for this year is June 5th. While the last quarter of the '19-'20 school year was not what we expected, we are thankful for the opportunities that presented themselves and we look forward to the '20-'21 school year! Here's what kept us busy in May '20!

Until next month!

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