Greetings from the Menold family in the Dominican Republic!
              We are celebrating our 1 year mark in La Republica Dominicana!  In one thought, we can't believe a year has gone by, yet in the next thought we think of all God has done and it has definitely felt like an eventful year! This past year has been packed full of God's presence, mercy, and grace!  To unpack the past year for you, we will attempt to highlight some of our big events:

· August 2011—Arrived in the D.R. and set up home; started studying the language; learned our new job.

· September 2011—Oriented to our new surroundings, ministry, and people.  A lot of firsts!  Josh wrecked on the moto but was ok.  Makarios School Fall semester started. 

· October 2011—Hosted our first team from Ohio, a Medical Group, made up of 13 medically trained doctors, nurses, and paramedics.  The team spent the week from 9-4 giving free yearly physicals to Makarios students, giving out medications and medical care to those in need, and serving with loving hearts!

· November 2011—Hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner at the Makarios (Mak) house for the local and American Staff.  It was home away from home!  The principal and his family left Makarios.  Praise the Lord the staff helped fill the role of Principal so Josh’s role was focused on leadership at the school. Our family got a cat named Theo to control the mice,/bugs.

· December 2011—Closed out the semester and sent each kid home with rice and beans for Christmas.  Enjoyed spending our first Christmas with just the 7 of us in the DR!  We spent Christmas day in Chichigua, one of the Haitian bateys which included a community meal and baptisms in a local pond.  We had the opportunity to travel to the capital, Santo Domingo, experiencing one of the oldest cities in the Western World.

· January 2012—Friends, Tabitha Patel and Laura Mosley were able to come and encourage Jen.  Hosted 13 college students from Austin Stone Church in TX.  They served wherever needed and did it with such selflessness!  We actually had a yard that consisted of rocks, weeds, tarantulas, and fire ants!  One of their acts of service was prepping the yard for new dirt and sod. No more tarantulas now!

· February 2012—Staff retreat held in Jarabacoa, D.R.  The local and American staff spent a long weekend in the mountains team building.  Sharla Megilligan (Exec. Dir.), Chuck Walker (Dir. of Dev.), and Heather and Robin (MTI Teachers) flew in from the states to facilitate. Dentist Bud Neeley, led his team of 4, giving free dental care for 5 straight, LONG days to over 60 children and adults.  Many had some serious dental care too!

· March 2012—A small group from Cedarville, Ohio served with us for 4 days.  59 people from Hill Country Christian school served Makarios in many fashions.  They served in the villages, at the Mak school, and assisted in laying cement for a much needed driveway at the Mak House.  The Menold kids were home schooled  by Arla Rosenbaum that week which gave Jen the ability to get out all those meals for hungry teens!  Tanda Lainhart also served our family by flying out to watch our children that week.  Josh's parents, Greg and Linda, flew out for a week.

· April  2012—During Spring Break, Ira Hall and his daughter, Mary Kate, came to serve by installing internet access to the teacher's classrooms, as well as bringing laptops for the school.

· May 2012—Kelsey Vaughn, a college student at Belmont University, arrives to nanny for the summer for our children.  We knew the summer flooding of teams would not be attainable with just one set of hands!  Kelsey was a blessing.  Paige Wimbush, a college student from Texas, interned for Makarios for the summer and lived in the Mak House as well.  She was Jen's sidekick in the kitchen all summer and served at the Makarios school in the mornings.  

· June 2012—All of our summer teams helped serve at the Makarios school with the summer school programs as well as serving in the villages of Chichigua, Pancho Mateo, and Tamarindo. June 1-9 Doug and Margaret Beck led a team of 12 from Texas.  They served at the Makarios school and in the neighboring villages.  June 15-23 A Family Group arrives, 6 adults and 10 children! You can imagine the excitement for our children.  A quote by Oliver, "They are bringing kids? That speak English? whoo-hoo".  June 29-July 7 The North Carolina Group consisted of 12 (3 kids) dear friends of ours from our home church in Cary, N.C.   It was wonderful to serve alongside friends once again :)  Began construction on a new building at the Makarios School - cafeteria/chapel/kitchen/storage/and all purpose room.  This will allow more classroom space and a new grade added this year!

· July 2012—13th -21st  The Teen Rock group from Austin, TX consisted of 11 energetic college students and leaders.  27th-Aug 4 We hosted two teams in one house!  A team from the Austin Stone Church brought 35 singles, couples, and families.  A team from the Vineyard Church in Miami, FL brought 16 people as well!  It was a blast squeezing in 51 people into the Makarios house.

· August 2012—7th & 10th Our nanny and intern traveled back to the states—both were a blessing.  10-18  Chris Buster, Marketing Dir. for Makarios,  led a team of 9 to finish out our summer stretch of groups!  They were able to make teacher desks, closets, bookshelves, and more at the Makarios School. 

We want to THANK each person that traveled here this past year to serve Makarios, the staff, the locals, our family, and most importantly Jesus Christ for the strength even when we didn’t think we could make it.  Each team uniquely blessed the locals, the staff, the children in the school, and our family in some way.  We were fortunate to be able to sit in on many nightly devotions of 'highs and lows' of the day and watch God transform hearts.   Thank you to those that were prayer warriors back home in the states as well.  

In August we welcomed some new staff.  Sarah Holland joined the teaching staff at the Makarios school.   Doug and Margaret Beck will take our place as host couple and discipleship and in January we will have the Young family (Darren, Becky, Jenna, and Audrey) join us serving as the medical director/PA at the school. We are excited about new faces and personalities sharing their gifts in the ministry.

Many have asked how are we doing? It has been a year of nonstop transition that is for sure.  It was described to us in our training like this, "your highs will be bigger highs and your lows will be bigger lows".  This statement has proved true for our family.  All in all, we have learned so much about the culture and the way of life from the locals.  God has been transforming our hearts - we pray more like His!  Our kiddos have done well.  We are so proud of them and the troopers they have been through the last year.  Tate has really embraced learning the language, Aribella has loved serving the teams that stayed with us, Oliver has overcome his fears of people that are different from us, Finley continues to make everyone smile that she encounters, and Parlyn is probably more Dominican than American.  

We are so excited to continue this journey as God has called us to follow Him and branch out in faith to bring education and the Gospel of Jesus to the children of the world!  Thank you for reading this letter and partnering with us.  1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers!  If you have any questions or prayer requests, please email us at menold.makarios@gmail.com  and visit our blog at http://www.themenoldminutes.com .  We have many great stories and pictures for you to see on our blog that captures daily life here so we will keep that updated regularly.

In Him,  Josh, Jen, Tate(9), Aribella(8), Oliver(6), Finley(3), Parlyn(21mos)

 


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