Journey Teams' Travel Updates

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Puerto Rico Team

March 3-16

Check each day to read the team updates.

puerto-rico-team

Thursday

The LBC Puerto Rico Journey team left LBC today around 3 pm. Currently they are in the air heading to San Juan! Be praying for them as they start this journey together. They are all excited about the opportunity that lies ahead of them.
You will likely not be hearing from them individually this next week as they have been asked to focus on their mission. If you would like to send a note or word of encouragement to the team, feel free to send it to this email address and your words of encouragement to the team and/or individual will be passed on!!

The team arrived safely and are resting. Pray for them that they would have gotten some good rest and are ready to get to work today as they interact with the students and staff of the Christian School & Chapel for the Deaf (CSCD).

Friday

team watching basketball

Our team watching our men's basketball team playing in the first round of the NCAA Division 3 Tournament.  Even though the end result of the game was not a win, we are very proud of our team!


Update by Alex Wile

Hello everyone! This is the first update done by one of the team members.  My name is Alex Wile and I have the privilege of doing the first update!

Travel went super well and everyone is settling into everything going on with the school. Today, we had some cool interactions with the students at Christian School & Chapel for the Deaf (CSCD) and it is a blessing to have many people on the trip who have experience with sign language. The CSCD students are all so special and they have already brought a lot of laughter to our day. 

We started off in the morning with chapel in which we got to sing worship songs with the staff and kids as they did sign language to it all. 

In the afternoon, we engaged in a fun game of volleyball which was clearly a hit with the students. At around 1:30 pm, we all got changed and went to the beach to swim in some of the clearest water I have ever seen. I have only ever seen east coast beaches and the beaches there don't even come close to the beach here. We went swimming and snorkeling and saw some incredible fish in the process. We also played some beach volleyball with the locals and quickly discovered how inept we are at it ... truly humbling. 

We got back and Scott and Danae made us a wonderful American dinner with french fries, dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and some vegetables. Right now we are all playing games, chatting, and overall, having a great time. Hope everyone is doing well back home.

In Christ and for the Puerto Rico LBC Journey Team

P.S. Hello to my mother and sister, Sharra and Ruth Ann Wile! 

Some things to pray for:

  •  for continued good rest
  •  for opportunities to live out the Gospel...and share the Gospel when the opportunity arises
  •  for continued team unity
  •  for the students, staff & missionaries at CSCD

Saturday

Update by Emily Olson & Natalie Kennedy

YO YO YOOOOOO! It’s Em and Nat coming at you live from Puerto Rico! Let’s begin by saying that we are loving our time here at the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf! We are going to give a quick recap of this busy day (Saturday)! We don’t want this to be boring for you, so we decided to write this update collaboratively. Here we go. 

All of us were working together to fix up and beautify the school. Nat and I represented the ladies by pulling out three trees by their roots (with the muscles gained by the help of Coach Bewley). We were also named the happiest workers, and I’m sure those of you who know us can see why ... taking twenty minutes to cut a tree down and ten minutes to celebrate each tree that we fought to bring down...and laughing hysterically every time. Our group worked extremely hard and I was impressed with not only everything we got done, but also our attitude and willingness to tackle each project given to us. 

The guys were able to power wash the roof of the building while some of the other ladies tackled the the gutters and the side of the house. We were also able to get a bunch of weeding done, dig a trench, and begin to remove a trunk, emphasis on begin! 

Now over to Nat - Then we hit the beach! It was sweet and we were all able to relax after a long day, but the fun didn’t stop there! We went to an authentic Puerto Rican festival and we ate so much good food! There was this sandwich called the TRIPLETS with three meats, onions, peppers, mustard, and mayonnaise … AHH so good! Everyone had a great time including Josue who showed us his salsa moves. :-) 

We concluded our day with a little regrouping and debrief. Looking forward to visiting a hispanic church tomorrow and getting into the rest of the week. Thanks for the prayer and support! Until tomorrow, we out! 

For the team,

Em & Nat

P.S. Kennedy’s - I hate to say it, but New Jersey’s beaches just won’t cut it after this trip! Also, I will never complain about the bugs at home ever ever ever again. I love you all and miss ya, but it's seriously awesome here! Your souvenirs are pretty great too. ;) Don’t worry, dad ... I didn’t spend all your money … yet. ;) Adios!

P.S. Olson’s - Mom, you would LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach here!!!  Dad your excellent wave jumping tips are coming in handy! haha :p Also don't get any ideas about me weeding the garden. ;) Love and miss you all, but I am having a blast. You’d be proud of me for trying new things and actually waking up at the crack of dawn (or at least what i consider the crack of dawn). See you soon! 

Sunday

PR-church

Update by Morgan Adams

Hey guys!

On our Sunday in Puerto Rico, we attended church … what a surprise! The church was called Iglesia Batista Hermanos Unidos and the entire service was in Spanish. While we did have a translator and the message was really good, it was cool to see how we worship the same God here as in Lancaster County. It was a stretching experience to worship God in a different language, but really cool to see the members worshiping the Lord in their own way. 

After the service we ate an amazing lunch with traditional Puerto Rican food. The rest of the day we had to ourselves to play games or rest. An intense volleyball game ensued of guys vs girls (the girls lost … twice). Bob also surprised us all by stopping by! He’s here until Wednesday!! 

Thus far I’m so impressed with our team unity and it’s cool to see how God has worked here in Puerto Rico so far. Please pray that we can connect with the students and invest in their lives during the short amount of time we have with them. You can also be praying for our physical health while doing work projects.

For the team,

Morgan

Monday

Update by Leighton Smith & Brendon Dooley

Greeting from Puerto Rico,

It is crazy to think that we are now done our first weekday. We were able to get a lot accomplished throughout the day…

  • Bri, Bethany, Cora, and Natalie, were able to be in the classroom. 
  • Alex and Josue picked up Emily in their efforts to battle against a very large tree stump they are seeking to uproot. 
  • We had the blessing of cutting down an enormous coconut tree. It was a daunting task, and in the thick of it we were forced to question if we should make like a tree and leaf. 

Everyone worked so hard that the list of jobs that we have been given is already almost all crossed off. 

After having being filled by the Holy Spirit, ham & cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter & jelly, we were back to work in a jiffy. 

Game time with the kids was a joy. The children’s faces were beaming with excitement with the way Brooke and Alex fostered spiritual and physical growth in their life. We had a blast playing a rousing game of tag along with an intense nail biting edge of your seat speedball game. 

After a nice break, we went back to work. After more blood, sweat, and tears were spilled, we decided to call it a day and take a trip to the beach. It was uneventful and raining to say the least. We did not have any problems finding a spot on the beach. 

We came back in time for Taco night. Everyone loved it! It was definitely everyone’s favorite meal so far. 

To end the day, we gathered in harmony to conveniently, courageously, convene about several topics of interest: Jesus was the center of course. Continue to pray for the team - for both spiritual growth and physical protection as we are doing so many different activities. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. God is doing awesome things in the relationships with both the students and the staff here as well as everyone within the group. 

Everyone is stoked about the rest of the week! We’ve had a blast so far, thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.

Yours truly with every ounce of the depths of our hearts,

Leighton & Brendon

Tuesday

Update by Cora George & Anna Hess

Hey, Hey, Hey from Puerto Rico!

Bikini, Repellent, and massage? These are some of the words that we (Anna and Cora) were able to understand on our outing to a Puerto Rican Hospital this morning.  Cora had injured her foot trying to boogie board in the ocean yesterday, while Anna was working through some swollen bug bites and a cut from barbed wire. So we took a little trip to the sketchiest ER we had ever seen! Tess, one of the missionaries here, was so gracious to come with us so that she could translate the Spanish for us. We have no idea what papers were signed, what was really said, and if the doctors even knew what they were doing. However, the doctors and nurses there were so very friendly and provided a lot of good laughs among the language barrier.

We did get some answers and medication while we were there … or at CVS. Anna, needed to get an antibobitic cream and also a tetanus shot and taking some Benadryl, too. Oh boy, she is going to be knocked out!! I (Cora) am on crutches and have an ace bandage on my left foot. The doctors do not know what is wrong, so when we get home I’ll be having another doctors visit. Anna and I at least get to do indoor work and elevate together and make many crazy memories in the process!

While we were out on our adventure, the team was working hard together on various projects and helping in the classrooms. They were able to paint some fences, clean up various things, weed, and finish washing and waxing the staff’s cars. The team taught in chapel about Samuel and obedience and the kids loved the fun activity! Once we all got back together we headed to the beach with two of the deaf students and some of the staff. Everyone loves being together and has so much fun relaxing after a long day! We then ended our day with our meeting and a surprise party for one of the staff members.

It was awesome to see how we all interact with one another no matter what language we speak, we are all one in Christ and have a community of unity together. Despite the fact that some of us use sign language, Spanish, or English ... we can still communicate and interact with one another. It is encouraging to know and see that no matter where we are in this world, God is still the same God and is working and using people for His kingdom!

Thanks for the prayers! God Bless,
Anna and Cora 

P.S. Shout out to our amazing families and boyfriends (Cody and Kyle). We are thinking about you and know you are praying and encouraging us even across the water! We miss ya’ll and can’t wait to see you soon!

Wednesday

Update by Bethany Saner & Bri Lieb

Hello folks,

Today in Betsy’s classroom, we learned about John Hancock and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We looked up some pictures of his signature and they learned about America’s Independence Day. Then, since Betsy wasn’t feeling well, we played games with the students for the rest of the morning. I got to play Blokus, Sets, and Wizard with them. The kids loved to play the games with Betsy and I, and I loved seeing their personalities come out as we played. 

After lunch, I (Bethany) moved outside and got to enjoy the sunshine while I painted the fence out front. I also had the opportunity to talk to one of the staff members here while we were painting and see a little bit of her heart for the kids and the school here in general. The people and kids have been great to get to know and I am loving my time here. 

This morning, I (Bri) spent the day outside in the amazing sunshine!! Alex and I spent the morning cleaning several of the fans. Even though it was a small simple thing, it was neat being able to have the chance to serve the missionary staff in that small way. While we were working on the fans, other people were working on painting the fences and window bars. They continued to power wash the roof and sidewalks. 

After lunch, we did a second chapel and the students and staff played their handbells for us. It was really neat seeing the way the students were able to use their talents in a way that blessed us. The afternoon continued on and Alex and I finished the fans and I moved on to painting. As the afternoon ended, we slowed the pace down and finished up the work projects and played some volleyball until dinner.

The evening ended with our daily team meeting. Josue shared his testimony and encouraged us. After the meeting, we played a game with the whole group: fishbowl. It was enjoyable as we all spent some great bonding time together and got to know one another on a different level. Great memories were made as we had to act out and make weird noises to represent different nouns. Even though it was great fun, it was a time where we got to spend intentional time with one another. It’s neat what you can learn about one another even in times when you are having fun. God has blessed us with an amazing team and the time we have spent so far here in Puerto Rico. 

For the team, 

Bethany and Bri 

 

P.S. Chris and Kelli Lieb - Mwen renmen ou anpil e mwen sanje nou tout pandan mwen la.  Mwen marke nou tout. Tan mwen gen la fe mwen vle retoune Haiti. Gen anpil bagay la ki fe mwen byen kontann ou te montre mwen komman poum yon ti fi ki renmen Bondye. Anko mwen renmen ou. Salut tout moun pou mwen. Na we pita. To Dr. Dennis and Grams & Gramps: Thanks so much for the encouraging notes on the beginning of the trip. Love you all and miss you over there in Haiti. Thank you all for the support and prayers that are being sent this way for me and for the team! 

P.S.S. Thank you for all the prayers and support back home! I am loving my time here in Puerto Rico and it means so much to know that I have people thinking of and praying for me back home. To Pappy and Carolyn - I got to teach the students how to play wizard with trump today, and I was wishing I could be at home playing it with you the whole time! Sydney - I’m still working on bringing back some sunshine for you :) haha. Natalie - keep holding off on bringing that little girl into the world. Mom and Dad - I can’t wait to see you on Sunday when I get back! And thanks again to everyone else for supporting me and making it possible for me to be here ... I can’t thank you enough!! Love, Bethany

Thursday

Update by Brooke Cullum

Hello Everyone!

We had an exciting and busy day today. We were very excited to wake up to sunny weather. 

We began our day bright and early by traveling to the local rainforest (El Yunque National Forest). As we drove up windy roads towards the top of a mountain and before we stopped at a beautiful waterfall, we learned that Bri has car induced narcolepsy and fell asleep within seconds of being in the car. 

We also drove to a tower where we climbed to the top and overlooked a portion of the island. It was an incredible view and we have lots of pictures to show you all. We could see for miles. The water was so blue. Josue and Alex were determined to get Cora to the top of the tower to experience the view with us so they carried her up the steps. 

We traveled a little farther up the windy roads to the location where we would begin our hike. We hiked deep into the rainforest to a huge waterfall. Some of our team members decided to brave the cold water and even go underneath the waterfall. The water was cold and powerful. 

After spending some time at the waterfall, we continued our hike and got caught in a rainstorm. We returned to the school, grabbed some sandwiches and were back at it in a jiffy. 

We loaded the van and headed to old San Juan. We spent over 30 minutes trying to find a place to park and our leader Scott, remained calm and collected as we drove through the crowded streets of the city. 

We walked to Fort El Morro and toured the fort. The views were absolutely incredible. The fort overlooked the city and had a phenomenal view of the ocean. We stood at the edge of the fort and listened to the waves as they crashed into the rocks below us. As we stood there, we observed a beautiful rainbow which stretched across the ocean. We stood in awe of God’s beautiful creation. 

We left the fort and headed into the city where we split up into groups and were allowed to shop and eat. In the middle of the square, there was a large flock of pigeons. A man with bird seed was feeding the pigeons and suddenly the pigeons flew over to Emily and landed on her. Let’s just say that Emily is not a fan of pigeons. 

Many of us got some souvenirs and we got dinner in downtown. We headed back to the school and wrapped up the day with team devotions. We can’t believe that we only have two days left here in Puerto Rico. We are going to miss this beautiful (warm) weather and the relationships that we have built with the students and staff.

Brooke Cullum

P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Erika, and Kaylee! I love you and miss you so much. I cannot wait to see you on Sunday and tell you about the trip. I hope you are surviving without me (hope you’re not missing me too much, mom). Hello to the Monroes! Nick, I miss you and I am keeping up with your challenges each day, I’ll see you on Sunday!

Friday

Update by Kaitlyn Scheuing

The sun beats down on your face, the wind kisses your cheek, the smell of saltwater hits you, you feel the sand between your toes, and you hear music and laughter. You lay out your towel then stick your feet in the water. It is chilly at first but then it feels really good. Suddenly a child comes up to you with a volleyball. She kicks the ball to you and you kick it back. She then begins to kick the ball into the water. You start to go to get the ball, but she quickly grabs your hand. You ask her “what is wrong?” She says something in Spanish. You realize she is scared of the water and she is telling you to stay here and wait for the ball to come back.

This was the experience I had today in paradise. We went to the beach with all the kids. They all seemed to have a really good time playing tag, volleyball, soccer, and many more games. It was great to see the joy on their faces. But, for me, the biggest impact was playing with that little girl.

All week I have walked around the school with the problem of not being able to communicate as well as I would like to with these kids. In the end we found ways past the communication issues. It is not too difficult for people to communicate through signing; but it is totally different when someone speaks a different language.

I am studying to be a teacher. Today impacted me because it reminded me of why I decided to become a teacher. Even though I may have had a language barrier with these kids and the Spanish speaking girl, I still found a way to have fun with them. I helped the girl face her fears. And, this week, many of us helped the children at the deaf school face their fears. We helped them grow. But, the cool thing was that in helping them grow, we grew as well.

Here are some ways I have seen people grow this week (or some things I have noticed that I appreciate about people).

  • Leighton: is a really hard worker and he does not complain even when Scott calls him Grace. 
  • Brendon: is able to make others laugh through jokes and pranks; and he works hard through pain. 
  • Josue: was really good with the kids and tried to get to know others. He did everything this week even though he was sick. 
  • Alex: does not complain even though he worked for two days trying to get a stump out ... and he cares for others. 
  • Anna: cares about others and is really wise.
  • Cora: is a hard worker even though she hurt her foot and she was willing to let others help her eventually. 
  • Bri: works hard through pain and related well to the kids. 
  • Bethany: works hard and has a positive attitude. 
  • Emily: is really kind and learned how to be okay with losing (maybe?). 
  • Brooke: is able to take a joke and cares for others. 
  • Morgan: works really hard and is really smart. 
  • Natalie: is a good listener and a hard worker. 
  • Denae: is good at encouraging others and has a good servant attitude. 
  • Scott: actually started to like us a little (maybe) and is able to make us laugh. 
  • And, I worked on servanthood and not complaining.
Finally, I want to thank all of you of serving us by giving us support and prayers. It means a lot to all of us that you helped get us here to serve others.
This is “The Shoe” signing off.

Saturday

Pray for the team.

Sunday

The team arrived at the Newark airport this morning around 6:30 am. And they arrived back to Lancaster around 9:00 am. Everyone has made it home safe & sound with all of their luggage.

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Please talk to the team members and find out how God used this trip in their lives.

Southwest USA

May 7-18

Thursday

Pray for the team as they travel.