Month: February 2012

Problems and Solutions

One thing I really like to do is problem solve or fix things. I know that sometimes I might actually be creating problems too, but I am human right?

Since we have been here we haven’t had any bookshelves and being homeschoolers this can be an issue. We brought over many books and still had others bring more, but this has only caused me to get more in trouble with my wife for not having bookshelves ready.

Well, finally I am building some shelves, but I had some problems to solve. First, I have 2 saws – a circular saw and a reciprocating saw. Neither saw is really designed for building furniture. I also am short a router, sander, tablesaw, and so many basic tools that I am use to using to build furniture. Secondly, how do I make them unique, functional, and mobile? Third, very limited amount of money to spend on the project at hand.

Well here is a little solution I came up with: boxes. I am making small wood boxes to support the shelves. Now we could also use a coffee table and some end tables, so I am designing those with basically the same concept. The boxes can be stacked in different configurations. They can stack horizontal or vertical giving two different heights to a shelf. I found while making the shelves, that at 32 inches wide it didn’t quite look right to have a box at both ends, so I used one and used screws to help stabilize them.

Here are some pictures to show the process and concept:

First the problem – too many books, no shelves. (One part of the solution in the corner.)

The first one is 32″ wide and is ready for the books.

Narrow Box Shelf

Narrow Box Shelf

Here are examples of how they can be configured:

Box shelf concept

This one has a shorter shelf on top, it would look better if it was even shorter.

Concept coffee table using the same boxes:

Oliveria box system

So you might be asking how this fits in to being a missionary. Well, first we are still a family and we live in a house and still homeschool. There is a normal part of living no matter where you live. Secondly, how do we solve problems. Do we let things  stop us or do we find solutions and move forward. One of the things I am learning on the field is to keep pressing on. There have been many challenges, but through Christ I know there are solutions and positive results of each of those challenges. I do believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Harvest Connections – Connecting Missions

While we were living in Sosua there was a group started to help bring together the different missions that operate in that area. The group is called Harvest Connections.

There are a couple of goals within this group, one being that each mission group knew about the others. This in turn can help them share resources, which this has already taken place in a couple on instances. Another goal was to help connect those wanting to serve in the area with the mission groups already working there.

Well, I volunteered to build the website at which is finally ready to show others. There are some further plans for the back end of the website to help the mission groups communicate needs to each other, and on the front end to help categorize in different ways.

Take a look and let me know if it has any errors or if you have an idea that might improve it.

Harvest Connections



Lord What Do I Do?

Today we visited a small “feeding” center run by a local. I don’t know all of the details, but I hear the land is hers. There is a small block building used for church services and attached to that is a wood wall kitchen. They have a couple of tables and stacks of plastic chairs. Pretty minimal and rustic in many ways.

Yet, Veronica feeds some of the children in the batey.

She only does it about 3 times a week and by the looks of it some of these kids don’t eat that much in between time. You can tell from the attitude of some of the older kids that this place is like a “home”, somewhere safe, where they know they are loved.

This was our second time visiting, but this time it was even harder. My heart was breaking at the sites of the wounds, the malnutrition and the hurt that they were experiencing. There was one boy there whose skull was somewhat deformed and it didn’t appear to be debilitating, but he also had an open wound on his foot that the flies were attracted to. This infection, if not treated, can lead to something much worse.

When you see children in situations like this, what can you do?

Please pray for Veronica and the feeding center. Another couple have taken on the role of having a new kitchen built and are working on raising the funds. Pray also for the money needed for the food. Praise God someone has stepped up to do something and through this many children will hear the gospel and see the gospel worked out in practical ways!

Eating at Veronica's


Moving in the Dominican Republic

Obviously it is quite the challenge to move to any foreign country. There are so many things that will be different making a transition difficult. We moved down to this country with mostly books and clothing (and a few kids.) Most of the houses in Sosua were foreign owned and were furnished or partly furnished like the last house we lived in there.

Moving across the country itself is a whole other adventure. First we tried to find a house on quick trips either by driving or by me taking a bus. That didn’t help too much except it helped me learn a few areas and meet the real estate agent that we eventually used. We finally just moved down a lived for a month in a vacant house used by missionaries that gave a place to sleep and eat during our house search.

We eventually settled on a 4th floor apartment with the 5th floor rooftop with extra bedroom. We thought this would be perfect (except all of the stairs) for our family and plans to use the extra room. We spent the next week waiting for “mañana” as the man in charge of the apartment was getting the papers ready. When we finally met with him, we had to walk away because of the contract. He wanted us to claim responsibility of the the taxes even though we “didn’t have to pay them.” We could not do this for 2 reasons, if we paid the taxes it was too much and if we didn’t we would be liars and damage our testimony.

After having that happen, we were put into a last minute cram, yet thankful God kept us from having been in a contract with a corrupt person. We also have our friend Miriam (March) who was a huge help in all of this as an interpreter and overall friend.

We then called the real estate agent I mentioned who quickly showed us another couple of houses, one of which we made an offer on. We then met the lawyer (many rentals are handled by lawyers here) who happened to be a Christian who goes to church with our missionary friends Kent and Janet Norell. Esperanza is here name and she has been a help and a blessing to us.

Signing the papers on the house led to the next adventures in houses in the D.R. First I try to get power, only to hit a roadblock because the power company says there are already two contracts with that address. Both Esperanza and Miriam made multiple calls to the power company to help get things straightened out. After a couple of weeks and us living in another temporary location, we finally moved in with no power on. Power in this country is different than in the states, were if the power is off, it is from a storm or maybe a traffic accident involving a drunk and telephone pole. Here, even in areas considered to be “24 hour” power, it can be off a few hours a week at best. Some areas are only on so many hours a week, usually in areas were no one actually has a meter or pays for the electricity.  Being without power wasn’t a huge shock, but it has it’s challenges. We were thankful to have a neighbor who offered to let us use an extension cord to plug in our fridge, while we waited.

Back to dealing with the power…. I ended up finally going down and trying to get the power on. The next hurdle was the address. The papers for the house have the address the community gave it when being built, but since then it has a street address that is nothing like it. I had to make a couple trips back and forth to get the papers changed and then stamped in a correct manner. Now, I finally had that and was able to get the account set up. They told me someone was coming out that same day to turn on the power and put in the meter. Not surprising it didn’t happen. The next day while still waiting, the neighbor said we just need to keep going down the office or it won’t happen, so taking her advise and went down again and returned home after they said someone was on their way at that moment. After waiting over an hour, they showed up!!! The technicians explained they were late after having the ladder rack re-welded to their van.  Needless to say, we had power on in about an hour after that!

Now we are in our own (rented) house and found some of the necessary furniture, minus some things I wanted to build. Praising God for guiding us through, for the friends and new friends who helped us and for the learning experiences we have had.

Now to get busy with our call…