Graduation

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

34415242_10100247581852289_9053536024809963520_nYou won’t have to do a lot of research about the education system in the Dominican Republic for it to break your heart. The United States Agency for International Development ranked the DR 143rdout of 144 in the quality of its primary education system worldwide.

Go MAD is being relentless in helping our communities avoid becoming a victim of these statistics. In Canta la Rana, we recently got to celebrate two big education ceremonies! While they both were incredibly different ceremonies, they were both incredibly important and vital to the overall future of this community.

One ceremony was for a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds! Go MAD just graduated 9 little ones from our private pre-school. This means, that starting next fall these children will join a public-school system with one foot forward. These kids have not only learned their letters of the alphabet, how to follow basic classroom rules and instructions, and basic numbers—these kids have been learning about Jesus and how He can change lives. Our kids not only have the value of education, but they know their true value in Christ.

The other ceremony celebrated 18 adults spreading over decades in age, receiving their diploma for passing an Infotep course in baking. Infotep is a government system that provides technical training for local communities for free. Go MAD has been able to come alongside Infotep and provide the resources necessary to host classes and job trainings in our local communities. For the vast majority, this is the closest that any of them will come to getting any type of degree or high school diploma. At the end of each Infotep class, the graduates receive a certificate that is the equivalent of a technical degree and is not only useful here on our island, it is recognized in multiple countries outside the Dominican Republic. We are so proud of our adults that just recently got their Infotep degree in baking, and are excited that we now offer an Infotep course in Accounting and Administration! In August, Go MAD will be able to celebrate another 20 adults that are pursuing this degree.

Go MAD is so excited about our recent graduates in Canta la Rana! We are excited that more kids will enter Kindergarten confidently. We are excited that people can pursue careers with actual degrees to put on their resume. We are excited that the path is being paved to a better tomorrow so more people can walk down it! Malcom X is famously known for saying, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Go MAD is excited that the future of the DR is slowly changing because people are becoming more likely to succeed in their efforts to find jobs and provide basic needs for their families. We are excited that God is in control and our communities are gradually taking ownership in their future!

Bonnie Smith, Community Coordinator

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Working Ourselves Out of a Job

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

If you have ever been down to visit us at Go MAD you have probably heard us talk about working ourselves out of a job. This is something that we strive to do. It’s not that we don’t love what we do. It’s not that we don’t love those that we serve. In fact, it’s because we love those that we serve that we want to work ourselves out of a job. We desire to create opportunity for people to provide for themselves and their families rather than creating a dependence on Go MAD to provide. I am excited to tell you that we have done exactly that in one of the communities we have been working. We have worked ourselves out of the village of Munoz.

Ground_Breaking3I know that many of you that have come down love the village of Munoz. We do too! We have enjoyed so much our time working there. We learned a lot and made many wonderful friendships that continue today. For me personally, building a relationship with Pastor Ricardo has been one of the most special things about my time living in the DR. He taught me so much and I will be forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him. His death was difficult, but it was also a reminder of the importance of making a difference in people’s lives. At the funeral so many people talked about the impact he had on their lives and it was wonderful to celebrate that with his family.

Why now? Great question! We perform a census in each of our communities every so often. We do this to monitor our effectiveness and look for areas of vulnerabilities that we might be missing. Some of the teams that have visited us have helped with the census taking. Well, when we did the most recent census in Munoz we found some wonderful things. The two biggest being that Munoz had the highest employment rate as well as the highest percentage of kids attending school of any of the villages we serve. In fact, almost 100% of the children that can attend school in Munoz do. As if that wasn’t enough, we learned that a new free medical clinic was opening in Munoz. Amazing!

When we looked at the data, the new clinic coming in, the fact that there are two wonderful churches in the community and that the local ministry, Luz Por La Vida, that we have been working with that was started by Pastor Ricardo is there to keep things moving, well we knew it was time. It was not an easy decision. We loved working in Munoz, but we also knew there were other areas with more need. So, the decision was made to shift our resources from Munoz to the village of Severet. I look forward to the time I can write that we have worked ourselves out a job there.

Chantz Cutts, Executive Director

Transition

Monday, June 11th, 2018 and is filed under Uncategorized

25348852_10215262170887171_8160585037464879781_nAs many of you know Jeffrey’s adoption was finally completed on October 19thof 2017. With that done, he and I arrived in Texas on October 20th. Renee has been in the U.S. in April due to health issues, but Jeffrey and I remained in the D.R. to wrap up his adoption. Brodie and Brett have been in the U.S. for a several years attending college. As of the end of October we were finally all together in the same country. It has been wonderful to have everyone together and to be close to the rest of our family’s as well.

We have had a lot of people ask what we would do now and what is going to happen with Go MAD. We have made the decision to officially move back to the U.S. This decision was made for both personal reasons and because we believe it is where we need to be for Go MAD. We are still in a process of transition. While it seems that it would be easy now that we are all together to simply move forward, we have found that it is not exactly that simple. Those that have gone through this type of transition will understand.

Though there have been, and I am sure will continue to be some struggles, we know this is where we are supposed to be at this time. Renee is homeschooling Jeffrey and he is doing great. Jeffrey is getting the necessary medical attention he has needed, and we are so thankful as this has been of such concern. I now have the opportunity to focus on fundraising for Go MAD. This is something that the work of Go MAD has needed because It is not an easy task to fundraise and build relationships for an organization while living in another country. I would love the opportunity to share the work of Go MAD with your Church or Organization.

Go MAD will continue to work in the Dominican Republic bringing hope and opportunity to those we serve. Go MAD has a tremendous staff in the DR lead by Megan Ratnam, our wonderful Country Director. They are doing a great job running and expanding the work there.

Speaking of moving, if you donate to Go MAD via check please remember to use our new address. PO Box 2411 Harker Heights, TX 76548

Thank you to all those that continue to support the work of Go MAD. You are helping to restore hope and create opportunity for so many people that are living in extreme poverty and vulnerable to exploitation. You are truly making a difference in their lives.

Chantz Cutts, Executive Director

What I Learned Between Two Hills and a Cliff

Monday, September 18th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

Renee and I decided one day recently that we wanted to go out driving looking at new areas for ministry.  There are so many small villages tucked away and hidden in the hills and sugar cane fields that you cannot see from any main roads.  Because they are hard to get to and hard to see they often get overlooked by ministries serving in the area and we really want to make sure they are getting their spiritual and physical needs met.

On this day we decided to drive through an area known as La Union and see what might be behind that large area of apartment complexes.  As we were driving I noticed a small dirt road and said to Renee, “Let’s see what’s down there.”  What we found was a hidden little area of houses with some of the most beautiful views I have seen.  The road got progressively worse as we went up and down a few hills.  The last hill we went down was pretty steep with a cliff on the driver’s side and a big hill shooting straight up on the passenger’s side.  As we came around a turn I was facing a hill that was steeper than the one I had just come down.  I tried to make it up the hill but as I got a little over half way up my tires would start spinning and I couldn’t make it.  I did not have enough room to turn around, so I tried backing up the hill I had come down but I kept sliding into the big ruts in the road and my tires would start spinning.  We were stuck!

After trying a few more times to get up each hill I decided it was time to call for help.  I really could not figure out how someone was going to be able to help us, but I thought maybe someone would have a winch and could help that way.  I called a good friend and tried to describe where we were.  Renee and I decided we better head out to the road we turned off of to be easier to find.  After a bit Waldis, our friend, found us and we jumped in his car to show him were ours was.  He drove part way and then parked and we walked to the car.  As we looked at the situation we walked up the hill in front of the car and there was a man and women sitting talking.  As Waldis talked to them they asked him why it was a problem.  He said that my car would not make it up the hill.  They told him that the small van at the top of the hill had just come up it.  He looked at me and said, “Give me your keys.”  I protested a little telling him I had already tried.  Waldis told me, “You have a big strong car…it is not a problem.”  With that he got in my car took off, much faster at the hill than I had, and went straight up it.  I stood there both amazed and embarrassed with my ego stung.

When Renee and I got in the car with Waldis I said to him, “I can’t believe you made it…I thought there was no way without something to help pull.”  He said, “Your car is powerful…you just had to go at the hill more strong and the car would take you up it.”

As we continued to drive around and laugh about our “big” adventure I begin to think maybe God was trying to teach me something.  I believe that God is always speaking to us and trying to teach us and grow us though situations.  As I thought more about this situation it hit me.  We have found ourselves in situations like this before, and may well again, where we can’t go back to something we had before, but the future we feel God calling us to is scary and uncertain.  What if I can’t do it?  What if I fall?

But don’t we serve a powerful God?  Psalm 29 says the POWER of the Lord is so mighty that His voice echoes above the sea, splits the mighty cedars, strikes like lightning bolts, makes the desert quake and can strip the forest bare.  Then it says that the Lord gives His people strength.  I think God was telling me that if He is calling us to something than He is expecting that we will trust that we have a powerful God driving us and we will not move slowly up the hill tentatively, but that we will charge forward running right at the hill with confidence not in ourselves but in the God we serve.  David did not stand back waiting for his challenge with Goliath, but instead charged forward onto the battlefield to meet him.  He was able to do this because of his confidence, not in his own abilities, but in the God he served.

If you have something that God is calling you to that may seem scary and unsure I want to encourage you to not walk forward in confidence, but to let out the battle cry CHARGE and RUN forward in confidence, Why? Because you serve the star breathing creator of the universe!!!!

– Chantz Cutts, Executive Director

Forever Changed

Monday, September 18th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

IMG_3705-3138291281-O3As I think back to my trip to the Dominican Republic with Go MAD six weeks ago, it seems so far away and yet like I was there only yesterday.  I remember vividly our last night there, a Thursday evening, when Chantz asked us, “What are you going to do when you get home?”  I sat there and listened to everyone’s responses and can honestly say, I didn’t know.

Six weeks later, I still don’t know.

But I HAVE returned changed.

There are so many things that you would think would be at the forefront of my mind as I think back to our trip:  the children that we played with in Munoz and at the Bible study on Wednesday evening, the church where we witnessed God’s spirit as we participated in a Spanish speaking service, the rehabilitation facility where we met recovering addicts in the midst of godly men, the women in Ascension who passionately wanted us to purchase their jewelry, the 300 children that we helped feed on Friday morning, or (if I wanted to be selfish) the beautiful sunsets and amazing landscapes.

But these are not the things that moved me.  They impacted me…but they don’t move me to action like two significant things that I witnessed.  Two things have caused me to pray daily how I can help Go MAD on a grander scale.  Two things have convinced me that no matter what I was doing, it wasn’t enough.  Two things that continue to convince me that there is more that I must do.

The first evening that we traveled to an adjoining village, I watched an older man, dressed like an American, walking down the street on the outskirts of an urban area.  He was leading a woman behind him by the hand who was clearly from the Dominican Republic or Haiti.  She was dressed like she was headed to a party in downtown Austin or Houston.  The first thought that came to mind was, “Why does she look so sad if she is walking down the street with her boyfriend?” And then I tried to rationalize her face wondering if something had just happened that caused her to look so depressed.

Later, there was a beautiful woman in our hotel who was also from the Dominican Republic.  Like the first woman, she was also dressed provocatively and looked very lost the first time that I saw her.  It appeared as if she was gathering her bearings, looking for someone.  Although this caused me to pause, I didn’t immediately jump to conclusions as to why she was there.

The next morning, I saw this same woman at breakfast, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and again that night at dinner.  While at the dessert table, she walked up behind me to add a dessert or two to her plate and I nonchalantly made a comment about how good the chocolate dessert was and encouraged her to try it.  As I sat down to eat and then have reflected on that moment many times since, I wonder if I should have said more.

I know that there was nothing that I could have done in my situation to help the first woman, save to pray that someone would rescue her from what I now know is a life of prostitution.

But, the second one….could I have spent a few moments to witness to her?  Could I have shared, in just a few brief moments, how important she is to God?  Could I have asked her to sit with me at the pool sometime before we left for the United States and listened to her story and showed her that hope exists?  Could I have told her that I would be praying for her every day almost 46 days later with a heaviness in my heart, praying with my whole being that I didn’t miss an opportunity to save her?

These are the things I think about now.

As I recently heard of two different sting operations where the police arrested young girls and women in a sexual slavery ring in the US, I thought of the girls.  I thought of how the girls here in the US will have access to healthcare, counseling, education, support, and even a GoFundMe opportunity.  And then I think of the women in the Dominican Republic, the few that are rescued, and how they don’t have access to these things.  My thoughts then drift to what these women think and how they continue with their lives when they are rescued from prostitution.  Who lifts them up?  Who gives them hope?  Who counsels them and tells them that God loves them and that they are valuable?

Yes, I still pray daily about how I can help Go MAD.

But the focus of many of my prayers are for these women who have so little hope.  My prayers are always for these families who get stuck in the cycle.

I may not have discovered exactly what my changed life will look like, but I do know that these women will always be a part of me and that I will forever be changed.

– Victoria Otto, Mission Trip Team Member

New English Class

Monday, September 18th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

English ClassGrowing up, one of my favorite movies was the Wizard of Oz. I loved this movie so much, I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween 3 years in a row having to get two different sizes of the ruby red slippers (because I outgrew them) and my very own Toto stuffed animal. In this movie, we meet 4 different characters all of whom believed they were lacking something in their lives and believed the wizard of Oz could grant them these things. The scarecrow wanted a brain, the tin man wanted a heart, the lion wanted courage, and Dorothy wanted to go home. In the end, it was not the wizard who granted them these wishes, but it was the journey to Oz that allowed them to realize they either, already had in them what they believed they were lacking, or gave them the opportunity to learn the trait they were lacking. In mission work, it is easy to be thought of as “the wizard of Oz” that can grant wishes for everyone, but granting wishes is just a temporary fix. Go MAD’s priority is to help enable the Dominican people to either discover they have the power within themselves to change their situations, or to equip them with tools that can be used to better their situations. In short, Go MAD’s goal is to empower the people of the Dominican Republic. One of the ways Go MAD seeks to achieve this goal is through providing communities with English lessons.

We are excited about our recent partnership with the public school in the village of Esperanza to be able to teach English to the students! Every Monday and Wednesday our English teacher, Isachar, teaches English to the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The students are more likely to attend class regularly, because the English lessons are incorporated into their school schedules. This allows the students to better retain the language skills and allows them to gain a more in depth understanding of the English language. Because the economy of the Dominican Republic is heavily dependent on tourism, most of the employment opportunities here that will allow a family to live above a subsistence level involve being able to communicate in the English language. By giving the students this skill, they will have a much greater chance of finding employment that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families. We can in turn begin to change their mindset from needing others for survival, to being responsible for their own success and begin to break the cycle of poverty. This is a great example of how Go MAD works to restore hope and create opportunity.

– Callie Clyde, Community Coordinator

High School Success

Monday, August 7th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

Over the last 6 years we have been working in the community of Caraballo.  Caraballo is a community of 1300 people living in the middle of the sugar cane fields, 4 miles from the closest town. The community existed to work in the sugar cane fields. However in 2003 the sugar cane company went bankrupt, leaving a large percentage of the population without a job.  Having little to no education and little to no skills, other the cutting cane, this community was left in a state of extreme poverty.

When we arrived in Caraballo, we decided to make it our goal to eliminate all the reasons why people in the community struggle to find a job.

We discovered that the main reason why people cannot find work is lack of education and a lack of skills.

2014 we conducted our first community census and discovered that only 41 people had graduated high school. So 6 years ago we started to eliminate all the reasons why children cannot go to school, and we developed a plan to keep them in school for as long as possible.

There were several reasons why it was difficult to go to school and we began to work at eliminating these reason.

  1. Documentation.  Many children born in the community were born to Haitian parents. Their parents did not have the proper documentation to live in the Dominican Republic, and as a result their children were not given a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, children are not allowed to go to school after grade 8. In 2015 the Dominican Government made it possible for all those born in the Dominican who did not have birth certificates to obtain their birth certificates. It was a huge project to undertake, but we were able to provide birth certificates to 98% of the children who did not have one. By accomplishing this, we have now made it so that all but a few children can legally go to school and finish school.
  1. School Uniforms. All students are required to have a school uniform to go to school. Although the uniforms are not extremely expensive, for families who live on less then $1 a day, the uniforms make it impossible to send their children to school. For the last 3 years, we have been raising money to buy uniforms for as many children as possible.  As a result of our efforts, we now have 95% of children between the ages of 5 and 18 in school.
  1. School Transport. High school students and adults are required to go to school in a town called Montellano, which is 4 miles away. Individual transport to and from school is expensive.  This is when most students drop out of school. We offer school transport both for the day time students and the night time students. As a result of providing transport, we will be providing over 150 high school students a way to get to school everyday. Now let´s remember, in 2014 only 41 people in the entire community had ever graduated high school.
  1. University. Last year we started a university program.  We are helping students continue their education after they graduate high school. Currently we are supporting 11 students, who have all shown diligence in their studies and leadership in their community.

Now, because our Stay In School Program has become so successful, and more children are going to school now then ever before, and because we have more students in high school then ever before, our community has now become a problem that the government needs to solve. The problem is, we have too many students in high school and there is not enough room.

So here is the exciting news!  The government has decided to allow the private school in Ascension to become accredited, which means they will be governement recognized. School for all students will now be full time in both Caraballo and Ascension.  The governement has decided that they will help as many students as they can with school uniforms to ensure that all students will continue to go to school.

CCP04573Now this decision, and the direction the governement is going in, is a work in progress and they asked Go MAD for our help.

  1. In order for the school in Caraballo to become full time they would need one more class room built.  So we said that we would do it, and on July 15, 2017 we completed the classroom and the school is ready.
  1. In order for the school to become full time the governement will need to provide a lunch every day. The governement will not be able to go to full time schooling until they have figured out the lunches. Because we already have a food program for the students, we have agreed to provide the lunches for the students for 2 months until the governement has worked things out.

So here is what is going to be even more exciting.  Because we have so many students now going to high school, the Governement has committed that by 2019, the private school in Ascension will be for all students Kindergarden to grade 6, and the public school in Caraballo will be from grade 7 to grade 12.  Which means, Caraballo and Ascension will have THEIR OWN HIGH SCHOOL! In a span of 5 years this community will go from only having 41 people that had graduated from high school to having their own high school. That is making a difference!

Our goal was to keep everyone in school for as long as possible, and with your help that goal is being accomplished. Because this goal is being accomplished, the government is now looking at Caraballo for the first time and working towards meeting the needs that exist in the community.

God is good!

– Megan Ratnam, Country Director

You can support Go MAD’s education programs by clicking HERE and choosing Children’s Education in the Select a Fund dropdown box.

Investing in the Lives of Girls

Monday, August 7th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low saw a need. She realized that young girls all over the world were suffering from lack of opportunity. Young girls lacked confidence. In this time, women didn’t even have the right to vote. She realized there was a need to prepare girls for the world by giving them courage, confidence, and character. This almost deaf 51-year old saw a need, and she decided she would try to do something. She wanted to make a difference. This is how the Girl Scouts began.

Girl Scouts go camping, hiking, etc. and you can get a badge for just about anything. (I got one once for “learning how to sew”). But most importantly, they are helpers wherever they go and seek to improve whatever corner of the world they are in. Today, there are around 2.6 million Girl Scouts across the globe in over 90 countries. They have almost 60 million alumnae, and have a dedicated mission to make the world better for the next generation of girls.

So why am I telling you about the Girl Scouts? Because I was one when I was a kid. One of my greatest mentors was my GS leader. There isn’t a program quite like the Girl Scouts in any of the communities that we serve. In fact, there isn’t a group that works with young girls at all. So, staying true to our mission—we want to make a difference in these girls’ lives and give them purpose.

CCP04816Since school is out for the summer, the kids have a lot of free time. And our two amazing pre-school teachers are taking this opportunity to pour into young girls. Elizabeth re-started our girls’ program in Canta la Rana a few weeks ago. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Elizabeth opens the school to the young girls in our community to make bracelets, sew, and ultimately build relationships. Ester is doing an amazing job with her girls’ program in Muñoz. She has a group of about 12-15 girls that meet twice a week. Ester teaches them Christian songs and they sing together. She is teaching them to make bracelets, hair bows, and reading the Bible to them. She’s created a community that can love and trust one another and lift each other up.

Not only do these programs give the girls in our community something to do besides roam the streets, it is teaching them life skills that they can use forever. More importantly, Elizabeth and Ester are investing in the lives of the girls they are meeting with. They are mentors, leaders, teachers, and friends. In order to make the next generation better, we have to start with this one.

What are some things you can do in your corner of the world to help? What hurdles, like almost being deaf, are you having to overcome to make a difference. Girl Scouts all over the world in 92 countries make a difference daily because one woman cared enough to invest in the girls of the future. I have a good friend Brad that always tells people to “be the person that you needed when you were a kid.” I’m excited to be working in a community of people that are doing just that.

– Bonnie Smith, Community Coordinator

You can support the Girls Program by becoming a Sponsor. Click HERE and select Protect a Girl to learn more.

A Life of Significance

Monday, April 24th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

Are you living a life of significance? Are you striving to be more than you are today? Are you living for a cause that is much bigger than you are? If not, you need to be!

You need to be involved in something so much bigger than you, that you are constantly overwhelmed and in need of God’s help. That is where Renee and I found ourselves when we started Go MAD, and that is where we find ourselves today. I feel like I have gotten to do some pretty cool things in my life, but nothing compares to constantly pushing the envelope for God to the point of complete reliance on God to pull it off.

For me, Go MAD is more than the name of a ministry. It is a state of mind. It is making the decision to be different than the majority of people in the world. It is about being able to say on your death bed, “No regrets baby, because I left it all on the field. I finished the race.”

I love the story of Nehemiah. If you have never read the book of Nehemiah, I would encourage you to do so. He was a passionate, “all-in” type of leader. God placed a burden in his heart so powerful, that it drove him to his knees in grief. I see this happen to people all the time, but it was what he did next that was most important. After Nehemiah went to his knees weeping and praying, he stood up and took action. Many people’s hearts break for the injustices of the world, but few stand up and take action. God is looking for people willing to open their hearts to be broken for those things that breaks His, and for those people that will then stand and take action.

If you do not have anything in your life like that yet, let me invite you to join our passionate cause, to Go MAD with us, and be part of a movement that is making a difference in lives. You can click HERE for more information on getting involved. I can say with 100% confidence that no matter your background, giftings, talents or skills, we could use your help. It might even be in a way that you have not yet considered.

If I can help you in any way to live a life of significance, please do not hesitate to contact me directly HERE.

-Chantz Cutts, Executive Director

New School Building

Monday, April 24th, 2017 and is filed under Uncategorized

DSC001543A wise mentor of mine once told me, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” The older I get, the more I find truth in this statement. When we’re comfortable, we don’t really look for alternatives to make things better. We don’t want to go through learning curves and put in the effort of growing. There’s this verse in Deuteronomy 1:6 where I feel like God was telling this to his chosen people. They’d been escaping Egypt and wondering around for over 40 years, and the time had come to go in and take the land the Lord had prepared for them. But they were comfortable. You see, they’d set up camp in Horeb and were waiting for the right time to go down. But God never intended for them to settle down. He wanted them to go in and take what was rightfully theirs. Here in this verse, God tells them, “You have stayed at this mountain long enough, turn and set your journey.” God knew that if they got too comfortable, they’d never fulfill his wonderful plan for them.

One of the things I love about our Go MAD team is that my teammates are constantly looking for ways to get out of their comfort zone and seek progress. In my short time with this crew, we have seen so much growth in our little community of Islabon/Canta de Rana. It’s been incredible to watch.

In case you didn’t know, due to circumstances beyond Go MAD’s control, we were forced to move our entire project for the Islabon area into a new location. This can be such a burden and stress. You’re not only shifting a lot of stuff around, but you’re asking the community to re-familiarize. You have new neighbors. The kids have to find alternate transportation at times to make the new trek to school. It can be draining. To make matters even worse, just weeks after the big move the entire property flooded and was covered in about a foot of mud. Not only did things get ruined, it left a huge mess behind.

It’s times like this where God shows out and delivers. We had four amazing teams come down to help us. I can’t put into words how encouraging it was to meet complete strangers who are willing to put in so much time and energy and help turn this new Go MAD property into a home for our ministry! These fellow Christians share the same love of our risen Savior and have a desire to serve others. Things progressed so quickly, it’s hard to believe I’ve only been working in this community for 3 months!

When Callie and I began working here in late January, the school was meeting in the small apartment on the property. There were so many electricity problems that the school had been functioning without it for weeks. The clinic was closed due to flood damage, the buildings were bright pink (we could have easily passed as a product endorsement for Pepto-Bismol), the water pump didn’t work to bring water into the property, the school building was in shambles, and there was a huge mess left behind from the mud and the flood!

DSC001573Well not anymore!! Our property is clean as a whistle! The electricity is working great. The water works fine, the buildings are beautiful and newly painted, our clinic is up and running and our school building is finished! That’s right, we were able to meet in our new school building this week! We re-purposed some things that got ruined in the flood and made desks, chalk boards, and curtains. We have a new roof and floor! And thanks to some awesome team members, it’s beautifully painted and the kids even have a new playground! It’s been absolutely amazing to watch it all come together!

Our staff is so grateful to all of you that came down and put in the sweat to make all of these dreams a reality. By having everything cleaned out and functioning, it gives us the opportunity to not get comfortable, but use this property to its potential. Starting next week, we’ll be having bible studies at our house 3 times a week. Two devotionals will be for the local kids in the community, and one will be for the women. We’re excited to see what God has in store.

Are you sitting on Mount Horeb waiting for an opportunity to go into the promise God has for you? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

You’ve been on this mountain long enough, Go Make A Difference!

– Bonnie Smith, Community Coordinator

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