New Church


So tonight we decided return to the church we tried last time. We arrived at the church and were glad to see that we did have the right service time (5:00). We were greeted very warmly by several members of the congregation and also the pastor who is a missionary.  He warned told us that  the service could get quite raucous, more so than we were used to anyway. He was right. The music portion of the service lasted for about 45 minutes and it was a party. A man named Isreal came and stood next to me and he was especially animated. He did startle me a little bit because as he was walking up behind me he began to clap. I come from a long line of obnoxiously loud clappers and I pride myself on my ability to awaken the dead with my claps but Isreal was on a different level. After his first clap I thought that someone had just fired a revolver in close proximity to my head. Out of fear that another shot would be fired I didn’t turn around. His next clap had me convinced that someone outdoors was lobbing M-80’s into the sanctuary and that the explosives were landing under my seat. I was relieved/shocked to find that it was a mere mortal and that he wasn’t angry but joyful. I watched his hands out of the corner of my eye in order to better understand how he was able to produce this noise. My only conclusion is that somewhere before impact his hands were breaking the sound barrier and creating a sonic boom. He was great though and asked me tons of questions about English words during the service. The music went so long that the Pastor didn’t really preach. We were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to hear the Word of God but we were really happy to be included in the fellowship. There were some Americans at the church too and they informed us of a Bible study and some other fellowship opportunities. Isreal, as it turns out is a Spanish teacher at one of the Universities and he volunteered to tutor us in Spanish! I don’t know if we will go back next week or go to one of the other churches on our list but we can always go back to English Church. Check it out at http://theenglishchurch.com/


How many people can you fit on a motorcycle?



One + a propane tank?


What do you do when you run out of gas? Hitch a ride!


The correct answer in the Dominican Republic… 5. As you can see the girl is showing you! (or waving)


And 5 isn’t a rare coincidence as you can see…Dad and son have matching broken arms too.


No photos in this post have been recreated or photo shopped. What you see is the real deal! Copywrite: Verwys Inc.


Holy Cow!

WOOOOOOW…. this is what I yelled just after Julia pointed out the large hairy tarantula that was cozying up just beneath my foot at the lunch table.  I’m not talking about small little daddy long legs. It was a LARGE stinkin’ hairy, Home Alone, type tarantula!

I didn’t have my camera so I tried to find a close look-a-like online:

Luckily the maintenance man came to the rescue and caught it and threw it over the fence. But not before the students all mocked me for standing on the table while the tarantula was being caught.

Check out another scary spider blog at my cousin Amanda’s site!


I Love Dominican Holiday!

Over our long break, no school Wednesday- Monday, we had Betsy and Kari come to visit.

We had to prepare for their arrival. My students helped color the welcome sign.



While waiting at the airport, we were asked by two people which flight WE had come in on. I was thinking… Oh yeah! I just came in on a flight and I’m holding my own Bienvenidos (welcome) sign!  Sheeesh!

They finally arrived, only 20 minutes late. Pretty decent for being on “Dominican Time”

 009 010


We spent the night in Santo Domingo at our house and then got up early to head to the north coast- Cabarete- our destination for the long weekend. Along the way we got Marvin to stop and let us take some photos of the Palm Tree Plantations.

And when Marvin wouldn’t stop the car any more I was forced to take photos from inside the car. They turned out pretty well though. Check out the Monolith.

We arrived around 12:30. It was perfect. We loved where we stayed. We did encounter a few hook ups but nothing that would stop us from going back in May with Adam and Becca Willis! – Book your flights guys :)

We tried to do this as inexpensive as possible so we ate breakfast and lunch at our condo; which had a fully equipped kitchen! Then for dinner we went out and ate at restaurants on the beach. We had a very high tech way of choosing where to eat for the night- whichever place had the most comfortable seating!

Marvin was surrounded by all girls for the weekend so he had to do something manly! He chose to SURF. We also all tried boogie boarding too. FUN stuff.

We had just a fabulous time in Cabarete. This is by far our favorite place on the island as of yet. It has it all, beautiful beaches, restaurants, relaxation, yet still close to everything!

On Sunday night we drove back into Santo Domingo and ate at Hard Rock Cafe’ and hung out in the Zona Colonial.

We LOVED having the girls here. Marvin really needs a boy to come visit though. It was so refreshing for us to talk to people who are like us and believe the same things we do. It was hard to say goodbye on Monday but we hope now they can go home and share their wonderful experience and then we can get even more visitors.


Traveling to School

Today I took a video of our trip to school. I don’t think its too bumpy but it might get a little boring. If so just fast forward to around 3:30 minutes, you will see a big hole we have to drive over all the time. Also take notice of how close cars get to our vehicle and the amount of trash on the side of the road. It’s about 6 minutes.

Video- Failed. After about 5 attempts to upload … Marvin thinks i need to reshoot the video and save it in a different format. I’m clueless about this stuff… I’ll try again soon.

Today I also finally got a photo of my Taiwanese students I tutor. Yin is the one on the left, Yun has glasses. They are fabulous! They always give me a Coca-Cola Light too :)


Last Sunday we went to Juan Dolio, local beach, with Julia and her mom. Here are a few photo’s I snapped there.


3rd attempt at finding a church

We contacted a Christian organization here and asked about English speaking churches. They were super helpful and gave us some contacts in the area. They came back with about 3 churches to check out. We had been in contact with a guy who when to a church pretty close to our house. So today we went to check it out. The English service was at 2pm and 5pm. We tried the 2pm service.

We woke up in the morning and had to wait until 12 to take showers when the power comes back on. It’s like this every weekend. Called a taxi at 1:30, so he would be here by 1:40. He arrived at 1:45. We gave him the address and he got us there right at 2pm. Great right! ??? Wrong…

We walk in and there are 3 kids sitting in the foyer. There was a Spanish service going on right then. Lindsay spotted a sign on the second floor that said “English Church meets here”. We walked upstairs to get a good spot. No one was there. It is now 2:05. We waited, and waited. Around 2:15, the Spanish service got over and people began to file out. A few people came upstairs to use the bathroom but no one even said hello. At about 2:30 Lindsay decides it was a bust,  and that we should  take a taxi home. While on the phone with Apolo (local taxi co.) a man who looks Dutch comes and starts speaking English with us. We thought – YES the pastor has arrived! Wrong Again!

He was a bum from the street who walked in and proceeded to tell us how he was a doctor in the area, left his wallet and passport on the bus and needs $500 US dollars to get back to La Romana- a city near us.  Marvin sits intently listing to the man and his story. Lindsay excuses herself calls a taxi and then gets Marvin out of the situation. NO way were we giving him our hard earned money only to go down to the liquor store and buy some booze!  (side note- Marvin likes to over tip big time, Lindsay is a little more stingy, actually very stingy, and if she had her way all the time, no one would get tipped!) So we finally take a taxi over to our favorite supermarket/food court Jumbo for lunch.

Try another church in 2 weeks. Betsy will be here next Sunday and we will be out of town. Probably attend Beach side Baptist around 10am :)


Where do we live again?

We’ve had quite a few people make reference to where the DR is and how close are we to Haiti. So a little geography less for us all :)

We live in Santo Domingo in the south part of the Dominican Republic. We share the island with Haiti to the west. The island all together is called Hispaniola. Santo Domingo is where Christopher Columbus first landed in 1492 when “discovering” the Americas.

Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, is about 230 miles from Santo Domingo. There are only 2 main roads to get into Haiti from the DR, one is located in Jimani in the southern portion (the red line runs right through it). The other city isn’t on the map but is about 50 miles north.  We’ve heard that the roads are backed up, taking hours to get across the border.  Keep praying for the people of Haiti there is still so much to be done.



DR helps Haiti

Dominican Republic Helps Injured Haitians Crossing Border

JIMANI, Dominican Republic (AFP)--Dozens of gravely injured Haitians sought refuge and medical attention in the neighboring Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

Buses from Port-au-Prince, which was devastated by Tuesday's earthquake, brought the injured to the General Meleciano Hospital, 280 kilometers west of the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo.

President Leonel Fernandez ordered border hospitals to open their doors, but fearing a sharp influx of migrants, Dominican authorities also stepped up immigration controls.

Victims sought treatment for a range of serious injuries from badly-damaged limbs to skull fractures.

The most serious cases were transferred to larger hospitals, Dominican authorities said.

Earlier Wednesday, members of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti were transferred to Santo Domingo for treatment.

Haiti has had troubled relations with its eastern neighbor, which has frequently been bombarded with refugees fleeing Haiti's political and natural disasters.

In the 1930s, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujilo ordered the slaughter of tens of thousands of Haitians in an assault on the border.

Mistrust between citizens of the two countries remains strong, but appeared to be put aside Wednesday, as Dominicans offered help to their neighbors from the western third of Hispaniola.

Other Dominican hospitals near the border received injured Haitians, including those in Barahona province.

A logistics center for aid groups was set up in Jimani. Trucks carrying water and food, as well as mobile kitchens, left from the camp, the first batch of a mission to supply around 10,000 meals a day.

January 14th, 2009

For Dinner:  Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps. Delicious!

For Dinner yesterday: Baked Oatmeal. This has become a favorite. Since we don’t get up in time to cook it for breakfast we often have it for dinner. I’ve included the recipe because I think my little Niece, Rita, that was thrown out the window today might enjoy it. Click here to read the story!

Baked Oatmeal
serves 2-3 adults (recipe can easily be multiplied - see note below)
1 ½ cups quick oats
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix ingredients together and pour into a greased 9" square baking dish (or an 11x7 dish, or a deep dish pie plate when multiplying). Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Be careful to not crowd your baking dish, this oatmeal puffs up a bit while baking. Eat plain or add toppings of your choice.

Wii Update: We’ve held hostage a few of my student’s games. Marvin is getting into it! We are looking forward to getting some new games via Adam… Adam this is a reminder to keep your eye out. You only have a week left to purchase :)

Countdown: Betsy and Kari will be arriving next Wednesday at 10:30! Then the real fun begins!


Michigan Snowy Days


Favorite Blog Writer: Windows Live Writer. If you are still using the old fashioned way to post blogs… do so no more! Google Windows Live Writer and download today. It makes blogging fun, fast, and easy. No more importing photos in the wrong order. It works like  a word processor. However it is only compatible for PC’s not Mac’s (sorry mom)

Books we are currently reading:

Marvin- Tipping Point and Atlas Shrugged

Lindsay- A kiss is still a kiss, a humorous marriage book


Haiti’s Aftermath


24 hours ago we posted that we had experienced an earthquake. Little did we know how devastating it had actually been. We felt significant shaking all the way here in Santo Domingo but we thought we had just experienced a small, local earthquake. Even at school today we heard very little about the devastation in Haiti. Generally speaking, Dominicans don’t like Haitians and Dominicans have thus far acted accordingly. It is sad because DR is so close but at the same time we are a world away. Our exposure to Haitians here in DR has been nothing but positive. They are very hard working, resourceful, loyal and down to earth. We hope for those still trapped and pray for the survivors who have experienced so much loss. If you have the opportunity to help in anyway it would be much appreciated.



No Joke. Check it out. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/7.0_magnitude_earthquake_strikes_off_Haitian_coast

My very first one. I was tutoring 2 Taiwanese students in an apartment on the 8th floor when it happened. It was big but it was so far away that the effects weren’t too great in Santo Domingo. Both of the students looked and me in shock! I thought it was fake and that I was just getting sick or something.

It felt like you were on the Mackinaw bridge on a very windy day. Some of the things in the apartment swayed, but nothing fell.

It was a 7.0 earthquake that occurred off the coast of Haiti. 

Marvin was tutoring 2 Dominican students at the house and one of them screamed and jumped on the couch until the shaking stopped.

All in all it was awesome. There are still some residual aftershocks (that I can’t feel) and after each one Marvin says he is going to hurl. He is a little dramatic.


life around DR

Here are a few photos of our area and what we see on a day to day basis. I’m going to try to take video one morning on our way to school. I’ll post it if it works out.

This the the mall that is about a mile and a half from our house. We walk up there occasionally. They have a theater and some decent stores.


This is across the street from Diamond Mall. It was raining out and these photos were taken with the disposable camera. 


From our roof of our house you can see the neighbor’s yard. It is beautiful. They have a small pool. We have never meet them. It’s not like the states where you have friendly neighbors. We have never seen most of them.



Here is the house across the street. They made a comment to us in October that they hoped to be in by the end of the month… It’s now January and they still aren’t in. Maybe them meant October 2010?


Here is our favorite grocery store, Jumbo… it’s about as close to a Target as we can find. It has a food court in it. When we go here we always plan to do dinner too- Wendy’s!  001

This picture is a little hard to see. But we went to eat at a pretty decent sit down restaurant on one of the main streets . This was kiddy corner from us. A small taco shack and about 40 people around it. They bring their plastic chairs and sit and drink here for the night. They are basically right on the street.

002 This is what we have seen of our neighbors… their pet goat. And yes we live on a pretty wealthy street.

004This is the ravenous beast that stuck into our house and often eats our food.  


We have been commissioned to take photos of weird looking motorcyclists and the thing they carry with them. Stay tuned for that posting. It should be hilarious.


For Betsy

because her camera died when we were in D.C.

Home for the Holidays

Christmas Eve- Spent in DR, eat at our favorite cafe- Green Light Cuisine, packed and prepared to head HOME. Fran did NOT get to go home. She spent the time in DR with Julia and Julia’s mom.

28970007 Christmas Day- Travel Day, Flew from DR to Miami to Chicago. 28970011

Greeted with lots of hugs from Verwys Family. Spent the night in Chicago

Saturday- Monday- Spend the time in GR. Great time with friends and family.

* Christmas at Cherrwood with Betsy, Mom and Dad- becoming a tradition, great times!

Betsy- My sister-in-law, has a fabulous blog about the happenings in Grand Rapids. You can check it out HERE. She also has other photos from this past weeks festivities.

* Church on Sunday, Morning and Evening, with a great gathering of friends over at the Willis Mansion

*Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Verwys, and Christmas with the McCary Family coming down from Charlevoix

* Shopping at Woodland, a much needed hair appointment by the fabulous Rachel

* Koning Christmas on Monday Evening- Fabulous time.

(Shout out to the newest edition – Little Evelyn Lucille Geysbeek, check out her mom’s blog here )

Tuesday- Wednesday- headed to Flint to see the Baker Family

* Mom got a Mac book so she’s been blogging away. I’ll post a like to her blog soon.

* We got a Camera from both families so Baker parents helped us exchange the camera for a Wii  :) Yippee… watch for us to play online. Hoogendyk Mice – you better be practicing! :)

* Lots of shopping in Birch Run- Old Navy, Gap, Banana, J.Crew

That really bad photo was taken with one of those disposable camera’s, no my new one :)

Thursday- Sunday- We were off to D.C. to see Nate, Andrea and the 4 kidos

* Travelled most of the Day Thursday. Ate dinner with N&A+4, Betsy, Marvin and I watched the ball drop in the hotel room and then promply at 12:04 turned off the t.v. and went to bed! Pretty anti-clamatic, but we were tired!

*Friday- shopped in Vienna, VA, pizza dinner at home, took a walk- bad idea- freezing cold!

*Saturday- went downtown to D.C. visited Natural History Museum, dinner at Anita’s Mexican Cafe’

* Sunday- traveled home to DR. Good travel day.

(Shout out to our newest Verwys niece- Ellen Faith Verwys, Check out her mom’s blog HERE)

What a wonderful holiday season. We are so thankful to have such wonderful families and friends with who we can share this blessed season. I believe this year it was much easier to see Christ in Christmas because we weren’t so focused on all the presents and food, it was more about friends, families, and our Amazing God who care for us and watches over us, and knows our thoughts and plans even before we do. 

"...For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..."

~Jeremiah 29:11


layover in PA

We made to to Philadelphia... 1 1/2 hours 'til we leave for SDQ!
We found a GAP in this airport. They were having amazing sales. Marvin got 3 pair of pants, and I got a t-shirt for $50. They have to sales tax in PA...BONUS!

Photos and updates to come about our visit back to civilization (aka America)

PS: We got a camera so PHOTOS will be posted too :)