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Despite complications and having to get tested for Covid-19, we were able to travel to the DR in August, pack and sell or give away almost everything, and say our goodbyes.

It was a hard trip, but also so good. We were able to find most of the kids we'd developed relationships with over the last 3 years and give them the skateboards we had used in the skateboard ministry. It was such a delight to see their joy.
I (Tonya) was sadly unable to visit the children's home in Santiago due to Covid, but thankfully I was able to visit the girls' home in La Vega, donate the rest of the coloring books and craft supplies, and say goodbye. (If you are interested in knowing more about/supporting this ministry, they are called New Hope Girls and you can find them here https://www.newhopegirls.co)  
We were also able to have some all-too-short but still sweet last times with friends. We are thankful for our time there.
The one item we have not yet sold is our SUV. A Dominican friend of ours is selling it for us, but there are some complications. Please pray that it will all work out soon, because we are hoping to purchase a family vehicle here with the money from the sale of our vehicle there.

We are finally moving into our own place!

After six months of living with Tonya's parents (we are so grateful for their generous hospitality!), we are hoping to move back into our house in Portland by the end of this month. The renters moved out in July, and we've been working since then to clean and repair it. We've painted the entire house, ripped out carpets, replaced the walls surrounding the bathtub, and so much more. We are thankful for the help of family and friends.

Ministry and job opportunities:

Back in May, Ben applied for a job with the Portland Police Department. He is now in the 5th phase of the hiring process, but due to defunding of the police, the process will be taking longer than usual. In the meantime, he has had another job interview and should be hearing back about it this week. If you are able, we definitely need your continued financial support during this transition time.
While in the DR in August, a good friend of mine asked me if I'd be willing to help her start a ministry there. My heart leapt at the chance to do this, and I am very excited to share it with you. Because most Dominican women don't have the choice to stay home with their children, they must use the government-run daycare facilities, where the ratio of childcare provider to children is 15:1. We hope to start a ministry called "El Jardín de los Bebés" (Garden of Babies) where we will provide good quality childcare from birth to five years, and offer classes on parenting. We would be sharing the Gospel in these classes, as we plan to reach out to the teen mothers in the community. I will be fundraising for this ministry, and taking regular trips back to La Vega to oversee it. There will be more about this ministry and how you can help in our next update.
The other ministry opportunity I'm excited about is right here in Portland. I have applied and completed orientation with a ministry called Refugee Care Collective, and I am very excited to be matched with a family in the next couple of weeks with whom I can come alongside to help as their children navigate school online during the time of Covid. This is difficult enough for American parents; imagine how much more so when you as a parent are not fluent in the language!
Besides that I have visited with the two refugee families I had befriended 4 years ago before moving to the DR, and am looking forward to continuing in those friendships, especially as one woman and her daughter live right in our neighborhood and I can literally walk to her apartment! 

Prayer requests:

First of all, we want to say thank you to all who have prayed for us throughout our time in the DR and as we've been in transition here in the US. We've seen the Lord provide in many ways, most recently through an entire household of furniture that has been given to us. Thank you so much!

Please continue to pray for our transition back to life in the US, for a job for Ben, and a family vehicle.

Please be praying for this new ministry opportunity in the DR (the Garden of Babies), that we will find a good location, caregivers who will love and nurture the children, as well as the mommies who bring them, and that the funds will be provided.

Pray for me as I seek to help refugee families. I do feel like the Lord has given me a new level of compassion for them as I have now experienced life in a foreign country, and the emotional toll that takes on a family. 

If you'd like to continue supporting our ministry in the DR and our ministry here in Portland, you don't need to make any changes. If you'd like to begin supporting us, click on the link below.

Thank you so much for reading, supporting and following us on our ministry journeys!

Ben, Tonya, Jolie, Ivan, Samuel and Melody

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