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May 2016 Newsletter

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Howdy Folks; Let me state that I am the "Proud and Loving" Grandpa to this Beautiful Young Lady. I strongly feel that with her University courses and the degree that she is pursuing, Courtney has found her niche. Be  Blessed -  Luv  G P O

This Month's Featured Writer
"Courtney Myers"

Where do I begin? My name is Courtney Myers and I want to share a few words with you, beginning with this quote from Ronald Raegan: “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”.

This past February (Feb. 13th, 2016), I took a group of students down to the Dominican Republic to aid in teaching English to the children of Monte Cristi for 1 week. Before this trip, I had only been to the Dominican once before and it took a piece of my heart. I fell in love with the country and the people of the country and I could not wait to return. When I was visiting a village in the Dominican in 2015, a lady approached me and asked if I had ever heard of an organization called Outreach360 and she told me a small bit about what they did. As soon as I got home, I got in contact with this organization and began planning my next trip. There were multiple hours of preparation and planning that went into this trip but I can say with complete confidence that it was worth every second.  Every one of us had the opportunity to fundraise before the trip in order to pay for our flights and accommodations while we were there. Everyone did this differently and for myself, I chose to have a spaghetti fundraiser at my church. Many of you may not know that I am the grandchild of Bob Olynyk (one of the faces of this website) but I would like to tell you a little bit about this man. This man has been nothing but supportive of all of my endeavors and for this specific mission trip, he was more than thrilled. He would continuously ask me how my planning was going and how my fundraising was going. Many of you many also be unaware that he lives near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and I live in Ontario. This is a far commute but we always kept in touch.

As it came time to finally set a date for my spaghetti fundraiser, he spoke only positive things and wished he could come be a part of this.  The night finally rolled around and we had an unbelievable turn out. I ended up making more than I expected and was able to pay for my trip in full thanks to my family and friends and even strangers who came out to support me. The evening was nearing an end when a strange man walked in and sat down. He was covered from head to toe in clothing and I did not recognize who it was. However, when I delivered him a plate of spaghetti, he handed me a card that read “you said that you would deliver me a plate of spaghetti if you could… well, you just did”. He took off his hat and glasses and I soon recognised the face. It was gramps. He drove all the way from Winnipeg to Ontario just to be there for me. This is what I call love.
Once the fundraising was over and the rest of the months passed, it was finally time to leave. Myself, along with 3 others, took off in Toronto and landed in Puerto Plata on Saturday, the 13th. Once we landed, it was a 2.5 hour drive to our housing facility and by the time we got there, it was around midnight so we got the quick rundown of the rules and breakfast times and went to bed. Strange facts: We had to abide by the saying “if its yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down”. Also, our showers had to be short as we needed to conserve water. All girls stayed in one big room full of bunkbeds with mosquito nets covering them. Once we got there, one group (Algonquin College) was already asleep and the other group (Western University) was on their way from the airport. Once we got settled in, we hit the sheets.

Breakfast was at 8:00am so we awoke around 7:20am to shower and get ready for the day. Sunday was orientation day. We had breakfast and got a tour of Monte Cristi and began learning about the school and classes in which we would be teaching during the week. Three volunteers were assigned to each classroom and we would be placed in the same school as the Algonquin College volunteers. Everyone chose their classrooms and I chose the fourth grade. After orientation was over, everyone began lesson planning for the next day. Once lesson planning was over, we had free time and myself along with 2 other volunteers decided to go to a church service. This service was unbelievable. It was in Spanish so it was difficult to understand but it did not matter. It was unbelievable to see how God can work in such similar ways. Although you could not understand the words, you could feel the spirit.

Monday came next. This was our first day in the schools. We taught first grade and then had a short recess before teaching second grade. After second grade, we would head back to the Outreach360 facility for lunch and head back to the school in the afternoon to teach third, fourth and fifth grade. It was unbelievable to see how eager the children were to be learning English. This language provides them with the opportunity to brighten their future and allows them the freedom to choose their own path in life. There were a few students that were difficult to teach but learning different teaching/learning styles was important in this environment. This day was so inspiring for me. As I was working with a young girl, she wrote “Te Amo” on a piece of paper. This means “I Love You” in Spanish. She pointed at the paper and pointed back at me and it hit me like a brick wall how much of an impact that we were having on these children, even if we were only there for a short period of time. After school, we got the chance to volunteer at Outreach360’s “after school program” and it was great. By the end of Monday night, I could see how everyone had already become so comfortable with each other and everyone was making lots of new friends. My team, along with many others, had already stepped out of their comfort zone and had really “jumped right in” to this experience.

Courtney Myers

Link to my blog: http://courtneymyers16.wix.com/backroadstoatlantic

Please  Note:  Part 1 of 3.  May-July-Sept. Issues


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Be a Featured Writer!

If you’d like to contribute an article, about your faith, your music, or a story that would inspire, and have it featured in an upcoming newsletter, please send your article, 1000 words or less, to:
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Thank you. ~  Bob Olynyk
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