Independence Day.  February 27th in the Dominican Republic.  A two-hour school program.  Adorable!

I haven't smiled and laughed so much since getting here.  From fantastic dances to political skits, humorous vignettes and beautiful faces.  And these kids have been taught their history!  I was particularly impressed with their portrayal of the political issues that the DR has faced.  Serious topics for first graders.  This culture is full of life and energy with seemingly little self-consciousness.  Teenagers dancing in costume?  Yep! 
Emily has been writing a little bit over on her page.  Click on over and take a look and maybe send her a quick note to let her know somebody's out there reading!  And here's a few pics of my sweet 16 year old from the past few months.
with our Spanish teacher Nellie
Getting ready to climb, slide and swim 27 Charcos (waterfalls)!  - with Anna (our construction team host) and Katelynn (doing her student teaching here this semester)
Going to the dance...
At the Doulos College Fair - presented by the Junior class.  She shared info from NAU, Condordia College in Portland, and Biola.  Shout out to all our peeps who are NAU Lumberjacks!
And here she is in Haiti...
where she and Anna built a desk organizer for Second Mile Haiti, among other things...
While we've all had our ups and downs while living in the DR, Emily has perhaps had the hardest time.  It's not easy being a teenager.  Period.  But making new friends in a different culture in  a different language has been pretty tough.  As parents it can be equally as tough to remeber that God is teaching us and growing us ALL THE TIME, and usually through the hard things we learn and grow the most.  We hope that the end result will be maturity, wisdom, and compassion.

Rather, speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, we are to GROW UP in every way into him who is the head, into CHRIST.   ephesians.4:15