This past Tuesday marked the inaugural Jarabacoa Young Life Club! It was a great success as 25 high school students came curious and left eager to invite more folks. The evening activities included eating a record number of Fruit Loops, belting out “Apologize”, and unleashing a dance party in our living room. It was a blast for me and Tim to get to host the event, as we feel very blessed that the Lord has given us a house big enough in which to have kids over.

For those of you who don’t know, Tim and I have decided to become Young Life leaders here in the DR. Young Life is a ministry that exists to build relationships with high school students and present them with a picture of who Christ is in a real, relevant, and fun way. Shortly after moving here, it became evident that the Lord has been laying the foundation for this ministry to start in our town. Along with a group of 5 other outstanding leaders between 2 schools, we have definitely felt the affirmation that now is the time. We are reaping the fruit of what many before us have prayed, bled, and sweat over.

Please pray for us as we begin friendships with these high-schoolers. This Tuesday will be our 2nd Club. Pray that the Lord brings even more kids and that they would walk away full, loved, and challenged to think about Christ from a different perspective. Tim will be sharing with students on the person of Christ. This Thursday will be a culminating celebration of a semester long expedition in each grade. Pray for Tim as he is in charge of helping each class present their final product that represents weeks of experiential learning and hard work.

We are looking forward to being home with family and dear friends in just a few days!


This past weekend we enjoyed a lovely getaway at the beach! It was our first trip to the playa since calling the Dominican Republic home. After living for 2 1/2 years in one of the only 2 landlocked countries in South America, Tim and I were eager to take advantage of the fact that we now live on an island! I still empathize with those of you in La Paz... We traveled with a small group of folks from Jarabacoa and spent our 3-day weekend listening to Jazz music, laying out by the seashore, celebrating a friend's birthday, eating delicious sushi, and just resting up. It was a well needed tiempo de descansa.

For those who don't know, 2 weeks ago our gate was broken into and our motorcycle was stolen while we were sleeping. On the heels of such a disappointing and scary situation, we felt the body of Christ rally around us both here and back in the states, as folks sent truth in the form of powerful scripture as well as prayers against fear and resentment. The Lord has richly shown His provision as friends have willingly given to replace our only mode of transportation. Our prayer is that we will be able to buy a car as a result, and that it will enable us to serve better AND make life easier:)

This weekend we will take a group of HS students to the Young Life Camp, Pico Escondido, here in town. We are thrilled to see what the Lord does in the lives of kids He's allowed us to begin building solid relationships with. Please pray for supernatural strength for me and Tim (this has been a busy week!) and for God to work on hearts in a powerful way.


Viste que pudiste

Tim recently wrote una cuenta for our school website of the stellar week we had at Pico Duarte. I figured, who better to share thoughts with you on the trip than the expedition leader himself? So, here ya go folks-

The Caribbean’s tallest peak was once again conquered by ten eager Doulos 8th graders. Along with four teachers, these trekkers proved that they have what it takes to endure five grueling days in the wilderness. While they weren’t very excited about the 3:30 wake-up call on summit day, they wouldn’t have traded watching the sunrise from over 10,000 ft. After more than 25 miles of hiking, these trail warriors returned with much more than sore feet and blisters to tell the story.

This team was challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually, yet they met each day of the expedition with a new found respect for themselves and each other. There were times when their mud soaked feet and emotionally shot minds didn’t want to continue, but at the end of each rainy afternoon they were glad to be one step closer to the top and one step closer to their classmates.

The highlight for me wasn’t the time away from school or the view from the top but rather the heart change that we saw in each one of the students as each came to the realization that he is capable of greatness. Our nights were spent unfolding truths about the Lord and these conversations served as high octane fuel for the next day’s hike. So even though the trail was rough and the weather didn’t cooperate, the week was an incredible success. This class has set a very high precedent for next year’s 8th graders.

All in,

Tim Scarborough
Expedition Leader


Tropical Touches

I’ve been inspired recently by all the decorating options I have afforded to me because of where I live. The other day I cut some flowers from the yard and made bouquet below. Unfortunately I don’t know much about plants, so I’m going to have to call the neighborhood jardinero soon to give me some advice and direction so they don’t shrivel and die. But for now, we’re enjoying their lovely bright colors.

Last week we bought a set of two bamboo chairs for our living room. They are made by a Dominican man at the base of Julia Alvarez’s coffee farm. He doesn’t use any nails or glue--only cuts and fits the pieces together and laces the back with a few copper strands for stability. Then he burns the wood to give it a nice finish. Isn’t his work amazing?!

Finally, I was inspired by all the bamboo in this country, so I’m starting a Lost-esque mural on our blue accent wall. I haven’t gotten too far yet, but hopefully it will give the feel that we have bamboo trees growing in our living room.


turning over a new leaf...we'll see

Ok, so I'm beginning to realize that I'm really bad at this whole blogging thing. I feel like there are two types of bloggers in this world- those who update theirs every few days or weekly at least, and those who (like me) forget their blog for months at a time and have to return to it, dust it off, crack it open, and resurrect it from the shelf. It's ironic that my professional career primarily consists of reading and writing and teaching kids to love both, yet I myself am horrible at updating my own online narrative. As I look at friends' highly engaging and regularly updated blogs, I'm inspired to attempt to turn over a new leaf and actually USE mine- to post pics, share student writing and hilarious classroom moments, and debrief on life on a more regular basis. Of course at this point I'm sure my fan club has seriously dwindled due to my lack of discipline.

I'll start with the basic update...
Tim and I have finally found a beautiful home and are beginning to settle into life here. We're really loving it.

School is a blast, the kids are phenomenal, we have fun new friends, Tim goes on sweet trips for "work", I read quality middle school literature and write alongside my students, and we get around on a motorcycle...well, to be honest it's more like a glorified scooter. But really, can we complain? I haven't learned to drive it yet, but I'm really hoping to soon!

The Lord has been teaching us so much about each other in this new place. I'm seeing how oftentimes when Tim hurts my feelings and asks for forgiveness, I hold a grudge because I feel like he needs to work to earn back my favor. I've seen recently just how contrary that really is to the gospel. I've sensed the Lord just reminding me that He wants to be the one to heal me in any hurt or any pain. Tim's job is not to make me feel better or "fix" it. That's really not what a relationship based on grace and forgiveness should be built on. Gulp.

Tim and I head out this Monday on a 5-day viaje with our 8th grade students. We will be leading them on an intense backpacking trip up Pico Duarte, the Caribbean's highest peak at 10,164 feet (before you mock it, friends back in La Paz, just remember that we are starting at sea level!). Pray that it's a rich time for the kids. Pray that we lead them well. Pray for safety and unity among the 10 students who will be going. Most of all, pray that the Lord really speaks personally to all our hearts and woos students to Himself.


Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas...

In our brief time back in the states thus far, we’ve toured all around these nifty thrifty. We have had a BLAST seeing friends and fam, roadtripping, surprising folks, eating fatty American food, and sleeping in. We’ve spent the greatest deal of time in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and now Colorado, and passed through quite a few in between. We still have Kansas to traverse and will end up back in Texas for Woods Pine Cove family camp in Tyler before heading to the DR on August 1st. Here are a couple of conclusions we’ve drawn (or rather been reminded of) since being back…

Best Weather: Colorado
Most Humid: TEXAS (by far)
Best Mexican food: also Texas
Best State to be in the Pool: yes, you guessed it, Texas
Most Ridiculous Toll Roads: Florida (how do people afford to commute in and out of Orlando?)
Worst Barbecue: North Carolina (sorry Van Heukelums, but J & J voted TX first…)
Most Ridiculous Theme Park with Nothing to do: Pedro’s "South of the Border" in South Carolina

Thickest Southern Accents and Waistlines: Mississippi (although Alabama’s not too far behind)

Overall, it’s really been great. Thanks to all of you out there who have welcomed us into your home, fed us gladly, and encouraged us in what we’re doing and where we’re headed. We’ve loved every minute of visiting with y’all.

For those who don’t know, Tim and I tearfully moved from Bolivia (and by moved I mean crammed in as much as our 4 suitcases could hold) on June 16th. We are now raising support to move to work in Jarabacoa in the DR. We have loved living in La Paz- it was truly a privilege to work with such a stellar staff and teach crazy incredible kids. I saw and experienced things in Bolivia that are deeply etched in my memory…our disastrous Salar trip that turned into a heavenly escape, camping on the Isla del Sol, seeing hardened young hearts broken and molded, hunting for anacondas in thigh-deep swamp water, crossing rivers in LandCruisers on the mission trip, flipping a house with the help of dedicated friends, pressing through the bureaucracy of a system that required 1 ½ years to get a one year visa, becoming mentors and parents to kids in need of a stable voice they could trust…too many to name.

But this past year we really sensed the Lord calling us elsewhere, to a place that has been on our hearts for several years now, to a place that Tim first found while we were only dating and has since been in love with. Through the total grace and sovereignty of God, Tim will be the outdoor expedition leader at Doulos Discovery School and I will be the middle school language arts teacher. We are stoked. Honestly, when people ask me, I am most thrilled about seeing my husband do something that he is passionate about and feels truly gifted to do. I believe that he has some exceptional gifts yet to be fully tapped into. I hope and pray this job brings those out in him.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t gotten our most recent support letter and want to support our ministry somehow, you can give online here or write a check to Doulos Discovery School with our names in the memo line and send it here:

Doulos Discovery Ministries
PO Box 3080
Burnsville, MN 55337

On a recent little hike outside Colorado Springs, we met a couple older women who had done missions in the DR before. One asked if we knew much about the voodoo and witchcraft that takes place in the DR and Haiti. Her friend interjected with, “Nah, don’t worry about him. Satan’s a woose. He’s got nothing on Jesus,” to which I replied, “Amen!”

So, we move forward in the divine confidence that Satan has been defeated and our God reigns supreme. Good news, eh?


For the select few who follow or even read this blog from time to time...

The past few months have been nearly consumed with a great deal of work related to accreditation. Over the past two years, Highlands International School has been working toward a dual accreditation with SACS and ACSI, culminating in an intense 3-day site visit at the end of April (hence my lack of blogging since February!). While the visit started off a bit rough, with a couple members of the team boldly stating their concern and/or skepticism concerning various aspects of our school's policy and procedures, the trip ended victoriously with the representatives of the two organizations confidently giving their thumbs up for our school and the incredible progress that has been made in a remarkably short amount of time. Needless to say, we were thrilled!

Over this long, tedious, and tiresome process, there were many times I verbalized my frustration with the insane amount of work that had to be done individually as well as together as a staff. We each created detailed curriculum guides for the subjects that we teach and wrote part of a self-study document that, once compiled, ended up being 350 pages long! There were also many more hours put into preparation work for the actual visit. Thus when we received that proud stamp of approval, we all celebrated because it has been a true united effort, one that has caused us to see beyond the here and now and work for the future of this life-changing mission we've all been a part of.

When it was all said and done, I was surprised by how privileged I felt and how humbled I was. When the official announcement was made to our small, 20-member staff team, the reaction was emotional. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with the blessing this had all been to be a part of, with the collective vision we were working toward, and the daunting goal that had been achieved. I was then humbled realizing how my perspective had often been one of disdain for this process, and yet all along the Lord was teaching me just how many things in life and especially in the Christian faith I now benefit from because of the diligence and sacrifice of others before me. I realized that no one person deserved the credit (although maybe some encouragement from the accreditation team didn't hurt!). We truly believe the Lord has ordained this school and we have only been a small part of the foundational steps in seeing His long-term plan made into a reality.

One of the SACS representatives, a principal of a prestigious school who was openly not a believer, thanked the staff on their closing day with us. He shared, "I am better after having been to your school. I go home a better man than when I came."

I pray that you are encouraged to know that the Lord truly was glorified in this process that many of you have prayed for and been a part of from a distance. I also share this with you in the hopes that wherever you are, whatever you're doing, you remain diligent in the seemingly small tasks the Lord has set before you. As I told my students in chapel this past week, I believe that the Lord is always preparing us for greater things, things which on this side of eternity may seem simple, mundane, or even useless in the process. Whether planting seeds, setting up the next group to win, building truths into your kids, discipling a new believer, or bringing vision where it is lacking, laying the foundation is never a menial task.


Simple Truths for Slow Learners

Dang, it’s been way too long! So much happens and I forget to update my blog, then I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start…

I guess a good place would be to share some truths the Lord placed on my heart while we were home over the Christmas vacation. One night toward the end of the trip, I was wrestling with the Lord concerning His provision and future plans. I just planted myself in the midst of wanting to solve it on my own and sat and listened to what I felt He was trying to say to me. These were the words that I wrote down:

My portion for you is good.
(I kept thinking of the passage in Psalm 16, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…” but yet do I really receive all that He chooses to give me with a glad heart? Or am I too busy thinking about what so-and-so has to be grateful for the gift set before me?)

Trust me to the ends of your toes.
(Ladies, I don’t know if any of you can relate, but often the idea of trusting with our heart holds little value when we stew over something incessantly with our minds or make ourselves sick to our stomachs with worry. The Lord reminded me of Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God will all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your MIND and with all your STRENGTH.” I realized that often I am not loving the Lord when I am not trusting and surrendering to Him fully, and that I do not trust Him literally with every part of myself! Jesus pretty much covered his bases in this one statement.)

My plan for you is different.
(I realized how easy it is for me to line up my life alongside a friend’s mentally and compare what I have, where I am, what I own, what I lack…I just sensed the Lord telling me to richly dwell where I am. Tim and I have been led to Bolivia for a sure purpose by a steadfast God who creatively writes all our stories uniquely. I would never trade in what I’ve been given for anyone else’s plan or portion.)

My banner over you is love.
(Songs 2:4 says, “He has brought me to his banquet hall and his banner over me is love.” Reading this passage brought back an old cheesy Sunday school song that has been etched in my memory. How beautiful, though, to know with confidence that the Lord proudly displays his affection for us, that He stakes His mark on us and claims us for everyone to see.)

Don’t stop bringing me all your wants and needs.
(Do you ever start to feel like your prayers are going unheard? Or that your requests are just a little outlandish? This statement reminded me that the Lord desires for His children to come to Him above all, that no request is too great for Him, and that He is not offended when we lay things before His feet.)

Don’t waste your life in worry, comparison, and catch-up.
(It’s easy to step out of life overseas back into suburban America and be overwhelmed with advances that have been made in your absence. Whether people are buying houses, having babies, sporting fancy cars or just toting around the new iPhone, it’s easy to feel a need to catch up to where others are. I realized that I could easily give the enemy such a foothold in this area and once again be unsatisfied based on a standard I alone am holding myself to, a lie that I am believing of where my worth is found.)

Why would I draw your hearts there and not supply funds?
(This specifically confronts the reality of having to raise substantially more support for this upcoming move to the Dominican Republic. And yet we are always blown away rather than disappointed by God’s provisions through financial supporters. I realized that He has been drawing us to a new place and that He is the one who is promising to provide.)

I realize none of these are all that profound, but just maybe one of them hits a soft spot wherever you are. I see as I write out these truths just how simple they are and how trivial my concerns can be, but how relevant our God really is.