Four months of planning (for this specific trip) has come to this...
Bags are packed and boarding passes printed! Jon and I are all set for our flight tomorrow morning; April 23 at 7:05 am. We are so excited!
The plan is to arrive in Santo Domingo tomorrow afternoon and take a bus to Samana. We've been in touch with some brothers from the local congregation. They've been amazing. Even though there have been a couple 'hiccups' here and there.... we're not going to 'let these minor glitches detour us from having a wonderful stay' there (choice words from one of the brothers we have been in communication with).
So.... Just a quick summary of how we got this all planned. After we received our letter from the Dominican Republic Bethel Branch and decided on Samana.... We thought "Ok, where do we go from here? We don't know anyone in Samana." But, really, in Jehovah's organization, are we ever alone?
Just so happened that a brother from Florida moved to our congregation around the same time we received our letter. He mentioned that his sister visited Samana about two years prior. So, in conversations with him and his family, his sister mentioned to us that she may still have an email address of a brother there in Samana... and she would try to get it to us. It took a couple of months, but we got the email. After our first email to Albert, the brother in Samana, he already said he'd love for us to stay at his place!
Only in Jehovah's organization!!
(Would you like more info? Check this website out!!!)
At first we just wanted to get basic information... What the town was like. What hospitals or medical facilities were close by. How do some of the 'need greaters' support themselves.... and a myriad of other questions. (And I can ask a lot of questions)
So we knew that was the place we wanted to go. Now we needed to 'spy out the land'.
Between October, 2013 and January, 2015 we've been doing our best to simplify our lives. In February we purchased our plane tickets.... and here we are!
Please feel free to follow us on Instagram - the.maza.girls and wepamaz - for pictures and some updates on this trip. But when we return, we'll do a full update on the blog...
Hello to all!
And welcome to our new blog.
Just as the title of this post says, we'd like to give a little overview of who we are and what we're thinking of doing. My husband, Jonathan, and I have been married for 15 years... we have two daughters, Keilani is 13 and Raquel is 8. (The picture is from our Memorial, 2015)
About three years ago, in the summer of 2012, during the District Convention (as they were called 'back then') "Safeguard Your Heart", there were several talks that encouraged everyone to keep busy in the ministry. Only this way can we really safeguard our hearts from the things this world offers.
I specifically remember one talk during the symposium on Saturday about "Living up to your Dedication"... and other discourses that talked about the full time ministry and doing the most for Jehovah... but doing it NOW. I started thinking back to when my husband and I first got married... then thought further back to when I graduated high school.... then even further back, to when I was baptized. There were so many things I wanted to do for Jehovah. And, as with everyone, 'life happens'. A beautiful life... a full life. But during these talks, it just reminded me that we can still accomplish so many of these goals.
When we got home, how wonderful for me to find out that Jonathan was thinking the same thing!!!
We didn't let anything slow us down. About a month later we got in touch with a sister, AnnaMaria, who was living in the Dominican Republic. We always told her we'd go visit her in the DR, and we thought it was the perfect time to make good on our promise. She was serving as a Regular Pioneer in the town of San Jose de las Matas (or Sajoma for short). We spoke with the girls (at this time they were 10 and 5)... and they were ecstatic!!! Which made the rest of the planning a piece of cake! We made plans.... and some more plans... bought plane tickets and in May of 2013, we were in Sajoma for about 3 weeks.
What an amazing time!! Unforgettable.... Such a beautiful learning experience. Even if those three weeks were the most we would ever get out of our "need greater" experience, I was ok. It was amazing.
However.... we all know that wasn't going to be the end of it.
During our stay, Jon and I knew that this is what we'd love to be doing. But with kids, you can't just up and go do what you want. They have to be up for it as well. So we prayed a lot about it while we were there. (I may do another blog post about specific things that happened while there and everything we did... I'll keep you posted). Obviously, we had Family Study in DR (now known as Family Worship Night lol)... and we spoke with the girls about how it would feel to do this for months at a time... or even to live there all the time. They both agreed it would be fun, but nothing direct like "Yea! We want to do that!" So we just took it day by day... had lots of fun with the friends and soaked in every last drop.
About five days before we were to go back home our youngest, Raquel, tells us "I really like it here. Can we just live here forever?"
My eyes welled up with tears... and I looked at Jon. He had a huge smile on his face. We looked at Keilani, and she agreed!!! Prayers answered!! Right then and there, we knew THIS. WAS. IT!!
We came back home full of experiences, new love for the ministry and most importantly, for Jehovah. We continued to pray about it. And... prayed some more. (Do you see a theme here?) We wrote to the Branch in Santo Domingo and told them about our desire and goals. We received a letter back from them in October. They gave us some great information and told us about two congregations they thought would be a good fit for us.
From then, we've been doing a lot of planning. We sold our house... which took a few months to do. Paid off some debt. But always worked to keep that desire of serving where the need is great strong.
So.... here we are now, almost two years from when we first visited Dominican Republic. Jon and I are getting ready to go to town of Samana to "spy out the land"... visit the Samana Spanish Congregation, go out in service and, Jehovah willing, find a place to live!!!
Planning-wise, we still have several things to do.... Residency (which is a story all on its own), sell our belongings here, make sure we'll have an income when we do move (I do work from home, so we're halfway there).... But we know that with Jehovah's helping hand, we can do it.
We really do hope you 'come back' and keep reading about our adventures. Not only will it be about serving where the need is great, but Jon is a big foodie guy, he loves to cook and we love visiting friends all over the states... So be on the look out for those posts too.
We're the Mazarelli Family
Just a family of four trying to do our best. Our adventure to become Need-Greaters in the Dominican Republic is starting... and we want to share it with you.