Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Feliz Navidad Todos y Dios los bendiga! Laura and I had an awesome opportunity to attend a traditional Dominican Christmas Celebration this past Dec 24.  We have become very close friends with our Dominican Lawyer and her husband (who is also our building contractor!) and we spent the day with them in preparation of the fiesta that night.  Yamilka and Francis always have a traditional Navidad with their closest family and some friends.  This year Francis and his brother Miguel organized the festivities by preparing the farm they own with a new structure.  The small casita was built out of local materials gathered from the farm, smaller trees make up the roof support and larger trees make up the columns.  The roof is put on using hammer and nail and has been built this way for generations; a "canas" roof or palm leaf is very easy to apply and keeps everyone dry for many years.

We are going to build a similar structure on our project, only it will be slightly larger than this one.
During the day the brothers had contracted a local friend to attend to the meal, a fire roasted pig.  The 100 lb pig is butchered in the morning and then hung on a green pole; held on with wire.  Then the pig is slowly roasted over an open pit fire all day.  The process takes about 8 hours to fully cook a pig, talking as a chef though, this one was definitely well-done!  Not surprising though as this is typical of roasted meat on the island, cooking it thoroughly is very important here as animals are not always raised with the same standards we may enjoy in North America.  After the pig was cooked we watched as the chef prepared our pig for transport, placing the pig on a clean piece of plastic sheet and then dividing it up into manageable pieces with a very sharp machete!  From my perspective this was just incredible as each blow with the machete went right through the animal cleanly.  Three of us then gathered up the ends of the plastic sheet and lifted the pig up and carried it into the back of our waiting jeep, onto clean cardboard, we closed the back of the jeep and headed back to the apartment to prep our dinner.  The pig was so hot the rear window of the jeep steamed up quickly and the heat radiated throughout the jeep, smells of sweet smoke and the roasted meat tempted everyone to try a little piece of loin right there on the spot, wow!

  Our Dominican friends insisted I gather my knives and use my culinary skills to separate the animal from his bones, I jumped right in and soon a bag of bones and about forty pounds of roasted pork was separated nicely.  The rest of the meal consisted of a typical array of Dominican Foods from "moro de guandules" (rice with spices and chick peas)  potato salad, coleslaw salad ( more like regular salad only no sauces and made from cabbage) Dominican bread (like pita) and desserts.  The family trickled in to the fiesta as the evening wore on and finally by 9:30 everyone had arrived; finally!  I was starving!

Yamilka gave a prayer and blessing for our gathering in Spanish, (I actually understood most of it!) then we all bellied up to the buffet line and filled our plates.  The food was amazing and the experience was one that we will never forget; even with cultural differences and significant alternatives to the way we might celebrate a traditional Christmas Dinner, we found the nature of the event was entirely centered on the relationships within the family.  How the families involved each other and their children and genuinely created an environment of love within the room.  Laura and I watched and listened (trying to understand as much as we could with our limited Spanish!) as we participated with this family's Christmas.  After the dinner was over, and yes, only 20 minutes of madness to consume food here as it is in Canada, we relaxed a bit with the conversation never even skipping a beat throughout the meal!  They began a gift opening soon after and the eight children at the fiesta enjoyed a couple of frenzied minutes of paper tearing and excited banter between them; the parents all watching intensely as their children received each gift.  Parents only gave to their children and nothing to themselves, although this might have been traditional, we did not know for sure.  After the gifts were opened it was near 11 pm and we excused ourselves and went home with everyone telling us it was very early and the fiesta was just starting!  I must be getting old.

Thoughts from Laura

Christmas day brought us to another Canadian missionary's home for the traditional turkey dinner and games day. First sharing tears for the family missed in Canada, we soon began working together to lift each other up and encourage each other throughout this day. It was hard for us, but thank the Lord that we weren't the only ones that needed the others. I believe that God kept them here in the country for us and vice versa. We celebrated the Lord's birth together with other friends and missionaries. That's what is important.
Watching the news this morning, there was a broadcast about young teen girls who video tape and air on the internet their "haul" they received this Christmas. My stomach started to turn as there is so much more to Christmas than what we get given to us. I felt so sad for those girls as they don't even realize the true meaning of this festive time. We are to celebrate The Only Gift that matters, not stuff. Sitting down to the beautiful 2 celebratory meals we received made us think of the people who were literally just down the road from our feast. Some with just the beans are rice that were given to them, some with nothing. Humility in this season has gone the way of the dodo. Yet Christ came to us with nothing but humility. Being born in a barn and with straw for warmth. This is the King of Kings showing us how we need to be. Come before Him and each other. Heirs in Christ yet humble servants with thankful hearts. God, help us never to commercialize this time of remembering in our hearts.

2 Cor 10:17-18
17 But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."   18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Fiesta in 122 easy Steps!

Hola todos!  Y Feliz Navidad!  Laura and I would like to extend our Holy Days blessings to all of you at this special time of the year!  May God bless you richly as you spend this time with friends and family.  We are more mindful than ever at this time of year as we spend our Christmas away from our own friends and family, we miss you all; especially our own children.  We are encouraged with recent emails and Facebook posts from our support team and friends back home!  Progress has been slow however, as we are enduring a most wet December here in the D.R.  This is "normal" according to the locals, but we are hopeful that the sun will soon shine and dry up our land so we might begin the foundations of the guest house.
We are still planning on bringing the first mission team to assist with the construction in March, however the dates have yet to be confirmed; more details will be forwarded early in the new year.

We recently assisted Dominican Advance with the gift giving fiestas for over 300 children at the two schools they manage in the area.  We went with Kim and Josie to Santiago (about 2 hours over the mountains) to purchase the gifts for the kids; sponsors donate gift money for this purpose, many of the children receive only one gift each year.  I write about this experience because of the joy we witnessed on these little faces as each received either a doll, or a car, basketball or hula hoop!

The journey to the first village was uneventful for Laura and I except for the start; we stopped at the local pasteleria (cake baker) to pick up the two cakes for the two schools.  Simple enough task, except these two cakes were large enough to land planes on, built up two layers high and beautifully decorated; supported by two large trays but no boxes.  Now most of you would see this as absurd, transporting two large cakes, in the back of a car, through Dominican traffic, up windy gravel roads, muddy in many spots, to the first village of Paraiso; but we did it!  The journey to the second village of Nazareth was different though; even though it should have been a five minute drive not far from Paraiso it turns out trials must be endured.  Rounding the final corner to the entrance to the village of Nazareth we cam across a man who was digging several trenches across the road for water lines to the houses which surrounded the area.  The road was impassable as the trenches were numerous and deep running right across the road; good thing there was another way into Nazareth.  Our caravan turned around and headed back down to the main road (about 4 miles down and around a hill through several small villages and back up another muddy road which incidentally joins the road we had been on when we discovered the ditch digger.)  Confused?  Rounding a bend in the road we encountered yet another crew working on the other side of the entrance to Nazareth, digging a large trench right down the middle of the road, this time with a backhoe.  Now normally this would not seem to be a problem however, two construction digs on either side of the main entrance to Nazareth (the only entrance) blocked all passage into the village by car.  Hmmmm....we could see the village across the valley but could not get there.  I jumped on the phone to call Josie  and explain our predicament, she informed me that there was one more way to get up into Nazareth.  So Laura and I jumped into the car, turned around and headed back down and around the mountain yet again, continuing around through to another village which was located in another valley, directly below the village of Nazareth; only a few hundred feet below.  We jumped out of the car and unloaded our last cake which I managed to perch on my shoulder, now remember, this is a cake about three feet by two feet, about 25 lbs and beautifully decorated.  We followed a path through the village of Redemption, (below Nazareth) and came to a set of stairs, concrete (mostly) and winding up the hillside out of site; 122 steps to Nazareth.  Good thing I had been exercising, finally we made it to the top of the stairs and meandered our way to the top of the village where the school was. Yeah! I shared this with all of you to help put a smile on your faces!

I hope you all see your journey as something similar, you may not be delivering a cake to a Christmas Fiesta for deserving kids, but something may distract your attainment of your goal on your journey that is beyond your control, that sometimes you might encounter a trench in your road, or even a backhoe digging it up right in front of you.  Know that there is always a way around your trial, another way that may prove arduous or even dangerous, causing you stress or physical strain.  You see we could have complained bitterly about our trial while it was happening or even worse, given up; but God wants us to keep our eyes on the goal, entrusting us with patience and wisdom that we must lean on when times arise.  Trials will always come and go, patience and wisdom give us the strength to endure; these gifts are from God.  Each of us has the ability to reason, trust in your gifts that God has entrusted in you, patience will allow you to endure, wisdom will allow you to find your way around your trial, have Faith that these gifts are yours to use wisely, trust that you are moving forward in the steps available to you at the time, as God has given.
Bless you all with all the Joy of the Holy Days!  May your Fiesta be as fulfilling as ours!
Michael and Laura Boisclair

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Hey everybody!  The time has arrived!  The rains have let up long enough for us to get some equipment onto the property and begin the construction process.  Of course this means only cleaning off the topsoil so they guys can properly lay out the foundations.  The foundation work will start right away as long as we have good weather and the security fence will also go up right away.  We first had to cut a road into the property, you can see the fence beside the road where we are working, that is my neighbor! (I do not know them yet)

 We have discovered that the land we have has about three feet of excellent topsoil on top of the bedrock.  We are only removing two feet of it so the crew has less to dig through to get to the bedrock for the foundations.  It took this guy about three hours to prep our land for the building to begin.  More pictures and video to follow!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Fundraising Brochure

Many people have indicated they want to be involved in supporting our work here in the Dominican Republic.  We have been working on a informational brochure that allows people to be involved in many ways.  Our experiences here have been fulfilling and our hope of building the Mission Guest House is close at hand.  We are completing plans for construction of the facility with local contractors and our only roadblock now is to find a suitable property to build on.  Relationships with other Mission Groups who bring teams to the area is most important and we have been working alongside many of these groups and the teams who come here over the past six months.  The support from the teams and Mission Groups alike for our mutual success in a Mission Guest House has been overwhelming...confirming for us at least that we are right in the middle of God's plan.
Please consider partnering with us so we can share the experience of the Dominican Republic and her people.

Time To Build!

Good morning all and bless you this day the Lord has made!  Laura and I want to thank all of you who have sent condolences to us with my fathers passing.  We are encouraged by many words of support and wish to convey thanks again to those who have continued to lift us up.
We continue to see God's will for us as we endure this time of mourning.  Before we left the D.R. for Canada to be with our family, we had found a property on which we can build the Mission House.  Dropped into our laps after months of searching a beautiful location and great value site; we made an offer.  Accepted!  We should close on the property soon after we return.  We have already secured a building contractor in the D.R. and we are tweaking details for construction to begin before Christmas!
Many of you who receive this blog have asked how you can support our is the time.

Our budget for the construction of this project is explained in the attached brochure that we are launching immediately.  This fundraising campaign will help us in establishing the Mission House, continuing the work with other Ministries, and empowering Dominicans for success!