Jason & Nicole Hoover | Solid Rock

Jason & Nicole Hoover | Solid Rock

The welcome party

We weren’t expecting a welcome back party, but this beautiful island had one prepared for us anyways. After spending 3 weeks in Pennsylvania, we flew back to the Dominican Republic on Ethan’s birthday, April 22.  We arrived to the Santo Domingo Airport around 8 p.m. after some minor delays getting out of Newark. After proceeding through customs without any trouble, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to the hotel for the evening (we were on weekend team duty). We walked out of the airport with our luggage in tow (by the way-if you ever need advice on how to fit a saddle in a suitcase, we have some tips for that). That is when the party commenced! We found the truck to have a flat tire and a dead battery. We invited the parking lot security guards to join us because it’s no fun to have a party without some invited guests. They called to get the battery pack jumper. Jason found a manual air pump in the truck, so Ethan pumped up the tire. When he got tired, I took a turn. Battery pack #1 arrived with the security supervisor, but it said that it didn’t have a charge. The supervisor left the party for a bit so that he could charge it up.  Time passed. A flight left out and someone was leaving the long-term parking lot. We asked them to join our party to see if they could jump us. The jumper cables were connected, and the truck almost turned over, but the battery was so dead that it didn’t want to start. It needed to stay connected and charge. The problem was that the driver already paid his parking ticket and only had 15 minutes to leave the parking lot. Bummer. We were so close. A new battery pack arrived, but it too was not powerful enough to make the truck start. It was on the verge, but it didn’t have enough Dominican caffeine to turn completely over. Ok Ok. One party guest suggested that we push it so that we can pop start it. Afterall, we did have air in all 4 tires now. With luggage or without? Hmm… let’s take the 200+ lbs out of that back so that it will be easier to push around the parking lot. We unloaded everything. We pushed. We tried. We failed. Time was passing and the party time was getting late. The principal guests were starting to get tired and cranky, especially the youngest members. We called the MOPC (roadside assistance). The tourist police showed up. We decided to push the truck up against the short-term parking lot where more cars were coming and going to see if someone would help us try to charge the battery/jump start it again. More invited guests arrived. These were Christians from Boston. They were so helpful and tried to jump start it with the cables. The truck still didn’t want to turn over. Okay. In one last effort, we pushed it again to try to pop start it. It STARTED! Hallelujah We gave hugs to all and took pictures with the tourist police. Jason ran to pay the parking ticket. While he was on the way to pay, the kids and I waited in the running truck. Suddenly, the truck turned off. We felt a bit panicked. I ran to catch Jason. The security guards felt certain that the truck would start again, so Jason paid the ticket. We pushed the truck to try to pop start it again, but in the end, we couldn’t get it. Sometime after midnight, when we were all feeling a bit dizzy from all the partying and lack of sleep, we gave up on the truck, and took a cab to the Dominican Fiesta knowing that we would be greeting the team later that day.

We could have felt extremely frustrated with the truck situation, but I found it to serve as a reminder to the things that I love about this culture. Throughout the entire situation, there was always at least one person (usually multiple people) trying to help us. I appreciated the way that Miriam and Ethan also tried to help the entire time. They pulled the heavy suitcases all around the parking lot. They helped push the truck. They remained calm, even though the situation wasn’t all that fun. They witnessed other’s kindness towards us. We worked together. We got tired together. And we all felt the relief together when our heads hit our pillows that night.

After some rest, Jason took a taxi to an auto parts store, purchased a new battery, and continued to the airport. After greeting the incoming team, he was able to switch out the battery and the truck started immediately. I wasn’t present, but maybe he tossed some confetti around the parking lot after the engine kept running? I think that would be a good way to end a party. 😊

So many things have happened since our time in Pennsylvania and the welcoming party was just the beginning!

  1. Ethan turned 13. We have a teenager. He is soon going to pass me in height.
  2. Miriam turned 10.
  3. We went to a Dominican school day activity at Campamento Bethel.
  4. We completed our medical appointments for migration, and we are supposed to get our Dominican residency identifications in 4-12 weeks.
  5. We worked with the teams, planned, prepared, completed behind-the-scenes tasks, communicated, and trained to help make ministry happen.
  6. We went on a staff retreat with both our North American and Dominican staff and had a focused time on prayer.
  7. I continued to lead Bible study on Friday night.
  8. We entered a review stage for homeschool and have planned to finish by the end of May.

We have a team of 34 here now from Michigan State University and Southern Utah University. This is the biggest team that we have hosted since the pandemic. There are a lot of moving parts, but we are glad to be “full” once again.

We appreciate your continued prayer for:

  1. Residency. We are one step closer and ask that you pray for the final steps to be scheduled quickly.
  2. Busy Season. We have a full ministry season calendar upon us. Pray for teamwork, collaboration, good communication, and for God’s glory to shine.
  3. Staff Transitions. We have some new Dominican staff joining our team. Pray for deep, cultivated relationships amongst all of us.

God bless all of you!

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