Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Canada!

We are still hoping to see some more snow but are glad
to be with family and friends for the holidays. 
We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas too!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Marcie Cooper

Sunday, December 2, 2012



I can't believe that it is December already! It feels too warm for Christmas but we have been seeing Christmas decorations up in stores here since September. We have our tree and lights up and a Little People Nativity set out on a little table for the kids. They love it!

I have started doing an Advent Bible Study from goodmorninggirls.org to focus on Jesus during the holiday season. This week has been full of great verses focusing on HOPE. I was so encouraged by looking at how Jesus fulfilled Jewish prophesy and came to bring hope to all people.

Romans 15:12 tells us, "...Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.'"

We can all have hope because Jesus came to earth as a baby, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and rose from the dead on the third day. Let's not forget that this Christmas!

Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." This is my prayer for you this Christmas season--that you will truly trust in Jesus and be filled with his joy, peace and hope.

With hope,

Marcie Cooper

Tuesday, November 20, 2012



As I was walking across the ANIJA campus today I passed a Haitian lady whose huge smile showed her perfectly white teeth. I don't know why she was smiling but thanked God for allowing us to work with Haitian children as part of our ministry.

When we first came here over eight years ago, there were no Haitians at our school. Kids Alive's mission is to work with kids at risk but as we looked around we thought, "The kids who are most at risk here are the Haitian kids." They are often poorer than Dominicans and have come here looking for a better life. They often encounter prejudice. We returned to Canada and when we came back here a few years later we were excited to see that a literacy program had been started with Haitian children. Now they are fully integrated with our oldest Haitian student in Grade 4 this year.

On the week-end we had a chance to visit a Haitian village (called a Batey) on another part of the Island. I could not imagine having to live in such conditions.

By far, one of the nicest houses in the Batey
ELEVEN boys sleep on the two sets of bunk beds
Haitian girls in front of a wooden house
Haitian boy and his stuffed animal
It's just a matter of time before
this house is washed away over the cliff

Please pray for our new friends who are seeking God's direction for their ministry in that area.

And praise God with us for the smiles that we see on our campus.

Marcie Cooper

P.S. If you'd like to sponsor one of our children go to www.kidsalive.ca (in Canada) or www.kidsalive.org (in the United States.) Cute kids are waiting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adoption Days


"So, how is your adoption going?" is a question that we are asked on a regular basis. "Slow" or "really slow" has been our answer for quite a while. Everything is based on when our file was logged into the system in China. January 29, 2007--almost six years ago! Every month (it used to be every couple weeks) files are matched with babies in China. For a long time now they have only been matching a few DAYS worth of files each month. From June to September this year they were only averaging 3 DAYS per month. They were up to September 24, 2006. People on an adoption blog that I follow started to speculate that China was going to close down the program we are in and just do special needs adoptions.  I was discouraged. Even at that rate, it would take YEARS for us to get a referral (name, picture, and info about a baby.)  I started to pray. I prayed that the program wouldn't close down before we got a baby and that things would speed up.

In October, China matched 13 DAYS worth of files! It brought them up to October 8, 2006. The statistics-keeping adoption website had only predicted that 1 DAY's worth of files would be matched. It was 13 TIMES what they predicted! Thank you, God! What an encouragement in a very long and often discouraging process.

I don't know if the speed-up will continue or if it was just making up for slower days in the previous months. But I do know that I will continue to pray and trust that God will bring us the right child in His perfect timing. 113 DAYS of files more to go.

Waiting and praying,

Marcie Cooper

Click here to read the beginning of our adoption story

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Robbed Again

Dear Friends,

I know that I told you that I would write an "answered prayers" message and, I promise, it will come. As you head to bed tonight though, I would like to ask you for your prayers.

Last night, at 3:00 am, I woke up to strange noises and a loud popping sound. Paul went to the living room to look around and noticed that our security camera was stolen out of its base. He also notice a pickaxe on the porch railing but, after bringing me the broken camera, noticed that the pickaxe was gone. We could not get back to sleep. I am a natural worrier and kept thinking that the thief would return. We were also trying to figure out what he was after (we think motorcycles) and were mad at ourselves because the camera was not actually working at the time so we have no recording to show for it. 

Just before going to bed I read 1 Peter 4:12-19 which talks about not being surprised when we face trials. I have also been doing a Bible study on Nehemiah and have been looking at how he faced opposition when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. We are here sharing Jesus and bringing hope to kids. It is not surprising that we have been robbed multiple times even though our house is the smallest on the block. Yes, it might have to do with the colour of our skin and assumption that we have money. But it could also be that Satan does not want us here doing God's work.

Please pray for our safety and protection. Pray for peace and a good night's sleep without worry. And pray that the work here would make a difference and that children's lives would be changed.

Thank you!


Marcie Cooper

Update 11/07/12: We slept well and our landlords are going to make our fence higher. We are also looking into other ways to increase our home's security. Thanks again for your prayers!

See Building up treasures in heaven to read about one of the other times we were robbed. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012



I decided to try something new today. Actually, I decided a long time ago but was about to cancel the whole plan when a few ideas came to me. You see, somehow in the middle of last November I read about Picture Book Idea Month ( PiBoIdMo) where the goal is to come up with thirty ideas for picture books in thirty days. I had published Meet the Teens through Tate Publishing but more ideas kept entering my mind. PiBoIdMo sounded like a fun challenge but I had missed the cut-off. I subscribed to the blog and waited for this year.

As you can see by my lack of blogging lately, I have not had much free time. I have a whole list of ideas for Marcie's Messages but hardly any of them materialize. By the end of long days with kids and homeschooling and ministry on top of a teething toddler and a preschooler that wants to come visit me in the middle of the night, I am just too tired. But here I am and hopefully it won't be so long before I'm back again.

Up until this morning, I did not know if I had time to fit in PiBoIdMo. I felt like I could barely make it through the all things I needed (or wanted?) to get done in a day. So how did I decide? I prayed about it. I prayed that I would have an idea for today, Day 1 of the challenge, if I was supposed to sign up. Silly? Maybe. But I wrote down six ideas! Most are about missionary kids and I don't know if they will ever get published but you never know!

I have another answer to prayer that I've been wanting to share with you too so check back in a day or two or sign up on the right of your screen to be notified of new posts by e-mail.

Happy November and Happy Picture Book Idea Month!

Marcie Cooper

Friday, October 12, 2012



Would you eat rice that looked like this?

If my little boy doesn't get some at school, he comes home crying, "Concón, concón!"

At first, I did not like the crusty, almost burned rice at the bottom of the pot that is a delicacy Dominican kids fight over. Now it is growing on me. I still like it more golden than darker brown but have finally, after a few years in the country, achieved making it.

It took me a while to learn how to make rice Dominican-style. In Canada, I was taught to boil salted water then add the rice, put the top on the pot and let it cook, and then let it sit for a few minutes before serving. To make Dominican rice, oil is heated first and then the water and salt are added. When the water boils, the rice is added but it is stirred uncovered until the water is gone. Then the top is put on and it is left to finish cooking. There are also people who fry the rice briefly in the oil and then add the water. Either way, the end product is a wonderful tasting rice with a layer of concón at the bottom.

Of course, it must be served with beans (habichuelas) but how to make those is a post for another day.


Marcie Cooper

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hockey in the Dominican Republic


Hockey has now come to our Caribbean home!

I could not resist when I was offered six hockey sticks from a family leaving the Dominican Republic. I did not ask where they got them or why they had them but, as a Canadian, I had to take them. Hockey on the front porch has become our family's new favourite activity. . .

. . . for most of us anyways and especially for a certain four year old who actually has a pretty good slapshot.

Little brother, on the other hand, would rather jump on the sticks or whack the car. 

It is too bad that there is no ice anywhere around here. Or snow. My little girl asked last week, "What's tobogganing?" At least we have a start on winter sports with our hockey sticks. We've got to start somewhere!

Enjoy your day!

Marcie Cooper

P.S. If you're in the area feel free to stop by for a game!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Gecko On the Stove

Happy fall!

A tiny part of me wishes that I could see the trees with their leaves changing colours but the rest of me is content to be here in the warm sun.  It has been so hot that we have been leaving the doors open to try to get a breeze flowing through our house. That's probably how a gecko got in and came to visit my kitchen today.

At first, I thought he was a cockroach. I saw something scurry under the toaster when I went to make lunch. I got a shoe ready to attack but then this little guy came running out.

I put my shoe back on and grabbed the camera. When I tried to catch him (with a box...I'm not the type to catch lizards in my hands and my helpers were out bike riding) but he ran onto the stove.

The box was not working. As soon as I made a move he would run to another part of the stove. Finally, with two identical sized baskets that we use for homeschool, I trapped him. 

I set him free outside the door and after resting for a few minutes he hopped off into the grass.

I spotted him again later on in the day but he was not heading toward my kitchen. Hopefully he learned his lesson. At least it was better than a cockroach!

Marcie Cooper

Sunday, September 9, 2012



My lack of writing lately is all due to one thing--homeschool! These two go to school in Spanish in the mornings but do homeschool with me in the afternoons.

They are as different as night and day. 

She is creative with an huge imagination that takes her far away from the tasks in front of her. She loves to learn about the world and has improved in reading but is still scared to write because she doesn't want to make mistakes. I can't fit everything in that I want to teach her.

He wants to get started as soon as he gets home and do everything in his bins and more. He is having fun with numbers in ways that his sister never did because she was too busy making objects talk to each other. I am already looking for more things to do with him and he only started homeschool three weeks ago. Kindergarten math suggestions anyone? 

I feel like I am more prepared for homeschool this year than ever before but am still finding it challenging and time-consuming. Their best hours of the day have already been spent at school from 7:30am to 12:30pm. They are learning Spanish and building friendships but I don't want their English to suffer. I'm going to try to keep them home on alternating Fridays to have some individual time with them but I'm still not sure if that will give us the right balance between school and homeschool.

Please pray for God's wisdom as we try to give our little missionary kids the best education we can while also keeping them involved in the culture we are in.

Thank you!

Marcie Cooper

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hurricane Day


We just had our first day of school on Tuesday but we are already staying home for our first "Hurricane Day." Tropical storm Isaac is giving us a lot of rain but we are far enough up in the mountains that we are not in any real danger. The government wants to be fair so if it cancels classes for one area it cancels classes across the whole country. Can you imagine if schools in all of Canada closed every time there was a snowstorm somewhere? Of course, the Dominican Republic is a much smaller country. It could probably fit into Canada 200 times!

Children usually walk or are driven to school on motorcycles so it is harder for them to get there if it is raining hard. Dominicans also think that they will get sick if they go out in the rain so prefer to stay inside. We are enjoying a relaxing day indoors too. It wouldn't be complete without a fort!

We may have to add some homeschool and baking too. What do you like to do on a rainy day? We can always use more ideas during hurricane season!

Have a great day!

Marcie Cooper

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of School


It feels like the middle of summer here but today was the first day of school. For one little boy in our house it was the first day of school ever. He couldn't wait!

His big sister was more nervous about her new class than he was but, at the same time, she has been wishing and wishing for this day to come.

He came home saying, "I did a lot at school today!" and she told us, "My teacher is perfect!" Both are excited to go back tomorrow. 

Maybe I'll be able to catch up on some summer pictures...

Have a great day!

Marcie Cooper

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Praying Parents: 1 Samuel 12:23


Yesterday I found a stack of cards with Bible verses on them thrown all over the floor. The chewed off corners of the package led me to believe that it was the work of my teething almost two-year-old.
Constantly biting on fingers--those teeth must hurt!

At first I was frustrated by having to clean up another one of his messes but, as I started looking at the cards, I was reminded of the excellent parenting Bible Study they came from and of my favourite verse from the series, 1 Samuel 12:23.

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way (NASB).

The Israelites has asked for a king and God allowed them to anoint Saul. Samuel confronted their sin and warned them to serve the Lord with all their hearts. He pledged to pray for them and instruct them in what was right.

As a parent, I also have the responsibility to pray for and guide my children. The question was asked in my Entrusted with a Child's Heart  study, "If you're not praying for your children, who is?" It is not just a task for today, Sunday, but every day. 

How about you? Who are you praying for? Do you find it hard to pray every day?

I hope that you will be encouraged today to pray for your children, family members, and those, like Samuel, who you are instructing in the Lord.

Have a great Sunday!

Marcie Cooper

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Kids


As promised, here are some cute kid pictures instead of museums and ruins. The summer has flown by but we have had lots of fun!

I hope that you've been enjoying your summer too!

Have a great day!

Marcie Cooper

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Santo Domingo Tour: Museums and Ruins


A one day trip to Santo Domingo is taking me almost three weeks to write about! Let me quickly show you a few last sites so we can more on to another topic.

After the National Pantheon, two-thirds of the group opted to go shopping and the rest of us continued on to tour the home of Diego Columbus. He was Christopher Columbus' son who became governor of the island in 1509.

 One remaining wing of Diego Columbus' palace

After that tour, more left to go shopping but a few of us continued on to learn see some more of the country's history. 

We walked through the Royal Houses Museum where I took my favourite picture of the whole trip.

Gate to the courtyard of the Royal Houses Museum

Then we saw the ruins of a monastery and a hospital built in the 1500's.

Ruins of The Monastery of San Francisco

Ruins of chapels in the monastery

We wondered what it would have been like to be 
a patient in the first hospital in the New World

There were more churches that we rushed past on our way to meet up with the group but by then I think we were all toured out anyways.

Here are the three of us who made it through the entire tour: Johanna, a summer intern; me; and Vic, our Island Director.

Thanks for tagging along. I promise you'll see cute kids instead old ruins next time :)

Marcie Cooper

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Santo Domingo Tour: Flag & National Pantheon


 If you have been following our tour, we last saw Fort Ozama, a fortress built on the Ozama River where it meets the Caribbean Sea. I loved how the Dominican Flag looked at the top of the tower.

Look closely at the centre of the flag. Can you see the Bible? 

Did you know that the Dominican Republic is the only country in the world with a Bible on it's flag?

So why are we missionaries here?

I had a glimpse into the answer while looking at the ceiling of the National Pantheon, just down the street from Fort Ozama.

Our tour guide explained that the painting shows what happens at the end of this life. If you are good enough, you go up where good people are. If you are bad, you go down to that place where the bad people go. Sadly, this is a common view of what happens after death. Even after working for a year with a group of Grade 2 children in AWANA, almost all of them answered that they could get to heaven by being good. I wish that I would have spoken up and asked the tour guide why Jesus had to die if we could enter heaven by our own good works. We can never be perfect like Jesus. Only by believing in Him can we go heaven, a perfect place, to be with a perfect God.

Do you believe? 

Please pray that the Dominican children we work with will truly understand why Jesus died on the cross. Pray also for their education which is one of the poorest in Latin America and for our school that is trying to help. Pray for families which are often broken and for their daily needs to be met. And please pray for us as we work with them and try to show God's love to them.

Thank you!

Marcie Cooper

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Santo Domingo Trip: The Fort


My kids made it to the fort in Santo Domingo before I did--two of them anyways! I had just had a baby so did not go on the trip.

 Fort Ozama built in 1505 to protect from pirates and conquerors

There are lots of these protected watching/shooting spots.

 Strategically situated where the Ozama River meets the Carribean Sea

I had seen pictures and had driven by on the other side on the river but had never toured it myself. Finally, I took my own pictures!

 The Tower

 The cannons seen from the tower

The group in the top of the tower

I left the kids at home and joined our group of summer interns to experience the historical sites in the capital. They have been helping out with our summer program and Rachel, on the far left, has been staying with us. I can only hope that my kids will be as nice and as helpful as she is when they are teenagers!

For more history on the tower go to www.colonialzone-dr.com. Or come and visit. I'd be happy to take the tour again!

Have a great day!

Marcie Cooper

P.S. If you missed the beginning of the tour, we saw Columbus Park and the Primate Cathedral of the Americas as well as a pro-life monument. More still to come!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Santo Domingo Trip: Pro-Life Monument


Did you join me for a tour of the cathedral in my last blog? Just on the other side of it was my favourite part of our whole tour--a monument "to defend the human life, to the human not yet born." It is in honour of millions of babies aborted in the world and was constructed in 2006 by the Associate of Catholic Doctors in Santo Domingo.

Abortion is still illegal in the Dominican Republic and is not as prevalent as it is in the United States and Canada. The tour guide told us, "We believe that God made life and we don't take it away. We protect the unborn child." Amen!

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;    
your works are wonderful,    I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14

May this country continue to stay strong in protecting unborn human life.

Marcie Cooper