Day 2 on our mission
June 7, 2011 § 4 Comments
It’s been a full day. Today we had a look at the real Dominican life. Our agenda today was to visit a church, where we played with children, sang, face painted, and handed out goody bags we had brought over with us.
The first thing that stood out to me was the size and structure of the church. I was expecting an American version of a church- great big building, tall ceilings, maybe a steeple and a quaint little red door outside.
But no, not this church.
The small shack like building that housed the mass amount of children was unexpected. This is a church? I thought. Wow, how good we have it back in the states. The luxurious, pew lined, air conditioned buildings we visit every week are well, pretty much mansions compared to the buildings here.
The air for this church was the tropic climate we walked around in. The pews were plastic outdoor chairs, hardly enough to seat the amount of children that were present. The lights, simple bulbs overhead.
It hardly fit- actually didn’t fit- our entire group along with the kids, parents, and teens that kept pouring in.
I have a different perspective now of what a church building is, that’s for sure.
Our time at that church was special. The children were so open, so ready to be loved and accepted. Although language was a big divider for conversation, most of the kids were able to speak in broken words and phrases, including Jonah and I. Truly though, there is something about kindness, affection, and simply loving another that keeps a conversation going of sorts when you fail for words. This kind of love is spoken from the heart- the kind that you pray God will shine through.
I was able to face paint and take photos of the kids. They loved the camera, and loved being able to see their picture right away. “Photo” was what I’d ask and of course immediately understood by them. There were many babies there too, and some close to Oliver’s age. Oh, how I miss that boy. One little girl was rolly like him and I wanted to squeeze her and love on her. Being a mom myself has definitely had an impact on me here. I see little ones and the mom part of me takes over and wants to love on them a little harder. I see their little faces and my mind wonders what their stories are, how they live, how they eat, if they have their own beds or even their own homes. Looking at the buildings around me, I know that they don’t have much. It’s hard knowing that and not being able to physically do anything more.
I have been able to witness such a different way of life here, my mind can’t really wrap around it. Again the poorness, the dirty living, the garbage on the streets, and along the road is appalling. But the people here don’t know any different. I imagine what it would be like to take them from here and plant them in our own city. What exactly would they think of our clean roads, new cars, air conditioned buildings and sooo much more that we have. We live like kings in comparison to so many here.
Our next stop for the day was at a local market to pick up food for families we would hand out later. I think shopping this way is truly a great way to really learn the language and culture. The foods are different, and you quickly learn that any American labeled products will be more money. You have no choice but to learn the currency exchange. Shopping here did one thing for me- it really made me appreciate missionaries. I can picture them planted in another country and making trips to supermarkets to buy their own groceries. This is no small task when you are struggling to know the language and the currency conversion. I have a new deeper respect and admiration for a missionary. I can think of my own sister and her way of life- what it was like to move to Bulgaria and start new there.
After we picked up the groceries, we headed to our next stop- another church, to hand out the bags. This church was similar to the one that we visited earlier, but this one was out in the ‘country’. We drove up into the mountains of sorts. We went down narrow little roads that barely allowed room for our buses to go on. At one point we passed over a part of road that literally looked like it would fall away down below us. Part of it was washed out, and dropped down quite a distance below us. We passed fenced land filled with tall palm trees- but not resort style grounds. It was wild grown up trees and grass, dirt bumpy roads, tightly spaced shack style homes. Quite a scenic route. It was so interesting to see how and where these people live. Many use clothes lines outside too. Also many drive motor bikes- dirt bikes really. It isn’t that odd to see several on one at one time.
This visit was also special. The people at this church were adults, with a few kids. A different crowd from the last church. This time we sang, and had some in our group share their testimonies. It was pretty awesome to see how excited these people were to hear about the Lord. It was truly evident on their faces as they praised God openly and unashamed. It again made me examine my own solemn faced way of worship I sometimes get into. Why? I ask myself, why not just let go and freely worship and praise Him without care for what others might say. I am not ashamed of Him, I am not ashamed of who He is and what He is doing and has done in my life.
After this visit we headed out to pick up the last two people in our group, that arrived at the airport. Once we were all together we headed to dinner and then headed back to our home away from home.
Now we are ready to tuck the covers up for another night. It’s been a busy day and an eventful one. It’s been a growing day as we were definitely not in our comfort zone when we were surrounded by those sweet round Dominican faces with questioning eyes and hopeful hearts. It wasn’t all that comfortable sweating in the tropic heat, but it’s been good. Good to watch our group grow and stretch and love and serve. I can see God working in each one here and I’m eager and ready to see what He has for us tomorrow. But for now it’s another goodnight.