June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m writing this day’s post while en route to America. Yesterday was so full that by the time we were back in our rooms my eyes were too heavy to see and my mind to tired to think.
It was a wonderful day, a very eventful last day of the trip.
Since we have a good 14 hours of travel today, I was sure I’d find some time to catch up!
We started the day driving back to Rafael’s church. There were many hands to help with some construction on an addition to the church. Actually there were too many hands with all of us. The guys ended up doing the outside work, while the girls headed inside the tiny little church to play with the kids. We blew up balloons, face painted and blew bubbles. We played on the bongos, and danced with them. They were so happy just to play with us, so loving.
Outside the guys leveled out the ground for the addition, all the while rotating the few tools they had among the guys.
Honestly it was a hot day. I was not feeling great. My body ached from sinus irritation, my stomach turned from the change in diet, and I was tired and hot. I know I wasn’t the only one, many of us just didn’t feel well. It was hard to be enthusiastic when I just didn’t feel good.
But I didn’t complain. I didn’t whine, I didn’t ask to leave. All I had to do was take a look around me.
Starting with the pastor’s house.
Their house was directly behind the small church, and actually smaller.
You entered immediately into the living, dining area, with the small bedrooms on your left- one side for Rafael and his wife, the other bunk beds for their five boys.
Out back behind the house was the kitchen immediately on your left. The kitchen consisted of an open type fire where campfire kind of cooking took place.
The bathroom was across from this in the form of a very ‘rugged’ outhouse. I say that loosely because it was truly one of the worst outhouses I used. It was rough.
Next to the bathroom was a pigpen that housed a large pink pig- a future dinner for the family I’m sure.
I was humbled to say the least at this family’s lack of things, and yet at how grateful and kind they were.
I thought of living in the same house and using the same things for cooking, and everyday life. Could I do that?
I think one thing I learned on this trip was that when you get down to almost nothing and only have the bare essentials- food, water, a bed and clothes, as a Christian you really don’t need more. We have Christ. We have much.
I am not the kind of girl that loves to sit and sweat in the heat, wearing dirty clothes, eating small simple meals, and traveling constantly in rugged conditions is not my idea of a fun time.
But yesterday as we were traveling down very bumpy busy crazy roads on route to visit an orphanage, on our big bus filled with our team members that were hungry perhaps, tired, hot and maybe not feeling the best, I thought “isn’t this what mission work is all about? Were we ever called to be completely comfortable all the time, to never stretch outside of our own comfort zone, to never grow to never open your eyes to a greater world view?”
I can’t help but think of how many other villages, how many other people there are in the world that have been ‘untouched’ by us, by the people that have the most to give. How will they hear of Christ? How will they know there is a Hope that never fails?
I was excited. I remember feeling excited to minister to others despite what my own physical needs were. It’s been an amazing eye- opening experience being here in the DR, being a part of this great team. I have not always enjoyed every new thing, in fact I was scared about a lot of new things, but I knew that God called me to go on this trip and I was determined to follow Him and sometimes that meant getting through and getting over those scary parts. I know that He helped me along the way. I know that there was an important reason He told me to go. I may not know why now or ever but I am so grateful that I went. Sometimes just listening and obeying is part of the battle.
The second part of our day was spent at the Market. This is a place filled with vendors selling their wares. We were highly encouraged to bargain, then bargain again for a good deal on any item. It was a neat place filled with everything from bracelets to machete’s. We only had a short time to make our selections before we headed off to dinner.
Our last stop for the night took us up a steep incline, up a mountain, all the way to the top. It was so steep in fact, that our bus driver turned off our air to get more power.
At the top we pulled into a beautiful restaurant that overlooked the entire city. It was beautiful. Lights twinkled below us for miles and miles. Our seats at the restaurant were outdoors, where the air was cool and refreshing after such a hot day. What a treat it was to sit and watch the city lights, and also enjoy some delicious meals that tasted more like home.
It was a lovely way to end our trip, and one that I know each team member will remember.
Before we left to head down the mountain we all joined hands and prayed over the city, over the people, asking God to continue the work that we started. It was one of those moments I know I won’t forget as we were all united in Christ. There is something about community prayer that is so moving and powerful.
Arriving back to our hotel later than usual, we were tired but encouraged at the past weeks events. How special it was to meet the people here, to be pulled out of our little boxes, to open our eyes and hearts to the needs around us.
For now I will end here. I have many things that I don’t want to forget, and I hope to write them down soon.
But for now I’ll go, as we are about to touch down on our first stop before home- American soil. How thankful I am for that!