I kept starting and restarting this post. I just couldn’t seem to come up with the right words to capture what I am feeling. Trying to describe the experience is like trying to describe how gorgeous the ocean is to a blind person. Words can never do it.
We were asked to come up with one word to describe what the mission trip meant to us. My word was enlightened. The people of La Represa enlightened me to what contentment and community really means. They are poor in material things but richer than most people that I know in more ways than I can count. They know the true meaning of community. It is not an unusual sight to see neighbors standing in the street or sitting on one another’s porch just talking. They are content with what they have…I mean truly content! Not only are they content with what little they have but they want to share with others.
One day, we walked the community and visited homes to share His word. They were so excited to have unexpected guests. They pulled out all the chairs they had and offered us food and drinks. They were excited that these strange people had showed up to visit them unannounced! It surprised me when they offered all 5 of us soda. That is a luxury for them…to give that away was truly a sacrifice. It humbled me to see such a heart of giving out of those that have so little. Please, God, let me not forget that lesson.
The children…oh, those sweet, precious faces! They were so happy to see the Americanos! What I love about this community is that Americanos did not mean money to them. It meant that they had people to spend time with and love on them. Not one child asked for money from us…but they did ask to hold our hands. There were 6 year old little girls that were required to take care of their 3 year old sister or brother. It was not unusual to see these little girls with their siblings on their hips. They were excited to have an adult to take their sibling so they could just be a child and play.
Of course, I didn’t mind snuggling up to those babies! It seems as if, within minutes of snuggling and rocking them, they would be fast asleep. It made me wonder when was the last time these babies had been cuddling and rocked. The thought of that breaks my heart!
This year, there were 3 ladies at our camp teaching crafts to the women of the community. Since my daughter, Lauren, and I were the only ones that knew how to crochet, we were asked to teach this craft. Wow…talk about doing a HARD THING! It is very difficult to teach crochet without speaking the same language. But God provided…somehow the language barrier disappeared! These ladies were crocheting…and teaching each other how to do it.
This week was very difficult for me in ways that I didn’t expect. I like to be entertaining and make others laugh. It’s my way to distract…to fill time. This week, I couldn’t think of anything funny to say to save my life…and I was VERY quiet. It annoyed me! Even with all of the people around, I felt very alone and lonely. During this time, I kept asking God to help me find my voice…but He didn’t. By the end of the week, I heard Him whisper for me to look to Him for what I need…not others…not humor…not distraction. I realized that He wanted to prepare me, in the land to which I am moving, for times of loneliness. What He spoke to me was that there will be times, when we move, where we will be surrounded by many but will feel very alone. In those times, I need to look to Him to fill me with what I need.
This week answered so many of our questions. The girls absolutely fell in love with the people of La Represa. Before we left, the girls wouldn’t even talk about the move and would tell us how much they didn’t want to go. Now, I will hear sentences that begin with “When we move to the Dominican…” I have been praying and asking all of you to pray that God changed their hearts toward this move and that the girls would fall in love with the community. Thank you for all of your prayers! God is good! Both of these prayers have been answered.
This week we will be meeting Pastor Doug to discuss our potential move and involvement in the building of our mission work in the DR. I will update everyone after the meeting. If they decide at that time that we are the family that they want to help with this, then we will be publicly announcing our move.
If not, then we will wait. We know that God is calling us to the DR. We don’t feel that He has laid out the complete path or purpose for us to be there yet. So…we are praying that God shows us what our purpose is and that He opens the doors that lead us to His path. We are also praying for discernment on this. Will you please pray with and for us? Thanks!