asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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Why fast?

Abraham being obedient

Abraham being obedient

You know how God said to Abraham…

“Hey, I need you to pack up your family and all of your stuff and all of your goats and go to this new land.  I can’t really tell you why right now but I just need you to go, ok?”…

…and He went!

Jonah not being obedient

Jonah not being obedient

Then God said to Jonah…

“Hey, I need to you to go to Nineveh and tell all the people there that they are really screwing up and need to do better.”

…and then Jonah fled…….FROM GOD!!!

So God had his friend, The Whale, gobble him up help Jonah change his mind.

jonah-and-whale[1]

My heart had begun to resemble Jonah’s more than it had Abraham’s.  I kept feeling myself fleeing.

At a women’s conference that I once attended, the speaker was discussing the importance to spending our first minutes of our day with God.  She described it like this…

“Think of God coming to your house every day to chat and have coffee with you.  He shows up everyday, takes a seat beside your favorite chair, and waits for you to sit with him.  You run to the kitchen, get him a cup of coffee, and tell him that you will be right back after you {insert anything here}.  Then, you jump in the shower, make the kids breakfast, start getting ready, etc.  Each time you pass God sitting in the chair drinking the coffee, you say ‘I’ll be right back’.  As you are grabbing your keys to leave for work, you look over and remember that He is waiting for you.  So, you say, ‘As soon as I get home from work, I will sit with you’….except you don’t…because, well, life…”

I saw God sitting there…quietly sipping His coffee…waiting for ME!  But, I knew what He wanted.  He wanted to speak some truths to me that I didn’t want to hear.  So, I was fleeing…

“Hold on, God…I’ll be right back after I (check FB, look on Instagram, numb myself silly with sugar, etc) 

That is why  I chose to fast.

I knew that it was time to spend some serious one-on-one time with God.  In order to do that, I had to remove things that I used to distract or medicate myself.

So, what did I learn?

Evil sugar!

Evil sugar!

1)  I learned that giving up sugar was harder than social media.  The thing about fasting is that is shouldn’t be easy.  It is designed to make you uncomfortable so that you will reach to God for strength…instead of Oreos.  Here’s the thing: Oreos filled the immediate discomfort but then left me empty later.  When I reach for Him, I have to slow down, be purposeful, and BE STILL.  This takes longer but fills empty places in my heart.

scrolling 

2)  I am addicted to….scrolling stuff!  It is what I do to “check out”.  I don’t care what I am scrolling…just, please, let me check out for a bit and  scroll something so I don’t have to engage!  By taking this element out, I spent time with those that I love and that love me back.

you are loved

3) It’s ok to miss out, and FB and Instagram are liars!  Living on a island, FB and Instagram have been my connections to the “outside world”.  I was concerned that I would feel lonely or feel like I was “missing out”.  Quite honestly, FB and Instagram have been lying to me.  I don’t need “likes” to know that I am worthy…to know that I am liked…or loved.  Those that know and love me still found ways to communicate with me and show their love.  However, and this is the biggie, God is showing me that I am worthy in HIS eyes.  God is helping me to understand that my identity and worth need to come from Him.  I am STILL struggling with this.  As someone that has always only wanted to be told that I am worthy, important, and special, I am STILL seeking that from outside sources.  It is a need that I have always yearned to be met.  Slowly, I am trying to understand that it can finally be met by the only one that has ever shown me unconditional love…Jesus Christ. I wish that I could say that I believe this completely, but the lies that I have been told oftentimes speak louder than the truths that I am learning.  I am so vulnerable in this area and am clinging to God’s strength in this.balancing_life

4) Balance!!!  It is so important.  There are many areas of my life that I need to focus on daily, weekly, monthly.  If I forget one, I am out of balance.  During my fast, I realized that I had not been feeding my creative side.  This is an important side of what refuels me.  I have several things that I found on Pinterest and made.  I am hoping to share some of these on future blog posts.  I also spent a lot of time following up on blogs that I read, finishing books that I started, and studying various scriptures.  I did A LOT of journalling.

Weekly Plan

Weekly Plan

I found this fabulous WEEKLY PLANNER  to help me remember to keep my life in balance.  I absolutely love this because it makes me be more intentional about all areas of my life that need to be nurtured.

coke

5) The Coke here is still addictive!  Anyone that has ever visited can attest to this.  It is made with real sugar cane and sold in glass bottles.  CrAzY addictive!  I didn’t even care about Coke in the states and rarely drank it…but here…Oh my!!!

So, in a nutshell, that’s how my fast went.  There were times that I struggled…hard.  Those were the times that I just had to lean into God.  There was never a time, though, that I wanted to quit.  During that time, I had a peace about me.  Because I didn’t hear all the voices of the Internet, I could hear HIS voice more clearly.  I truly had to turn off all of the noises of the Internet so that I could slow down, relax, and hear His voice to help me remember mine.  I was a bit sad when it ended, and even considered extending it for 10 more days…

In the end…it was the Coke’s fault….


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Donde he estado?

nsf checkSomeone once told me that our emotions and relationships are like a bank account.  We naturally make withdrawals daily.  However, if we don’t make deposits…then we will get overdrawn.

That’s exactly where I was…I was feeling a tad bit overdrawn.

Living in a country that worships much differently than you do, and in which, there is a language barrier, church can be a difficult place to grow your faith.  I no longer pray to understand what the pastor is saying.  Now I just pray for God to allow me to feel His presence around me.  My relationship with God is much more intentional and purposeful here.  The time with Him is much more valuable and necessary.  I am no longer being fed the way that I was when I went to the church in the states….

…and I have been feeling distant from Him.stressed out woman

I find myself trying not to feel the things that I am feeling.  I find myself trying to fill my time and body with things that distract me and allow me not to feel.

“Love yourself enough to do whatever is needed to care for your soul”

(from Revealing Jesus by Darlene Zschech)

IMG_5535 - Version 2

So…

I am halfway through a 40 Day Fast that ends on February 21st.  This is not a fast in which I don’t eat for 40 days.  This is a fast from things that I was using to numb myself…so that I could be distracted and not feel.  These things also kept me from growing my relationship with Christ.

This is what it looks like:

~No FB/Instagram/Twitter (I am still on Pinterest but she is pressing her luck and may be eliminated as well because I catch myself just wanting to SCROLL SOMETHING!)

*I would like to thank all of my sweet friends that have sent messages of genuine concern for my well-being.  Many of you have noticed that I have not been on FB lately and sent messages asking if everything is OK.  Truly…super sweet…thank you!

**Just so you know, I still get FB messages through Messenger which sends them straight to my phone like a text message.  When I respond to your message, I am not actually on FB, so I am not breaking my fast. AND, my blog post automatically goes to FB/Twitter.

~No sugar (OH, sweet Jesus…what was I thinking???)

~No soda (In the states, I rarely drank Cokes but, here….they put crack in this stuff!  It’s made with real sugar cane and is highly addictive to me.  Don’t try detoxing from this stuff at home, kids…It ain’t pretty!)

Those are the things that I have been eliminating but I have been adding things that are good for me as well…

~Minimum of 4 fruits/veggies a day

~80 oz. of water a day

~Exercise 6 days a week with 3 of those days being running

For my mind, body, and soul to feel strong, I need to spend time with people that love me, time creating beautiful things (that’s why Pinterest is allowed), thinking time, time to read, time to strengthen my body…and, most importantly….time with God.  These are ways that I make deposits.

During this time, I have been trying to reconnect with myself and God.  I have been praying and journalling and reading and spending time with those that I love, at home and in my community. I have been building a strong body, mind, and soul.  I have been listening for God’s voice and asking Him for guidance.  I have been filling myself with things that feel good and are good for me.

I want to remember that I am a child of God…that is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Somewhere along this journey, I forgot that.  I forgot to look at the beauty that God created in me…and have only been seeing the cracks and jagged, broken edges.

During this time, I have been asking God to empty me of me…

…and fill me with Him…

…That seems like a better option than filling myself full of Oreos…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please pray with and for me during this time. Have you ever done a fast?  If so, how did it go? 


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In my apartment in the city…

After splaying my fleshly, human self out all over the interwebs in my last blog (see here—>A Simple Question), I felt very vulnerable and exposed.  I feel that way every. single. time that I am open and honest publicly about my struggles.  I don’t want to appear to be unhappy with our decision to move here…or ungrateful…or judged for not being a “good enough Christian” for not being able to “lean on God more” or “trust in God more”…or…ummm…uhhh….weak….

God started speaking to me in ways that I never expected.  The first time was from something that I read:

“God does not require that you fix yourself and then come to Him.  The exact opposite is true.  Come now, come quickly, and come broken and horrifyingly messy.”

Well, goodness gracious…I was definitely horrifyingly messy!  Even though I am a Christian, it does not mean that I am not still broken and messy.  To me, it just means that I know where to get my strength…over and over again!

Next was during church.  Because I cannot understand much of what is being said during church, I read my bible.  Prior to this particular service, I was feeling very sad.  When I opened my bible, I saw a post-it note on the front page that I don’t remember writing and don’t remember ever noticing it any of the other times that I opened my bible:  IMG_7049

He knows what we need and was showing me what He needed to tell me.  As I read the passages above, I continued to search for more scriptures.  His word continued to fill my heart and give me relief from my hurt.

photo

Then, I left for Spanish school in which I was staying in a very small apartment for two weeks while studying.  During that time, He was healing me without me even realizing it.  In my last post, I wrote about struggling with:

My loss of freedom– The first week, I spent the majority of that time alone in my apartment unless I was in class.  I had tons of freedom to walk around the city alone, have a latte or ice cream in the afternoon, watch what I wanted on TV (even though I rarely watched it), etc.  I felt free.  My steps began to lighten…as well as my mood.  Don’t misunderstand me…I love my family to the moon and back.  It was just nice to be alone with myself…and begin to connect with that person again.

Missing my female support system–  During this time, Mo brought one of my friends from the community to stay the night with me.  She and I walked around the city, sat in the park, laughed, and talked.  (Somehow, we understand one another, even with my broken Spanish.)  

We had friends from the states vacationing in the Northern part of the island.  They messaged us and said “We want to come see you!”, and they rented a car and did just that!  We loved having them here and sharing our community with them.  Most importantly, I loved having a friend from the states to talk to in English.   Thanks, Darcy and Don!!! You will never realize how much I needed your visit!

Another friend that moved to Santo Domingo this summer met me for dinner one night.  I cannot even describe how much this young lady filled my soul!  We sat and talked for almost 4 hours!  Thanks, Julia!

One night Lexie stayed with me.  It was so nice to have that time alone with her.  One night Mo stayed with me.  We haven’t had 24 hours alone since before we moved here!  It was soooo overdue!!!  Thank you, Kristi and Keely for watching our monkeys for us!

Being spiritually fed – I spent a lot of time studying, praying, and journalling.  God knew how much I needed this time to reconnect with Him and myself.  I watched a few sermons and read many devotionals online.  There were times of sadness and happiness.  There were times where I felt God gently showing hard places on my heart that need work.  We (God and I) are working on those things.  It may take awhile but my heart and soul are on the mend.  broken_heart

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”-  Psalm 37:4

All of this to say…God heard my cries!  Because I sought Him and refused to isolate any longer, He gave me the desires of my heart.  Often we think that our desires are material or tangible things, like cars, houses, a better job, a spouse, a baby.  However, sometimes those desires…

…are just ways to heal a hurting heart…

…and that all happened in my apartment in the city!


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July Mission Team

IMG_6608Close to the end of the week with each mission team, we ask each person to think of one word to describe their time in the DR.  Last week we had an AmAzInG group of high school kids (and adults) spend a week pouring into this community.

My one word for this week would be: RESILIENCE!

The dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover readily from illness or adversity.  It also states that resilience is the power or ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched.  For the most part, I agree that these definitions describe the team…except for one part.

Let me explain…

During this week, we had:  a chipped tooth, a 5.6 earthquake, torrential downpours that caused the upstairs (yes, upstairs) of the house to flood, a few power and water problems (typical for 3rd world living) and a retched stomach bug that periodically took about 5-6 people down at a time…with the final count being 23 people.

IN SPITE OF these things…this team kept rocking it!!!

At one point during the week, I looked at Mo and said:

“What is it about this group that is threatening satan so much?  He keeps attacking, and God’s power keeps prevailing!  Satan is just making a fool out of himself at this point!”

IN SPITE of all of these things, this team:

*Built a wall around our mission house AND Kristi & Keely’s mission house!!!

IMG_9574

*Painted the entire school

july school

*Built TWO goat corralsjuly goat

*Began construction on a shed to store construction supplies for future teamsjuly shed

*Held FOUR Kids’ Club activitiesjuly team kids club

*Held a ministry for the young women in the village and discussed purity and modestyIMG_6637

*Held a baseball game in which anyone that wanted to play was welcomedjuly softball

*EACH team member sat with members of the community and just talked, laughed, and cried about life and love…and GOD!IMG_6613

*EACH team member poured into, not only this community…but into each other as well!  THIS team rallied around each other with hands held tight and protected the GOOD that was happening!IMG_9617

*THIS team felt God’s presence and love wrapped tightly around each one of them, and they were blessed to truly understand God’s word in Galatians 6:9:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

God never promises us that following him and doing HIS work will be easy but it will always glorify HIM.

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, we welcomed a new sister into Christ!  Emma accepted Christ and was baptized in the ocean on our beach day!july emma

…IN SPITE OF all of satan’s attacks, this group was moved for Christ in ways that most could not understand.  Many stated that they are forever changed.  july mission team

When defining resilience, the part about “returning to the original form” cannot apply to THIS team!  See…satan was threatened because he KNOWS  that THIS group has been chosen to spread God’s word in ways that while rock this world…

…kind of like the earthquake that we felt!

Good job, team!

…and Good job, parents, for a job well done raising such AmAzInG children of God!!!


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Blood to go…

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Wednesday morning started off like any other day…a cup of DR coffee and a morning devotional.  My plan was to finally spend some time with my family and just kind of relax.  The only goal that day was to take my truck back to the mechanic.  The roads here take their toll on vehicles and it was making a strange noise.  This morning two local guys were finishing some work on the mission house in the backyard.  The men, Gringo and Chicho, do a lot of work for our church and are the “behind the scenes” guys for a lot that gets done down here.

We offered them coffee and asked how things were going.  Chicho’s wife had a baby about 15 days ago.  When we asked how she was doing, Chicho proceeded to tell us that she was bleeding a lot  and had not slept in two days because of the pain.  I asked if he was going to take her to the hospital.  He stated that, after he finished working and got paid, he was going to take her.  At that point, I looked at Tamara with a shocked look, and she said “Take her to the hospital now.”

When we arrived at their home and got his wife, she was in agonizing pain.  With the help of her mother, we put her in the truck.  I am no doctor but I could tell that her condition was very serious.  Chicho, his wife, her mother and I took off to the nearest hospital that is about 25 minutes away.  After they went into the emergency room, I explained to Chicho that I was taking my truck to the mechanic down the street and would be back.  He stated that his wife’s mother was with her, and he wanted to go with me.  About 10 minutes into the mechanic looking at my truck, an ambulance went screaming down the street, which is a very strange sound around here.  My first thought was “Wouldn’t it be crazy if that was Chicho’s wife?”  The mechanic spent another 15 minutes on the truck, then we went back to the hospital.  This is when we discovered that the ambulance was carrying his wife!!!  The people at this small town hospital said that she was in very bad shape, and they were sending her to Santo Domingo because their hospital was not equipped to help her.

So, we hopped into my truck and took off to Santo Domingo.  It was kind of like a car chase in an action movie…Fast and Furious in a 3rd world country!  We got there in good time right behind the ambulance.  Get this…the ambulance driver would not leave until we paid him the $50 charge for her ambulance ride.  Chicho did not have the money because he was waiting to get paid by me.  I went to the ATM, got the money, and paid the guy so we could check on Chicho’s wife inside the hospital.

Luckily, she was rushed to a room and seen immediately, which is very rare here.  Within a half hour, we were told that her condition was grave at best.  The doctor told Chicho that she needed 4 pints of blood immediately, and it was HIS responsibility to find it.  (From what I am to understand, public hospitals do not have blood available.  Most public hospitals are either free or the cost is very minimal.  However, you get what you pay for!  Private hospitals apparently offer much better healthcare but most people are not able to pay for it.)  Before we left the hospital, I asked if I could use the restroom.  I was told that I was not allowed because I had shorts on!

Anyway, off we went to find blood for this critically ill woman.  By this time, I was in complete shock!  I prayed to God for help.  I am in a 3rd world country with a man whose wife is in desperate need for blood and may die.  In my emotional state, I thought “I signed up for the mission field.  I didn’t think that this is what would be happening! No blood in a hospital?  Go find some?  What the mess???”

The DR has 2 Red Cross offices in downtown Santo Domingo, and they should have blood.  Of course, the first one that we went had no blood and directed us to the other office.  When we arrived at the 2nd office, we were told they did have blood and it would be $50 a pint.  I had already used my debit card to get money to pay for the ambulance.  The way it works here with our bank is we can only get X amount of money a day, and the ATM would only allow me to get another $100.  We went back into the Red Cross office and explained the whole story about his wife.  Guess what?!  So sad…too bad!  Pay for 4 pints if you want for pints!

At this point,  I was an emotional wreck!  We did not have a phone number to check on his wife, and we weren’t even sure if she was still alive!  Obviously, my frustration was showing because the Red Cross lady stated that if we donated blood, we could get blood.  On a whole, I love this idea…Give a pint, then you get a pint.  The timing, however, was awful!

With the $100 that we had and Chicho and I both giving a pint of blood each, we could “buy” 4 pints of blood.  We were directed into a room with probably 30 other people in the same position.  In the DR, poor people can’t afford blood, so this is how they get it for loved ones that are in need of it.  I can only imagine the amount of people that die waiting for blood.

My anger and frustration had finally got the better of me.  I called Tamara who was able to calm me down.  She did what she always does….She asked me if I had given it to God.  I had not.  I drove Chicho around Santo Domingo.  I was now waiting to give blood.  I was going to save this woman.  Sometimes, I am an idiot in pressure situations and fall back on my old ways of doing things.  I resolved to fix things myself!  Once again, I prayed to God and just asked for peace, and that this woman be shown grace and mercy.

It was at this time that I found “Mighty to Save” on my phone…which is a miracle in itself because my phone never works like it should!  I turned it up slightly, and a number of the people in the room actually started humming or singing in Spanish.  Wow…God lives!

Two hours later, we left with 4 pints of blood and rushed back to the hospital.  It was now 6 hours later, and I had no idea what we would be walking into when we returned to the hospital.  We got the blood to her.  (However, I still couldn’t go in because I had shorts on!)  A half hour went by with me sitting outside.  I called Tamara again.  We relived the events and craziness of the day.  We spoke of everything turning out OK but were preparing for the worst!

Chicho came out after the half hour and told me that his wife was still critical but stable, and that getting her to the hospital saved her life.  She would have died from blood and fluid loss if left at home.

Tamara and I have frequently asked ourselves and God for discernment and answers to why…”Why us?  Why here? Please God, tell us”.  On Wednesday, He did in a BIG way!  We helped save a life but greater than that we stepped out of God’s way so HE could do as only HE can!!!  He showed mercy and grace.  He humbled me as I sat waiting to give blood.  When I surrendered my power to him, the Lord my God spoke!  He is indeed…”Mighty to Save”!!!

Matthew 5:14-16

By Tamara

This week has taken an emotional toll on both Mo and I.  The realization that God used us for His purpose to save a woman’s life is incredibly humbling.  We have also been humbled by the harsh reality of what it means to be poor in a 3rd world country.  This man’s wife would not have been this sick if they were able to afford better healthcare when she gave birth to their child.  This man had to leave his critically ill wife to earn money to get her to the hospital.  This man’s wife may not have lived because he could not afford to get her to the hospital, pay for the ambulance, and pay for the much needed blood for his wife!  Our hearts are crushed!  We are trying to understand how a system could be set up where a life literally came down to a ride to the hospital, a $50 ambulance ride, and $200 worth of blood.  It has been difficult not to question this governmental system…and most importantly God!  All we can do is praise Him for His grace and mercy!!!


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Deviled eggs and sweet tea

I haven’t written in quite some time.  I could give numerous reasons why but the truth is…I haven’t been able to find the words.  Life is settling in.  We are experiencing some of the challenges that come from living in a 3rd world country…as well as numerous blessings.  Many times I don’t write because I am not sure that my words can do this experience justice.  Other times…it’s because…I want to keep it to myself…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Recently, my heart was convicted on this thought process. I felt God saying

“I sent your family there to help me serve this community…as well as your community in the US.  Keeping this to yourself does not glorify me and how I am using your family for MY will.”

So…

…here it goes…

Living in a third world country is not easy.  However, we LOVE it here!  God has been using these challenges to show us where we are weak and areas of our hearts that we are not giving to Him.  We cannot imagine being anywhere but here at this time in our lives.

IMG_5758

*Electricity is quite a challenge.  Here is how it works:  city power is only on for a couple of hours during the daytime and usually comes back on at night from 11:00pm or 12:00pm and stays on until around 6:00am or 7:00am.  When city power is off, our electricity is run by an inverter with 8 batteries.  We have a refrigerator that uses a lot of power.  We started here with 4 batteries but were not able to use the refrigerator and lights with only that amount of power.  When that battery power is gone, we have no electricity at all!  The batteries are recharged by the city power.  We have recently been having issues with the “transformer” that brings city power into our house.  Basically, the transformer has blown twice and we have not been receiving city power at all during those times!  No city power means the batteries do not get charged…which means no electricity at all for us.

~The blessing?  WE HAVE 8 BATTERIES AND AN INVERTER!!! Some of the houses around us ONLY rely on city power!  Remember, city power is only on for a couple of hours during the day.  Otherwise, it is only on at night while we sleep.  Can you imagine NEVER having electricity at night while sitting around with your family?  Can you imagine always cooking by candlelight or a lampara?

Yeah, I seriously just put pictures of our festering wounds on our blog! Gross!

Yeah, I seriously just put pictures of our festering wounds on our blog! Gross!

*Clean water is another issue.  The water that comes into our home comes straight from the river.  It has not been purified and none of the little parasites in the water have been zapped with any kind of chemical.  Thus, we are unable to drink our water.  The water that we drink and cook with comes from large bottles of purified water that we buy.  (Luckily, our church helped set up a water purification center a couple of years ago.  Many people in the community have benefited from it!)  About a month after we moved here, we would get an infection any time that we got an open wound.  We were covered with infections all over our bodies because of all of our bug bites. Our water is held in a big tank, called a tanaka, on our roof. Apparently, we were suppose to put bleach in it to kill the parasites.  We didn’t know this at the time, so we were basically bathing in parasites!  Yeah, that’s super nasty, right?

*Note:  We have put bleach in the tanaka and are having NO problems with parasites and festering wounds now.

~The blessing?  WE HAVE RUNNING WATER IN OUR HOME AND *MOST* OF THE TIME HOT WATER!  Many of the homes in this area still do not have running water.  You will see people going down to the river to do their laundry.  You will also see families bringing empty jugs to pipes in the community with water running from them.  They then have to carry these full jugs of water back to their home. That is ALOT of work.  In our home, we only have to turn on the faucet.  Seriously, the fact that we have a hot water heater is unheard of!

Spanish Class

*Understanding the culture and the language is SO. HARD!!!  There are so many people that we want to help.  We know that we can’t and shouldn’t help everyone that wants our help.  We have really been praying for discernment in this area.  Those that have come before us have created a system that is based on relationships, not what Americans can give to them.  We want to be respectful of that and want to build on that, not mess it up.

This language barrier is TOUGH STUFF!  Since Mo spent much of his formative years in the canal zone of Panama, he definitely has a leg up on us in this department.  He is able to sit and have conversations with others.  The girls have been going to Dominican school in the afternoon. I am AMAZED at how much Spanish they are speaking.  And then there’s me…

There were a couple of days a few weeks ago that I was on the verge of depression.  I was discouraged and sad and felt like a failure and didn’t feel accepted.  Yeah, all of that and more.  I would see the ladies sitting on their porches chatting and having coffee.  In the beginning, I would sit with them and attempt to have conversation.   Suddenly, it just felt too frustrating for everyone involved.  I began to listen to Satan’s lies that I was a burden to them and had nothing to offer because I couldn’t speak the language…

…and then, as always, God spoke to my heart…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What I heard him say was…“This is hard!  I have called your family here and came ahead of you to prepare this way.  You can do good things, but you will have to rely on me for your strength.  I will bridge this language barrier if you will trust me and rely on me.”

deviled eggs 1

A few days later, we had two families over for dinner.  We made a traditional American meal to share a bit of our culture with them.  Two of the things that we made were deviled eggs and sweet tea.  These were a HUGE HIT!!!  Mo seriously makes the best sweet tea in the world!!!

All that know me would not use “good cook” as a way to describe me.  However…word has gotten out here in the village that I am a good cook!  Praises and to His name be the glory!!!  I have now shared sweet tea and deviled eggs (aka los hueves a la diabla) with several of the women here…

…and then we sit on their porch and muddle through this crazy language called Spanish!!!

Who would have thought that God would use deviled eggs and sweet tea to bridge this language barrier?


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We’re in!

Hi all!  We are finally in our house, electricity is working, and we have internet…at this exact moment.  It is the DR and that could change before I get this post typed!  Here is what we have been up to:

When we first arrived in the DR, we stayed with our friends, Melanie and Fernando, in Santo Domingo.  They were so gracious to allow our 2 crazy dogs and us to stay with them from Tuesday until Saturday.  They helped us get phones and a truck…and gave us lots of good pointers about living here.  Thank you, Melanie and Fernando.  The girls really enjoyed playing with their precious daughter, Tessa.

We moved into our house on Saturday.  Melanie, who works for Re-Vision, had purchased the most beautiful table for our dining room, beds, and gorgeous rocking chairs for our front porch.  She was still working toward getting the rest of the furniture.  It actually worked out great because we had extra space to put boxes while trying to get everything organized.  We lost electricity around 6:00 that night, had no internet, and no working refrigerator to store food.  Interestingly enough, we weren’t stressed out about it at all!  God is definitely holding us and giving us strength that we alone would never have!

We have friends that live in Cabrera about 10 minutes from the beach.  They asked us if we would like to come up, watch the Super Bowl, and stay overnight with them.  Cabrera is about 3.5 hours from where we live.  We figured “Why not?”.  We had no electricity and the kids were about at their breaking point.  Our friends have 2 kids so it would be nice for them to play with kids that speak English!  We loaded up the kids and 2 dogs and headed north.  It really was a gr-8 break from all of the madness and gave us just enough time to recharge our own batteries!  The beaches there are postcard beautiful!

When we got home, Fernando and his crew were busy getting things working properly.  We are so thankful that he has taken such pride in this house and such good care of us! Our electricity has been working gr-8!  We still haven’t figured out the refrigerator situation. It only works when the city electricity is on, which is only about 5 hours out of the day.  Originally, we were getting a propane refrigerator but they are crazy expensive, and we don’t think they are worth it.

Slowly, we are getting the house organized, and it really is starting to feel like home.  We have WAY too much stuff for this little space…and all of our stuff still isn’t here.  The remainder is coming around the 15th of February.  Most of that stuff is the craft items and home decor.  As much as I would LOVE to already have my decor, I am kinda glad it isn’t here yet so I can focus on organizing a much smaller space than we had in the states.

The girls will start 1/2 day school at the private school tomorrow.  They will do their American studies (homeschooling) in the morning and then go to the private school from 2-5.  Please pray that this is an easy transition for them.  No one speaks any English at the school, and the girls know very little Spanish.  They are already little celebrities with the kiddos in the village…and is absolutely precious!

Mo has been crazy busy.  I don’t think that I have ever seen him so stressed out.  He has been trying to figure out how to drive in the city.  I almost want to post of video of the crazy madness that they call driving.  He is so brave!  He says that his biggest challenge is communication…which is odd…because he speaks Spanish so well!

Dare I say it…I have actually been enjoying myself!  I have met many of my neighbors.  They have been extremely helpful showing me where to get the things that I need.  They don’t call the women “housewives” here.  They call them “Lovers of the home”.  I really like that and love to see the joy they seem to take in their homes and chores.  These ladies are hardcore, tough-as-nails REAL women!!!  Every single day, they cook breakfast, get the kids to school, sweep, mop, wash laundry, hang it to dry, then cook a HUGE meal for lunch because everyone comes home for lunch.  Laundry is HARD!  I described the process on THIS POST.  The other day, I did not finish my “chores” until almost 4:00.  I looked out my windows and saw all the others women were sitting around chatting with one another.  They had finished all their chores before lunchtime!  Yes, comparison is a joy-killer in ALL countries!   I decided to give myself a break because I had a meeting at the school that morning, another meeting with the lady that cooks for our mission teams, and people were in and out of our house fixing things, PLUS I homeschooled the girls that morning.

I have so much more that I want to share, but this post is already insanely long!  I have tons of pictures that I want to post also.  Hopefully, we will have internet tomorrow so I can post again.

God really is good!  He has provided for us in so many ways to help make this transition easier.  He has guarded and protected us.  He has comforted us and provided a peace that transcends all reasoning.  This move has been STRESSFUL and there has been  LOTS  some yelling!  At the end of the day, our family is intact, laughing, and settling into this new lifestyle.  Thanks for all of your prayers!  God is hearing them and taking gr-8 care of these cRaZy Ludlams!!!