I am going to try and keep this short…but you know me!
I have been to the Dominican Republic to work with Renewed Hope Missions and the Igesia Evangelica Dominicana for four summers now but this week is the first time a full team from my church has come to serve here. I would be lying if I said I haven’t been anxious or worried in the past few days about leading this journey for them but I am constantly reminded of how great our God is and that He is always present and always provides.
This morning we served as helpers for the VBS in Los Cocos and had a great time singing, sharing, and playing with the kids. Wendy and Carolina led the lesson and some of our team members helped in the dramatization of the crucifixion along with Juan Luis playing Jesus. We broke off into our three small groups (determined by age) and helped reinforce with the kids that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We gathered together again to sing our theme song “We Wanna See Jesus Lifted High” and to pray, giving thanks for Jesus and the sacrifice that God made by giving his Son for us.
Flexibility is a word that is essential to remember when serving in the mission field. I had told the team that since it was Saturday, we may not have many extra workers or many jobs in Cuesta Arena but it turns out I could not have been more wrong. We arrived to a stack of cinder blocks waiting to be moved, concrete waiting to be made and five workers and other locals feverishly digging and working on other parts of the wall. I must say I was so proud to see every member of the Round Hill UMC team jump in and work extremely hard today. We were mixing the concrete, carrying water, digging the trench for the foundation, cutting the rebar and assembling the footers, making mortar and many other things. Whatever needed to be done, the team jumped in to serve and continually were asking to relieve their fellow team members when they looked tired or making sure they were hydrated.
Personally I was impacted by the relationships I have been able to make with the workers over the past three weeks I have been here. One of the workers named Rudy invited me over during our lunch break and offered me some of his lunch of yucca and chicken that his wife had prepared even though he knew I also had a sandwich and potato chips. The thing that struck me most about this was that he offered me the food before he even started to eat. It made me wonder how often we would offer someone our “first fruits” that we had just met a little while ago. I gladly accepted but only ate a little bit as I wanted to make sure he was fully nourished as well for a full day’s work. One of the things I have always loved about my time in the Dominican Republic is that the people here are so open and loving. Rudy had already referred to me as family earlier in the short time we have known each other and this openness and acceptance I have experienced is something I pray that I will show to others here in the D.R. and back home. Not only did it make me feel great and give me a new friend but it also made the work we were doing so much more enjoyable! May we all learn to treat each other with such love that we might continue to grow our family as brothers and sisters in Christ.
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