Bendiciones from the Dominican Republic! Today, being Sunday, we went to church in the morning and then to Cuesta Arena in the afternoon. The church service this morning was amazing and awe-inspiring. Pastor Sairy decided she wanted this week’s service to be all about praise, so instead of the usual church service, we spent most of the hour and a half singing. Jordan and I have been working with the praise group at the church for the past week and a half, and today, we sang all of the new songs we’ve been learning. I cannot describe the feeling I had singing all of these songs with my Dominican church family. The powerful words and beautiful harmonies of the songs and instruments were very moving, and I felt so privileged and blessed to be singing with such amazing people in such an amazing church.
After church and lunch, we packed up the van and headed to Cuesta Arena. Today, we continued painting the inside of the school and distributed bags of rice and beans to some of the families in the community. There was hardly a moment this afternoon that you could walk in the school and not see children helping, filling in cracks in the walls with concrete and rolling vanilla-colored paint on the walls.
Also, today, Guillermo told us that one toilet in the bathroom of the house is functioning. In order to flush it right now, you have to pour a bucket of water in the tank, but all the same, it works. It is so amazing to see the children’s reaction to the new toilet. When they first saw it in the building, they were overflowing with energy and excitement. They then started taking what seemed like hundreds of pictures of it- of the lid open, of the lid closed, of each other sitting on it… etc. Seeing something like this is yet another reminder for me (there have been many) that there are so many things we take for granted every day. When is the last time I rejoiced, jumping up and down in excitement, upon seeing a toilet?
There are so many ways I could sum up my last 12 days, but I want to do so with one word- happiness. Whether working in Cuesta Arena, singing at the church, spending time with the Pastor and her family, or taking in all of the beautiful mountains and crowded city streets, I have been constantly filled with an adoration and love of God’s creation. A few nights ago, I wrote this in my journal:
One thing I know is that right now, I am happy. Happy to be here in this country with so many people who I love. Happy to be lying in a tiny room on an uneven bed with a fan blowing on full blast, still not quite able to mask the stickiness in the air. I am happy to be able to share in worship and adoration with the members of the church praise team. I’m happy to take cold showers in water that I can’t ingest without getting sick. I’m happy to bounce along pothole-filled roads in the trunk of a car that is holding twice as many people as it was intended to. I’m happy to eat Mommi’s delicious food until I literally want to bust. I’m happy to sit out on the porch at night, struggling over the rhythms and words of a new song I’m trying to learn in Spanish. But most of all, I am happy to be loved by an awesome, powerful, and omnipresent God who knows my name and every longing of my heart. And I am happy to serve Him.