“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
This was the key verse in Sairy’s message this morning. Get out of the boat and do not be afraid. Sometimes I think that Sairy preaches directly to me.
This afternoon Luis asked me why I came to the Dominican Republic, but more specifically why was I a missionary. I was quickly reminded of God’s call and the many “God moments” ensuring I was in His presence. At the beginning I was partly looking for an escape. I felt there was something else I should be doing with my life. I had been studying Spanish for 9 years and was not currently using it. There were pieces to a puzzle I felt I should have been using but didn’t know where they went.
Everyone I knew was talking about the Dominican Republic, an island I was not familiar with even its geographical location. I tagged along with another group to Duverge, a small town on the southern Haitian border. I immediately fell in love with a three year old, the people, and the country. I loved the city, the country, the school they were starting…..but I knew it was not the place. I was invited to go on an exploratory trip and meet pastors from all over the Dom Rep and explore the projects they were pursuing. We went to Haiti, Dajabon, Monticristi but none of them felt right. We arrived in Santiago at night and something felt right. The next day we traveled through some rice fields, 20 minutes outside the city. I had no idea where I was going but I knew the place at the end of the road was where I would fall in love.
The bus climbed a steep hill and we parked under a mango tree. When we got out of the bus, there were a few children under the tree waiting. Before we knew it, a hundred kids gathered around us. I was in love! We only stayed a few minutes. I got back on the bus and was glued to Sairy’s side asking her questions and wanting to know the story of this place called Cuesta Arena. I later learned that Santiago was not originally a stop on our trip but had been added last minute….for whatever reason. I promised Sairy that day that I would return in 4 months. I have returned just about every four months since then and Sairy, her church, her family, and the families of Cuesta Arena are now a second home.
Jesus called Peter to get out of the boat. Peter immediately got out of the boat but was over come with fear and began to sink. Fear can control our every being. The other day I was walking with Luis (age 17, though he claims 18 since his birthday is in 6 months), Felix (age 10), and Daneury (age 5). The two younger boys were in front of Luis and I and they both suddenly stopped dead in their tracks, mouths wide open, looking at something in a parking lot. As Luis and I caught up to them, we turned to see a rottweiler (which Daneury now refers to as the lion dog). We encouraged them to not stop but to walk faster. For whatever reason, our natural instinct is to freeze when we are afraid. In reality, the dog was old and didn’t even see us, never even barked. But fear can be powerful and infiltrate to the core.
I know God is calling for me to serve, but in what capacity I do not know. I miss greatly my friends and family while I am here and my second family and church when I am in the states. I constantly worry about finances and have no idea how to pay for even 6 months of mission work, let alone longer. Sairy stated this morning that your worth, your value is greater than your fear. God takes great value in the lives of each of his children. God values each of us more than our fear can ever penetrate. We have to decide which we will let have the control of our lives. It sounds like an easy decision….but in the face of lion dogs we often freeze without the ability to comprehend our need to keep moving.