Thanks for your comments from yesterday’s post. I shared them with our team. And thanks to our Bahamas mission trip brothers and sisters. We’re praying for you -- go with God!
First of all, it’s amazing what a good night of sleep will do to restore and refresh!! We’re back from our first day on the work site, sitting on the roof of our house, hanging out until dinner and enjoying a pleasant breeze.
Today was our first day on the work site. There’s so much more to write than I have time for. I don’t even think words can do the day justice. Our main goal was to prepare the site for setting columns and foundation. This consisted of moving lots and lots and lots of rocks, and digging enormous holes, which also involved—moving lots and lots of rocks. But the main job was removing five trees, including stumps—using only pickaxes, axes and machetes!! Everyone had a chance to jump in and chop away, but to watch the Dominicans yield these tools of destruction and tame the trees into submission was truly a sight to behold.
A few words sum up the day:
- Machete (Anything and I mean anything can be chopped down with one of these! Picture Lucas, one of the site maestros with a machete in one hand and a Bible in the other--really!)
- Cana (sugar cane that a passing man sold like we sell ice cream. Eating it was like chewing on a stick with sweet liquid inside.)
- Coco (coconuts that the kids gathered up from one of the fallen trees. We hacked them open . . . with a machete, of course. . . and drank the liquid.)
- Limoncilla (little fruits with the appearance of tiny limes that came off one of the trees we chopped down. Honestly they were like sweet-tart, gooey, stringy eyeballs. But the Dominican children loved them…and so did some of our kids.)
- Amigo (“friend” The Dominicans young and small are unbelieably warm and friendly.)
- Ninos (“kids” This is definitely a kid-friendly experience for both gringos and Dominicans!)
- Pica (“bite” like… “Be careful, that bug bites [and usually has a million legs!”])
- Agua (In the blazing sun we drank vats of it)
- HOT (Forget about sweating, it was like we were leaking!)
Here’s today’s thought that I wrote for our trip’s devotional:
Each of us came on this trip for different reasons. Maybe you came to serve God…or maybe you came to find God. Maybe you’re here because you had to or because you thought you should. Right now you might be excited, joyful, nervous, anxious, tired or cranky. Your heart may be overflowing with God’s love or it might be parched and dry. No matter where you are or why you came, God has a plan for you in this place.
Any charitable group can come to the DR to build, teach and offer medical care. Many can even do it better than we do. But, as Christians, we come here to offer the one thing the world can’t offer—grace. Grace sets us apart from the world. So, here in the DR, we’re not just builders, teachers and helpers, we’re dispensers of grace. But what is grace?
Through Jesus, grace is God’s amazing, unending, perfect love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached; and it goes against every human instinct.
As Philip Yancey says in "What’s So Amazing About Grace?" Grace is
Christianity’s best gift to the world, a spiritual nova in our midst exerting a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. It comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it. Simply put, grace means there’s nothing
we can do to make God love us more. And grace means there is nothing we can do
to make God love us less.
With every song we sing, prayer we utter, wall we demolish, batch of concrete we mix, hug we share, tear we cry, we are being built together in a legacy of grace tracing all the way back to Jesus. As we work mano a mano to deconstruct and reconstruct, let the Spirit of God tear down walls in your own heart and let his grace do a new work in you.