July 23, 2009

Day 2: Set. . .

I’m going to make this quick because I REALLY don’t want to spend my time on the computer while we're here, but…

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!)
It was a fabulous first day. We're beginning to experience first-hand how God’s grace knits each of us together, and binds us to our Dominican brothers and sisters. It is truly an awesome privilege.

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 midItalicst 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.

God bless!

P.S. I wish I could post pictures to better show you the amazing sights, but that process takes too long. Perhaps when we return.


Sue J. said...

That you are posting at all truly is a sweet treat, like cana, I guess!

Tree stumps are hard enough to get out with saws and iron rods to pry. But, these folks have learned to use what they are given, as you said, and could probably level a few stumps in my yard with a machete in no time!

Great lesson in that--learning to use what you have. I've no doubt that they are extremely grateful for everything that comes on top of that. Even as you extend grace, I'm sure you see God's grace in their eyes. That is the joy of working side by side (and they'll know we are Christians by our love....)

Day #1 and you already have more to write than you have time--there's blessing! Looking forward to more when you can, and after you return.

Be well! Stay away from bugs....

Runner Mom said...

Good morning, Kelli!! WOw! How exciting! I will keep y'all in my prayers while you are there! Stay hydrated, my friend!

I love the part that you shared about grace! God is so good and amazing! Thanks for extending that grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the DR.

Can't wait to hear abut the rest of the trip!

Love ya!

Laura said...

Awesome, Kelli!

I'm still praying...

Peggy said...

Great post and thank you for the time you took to post. This allows all of us to share.
I have been following the Bahamas Troup with "SUPREME Leader" Dan and faithful sidekick "Tonto" Rob.they are also posting on you- tube.
Take care, all of you in the DR.
My love and prayers are with you and I know that God is working and strengthing you each day.
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Saleslady371 said...

I pray that the grace of God is evident everywhere you step your foot. I love sugar cane! I had it in Costa Rica!

Anonymous said...

You leave me craving to do another mission trip myself!

(I think we used chains to pull out our stumps!)

I am glad you are there...exactly where God wants you in this very moment.