June 24, 2010

Grace Like Rain

We’re here in Santo Domingo. Safe and sound. It’s the end of our first full day…and our first day on the work site. For those of us who have been here before, it was great to see old friends. Newcomers made friends in no time at all. Now we’re one big, happy bunch. Dominicans and Americans.

If one word could sum up today it was MUD. It’s been raining here for days. The work site looked more like we’re building a swimming pool than a church. Some of the kids actually did swim in the giant muddy pools of water!

Even with all the rain we managed to get a lot done. Trenches were dug. Rebar was cut, bent and tied together. Kids were played with. Piles were shoveled. And even some concrete was poured. We finished the work day tired, soaking wet and incredibly dirty but thrilled for the progress we made and oh, so happy to be here.

The highlight of today was our devotion this evening. We met in small groups first and then joined for large group worship and sharing. It was our first time joined together in this type of gathering. It was great to refocus on our real reason for being here. Besides a sharing powerful singing (us Presbyterians can sing loud when we want to!), we shared a lot of laughter as well.

Our small groups shared their impressions from the day and our trip so far. Here’s what some of the folks said:

I came because my nine-year-old daughter saw the slide show from last year and her young friend was in one of the pictures. She said, “Mom, he was in the DR and he’s MY age! Next year I want to go!” I never thought I’d do something like this, but now my daughter and I are here together.

The thing I feared most was the lack of amenities -- cold shower, really hot weather with no air conditioning and questionable bathrooms. I’m surprised by how none of that bothers me now.

What amazed me the most today was the teamwork. Everybody focused on the goal of the minute. Whatever needed to be done people did. Whether we needed to dig or move a pile of gravel or form a bucket line, we worked as one team. It was so awesome to see!

This afternoon, after lunch it was raining so hard that it looked like we were going to have to leave the work site, but Pastor Brony (our maestro) came to us (as we waited under the shelter of a neighbor’s porch) that it was time to mix concrete. Just like that we started moving stones and mixing concrete. We ended up working the entire day. Even though we were drenched, it was amazing how much work we got done.

It was so cool today how quickly all the kids (Dominicans and Americans) played together. Within moments of us getting off the bus it was like one group of children from little ones to teenagers. It didn’t matter that they didn’t speak the same language. They spoke with balls and bubbles and giggles and gestures. All day long they had fun together. That would NEVER happen at home and it made me so happy to watch.

Tomorrow is another work day. Hopefully the rain will stop, but we will do what we can regardless of the weather. We have some things planned that we’ve never done on these trips before, so I’m excited to see how they turn out. Stay tuned…

Dios te bendiga.

Added 7/8/10:


Kelly said...

beautiful and exciting!
thanks for the update!

Cheryl Barker said...

Nothing quite like the joy of making return trips to a particular mission field. May God continue to bless!

Dan said...

I miss this. God exists in this place just outside our comfort zones, and you guys are all seeing Him face-to-face right now. Love to the group. Keep the updates coming, Kel!

Terri Tiffany said...

Enjoy your time there! Sounds like you are! Blessings!

Runner Mom said...

Kelli, praying for y'all while you're there! Enjoy watching how and where God is working...you'll be right beside Him, I'm sure!
Love ya!

Carmen said...

I was raised Presbyterian since that's what my Dad was when he married my Mom. Sounds like you've been busy and wet and muddy! Cold shower? {shudder}....someone's a little spoiled! Glad you're enjoying your time there. I'm sure they're really happy to have you! :)

Sassy Granny ... said...

Rain? Mud?

Sounds like WA State! I've been here a week now and JUST got a glimpse of some blue sky.

I'm sure you're having a huge impact there. What a blessing!


Laura said...

I am praying for you, Kelli. Love to you.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know many are being blessed by your sharing, and we are all praying for you here at Woodside.
Sending my love to all of you, especially the children and youth.