Overall our trip to the Dominican Republic was extremely successful. We persevered through rain, sickness, lack of sleep and extremely difficult work conditions to exceed construction expectations. Concrete block walls rise as testimony to that fact! The vision of a church/school/medical clinic is taking shap♠e.
|After five days on the work site, our progress is remarkable.|
|Jellyfish welt. Ouch!|
Even a brief trip to the mercado for shopping was impeded by incredible traffic and an exploding bus tire. As we all stood on the side of the road during the repair we were treated to a rain shower.
I won’t even go into the issues I had with my hair!
Yet, even though we had few of the comforts of home and were dealt one challenge after another, the spirits of our group remained high. There was little grumbling and complaining. Where people could have quit in resignation or staged a coup, they persevered day in and day out. In fact, most folks are already planning to return next year!
Everyone on the trip has special images that stick in their minds—visual experiences collected like treasures we'll revisit time and again. Here are a few of my favorites:
|Despite a steady downpour, the American and|
Dominican kids gathered to sing some songs.
- Watching the kids, especially my daughter, build relationships, engage and come alive. They all sparkled and I know this experience marked them forever. One little boy said, “This trip is even better than going to Disney World!”
- While I didn't love digging trenches with pick axes and shovels in the blazing sun, I loved working with the Dominicans on the site— working with mecla and a plana to build walls, bending rebar and making columns, and climbing on top of walls to pour concreto. I'll miss Chi Chi, Andres, Ed, Israel, Nelson, Lucman and the others.
|Dave and I worked hard to finish our "windows"|
- Enjoying our afternoon café con leche—despite the fact I was nearing heat stroke on several days.
- Witnessing the church in action. While we built a physical structure with cement blocks and concrete, we became the Church as Jesus intended—each of us living stones, built upon one another and cemented together by the Holy Spirit.
- Saying our tearful goodbyes and seeing how much of an impact ten days had on everyone.
- Coming home and appreciating simple conveniences like clean tap water, being able to flush toilet paper and drivers who follow traffic rules. Certainly all our houses are luxurious mansions by Dominican standards.
|Singing with the kids at VBS in the park.|
|Somehow I ended up being |
one of the dirtiest every day!
While I might not have the giddy emotions of past mission trips, I realize emotions are a fickle friend. God's timing may not be my timing, but it's always perfect. There's no telling the good He has done and will continue to do in me personally, in my children, in each of our team members and in our Dominican brothers and sisters.
On church this past Sunday I was thrilled to reunite with my fellow missionaries, all of us wearing our official red t-shirts. As we shared stories with our church family, I was so proud to be part of this amazing group who stepped out in faith, rose above the challenges and became the hands and feet of Jesus. Seeing this experience with fresh eyes was the reminder I needed (one I need all too frequently)—it's not about me!
"In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (Ephesians 2:20-21)