Hola from Jarabacoa!
With two full nights of sleep, we are finally getting into the swing of things, and life is looking up. Some of us have tried fresh papaya for the very first time, and others of us are finding cockroaches on our walls and noticing little lizards zip under our suitcases and behind window frames. We fall asleep to the sound of howling dogs and wake up to the squawking of roosters and the loud meow of the camp kitten (named “Pizza” after our first meal in the Dominican).
Although the sounds, smells, and sites of this place are different, the people are loving beyond words and the spirit of Christ is very much alive. We are so SO thankful for the camp staff and the local ministry team. They have been incredibly welcoming to us since the moment we stepped foot off the plane.
The translators are some of the kindest people I think I’ve ever met, and each one has made it easy for those of us unfamiliar to the Dominican Republic to begin to understand the culture. The theme of today’s devotion is “New Relationships,” and it carries over to our lives seamlessly. Those of us who didn’t know each other very well before the trip are bonding over whiffle ball and late night card games. We are learning the translator’s stories over dinner tables, and are finding our hearts getting attached to the big brown eyes of the Dominican kids running about camp.
This morning we started off our ministry in two different churches. We prayed, worshipped, shared testimonies, preached from God’s Word, and spent time talking with the people of the church before and after the services. The church my group went to was a relatively small building with three rooms: one for the main service, a second for a children’s service, and another that must have been an overflow or storage room. I was surprised and uplifted by the number of kids at the service, and I’m hopeful to see at least a few of them again as we begin VBS this week. They were beyond cute, of course. We sang songs in Spanish, but I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that it didn’t feel like another language. God was definitely in that room, and I can only hope and pray that hearts were touched.
In 30 minutes we will be leaving for El Montana and Buenos Aires to lead the services in those churches. Be praying for the Spirit of God to lead us so that we exalt the name of Christ and that the body of Christ is built up. We’ve only been here two days, and it’s already starting to feel like it will be hard to leave. To the parents and families who are worrying about us back in the states: you have nothing to fear. Continue to pray for us; we still have much to understand as we learn to love the people here. God’s work is just beginning.
We love and miss you very much,