Recently, I spent another amazing week in the Dominican Republic. I have fallen in love with the people and the country! Here’s a little of what I experienced while there . .
My expectations were running high for this trip. I had such a wonderful time the previous year and wanted all we had experienced then and more! I felt myself already comparing the previous trip to the upcoming one and I hadn’t even left yet. As the time drew closer God began to press upon me the importance of being “all there” on this new venture. Present in every moment . . . not wishing for previous experiences, not comparing and coming up disappointed.
I felt God calling me out. Calling me to something deeper. As wonderful as my previous trip was, He wanted me to experience new and unexpected moments. He made His intentions very clear as I watched all of my expectations and desires stripped away, one by one.
It was as if God was peeling off the layers of my heart, each more painful than the last. Until all I was left with was an undivided, pure, tiny heart now finally ready to receive all that God had for me on this brand new adventure with Him.
And He gave me so much . . .
Moments of grace as I held a terrified baby having his tendon clipped so he would walk and run and play unhampered by his deformity.
Moments of friendship forged in the dirt and poverty of this beautiful third world country. Experiences shared as we painted rooms, prayed over children in the hospital, held crying babies and hugged hurting mothers. We could literally feel the bonds of friendship wrap around our group like an invisible thread of light in places filled with darkness. It was beautiful. Eye-catching. Breathtaking. God’s love manifested in the lives of ordinary women who accepted the call, stepped out of all that was comfortable and did what Jesus would do.
Moments of sheer terror as we traversed the crazy streets of Santo Domingo, driving into oncoming traffic and pulling into the right lane just in the nick of time.
Moments of joy in witnessing God’s healing hand on a little girl named Daniella who now can walk!
Moments of uproarious laughter playing Telephone Pictionary during down time with the group, sliding off bus seats as we rounded corners at break neck speeds and watching the children’s joy at a blind man being healed by Jesus.
Moments of just plain silly fun!
Moments of tears at the poverty and hopelessness around us. Tears of awe and amazement by a woman named Evelyn who was a street-kid herself now enveloping unwanted kids in the love of Jesus. Tears of sadness as I glimpsed a man bear crawl his way along the beach, unable to stand due to his deformities, with a smile as wide as the ocean.
Moments of sheer happiness in the reunion of my very special great grandma friend! An unexpected and treasured gift. I will forever hold in my heart the moment we laid eyes on each other. Sweet cherished precious moments.
Moments of fun as we painted those beautiful little brown faces, made balloon animals, handed out toys, drew pictures on cement, painted fingernails, blew bubbles, watched children’s faces light up with pure happiness and mother’s dance for joy as they received a little mesh bag with a toothbrush and other necessities.
Moments of beauty when the language barrier became no barrier at all.
Moments of love as we carried much needed groceries into a tiny orphanage teeming with children and visited with a family in their humble home so proud of their tiny backyard with one little chicken in a cage.
Moments I will hold close to my heart for a lifetime!
Taking the child in his arms, Jesus said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the One who sent me.” (Mark 9.36-37)