To say that I’m feeling nostalgic would be an understatement. Being back in the DR had me feeling all the feels – feeling so deeply. Deep compassion, deep sympathy, joy, connection, closeness. Having the opportunity to be the hands + feet of Jesus, in a number of different ways, was a feeling incomparable to anything I have ever experienced. Construction, prayer walks, VBS, just to name a few.
After being able to connect with so many beautiful Dominican people this week, I am absolutely blown away by how JOYFUL and HOSPITABLE they are in the midst of having nearly nothing. We were able to go on prayer walks throughout the week and were welcomed into homes with open arms. Their homes have tin roofs + wood planks as walls but those homes are so full. Full of prayer + laughter + so much joy. It was a reality check for me, like I’ve never had before.
Our first full day in the DR, we spent at the beach. We started off our beach day with a church service + then spent most of the next several hours in the water. This beach was beautiful. The beach itself was fairly similar to the other beaches I’ve seen in my life but the difference was that this beach was in the heart of a poverty stricken city. A city where homes are in shambles + bathrooms are holes in the ground, yet there was so much natural beauty – in the blue water, the lush greenery, the shells along the shoreline. To me, that is a beautiful image of the Lord’s work. As human beings, we are so very flawed but we serve a God who brings an immense amount of beauty into the most broken places.
One of the most powerful times, for me personally, was during a worship service on day 6 of the trip. A sweet Dominican woman was leading us in a time of worship [in spanish]. As she began to play her piano, I quickly recognized the song. Oceans. This is a song I have heard probably 1,000 times before, but this time was different. Allowing the Lord to truly take me where my trust is without borders – physically, spiritually, and emotionally, is a prayer that I prayed at the beginning of this week and during that service, I realized that in order to do that, I must be willing – I must be willing to give God my whole being and allow Him to take over and do the work from there. Hearing Oceans in Spanish and being in the DR amongst 90 students whose hearts are for the Lord and for this mission added to the power of this moment.
The Lord is at work in mighty mighty ways and after witnessing Dominican kids pray a prayer of accepting the Lord into their hearts, seeing people physically and emotionally healed, watching 90 high school students at work to build a church camp from the ground up in the middle of an incredibly impoverished village, being embedded in a culture that is so impoverished yet so joyful, it is impossible to not believe in the enormity of the Lord’s work.
I’m home now and although I’m thankful for a warm shower, air conditioning, and toilets that flush, I would go back in an instant. No hesitation. I will be back, I promise you that.
¡Hasta Luego, República Dominicana!