Dominican Republic #5

We started off the morning with a devotional about trust. A lot of this week has been about trust. Trusting our team members to walk beside us on this journey, trusting our site leaders to help us integrate into their world and their community, and trusting the Lord to change our hearts to become more like Him. This devotional was a great reminder to take that trust with us when we return home and continue to spread the lessons we have learned here.

After a delicious oatmeal pancake breakfast, we separated for another day of ministry at each site. At the education center, the day began with the smiling faces of the young children who brought plenty of sass, laughter, and creativity. The volleyball site leader, Kendra, took Kamryn and Lauren to the community colmado (a small grocery store) where we bought fruits and vegetables for lunch. When we returned to the education site, we made lunch for many children in the community. They had impeccable manners and a lot of gratitude.

In the afternoon, I was playing volleyball with some of the older girls in the community. They are great learners and love to have fun. I was impressed by their skill, much better than my own, and enjoyed my time with them.

The activity of the night was a poverty simulation. We were placed into families made up of 4 or 5 members and went through scenarios that people might experience in the communities we are serving. On meager wages, families have to decide whether they have enough money to get through the week or whether they will have to pull their young children from school in order to wash windows. They have to decide whether they can afford transportation to work or whether they will have to walk. They have to decide whether they can afford a cement house or purchase a cheaper one-bedroom wooden house that may burn down. They have to decide whether to purchase an expensive water filter, purchase bottled water each day, or drink from the unfiltered canal water. The simulation was a humbling experience that gave me a better appreciation of all of the blessings we enjoy in the US. It has only been a week and yet the simple comforts of the US like toilets, air conditioning, and vehicles become abundantly clear. People in the Dominican Republic make the best of what they have and learn to be resourceful. Through all of their daily struggles and stressful decisions, these people live with overflowing love and generosity. I think we can all learn from them.

I want to wrap up this blog with a verse that has spoke to me. Jeremiah 29:11- “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” In a place where material poverty and lack of resources are prevalent, I am glad we get to spread hope through the love of Christ and experience so much love and joy in return.

- Lauren for the team