The day started out very hot. My cotton shirt did not hold up well to the sweat! We walked through the community handing out rice and beans to families who would speak with us.
I got to see Rosa and her baby girl. Rosa and her sister were headed to graduation so they were all dressed up!
There was one lady we visited that really inspired me. I am guessing she is in her 70s or 80s. She was cooking Tamarind in her backyard. Unlike many yards, hers was clean of trash, except for one old toilet in the middle. Her yard was full of all of God’s provisions for her – sweet apples, coconuts, cherries, some type of seed grown locally, two pigs, and chickens. It began raining hard so she invited us into her small, clean home and put chairs out for us. She told us about her son who was in a motorcycle accident, which is not that surprising since the Dominicans drive a little crazy. He broke his wrist and femur, and was having surgery at 1pm. We had the opportunity to pray for her and her son as the rain pounded on the tin roof. It was beautiful and an opportunity provided purposefully by God.
After lunch and siesta, we had children’s church again. I have learned in the Dominican that you do not visit people between 12 and 2 because that is a time for rest. The church was filled with beautiful Dominican children from the HMM community. I love that they scream praise songs to the Lord like no one’s business. Michael, Sanson, and Alejandro are great with the kids but talk so fast that I am not sure I could keep up even if I knew a little Spanish!
After church, I realized something that was profound for me. I thought it was the children here that desire affection but maybe it’s more me than them… or it is at least even. Here’s the honesty and it’s not pretty: There is a little boy named Dariel. He is so precious and loves to be held. But, he also knows that I have candy. Because I have given him candy every day, he now comes up to me, seeks me out, when he wants the “chocolata” aka Tootsie Rolls. I find myself disappointed when he doesn’t want to come see ME without the promise of candy.
I asked myself tonight how many times my relationship with God is like that? I know God has the power to heal, to protect, to provide, to forgive, and so much more… anything I need, he can provide if he chooses. But I often come to him when I want something from him rather than seek him out for a relationship. I come with expectation for something good, just like Dariel.
What if I stopped expecting God to give me things and came more with an open heart to God’s will and love for me? It shouldn’t be about what God can do for me, but all about what he has already done for me on the cross. Knowing the sacrifice he made for me and the grace he extends freely to me is enough for me to desire sitting at his feet, listening to his words and wisdom, growing in my relationship with him because I love him, like a child that loves her Father.
I have to work on this. It’s easy to gain perspective when you are far from the world you live in daily. The real test is when you re-enter that world. Good thing I am writing so I can go back and remember this experience!
We went into Barahona and celebrated Katherine’s birthday with delicious ice cream and cake. I was so stuffed, but the HMM ladies prepared an amazing dinner… zucchini lasagna, tuna pasta, and plantain balls stuffed with mozzarella. The verdict is out, I will NOT be losing weight on this mission trip as I had hoped. So worth it though… the ladies in the kitchen are a blessing to us. We are so very thankful for their love and kindness to us and our stomachs!
We had church this evening, and Michael preached about God’s will. How do we know God’s will? First, we have to be children of God and submit to him, obey him, and deny ourselves. We can’t know his will without being his child. Then, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, speak with BOLDNESS when we tell others about Jesus, and have compassion for others. The Bible tells us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Not just on mission trips… but when the trip is over and we go home to communities in just as much need, if not more, for God’s word.
To learn more about Hispaniola Mountain Ministries (HMM), go to www.gohmm.org. It’s a wonderful organization and a great place to go on a mission trip!