Dominican Republic Update 11/28/13
Happy turkey day from the Dominican Republic! I've gotta tell you that trying to explain this holiday to a Dominican was one of the highlights of my day. Trying to express that the pilgrims came over finding the natives thriving, only to be suffering from starvation themselves. Thus, leading to the pity from the native Americans who taught us the art of agriculture, only for the English to turn around and massacre them-certainly an interesting story. Even more interesting when you are trying to explain it to a Dominican native. Confusing at best; but completely worth it simply for the looks of sheer confusion that Nelson so graciously awarded to us.
We had an amazing "Dominican-infused" thanksgiving dinner, but before I go into detail, let's talk about the school day.
I'm relatively positive that today was the best day yet! Going around the table at debrief with our highs and lows, the biggest low was the simple fact that it's way hotter here than we are used to and we weren't prepared to sweat quite this much. I am truly so in love with this culture: the people, the food, the location, and did I mention the people? All of which are so entirely beautiful it's almost unfair. These kids have honestly captured my heart on multiple levels. Today was the greatest day, for the fact that it went smoothly in every area. However, there was a bittersweet atmosphere hanging over us all today seeing as it's the last day that we got to spend with the kids at the school. The last teaching day. Rejoice in the fact that it's the last teaching day, but considering the fact that it was the lasts day at the school total, that's sad. It's hard to build relationships, form a genuine love for these kids and people only to have leave them- it's like ripping our heart out to leave here with them. Today was the day that I finally felt that it all connected. I was finally able to understand what they were trying to say to me, what they wanted from me. To know that they genuinely were interested in holding a conversation with me was extremely encouraging. Seems that God is constantly proving to me that love is enough.
The kids in the "littles" class have stolen my heart. Working alongside the beautiful little ones has been a huge reward for me in that I've been able to witness how much they have progressed in the last few days alone. I can only imagine what they are capable of, and I have the uplifting feeling that it's a lot more than I could dream. As I leave my heart with these kids, I also leave the prayer that they learn to love The Lord with all their heart, unfaltering even in the difficulties that they are certain to face later in life. That though they may not remember us later, they may always remember the love that we have been able to unconditionally pour out on them. I truly believe that that's the most accurate representation of the gospel that we could ever hope to give.
Siting here now, as everyone puts the final donations together, I get the gut wrenching feeling that no matter how bad I want to, I will never have the words to express the amount of gratitude that I have in being a part of something so genuinely beautiful. Even though I am Thousands of miles away from my family, spending thanksgiving evening on a foreign island, there is no better way that I could hope to spend the holiday. Traditionally, thanksgiving is the day that you are able to spend time with the family that you don't so typically have the pleasure to see, catch up, and allow yourself to be completely thankful for what you have been given. Whether that be something as small as running water, or something as huge as being able to spend the holiday on a beautiful island with a beautiful church family and an even more gorgeous culture.
I don't think that there is anything else that I could say to truly express any more thanks, gratitude, or joy for this opportunity. The only thing that I can say is that I believe that God has me here for a reason, and I am so thankful that He has chosen to use me in the lives of these beautiful people, and even used these beautiful people to minister to me personally.