Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30

Over the past few days, the beginning of my work with Mission Emanuel has officially begun. I spent Saturday getting acquainted with the rest of the summer staff, which is a group of 11, with 3 adult leaders, 6 college students, and 2 high school students. As the summer goes on, our staff will fluctuate in size as students finish school, or find a couple of weeks off of work to help serve. We were quickly forced to start our work, as a group was scheduled to arrive that night. Four staff members headed to the airport to meet up with the group, while the rest of us prepared their rooms and ensured the hotel we are staying at would be ready to accommodate everything the group would need. Once they arrived, we got their luggage together and checked them in, then headed to a group meeting, where we ate and had the opportunity to meet some of the group, who are from Montgomery, Alabama. They are a mix of high school students, college students, and families that have come to help serve in the community. The rest of the night was very low key, and we closed the night with a great time of fellowship as a staff, sharing some of our thoughts on serving in the Dominican Republic and what God has been teaching us leading up to coming here, as well as a few of our expectations.
This morning, we woke up and headed to church in the community of Cielo, which is just outside Santo Domingo and is where I will be serving this summer. Part of what I love about the Dominican Republic is worshiping with the people here. There is something about the experience that brings unity to everyone and breaks down the language barriers that restrict communication between the Americans and the Dominicans. Smiles are shared, hands are lifted, and joy is felt, and everyone in the room knows exactly why. Everyone is worshiping the same God, praising him for the rescue, grace, and acceptance he has provided. I'm am greatly looking forward to the next service on Wednesday, and the rest of them while I'm down here.
After church, I headed to Ian, my sponsor child's, house to give him some gifts, because it was his birthday yesterday. I had collected a few things while I was home, with some help, and brought them to his house with two other staff members. Initially, he was a little shy, but he warmed up as we got to spend more time with him. His family was amazing, opening their house up and telling me "Mi casa es tu casa" which means "my house is your house." I'm blown away by the immediate hospitality and love that I feel here. I'm already seeing Christ in the Dominicans and my fellow staff members and can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28

My summer in the Dominican has officially begun. Surprisingly, I had no problems with my flights coming down here, and arrived at the hotel after an eventful cab ride that began with the low gas light being on and ended with me finding the hotel before my driver, Emilio. I unpacked a little, did some reading, and just relaxed, since I was the first person from Mission Emanuel summer staff to arrive. Today has been pretty easy going as well. I've mostly relaxed, read, and stayed inside since it was raining for a while during the day. Thankfully the weather didn't cause any delays, and most of the other staff members should arrive later tonight. As the group gets here, I'll get a better idea of what the rest of the weekend and next week looks like. For now, I'm just watching Los Celtics play El Magic 'en vivo' thanks to ESPN Deportes. I'll be posting pictures periodically as well, so everyone can get a better sense of where I am and what I'm doing.