Kelsi Smurr | Solid Rock

Kelsi Smurr | Solid Rock

Adjusting to life in San Juan

You know what’s not easy? Starting a new job, with a week off.

I know that sounds very weird, but after my first official week in the Dominican following the Pine Hills trip, the SRI staff had a much-deserved week off to rest and prepare for the next stretch of teams. While I enjoy what I used to refer to as “do nothing days” at home, I’ll admit it was a little hard not having a team for me that week. So I of course started looking at all the things I could help organize and clean, which is also something I love doing; purging & organizing. I quickly thought, ok I’ll do one space a day during the week and get so much accomplished. I accomplished a few things, but not all.

It would be very typical for me to make myself busy so I don’t have to sit and process how I am feeling. A week with no teams means a week with alone time. Lonely isn’t a feeling a lot of people want to experience, or are willing to even put themselves in situations to possibly feel. Don’t get me wrong, Katelyn and I did a lot of things, going to the store, cooking together, finding the plant store, exploring new restaurants but in the evenings, she even hosted a galantines party for the girls! But, when you truly sit to think about just moving to a new country 2 weeks before, you surely can start to feel a little lonely, and missing your family and friends. But isn’t it true you can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely? Ultimately, my loneliness can only be answered through my relationship with Jesus.

Balance is another thing that will be key for me serving as the Ministry Assistant Coordinator. In my role, I will help Katelyn host the teams at the guest house, but I also will be working with Sarah to help with barrio teams and other medical-related things. It’s important to me to find balance in how I can support both Katelyn and Sarah in their roles. I’m just getting to know Katelyn, and have enjoyed our time together! So I’m looking forward to working with her over the next few years. I have known Sarah since 2020 when we first served on a week-long mission together, and I’m looking forward to working with her and helping support her!

Since moving to San Juan as I mentioned before, I found the plant store! I had several house plants at home that I entrusted my younger sister to keep alive, so I had to get a few starter plants to start to make my room feel like home! I could have bought way more than two plants, so I think I’ll be making a return visit to the nursery!

I’ve been able to attend a few Sunday services at Iglesia Evangelica Menonita Central (MC) which is a church that my home church Pine Hills Church (PHC) partners with. Behind the platform is a backdrop that reads “Todos a la mesa” which means everyone at the table. Personally, it’s such a good reminder that Jesus has room for everyone at his table, including me. And it serves as a good conviction to make sure I’m welcoming every single person to our tables with an open and loving heart. I’m looking forward to spending Sunday mornings at MC!

I’ve gotten to go out with the last three Barrio teams and serve with them on Mondays and Tuesdays. I have enjoyed getting to know different members from all the teams, and hearing their stories and what brought them to the Dominican Republic. Every team is a little different, and every team teaches me a little bit more about how I can best help in my role. It’s important to me to get to know the Dominican Staff and be able to invest in true relationships with them, they have all been very welcoming and encouraging as I have joined the staff.

I also started driving! This week I started helping to transport teams from the clinic back to the guesthouse. One team member asked me how I had learned to drive here. I said “Umm I’m still learning”, as we pulled out of the clinic site. I’m getting more used to driving in San Juan every day, I try to drive as much as I can.

Prayer Requests:

  • God would continue to reveal why he called me to the DR, and that anything I do here would be through his will and not my own.
  • Building relationships with Dominican and American Staff.
  • Spanish Lessons
  • Continued fundraising
  • Safety Driving
  • Finding Balance
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