Today was a day filled with multiple meetings, a lot of errands around town, kid pick-up and drop-offs for school, ballet, and guitar, and dinner at the guesthouse to say “until next time” to the teams and to celebrate Jon’s birthday. It was a fast-paced, bouncing around from here to there day, but my favorite part of my day was when all seven in-country American staff members (I already told you in the last blog post that I do not like to refer to myself as a missionary) came around a table at the guesthouse to do a Bible study together. We had decided to work through a series titled “Community”. Today’s session highlighted the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son in Luke 15 and talked about how much God cares for us. It asked us some challenging questions like.. Do you resist God because you don’t fully trust him? Do you struggle to trust God’s love for you- and therefore turn the relationship into a combination of just the right belief and ritual to get God to do what you want Him to do?
God has already demonstrated His trustworthiness when He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins. What more do we need?
The moment of us coming together to wrestle with these questions and talk more about how we can support one another to pursue life changing trust in God was really special to me. One thing that I miss the most about our Stateside home is our small group Bible study time. The Stateside group will never be replaced and will always be there to welcome us in during the few weeks that we travel back to visit, but we also have a community here. We have accountability here. We have a community of both American and Dominican believers and I really appreciate the blessing in that.
April was a month of anticipated transition for us. Because there were not a lot of teams on site, Jason and I spent time thinking and learning about the behind-the-scenes part of our roles at Solid Rock. I know we don’t have it all figured out yet, but I am glad that we have the opportunity to transition into the roles slowly and that not everything is brand new to us all at once. For example, I am not trying to figure out what the Spanish word for paprika is or where the grocery store is located at the same time that I am meeting the director of the hospital in San Juan and why it is important for me to have a relationship with him and the history of the relationship of our ministry and the hospital.
Jason’s parents joined us for 2.5 weeks and we did spend a whole week of vacation in the La Romana area. God’s beauty and artwork never ceases to amaze me on this island. We explored a cave and enjoyed some beach and pool time. Back in San Juan, we worked on repainting our home to colors that we liked and that defined us a bit better than the original colors of the home. We also asked our landlord to install a few more extra cabinets in the kitchen, knowing that we are committed to staying here for at least another 3 years. There were native DR cooking lessons by Miriam for Gram and Pap. We invited a few of the Dominican ministry assistants over to spend time with us- again intentionally building community and a time to get to know each other better.
Both of my babies have birthdays in the spring. Ethan turned 10 on April 22 and Miriam turns 7 on May 9. It has been exciting to watch them grow here. Their Spanish has really improved over the past school year and I accredit most of that to the fact that they are attending DR school from 8-12:30 during the week. They each find their own ways to serve as well and each night we pray that they would see the work that Jesus has for them. Over the past few weeks I have been praising Jesus for Ethan’s attitude towards DR school. Socially, he was really struggling there at the beginning of the year. I prayed about it daily-sometimes alone- and sometimes we prayed over it together. Yesterday, on the way home from school, I realized that he used the word friend when he was telling me something about his day. I smiled to myself and thought, Lord-this is one of your miracles. We also realized that one of the kids that is more like him (quiet, logical, reserved) lives 2 blocks away so we set up a play date for tomorrow afternoon.
As part of Jason’s transition into his new role and responsibilities, he has to transfer all of the breeder rabbits that he raised previously under COB ministries to trained participants. Along with some local church leadership from San Juan, he recently trained a few new families how to raise rabbits in a remote community outside of San Juan. He will continue to have a “consultant” type of relationship with this project. The rest of his herd that remains will go to the trained participants within the Church of the Brethren ministry already established.
It has been so amazing to work beside and learn from Nicole Eby Rodriguez. She is an inspiration to me. She is constantly there cheering me on and filling me in on a ton of information. She steps back when I ask her to allow me to try to complete it on my own. We care about one another and are sensitive to each others needs- which has created a marvelous learning environment. I will miss her deeply when she moves stateside, but she will remain with me…. not because I know that she is only a phone call or email away… no.. because of the love that we share for caring for the Dominican people and for one another…
Community.. God created community.