Voy a dar una vuelta. I am going to take a spin around the block. This is a phrase that I heard practically every day at our home in San Juan. Ethan or the neighborhood boys would always take our bikes for one last spin around the block before putting them away for the evening. I sure do miss our San Juan neighborhood and hearing the kids playing together outside. We keep trying to make plans to get back to San Juan, but I feel like we keep “dando vueltas”. We keep turning circles and end up right back at the starting point. I feel like we are lost in a corn maze and we can see the exit, a symbol of our return to the DR, but we cannot figure out how to get there. There are too many obstacles that keep popping up and make us change directions. We turn one way and the next, only to end up right back where we started. We had expressed to you all before that we all planned to return to San Juan as a family in January. We knew that winter in PA in a 2 bedroom apartment would be a challenge. It is now January 25, and unfortunately, our plans have been delayed again.
Our former plans were to have my left shoulder checked out at the beginning of the month by orthopedics and put a plan in place for potential surgery and/or treatment before teams resumed for SRI. We had March in mind, thinking that we could spend some time in the DR first and then travel back for the surgery. Unfortunately, the appointments and MRI revealed that my shoulder has several tears and the recovery could be a lot longer than we were expecting. I will not know how long I will need to be in a sling until the day of surgery, after the operation. It could be anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Afterwards, I will need physical therapy. The uncertainty of healing time that came with this diagnosis prevented us from feeling comfortable with a January return to the DR and a US surgery date in March. We did not want anything to cause a delay in being on the ground for teams if indeed they are able to come to San Juan in the spring. After a phone conversation with the SRI office, we decided to try to schedule the surgery ASAP. The surgery date is tentatively scheduled for February 5. Please pray for a successful surgery and recovery.
We continue to work from this side and are grateful that we can continue in ministry with the help of technology. I just finished wrapping up my year-end report for the Child Nutrition Program. I input data into Amway’s template for 8 hours on Saturday. It served as a reminder that my eyes are aging and I really need to get an eye exam at some point soon. It also served as a reminder that SRI’s ministry is still ongoing and has been all throughout this pandemic. Even though it is a lot of numbers, I do love to see the difference in weight and height in 6 months in each child. I know that the CNP plays such an important role in these children’s lives.
Ethan and Miriam continue with homeschool. Overall, I am super proud of the way that they have handled the situation over the past 11 months. Things have not always been easy. We have had many disappointments and changed plans. We have had tears, times of anger, and very frustrating moments. They, specifically, have longed for their own bedrooms that they know that they have in the DR. They miss their friends that they did not even have a chance to say goodbye to. They are curious about and want to know how to respond to things in the news. They ask us some difficult questions and we don’t have all the answers.
At the start of the new year, our small group started a new Bible study in the book of Psalms. Each day, we have a daily reading and a series of questions to think about. We then meet on Zoom weekly (men one week, woman another) to discuss and hold each other accountable. It has been a great study thus far and I am looking forward to continuing it. The Psalms are so full of emotions and it reminds me that it is okay to lament, be confused, or even feel abandoned. It is also okay to praise God for all that He is and all that He is going to be even if all of those other feelings are present. Many Psalms start out with an expression of hopelessness only to enter into a time of praise. Sometimes, it takes a praise song to nudge me to take a step forward, to risk hope, and to give my heart to God each day. He is shaping us and molding us all throughout this journey and I suppose I would not want it any other way (even if I feel like I must convince myself of that).
I will leave you from a few pictures from December when the kids experienced a big snowstorm and sled riding for the first time in 4 years, a Christmas Eve photo, and some prayer requests. We are so glad that you are all with us while we navigate this corn maze. We could not do it without all of your support!
- My shoulder surgery and recovery as mentioned above.
- Mood and relational attitudes towards one another during winter in this small space.
- Discernment & Wisdom
- Endurance for our Dominican partners and staff.
- COVID-19, vaccinations, and all that goes with it.