Kelsi Smurr | Solid Rock

Kelsi Smurr | Solid Rock

May Blessings

Change is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Since about mid-April when Joe and Shannon announced that they were going to be stepping down from their position with Solid Rock, we all have known that change was coming. When Jeff and Kamanda shared their desire to be considered for that position, it wasn’t surprising. I think if you know Jeff and Kamanda in the slightest you would know that they are the perfect people for this position, and it allows them to start a new chapter in service with Solid Rock.

April brought the return of teams to San Juan, after a break it was nice to welcome them back! I was able to spend the whole week out with the team working in the barrios. This week was a little different in that we partnered with an organization here in San Juan to help provide care. And let me tell you those two days were busy days! But the doctors, nurses, pharmacy, and ministry assistants all worked together to make those two days run as smoothly as possible seeing 120-150 patients per day. On the last day as we waited for the pharmacy to finish filling needs for patients I sat and played with three little girls who just helped to lighten my spirit after a busy week. 

Most barrio days are busy and long, and one day on our way back to San Juan from La Guama we came across a box truck that lost their brakes and had an accident. Thankfully no one was injured and the driver was able to get the car pulled off into the ditch of the road. Of course, you never drive by someone in need. The Ministry Assistants and Monchy were out helping in the blink of an eye. Monchy was able to help repair their break line and give them brake fluid, but it was beyond us to help get the truck out of the ditch. So of course, we offered a ride down the mountain so he could call someone to come help. We can’t all do everything, but we can all do something. 

Although it made for a long week, I was happy to serve with this barrio team. I missed our ministry assistants and working with them, they are one of the best parts of this job. They give their all to new teams every week to serve the people of the Dominican. They also work hard outside of Solid Rock to make sure they are at their classes and finishing their coursework on time, often having to travel to Santo Domingo on the weekends or off weeks to make sure they are staying up to date with their work. Others work in their businesses to continue to make them successful. I can’t say enough about these individuals, I know that I am very fortunate to have this group here now, they have been welcoming and encouraging to me. As time progresses, things will change and some of them won’t be here any longer which makes me even more thankful that they are with us now. 

Following the barrio team, we have had a few weeks of surgical teams. I have been able to go with these teams on Mondays to learn the routine for consults and all that is required of our patients to have surgery. We continue to try and help support the blood blank at the clinic and have started to allow team members to donate during the week they are here.

I continue to visit El Cacheo and El Hoyo on Wednesdays when I can with Mennonite Central. I have enjoyed getting to know the girls that go on Wednesdays to spend time with the children. A few weeks ago I was able to meet what I would safely say is the youngest member of one of the communities. A little boy, only about 6 weeks old. 

I have Spanish lessons about 3 times a week for an hour. I would love to say I have made much progress, but I’m slowly learning. On top of completing classes, the ministry assistants are constantly talking to me in Spanish. Although a lot of the time I tell them I don’t understand, they take the time to slow down and explain it to me. 

I am officially driving stick-shift! Jeff and Sarah helped with a few more lessons, and I am now driving around San Juan!

I was able to go into Santo Domingo a few weekends ago with Kamanda to get the teams. It feels good to know what to do to pick a team up from the airport and get them checked into the hotel. 

Last week, Jeff, Kamanda, and Brantley were in the States, and I hung out with Braegan and Blue! As the Bucher family prepares to move home to Indiana, I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with them. Spending a week with Braegan was very special! 

This past Friday we had a beach trip with our ministry assistants for staff appreciation. It also happened to be my birthday! Although my birthday was a little different this year, I was thankful to spend it surrounded by people I have grown to love! That evening the American staff had dinner out to celebrate.

Another year brought some time of reflection. When I think about my life, I’m constantly reminded of how gracious God has been to me to bring people into my life to love and encourage me. I also look back on this year and see all the ways God has moved to bring me to where I am now, working on some things that seemed so impossible. I do feel truly blessed to be living the life God has called me too. 

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued progress with Spanish lessons and comprehension
  • Navigating upcoming changes for American and Dominican Staff
  • Safety as a I get more comfortable driving stick-shift 
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