Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
I should not be surprised that it happened already. I mean, there are 10-15 kids, tweens, and even some teens playing together. I should not be surprised that there has been some arguing, quarrelling, and even some physical fighting happening on the baseball/kickball area that we created for the neighborhood kids. I had this vision of this peaceful and perfect area for the kids to play on and I think I was a bit naïve in my thinking. The reality is that life is full of different personalities and conflict, and what we need to do as followers of Jesus is show how to work through these conflicts and be peacemakers. I was not expecting to have to call 2 of the boys into our home for a sit-down chat about fighting, picking on each other, and using bad language, but that is what happened. I actually shocked myself in the moment when I decided that I wasn’t going to listen to another afternoon of “arguing on the field.” I also surprise myself now, with my fingers typing the words, recalling the situation, and telling you. I mean, I could paint you a pretty picture of what we call the “neighborhood ministry,” but I like to be honest. Honestly, ministry can be very messy at times. It is not always perfect, and I do not think that we should pretend that it is. For the most part, the kids have thoroughly enjoyed their new play area and look forward to gathering each day. I do not regret the fact that there is some conflict to work through. My prayer is that we can guide and teach these boys Biblical conflict resolution and that they will carry and use those lessons all throughout their life.
In addition to the afternoon neighborhood games, we have been extremely blessed with ministry opportunities. George and I have been working with Juana. She still needs a second surgery to put in new hardware and fix the fracture in her leg. We have been working with the local hospital, clinics, and labs to try to get her what she needs. Jason continues to work on vehicles and other projects at the guesthouse. He has also been able to continue to do some agricultural teaching to several different people. We are expecting 3 barrels from the U.S. that contain sickle bar mowers and lots of seeds that were donated. He is looking forward to distributing and teaching about those. The barrels also contain more balls for the neighborhood ministry.
We feel that we are getting closer to teams returning and currently have 2 teams on the schedule for the summer. We continue to plan and communicate with team leaders and look forward to the day where things feel a bit more “normal” for Solid Rock International. Next month, all the US missionaries and families plan to be back in San Juan together. I feel so grateful for the life lessons that COVID-19 has taught us, but I surely am excited thinking about us all being together again!
Yesterday, we gathered in El Cercado to celebrate Doctor Jazmin Cruz’s time of service in the clinic as the Child Nutrition Program Doctor. We had a marvelous time in such a beautiful setting. The food was also delicious! As we all gathered, I felt the love shared by all for each other and for the communities of the El Cercado region. While we will miss her, I know that God has everything under control. I have met the new doctor that will be taking her place and she is super sweet. She is expecting a baby in July, so she plans to start at the clinic after she gives birth. There is an interim doctor covering until that time.
Our family spent 2 weeks in Pennsylvania at the beginning of the month so that we could complete several medical appointments. We all had dental cleanings. Ethan had his braces adjusted and Miriam had her expander removed. She now must wear a retainer at night. I was able to see the orthopedic surgeon back and he was quite pleased with my progress with my shoulder. I also had my eyes checked and will soon be wearing glasses for some activities. Jason saw the podiatrist as he has been having trouble with his feet and he was fitted for special orthotics. Doctor appointments can be exciting (or maybe not), but the most exciting part of our trip to PA was Ethan and Miriam’s birthday party. We had a beautiful weather day and many of our good friends and family were able to gather to celebrate. I loved being able to see everyone in the same place.
We will finish our homeschool year at the end of this month and will take a break for the summer. We already purchased and have our curriculum for the next school year. We are still considering the option of Dominican school for the 2021-2022 school year at Lucille Rupp. Ethan and Miriam both want to return there. We are just waiting to hear what the school year will look like and if they plan to return to in-person classes. It seems that DR schools are heading in that direction.
I ask you to continue to pray for the ministry of Solid Rock. Pray for our staff, our missionaries, and our partners. Pray for Juana. Pray for Doctor Jazmin. Pray for our neighborhood ministry. Pray that we would be peacemakers and good examples. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!