Sunday, January 10, 2010

Moving Day

We just returned from a little driving tour of the capital of the DR...saw where Sammy Sosa lives, where Christopher Columbus first landed on this island, and felt the warm waters along the beach for a few moments...we are learning a bunch about this country, its history, its people, and even its church...we walked a few blocks together to worship in a Dominican church this morning...it's always special to worship with other members of the body of Christ in other parts of the world, and it is even fun to see if you can sing the words to the worship songs in English as they are being sung in Spanish by the rest of the congregation...the pastor spoke from MARK 1 about the power of the Holy Spirit, and I am often moved by the way that God's spirit seems to be moving in His people in other cultures that allows them to be free and fresh in their worship of the God of all nations...

We also had a chance to participate in one of the most cherished things in the DR as we played a baseball game against some local students late in the afternoon hours...let's just say they hit two grand slams in the first inning and threw faster than some pitchers earning a living playing baseball in the US...I have to confess personally that I did get a chance to hit a home run off of our Dominican host that must have been a flash back to my baseball days in college some 20 years ago...literally everywhere you go in this country young boys are seen scooping up grounders and firing the ball around makeshift diamonds...it will be fun to see some of these young men at the Christian school tomorrow as they gain an education that will change their future...and I did think that we could field an amazing CU baseball squad if we gave them some uniforms!

But clearly the most meaningful experience of this Sunday involved a move for a local family...another family from the Grand Rapids area has been down here for the last week as well building a new home for a family of 10 in the local community...this family all gave up Christmas presents and invited friends and family to join them in raising the funds to build this house as their first activity of the new year...this afternoon we had the chance to watch and join them in moving and then presenting the keys to this family...we first walked through the old home that housed 8 children and others in their family...the dad in the family has died and the mom has also struggled with serious illness...and they lived in a home made of scraps of board and tin on the side of a mud hillside...raw sewage flows beneath their home and the roof leaks during the rainy season and acts as as oven for the windowless home in the year round heat...the family from GR carefully loaded up their possessions and took the family a couple blocks to their new home...a three bedroom house with windows, freshly painted with bright colors, and a strong tin roof and clean cement floor that also featured running water and electricity...it was a moment of great joy and celebration of the goodness of God as a family from west MI became the answer to a mom and child's desperate prayers thousands of miles away...

I've seen some moments like these before in other countries and continents of the world, but you are always moved deep, deep within your soul...you are so overwhelmed by the suffering you encounter and then so overhwelmed with the hope that has replaced some of that suffering...for me, these moments are a taste of heaven...they represent both what God is doing now in our lives and what we will experience one day as we live with Him and experience a new and fresh life we couldn't ever imagine would come to us...one of the most powerful things we saw today is the opportunity, the calling, the privilege, we have to be agents of the transforming love and goodness of a God who is and does make all things new...

Tomorrow we will again be participating in that work of re-creation God has invited us to join Him in here in this place...we will be laying cement to help create structures that will be places where God's loved is felt and heard...and we will be running soccer clinics for children who we pray will know that a bunch of college guys who came from a cold place want them to feel the love of Jesus as we teach them a game God gifted us to play...thanks again for your prayers and may you join us in seizing the moments we all have to be part of bringing new life and new hope to people as ones who have been made new ourselves...

With Love and Hellos from Each Member of our Team,

CHIP

4 comments:

Catherine said...

Wow, sounds like another remarkable day! Thank you for allowing God to use you to instill hope and love that is eternal! We all continue to thank God for each one of you and for all that you are doing in His name! Tell coach we love him and everything is more than fine at home....

In Him, Catherine

tamigrotenhuis said...

This is becoming one of the highlights of the day...trying to catch an internet connection at dinner and reading your posts as a family. We are also rejoicing in all that God is doing there, in the group and in the community. Thank you for taking the time to post! We are also inspired by all that God is doing! I am also thanking Him for the CU soccer leadership and the opportunity my boys have had to learn and be surrounded by Godly men! Thank you! Please tell Ian, Isaac, Josh, and Chase we miss them! Praying for all of you every day!!!

Linda Bareham said...

We look forward each day to reading your post and seeing how God is working through the CU boys in making a difference not only in the lives of others but also in their own lives.
Say "hi" to Kurt for us. We are anxious to see him and hear all about his experience.
"Go forth and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19)
You are all in our prayers.

Elders said...

I just talked to Cristian Santiago from the DR where are family members are. I was getting a lot of phone calls re: the earthquake that hit Haiti. I don't have everyone's phone number to get a hold of so I thought I would comment on the blog. They are all fine. I am sure there will be more info. on the blog tonight from Chip. All I know is that everyone is safe and sound and wanted to pass this on. We will continue to pray!
Holly Elders