Here's a summary of our Sunday from Jenna Wiersma:
We woke up this morning at 8 (yes, we got to sleep in an hour later than usual!) to go to breakfast that started at 8:30, breakast was eggs, toast, and papaya! Quickly after breakfast we had to go and get ready for Church that started at 10:30 which meant we had to leave at about 10 for our 15 minute walk there. The walk to Church was our first time to walk around and experience the community, we saw some of how the people lived including their very small houses, dentists, hair salons, and a countless number of dogs. All the people were very friendly and welcomed us with a smile as we walked by.
Church was an interesing experience, the people love to sing and a lot of the tunes of the songs were familiar to us but we had a hard time singing along with their songs in English while they sang them in Spanish. The message was given by a Korean pastor which meant it had to be translated to the congregation in Spanish and finally to us in English on a powerpoint. It was very overwhelming to listen to the Korean and Spanish and then have to look at the screen and read the English that was being written for us. After church we walked back and had lunch which was soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, plantane chips, and bananas. During our break today it rained which was nice because it cooled down, but not so nice because it welcomed many more mosquitoes.
At around 2 we began our walk arund the community. This was a time for us to see and better understand how the people live down here in the DR and hand out some candy for the kids. The kids were with us all throughout our walk, they love to get their pictures taken and love to hold our hands. It was a real eye-opener to see how the families live down here, as their houses are very close together and incredibly small. Their community is filled with trash and raw sewage, but in spite of all these things the people and the kids stil smile and laugh. They seem content and it is hard for us to understand because we know how much more they could have, but where they live and how they live is all they have ever known. I speak for more people than myself in saying that it was a very humbling experience for the group.
We walked back from the community walk and went right to our rooms to change into our soccer gear to get ready for the soccer clinic. About 25-30 kids came to the clinic and we pretty much taught them the basics such as dribblng, passing, and ending with small sided games. The kids had a lot of fun and despite the language barrier it was a fun and successful time for all of us! After the clinic we gave the kids the shoes that we brought down with us and it was cool to see how excited they were to get a new pair of shoes; sadly they do not get many new shoes or even shoes that fit them so it was awesome that we could provide them with so many shoes for them to choose from, they were so thankful and loved getting their new shoes.
Dinner was rice, beans, meat and fried plantanes and went to our debriefing time as a team shortly after. It was nice to reflect on our day as a team and talk about what we saw and how we felt about it. After our day was about finished we went to check email and play games, it was a nice and relaxing way to end our very eventful day.
Walking deeper into the community is always a difficult and overwhelming time as you encounter global poverty up close...and now we feel responsible to respond and not just feel bad...we'd love for you to pray for the team specifically as to how we become engaged in caring for the poor in the world near and far away...we are learning much from the Dominican people we are meeting here and we look forward to discovering more clearly how our time here will transform us as we see God transforming this community...we read Isaiah 58 to close our evening as we prayed that our light will break forth into the darkness as we feed the hungry, free the oppressed, and share the story of Jesus as His people today and tomorrow and in the days to come...
Tomorrow we head back to the work site for a day of construction tasks at the Lighthouse School...may you have a great week back home as we serve here...we miss you and are getting more anxious to share stories with you when we return...
Good night from our warm and beautiful island home!