So I’m now back in the US after a great week in the Dominican Republic. I’ll attempt to fill you in on the last few days that i was there. The great news is that I am now officially Crismaili’s sponsor. Joe, our host at the Guest House at Solid Rock Missions was able to run out to CCED and talk with the principle and get everything set up for me. Thursday night I went to the fiesta and was able to spend time with Crismaili and her brother and mother. It was a fun time of playing let’s try to learn spanish for me and english for her. I also found out that she knew Noe Israel! I was a little sad to find out that he and his family weren’t able to come out to join us for fiesta that night because there were power outages running around the city that night.
Someone asked me to post a link so that others could find out how to sponsor a child if they were interested. And so here it is…Student Sponsorships.
Our last day was spent at the Barcelo Resort. It was a very great way to relax and reflect on our week of mission. We enjoyed the beach and spent a lot of our time looking at the merchandise being sold the vendor and a lot of our time trying to fend off the vendors that were selling merchandise that we weren’t interested in . After a wonderful buffet dinner in one of the most scenic dining rooms i’ve ever been in, we gathered for our last devotional time together. We talked about how it is very natural for us to constantly compare ourselves to others instead of just being the people that we are meant to be. Then we spent some time sharing how we had seen God reflected in the lives of each other as a team as we worked together for the week. The rest of the night was spent enjoying the culture and music at the tiki hut dancing the night away.
Heading back to the states was really smooth, except for one little incident. On our way down to the DR we had several bags full of things that we would use and/or planned on leaving in the DR to be given to people as they had need. So on the way back we had bags that people could put souvenirs or other items like coffee and vanilla that they had purchased. As we traveled back, I had a bag that had items from our team members that wouldn’t fit in their own luggage. Not a big deal, until security called my name. They wanted to inspect my bag and wanted me to be there. I wasn’t concerned in the slightest bit until i saw that the bag we were going to inspect wasn’t my actual bag, but the bag that was filled with items from our team members. I wasn’t sure what was going to be in this bag as i unzipped it in front of security. I opened it to reveal about 18 bricks of coffee. The security guy asked me if i liked coffee. I said yes, but explained that it wasn’t all for me. That i was a part of a large group and had offered to let them put their coffee in one bag. Laughable when they allowed me to go, but realized that it very easily could have been mistaken for a nice amount of drugs under an x-ray machine. After this fun experience, i’m now known as our resident drug lord.
We got back to Hendersonville around 11 pm and were greeted by family members and friends that missed us and were glad to see us home. Another great week of sharing life, love, and faith with others. My hope is that our lives continue to bring these things to lives of those we come into contact with everyday.
Today started out with a beautiful run into town. It’s about 2 miles and it’s one of the sights that really stays with me long after I leave here. The mountains still misty from the morning fog and people doing early morning chores along the way to the town square. One of the things that I notice through out the day is that people throw their trash anywhere. I also notice in the mornings that you’ll find everyone out sweeping in front of their houses and shops. There’s something interesting about those two things coexisting that I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around yet.
We went to a church service after breakfast. It’s always interesting to be in a church service in a different culture. Listening to styles of music and the styles of singing is interesting and beautiful. As I listened to the sermon I noticed that it would be very easy to compare the style of speaking to many preachers I’ve come into contact with growing up. I wonder if preaching leads itself to a certain style or if we learn that preaching should be done like this. I consider one of my gifts to be teaching, so I tend to think about this a lot. Why do I teach the way I do? Am I emulating my mentors and favorite teachers? Do I teach the way that I learn best? Probably a combination of the variables.
This afternoon and evening was spent getting our supplies ready for our week of VBS with the people here. Getting snacks together, sorting through the items that we’ve brought down to help the mission and the people here. Then it was getting our VBS lesson together. This year we are talking about how we are the “body” of Christ as we reach out to share God’s love with one another. Each person has certain talents and abilities and that we should find them, develop them, and use them. So our “craft wizard” Mikki has made wonderful props that represent mind, heart, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, legs, feet, arms and hands for us to have fun showing that each of us have our roles. When we work together we are able to do so much good, but when we are trying to be something we’re not, or being divisive it makes life so tough. At the end I’m excited that we are going to take time to bless each student with the encouragement to “use their gifts”.
Today I also was able to put together a little “care package” that I’ll be able to share with the student that I sponsor through Solid Rock Missions, Noe Israel.(pictured) Notebooks, pencils, markers, flip flops, a beanie toy, and some bubbles was what I was able to gather up for him. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to meet him, connect with him and hopefully brighten his day. I plan on showing him a few card tricks, maybe teach him a few and then giving him the deck as well. I’ll definitely get a picture of he and I spending some time getting to know each other so I can have a more personal touch when I look to remember the little guy that I’m trying to help.
The only downer is that the weather forecast for the area is rain…all week. I really hope that it rains at opportune times, meaning that we’re able to spend time with the kids.
So here’s to hoping that I can learn from my time here and find some inspiration and motivation to be the man I want to be and make a difference in the lives of those that God brings my way.
So the half marathon training is up and going for almost a full week now and I have a blister that resembles New Hampshire on my left foot to prove it. Today I talked with my friend Trent, who is racing in the Indy Mini in May, about training regiments and I’m considering looking into a different training schedule after looking at the one that he is following. This is only my second half marathon, so I figured I’d ask for some advice from some other half marathon runners on their training regimen. So if you consider yourself a runner and have thoughts on training, do share your insights with me. I’d also love to hear some recommendations on music I could add to my run iZZy run playlist on my iPhone. Of course run iZZy run is my tribute to the Simon Pegg movie run fatboy run. The movie is pretty funny and can serve as inspiration to get you running, but still doesn’t hold a candle to my favorite Simon Pegg movie…Shawn of the Dead.
Yesterday I met with the team of people who will be going down to the Dominican Republic with me in May for a service trip. It was nice to catch up to some people who went last year as well as meet a few new faces. The most exciting part for me was that I decided to start sponsoring a child that lives down in the area that we work in. The sponsorship, throught Solid Rock Missions, provides education and materials for the student for the entire year. I’ll be able to correspond with him and because of our missions’ trip, I’ll be able to meet him and see him every year that I make the trip. (Totally cool thing, his name is Noe Israel. Awesome, cause my Dad’s name is Israel and mine is as well.) This is really meaningful to me because part of my personal revolution has been to try to know people who are in poverty. The inspiration for this comes from Shane Claiborne who in The Irresistible Revolution said that many people are so far removed from poverty that it has no affect on them. Jesus said we will always have the poor among us, and many people have used that as an excuse for not doing anything about poverty. But Shane’s take on it is that we are never supposed to allow ourselves to be removed from those who are in need. This makes so much sense to me, because if I am sitting and talking with the widow Ms. Maylee or corresponding with Noe Israel, it helps me to be conscious of the difference between my wants and my needs. I’m not saying that we should do away with all our wants, but I always want to think about the fact that I, little old me, can have an effect on those around me and the world by using the gifts and resources that I’ve been given. I want to know when I die that I have not just gone through the motions, but that I have made the most of my life. For me that includes helping others and not one day realizing the difference I could have made if I had bought one less THING and instead helped to feed or clothe someone in need. I’m not out to become a saint, but to become more aware of the world I live in and to be active in making it better.
Ever heard of skype? A co-worker of mine has been using it to talk to her daughters who are out of the country as well as her father who lives across the country. So I’ve been thinking about checking it out to use to talk to my loved ones that don’t live close. Any pro’s or con’s I should know about?
Final note…Totally excited to check out Demetri Martin’s new show Wednesday night (2/11/09 10:30pm) on Comedy Central. He is comic genius in my book.