Today started out with a Dominican rainbow and let me tell you it was gorgeous! Imagine a rainbow in America and then imagine it 10 times more gorgeous! That’s what a Dominican rainbow looks like! Today we met a young boy who was 15. He came up to us and started playing the accordion his music was so beautiful and his voice was even better! Don’t worry I took a video! I also figured out somehow that he wanted to arm wrestle me. Unfortunately he won. Guess I need to go back to ask and do some more biceps curls!
This afternoon was quite emotional for us. Today we did our last VBS in the village. As I got off the bus I was greeted by a little girl who had clung to me yesterday. I saw that she had some flowers in her hand that she had picked. Then I realized that she had picked them for me! It was the sweetest thing ever! She then clung to me the best she could for the rest of the day. Other kids would come and try to hang on me or talk to me and she would go up to them and say, “No, mi gringa.” Which I found out means my white person! She was very possessive of me and didn’t want me to ever leave her sight. It made me sad to think that I probably won’t see her ever again. It reminded me that life is short and if you want to make impact on someone you better do it to the best of your abilities without any delay. I am praying that my impact was big enough on that girl that maybe one day she will have a strong relationship with Christ but only God knows!
At the village this afternoon I also had the honor of painting two little girls finger nails. I loved this because it gave me a chance to have a conversation with them while I painted! I began speaking to these 2 girls as best as I could in my broken Spanish. I eventfully found out that they were ages 8 and 12 and were cousins. I then started asking them about their families because family is very very important in this culture. I found out that the 8 year old’s mother had died and her father was no where to be found. So she lived with her cousin. I can’t even imagine going through that! You can just see the need for good older role models in all of these kids’ lives. It is so vivid. These could have walked away and said this girl doesn’t know anything about Spanish but instead they were patient and just wanted the attention. They also painted my nails after I was done with theirs! It makes me wish that nail polish was permanent so that I would always have something to remember them by in order to remember to pray for them! I never want to forget about any of these kids I have met!
This evening we had the pleasure of going to Dominican church service! It was awesome to worship with other believers. it didn’t even matter that there was a language barrier! We were all just their to worship Christ as one body! Apparently their church is much different than ours. They have services ever single night! Imagine how different Christians would be in America if we did the same. It was absolutely amazing to see how on fire they were for God! That is one thing I have noticed about Dominicans. They are either all in or all out, there is no half heartedness. I think this is a good lesson for all of us! If your going to do something you mine as well put in the full effort and do it to the best of your abilities.
Full of blessings,
Day two of VBS is over and once again it was an amazing day! God is doing fantastic things in this country through both my team and others! It’s so amazing how people long to hear as much as you can tell them about Christ through both your words and actions. This morning I was put in charge of registration, as I began to put wristbands on the kids a little girl came up to me and gave me one of the biggest hugs I had ever experienced. I knew I had seen her face before but I couldn’t remember a significant encounter I had made with her the day before. This is when I realized actions speak louder than words. One of my teammates said, “You smile at these kids one time and you are instantly best friends, you don’t need to even speak.” This is completely true! It is only because God is involved that this is possible. After VBS we were walking out of the church and just beyond the doorway the little girl was waiting for me, to give me a hug. I ran over to her and gave her and her friend a huge hug! You could say we are best friends! 🙂
This afternoon we took our “jungle bus” back into the Dominican village. As we pulled up there was at least forty kids waiting for us and many many more on the way! They all smiled and cheered as we pulled up. It was like we were famous or something! As I got off of the bus I was greeted immediately by a little girl who grabbed my hand, she told me her name but I couldn’t really understand her, which I felt terrible about because she asked me my name and she grasped it immediately. She then proceeded to tell me that she was eight years old and has four siblings. I also found out later in the day that she has a very good sense of humor. Everyone thought she was so funny! I did get a picture with her so hopefully I will figure out how to post it on here when I get back! After there was a break in the conversation I was bombarded by a few other kids (which in this case I love being bombarded). I mean who wouldn’t want beautiful Dominican children running at them while smiling from ear to ear? After a few moments I hear “Ayy McKinzie” (imagine this in your best Dominican accent) behind me; I turn around to see that the little girl had gotten all of her friends together to chant my name. One again my heart melted. The afternoon was filled with much excitement, these kids have more energy than I have ever seen in my life! My prayer is that one day they will use their energy and joy to impact the world for Him. Also, today I think I received more hugs than I have ever received in my life. And it wasn’t just like some of those half hugs like we do in America. You know the ones where you can tell people are giving you a hug as a kind jesture that doesn’t really mean anything? No, these are full on authentic hugs! I also exchanged so many smiles which you can’t really explain until you just witness it, but it just brings you pure joy that seems infinite! I want to stay with these kids forever! They are so happy and don’t have a worry in the world.
Overall, God is absolutely amazing! We have had approximately 94 kids accepted Christ as their personal Savior in the past two days! Keep praying for the people as they begin to understand God’s word. Pray that we can reach out to as many people as possible in the most effective way! Even if we are just planting that first seed. Please pray that my team would also have energy to work with the kids as some feel as though they are lacking it. I am so blessed to be here! God has put me here for a reason and like I said before it is absolutely amazing!
Gushing with Joy,
Ohh my where do I begin? Today we started our VBS which I’m not gonna lie I was a little nervous for. We took our ” truck” (which is actually like a bus but open so it makes you feel like you are on a safari) to a local church. We got to the church and when the kids started coming, we suddenly realized that we couldn’t just walk up and have a normal conversation with them. So, were kinda of unsure what to really do. We started by singing songs which the kids loved, and they were super loud! It was way louder than any American VBS I have attended. As the morning went on I started to remember more and more Spanish phrases and ways to communicate with the kids! It was super exciting and it seemed as if the kids got less shy and more adapted to us strange Americans who don’t know a thing about Espanol. When it was time to leave a little girl came over and wanted a hug. I was absolutely elated! The kids actually liked us and didn’t think we were too strange! As I bent down to hug her she kissed me on the cheek. My the melted completely as if it hadn’t already. God was using us, even with a language barrier!
We went back out later to do a different VBS. This time we went to a village rather than the middle of the city. When we got off of the truck, we were greeted immediately by a group of gorgeous little girls. They walked right up to us and starting talking, which then turned into picture taking, which turned into learning a few handshakes, which turned into a lot of hugs. As I stood with my camera out,one little girl came up to me and ask me to pick her up which I did immediately of course! There was no way anyone could say no to those big brown eyes anyways! She picked up my camera and started going through the pictures. In every picture she asked me who each person was even if the same people were in each and every picture. I can’t even count how many time I told her ” es mi amiga” or ” es mi hermana” but it didn’t bother me at all because she was so precious! During the VBS I stood up front as I helped with the Bible story. The children’s big brown eyes sparkled as they listened very intensely to the story. You could tell they wanted to learn more and more. They wanted to take in as much as they could get. This really hit me because as Americans we have any information we want, yet we just sit back and don’t do anything with it. We are so lazy with all the resources we have been given.
As I look back at the day I realized there were a few things that made me think very deeply. The first one is that these children are the happiest children I have ever met. They have so much joy yet they have so many fewer possessions. They are proof that the less you have, the less you have to worry, and the happier you are. I came on this mission thinking were we going to be loving on Dominican children, but really I think they are touching our lives more than anything. God is good and we are so blessed!
Well day one is over and we made it safely Orlando with all bags! Most of the morning was full of laughter, great conversations, and moving walkways of course! We the proceeded to the hotel where we checked into our rooms. This is where the adventure began! I reached into my bag and got a handful of something wet. I then found the source of the problem- a completely empty shampoo bottle. Oh great just what I wanted to wear… Clothes covered in shampoo! I couldn’t believe it had leaked through ziplock bag I had put it in to prevent this problem. This was not the way I wanted to start this trip! This was the first moment when I just wanted my mommy to come and help me clean it up. Little did I know that this was just going to be a minor event that evening. Feeling bummed I pulled out all the dirty clothes and tried to rinse them in the sink. I then hung them to dry and we went to eat. We ate at a fish place where I ventured out and tried alligator. To me it reminded me of popcorn chicken but the meat wasn’t as dry. I really liked it and would definitely recommend it! After supper one of my teammates asked me to go running with her. I was super pumped because usually when I go places no one ever wants to exercise with me but she’s a marathon runner and I was up for the challenge! We had a nice little 3 mile run and then went back to the room for showers and devotions.When I sat down for devos I realized that not everyone was there. I then learned that some of the rest of the team went for a walk and one if my teammates had her hurt ankle and was headed to the ER. Another teammate was having an allergic reaction. Suddenly I realized my shampoo issue you was so small and I felt terrible for making such a big deal out of it! This is where God was just beginning to work in me and I am so excited for all the other things he is going to do! As for my teammates, the one with the allergic reaction got better with some Benadryl. The one with the ankle issue… Well it turns out she broke a small bone in her foot but she is in a boot, doing fine, and will work through it by the grace of God. Well that’s all for day one. Can’t wait for the opportunities day two will bring!
P.s. the clothes are washed and nice and clean just in case you were wondering 🙂
Well my dear followers… here I sit writing my first blog post… they may be a little rough to start out with but lets just hope they get better! I have been inspired by my dear friend Tariro Makoni to start a blog. I have also been encouraged by many others to share my thoughts as I embark on my first journey out of the country tomorrow. That’s right! I am leaving my nice little comfortable Minot community to go to a foreign country… without mom and dad. But even more nerve racking is the fact that I am going to share the gospel with complete strangers who don’t even speak English! I am praying the few words and phrases that Senora Sanders taught me will help me out a little but I guess I will just have to wait and see!
Tonight my team and I met at the church to pack the rest of our supplies for our VBS that we are going to be doing! Man was there a lot! My heart raced with excitement when I saw all the supplies! It all began to start to feel real! I was also so pumped to see all the supplies that were donated for the pregnancy crisis center that our “host” missionaries are running. We threw open our suitcases and stuffed as much as possible in each one. We then carefully weighed each bag and of course did a little math to figure out whose bags were going to make the cut (the fifty pound weight limit). Did mine? Well if you know me well enough you probably already know the answer… It didn’t. Overweight once again! So I shared a few items with my teammates who don’t have an overpacking problem and I was good to go! But don’t worry, I still have enough baby clothes in my bag to make it look like I am traveling with an infant of own. (Thank goodness I am not.) My luggage is sitting ready by the door and the few hours I have until I leave can’t come soon enough!
Now I am sitting here with a gut feeling that I should be trying to sleep but I know that I will just toss and turn anyways! There is way to much excitement flowing through my veins to sleep! However I do have to be to the airport at 6 am tomorrow so I think it’s time! I am praying for good wifi so I can keep you updated on my adventures!