Tuesday, Feb. 23 was so much fun!
Before arriving in the DR the team prepared and practiced a couple short puppet skits. One skit was about the one lost sheep and the other about building a house on solid rock, not sand.
Before, in between and after the skits, Pastor Jeff played guitar and directed the kids in a praise song while Gary Cederwall played the keyboard. Jeff engaged the children by having them sing in a whisper and then as loud as they could. Sometimes we sang loud and fast.
The team performed 3 times in the morning and once in the afternoon. The children's smiles and happy faces were our reward.
After the last puppet skit we were able to visit our sponsored children in their homes. There is so much to say about these home visits that can only be shared in person with one of the team. It is one thing to know that poverty exists in our world, and quite another to see and walk among some of the poorest of the poor.
As is true with every evening after dinner, we gathered on the rooftop balcony for devotions, song, prayer and to reflect on the day. It is a beautiful time spent together.
Wednesday, Feb. 24
Today was a work day for the men and Jessica, the youngest of our team and daughter of Howard. Work "day" was 2 hours in the morning scraping old cement off the ceiling and re-cementing. There were also broken tile pieces covering the floor that needed to be pushed into a pile and shoveled into bags. It was hot, dusty work.
Back at the Compassion site, we played bingo with the older kids and made sock puppets with the younger kids. The sock puppets were a big success. We saw several kids walking home with the socks puppets on their arms.
While doing these things, we would spend time getting to know each other and building friendships. As we discussed tonight after dinner, the ordinary things in the day helped us to connect: serving and eating lunch together, singing together, chatting about our lives -- our homes, our children, our work. But it was our faith in Christ that connects us with love for each other. Christ brings us together beyond our lives into a place where we are one in Him.
As quoted from Dee Yaccino from Red del Camino, “We come to experience what writing a check cannot do." Some of what we have learned in the DR has inspired and informed our local ministry. Second, when focused on rebuilding relational power dynamics across distance and difference, it is worth every minute and every dime we spend. We begin to relate to each other as friends, family, and colleagues, which implies a different level of trust. As trust increases, we become more acutely aware of how to break down barriers, how to open doors of opportunity, and to think more profoundly about long-term, root solutions to issues and people we all care about." This is why we come to the DR.