Last Thursday I went on an all-day adventure – and I didn’t even realize until yesterday that it was my half-birthday that day! (I’m one of those weird people who normally “celebrates” my half-birthday…) I was invited to go on a “hike” with some of the missionaries who had been invited by a local Dominican in the Juan Dolio church to spend the day at the mountains/river near his hometown. This involved getting on a bus at 6am (and my body waking me up almost every hour or half-hour starting at 1am so finally giving up and getting up at 4:30am); picking up a few folding chairs at the church; stopping on the side of the road and watching as a couple of guys with coolers, then a few women, then two more guys with coolers, then a few more women and kids, more food, more coolers, a rake, and a few more people boarded the bus; drove about 2 hours and stopped in Jose’s hometown for a potty break, to pick up more people, a domino table, and the stove for cooking lunch; drove about another hour in the mountains where I was so glad not to be the one driving; and stopped at 3 points and semi-unloaded the bus before we finally arrived at the perfect spot to make camp. By that time, I was ready to get into the river! It was fairly shallow but the current was pretty strong, so along with my new friends Sarah and Jaime (Sarah is a SCORE missionary and Jaime is the director of the GAP program), we sat in the river and let the current hold up our backs like a chair. Erica and Lia joined us for a bit too!
After enjoying the river, we ate lunch. Which involved a propane tank connected to a portable stove so that the women could prepare rice, fresh fried fish, and chicken. Mom – I ATE FISH, and I liked it. It wasn’t fishy at all! I also ate tuna salad – you know, like chicken salad but with that thing I normally find gross called tuna. Again, not as fishy as it is in the US! I was just a little bit proud of my food achievements 🙂
After lunch came the “hiking” part of our day. Jaime, Sarah, her husband Robersi, Nate (Erica’s husband), Jose, another Dominican man whose name I never got, and I walked upstream so we could swim across the river whose current was stronger since they had started opening up a dam upstream; and then we CLIMBED BOULDERS for about half an hour to reach a cave. It was not hiking along a nice little trail – I’m not kidding when I say we climbed boulders. It was definitely not what I was expecting, and in all honesty if I had known that’s what it would have been I probably would never have gone…but I am glad that I did. Jaime was my rock climbing coach, and I was grateful to have the strength of the men because there were a few times I needed a boost or a helping hand. I pulled a muscle during one of those times, but it’s fine now. The cave was tall, sheer rock face, but really beautiful (because of the nature of this hike no one was able to bring a camera, unfortunately). I may have fallen just as we were leaving the cave on our way down, and slid on my bottom a few feet with a rock wall to my left and a nice ledge to fall down just to my right with some rocks at the bottom. But I didn’t fall, so no worrying, Mom!
Jaime, me, and Sarah after floating/swimming down the river at the end of our climb.
That was my adventure, and now for a bit about the adversity. Tensions in LH have run pretty high this week. I’ve been told it’s always hard for everyone to adjust when a new woman comes into the house, but this is the first time I’m experiencing it. A few of the women have been not so pleasant in their dealings with the new woman, “E.” She is by no means perfect either (as none of us are), but there have been some things done that have been intentional to provoke her or to upset her. It’s hard and a bit sad to see women who have experienced change in their own lives because of the Lord, who are quick to judge and say that this other woman will never be able to change. I think I’ve been reminded this week of two things: how our faith should affect the words we say but it also has to go beyond words to impact the way we respond to situations and treat others; and that Satan still has power in this world we live in. Jesus did not call us to or promise us a life full of perfect circumstances – He is clear that the world will hate and reject us, but He also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit as His constant presence with us and the promise that He has OVERCOME the world despite the troubles we have in it (John 16:33).
Please pray that this week and beyond, all of the staff at LH would be relying on the Spirit in order to let our actions, behavior, attitudes, and words be an example to all the women. Especially for me, if I don’t have words that I can say, that my actions would be out of Christ’s new nature and not the flesh. And when I fail this week, because my flesh is weak, pray that I would be able to give myself grace, can ask for forgiveness if needed, and allow the Spirit to be my strength.
Please pray for all the women in the house, that the Spirit would be doing work in each of them to reveal their continued need for Christ. Pray that they would be willing to take the time to examine their own hearts (pray this for me as well!). Pray that they would be in the Word and seeking the Lord regarding their actions.
I can’t believe I’ve been here for 5 weeks already. Pray for me as I continue to see ways that I can help alongside the ministry that is already here, helping to build it up. Pray that any homesickness I may feel would not consume my day/attitude. Pray too for preparation for SCORE’s Women’s Mission Week conference, October 15-18 – we’re starting to make more jewelry at LH to prepare, and I’ll probably be helping out with some behind-the-scenes prep work in the weeks leading up to the event!
As always, thank you for your prayers, support, and love. You all mean the world to me.