Today was the turning point for me. Convictions came flooding and there is no way I can return unchanged.
Our first stop was an orphanage called Jackie’s House. This is a place where prostitutes drop their children off, because they can’t (or don’t want to) take care of them. The minute we entered the gate, the children came running and screaming and jumping into our arms. Praise God for moments like that when you feel so utterly loved. All the girls had to use the restroom, and it was terrible. No gas station restroom I’ve ever used can even compare. Ugh…I still get chills thinking about it. We did our village ministry session, teaching the kids about the Armor of God and the Evangecube. One little nine year-old boy on our trip, Jackson, was a rockstar at the cube. He LOVED sharing it with the kids, and he always talked about how exciting it was to think about sharing it again. “Let the little children come to me.” Christ says this three times in the New Testament. Isn’t that what we’re called to do? Have the faith of a child? I wish I had the faith of this little boy. He knew that the children’s greatest need wasn’t toys or games or food, but the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you better believe he told them. At the end, all the kids prayed for us, our families, and our safety in the DR. They prayed that we would have the armor of God as were serve this week. One said the prayer and they all repeated it afterward, which sounded like a small choir of voices being raised to the Father.
We stopped at a little creek area for lunch, where the Dominicans were swimming and jumping off the bridge. If I was a Dominican I think I would be there often, seeing as it reminded me of a place we go back home with friends and family. Except that the Dominicans swim in their underwear. I’m not quite sure how acceptable that would be in good ole Birmingham, AL.
The next place we visited was my biggest worry of the trip. A village called Ducasa is located right outside the dump. Every day, people from the town go up on the mounds of trash and collect recycled products that they then sale to the recycling companies each afternoon. Thankfully, we didn’t get to go to the top, but we heard many things about it from our trip leader, Dustin. Apparently the smell could cause you to vomit any second, you walk through a million flies when you walk 10 feet, and there are even people living up on top. The children were unruly as we tried to teach them the bible lessons. There were probably 100 of them in the small church. One girl gave me some of her limoncios, which were absolutely delicious! I broke when I saw one boy with a very infected broken fingernail who was lethargic and looked like he hadn’t eaten for days.
One the way home I had some real sugar cane, which did not taste like sugar at all. I mean, I liked it, but it wasn’t my fave.
That night during worship, we were encouraged to take this song and create our own version, inserting things that really applied to our lives. Many of you may know it, and I encourage you to write your own. It gave me focus and direction the rest of the week.
Lord you are more precious than safety.
Lord you are more costly than order.
Lord you are more beautiful than laughter.
And nothing I desire compares with you.