Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crestwood Baptist Church

What a great week. It is always a pleasure to have Crestwood Baptist here. The week went so smoothly that many of us were wondering if we were missing or forgetting something. But it was just because this team is so great. We did medical and soccer clinics this week and were able to touch many people in La Mosca. Pastor Jonas was encouraged once again by this great partnership and we know he looks forward to them returning every year.

A high note for me: I went evangelizing for the first time not only since I've moved to the Dominican but for the first time in my entire life! I felt God urging me to give my testimony in the last house we visited and the woman asked Christ into her heart afterwards! HOW AMAZING IS GOD? As nervous as I was to share, God used me as a vessel to bring someone else to him. He never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

400 Pesos

Baria and Alina Maria, La Mosca

We arrived in La Mosca ready to start the day. A Medical clinic. I've always loved doing medical clinics. It gives me a chance to see how the community really is doing. You can tell a lot by the things that present themselves at a medical clinic. Are the people getting enough food? Are they drinking good water? But one thing that a medical clinic always brings are babies.

All morning, young mothers brought their newborns in. One baby was only 3 weeks old. Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for girls to be as young as 13 or 14 when they have their first child. Several of the women there were 20 and already had 3 or 4 children. The babies looked fairly healthy and really the only recurring problem was that the umbilical cords weren't drying out. Pretty common, even in the states. Alcohol swabs were distributed, the nurses there recommended that the mothers nurse for as long as they could for the health of their babies and the mothers went on their way.

I was busy taking pictures, doing my normal thing when I felt a tap on my shoulder. A mother, holding this BEAUTIFUL baby girl. Tiny. I talked to the little baby for a few seconds and she smiled at me. I thought it was odd just because the baby only looked like she was 3 or 4 weeks old and Landon didn't start smiling until he was at least 10 weeks. So I asked the mother how old her baby was. 2 months. What? This baby was 2 months old. I tried not to show my shock but I'm sure the mother noticed. She then proceeded to talk to me. Not frantically, but with a little bit of desperation. "No tengo leche para ella," she says. She doesn't have milk for her? Maybe I misunderstood her. She repeated it again. This time I knew I heard her right. She began to speak very quickly and I got completely lost. I tried to tell her to slow down but she would start out slowly and then speed up again. I got my friend Cherry. She told her what she had told me. She couldn't nurse because her milk didn't come down and she didn't have money for formula. She has four other children but she can't feed her newborn. My heart sank. Not again Lord, don't break me again.

All of a sudden the world rested on my shoulders. Guilt weighed me down. All those times I was irritated because it was "inconvenient" to nurse Landon. Here was a mother who wanted to feed her baby and couldn't, and here I was, able to feed my baby and feeling inconvenienced by it. What kind of a mother am I?

I had to do something. I thought maybe they sell formula in the colmados. I'll buy it right now. We asked, only at the pharmacy. The pharmacy was far away. The baby was crying now, sucking on her fingers. I recognized her hunger, I'd seen Landon act like that whenever I made him wait too long. There wasn't anything I could do for her right now...completely helpless. I can bring it tomorrow, can't I? She'll be ok for a day, right? Oh no, I could feel it coming...and the tears flowed. I felt embarrassed now, I'm trying to talk to her and I can't even understand myself. I had Mike tell her to meet me here tomorrow morning and I'll have milk for her baby. And I walked away.

When I got home from the day, I bawled my eyes out at my friend Yajaira's house, I held Landon tighter than I ever had before and I got Mike to drive me straight to the store to buy the biggest canister of Formula I could find. 400 pesos. 12 dollars.

The next day was probably the most fulfilling since I moved here. There she was, waiting for me, holding her baby. I gave her the formula and explained how much she should mix. She told me that her baby was only drinking 1 oz of milk (Landon was drinking 3 by her age). 2 scoops of powder, 90 ml of water. Her baby wouldn't be hungry. I hugged her, I kissed her, I held her baby and watched her sleep. I asked her name. "Alina Maria," she replied. Alina Maria, so little, but reminded me why God brought me to this little Island. I can't help everyone, but I can help someone.

Because someone in the States decided to sacrifice a little bit of money that God had blessed them with, I was able to provide food for a baby that didn't have any. Because a church in Kentucky decided to put Missions first, a Pastor in La Mosca has a church, a feeding center and a school. Because God so loved the world, he sent his son to die for us so that we may have eternal life with Him.

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to empower others to do God's work?

Baria, Alina Maria and I

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Birthday Bash

For the past four weeks, I have been holding a bible study for two young girls in our neighborhood. Two weeks ago, Rachel and Beka (two of our missionary kids) joined as well. We go over a story from the bible and then have a question and discussion time and then we color. Yes, I still love to color at 26! Every week they are required to finish their coloring pages for the next week and memorize one of the bible verses from the story. If at the end of 7 weeks they all get their "stars" for their homework and verses, we are going to have a sleepover with pizza and movies. So far so good and only three weeks to go!
This past Tuesday we had our regular bible study with the younger girls, but Indira (Themis' older sister) also had her birthday. So I made a cake and we sang (very loud and obnoxiously) and had a great time. Below are a couple pictures from our night!

The bible study gang (Rachel, Me, Themis, Yesania, Indira and Beka)

Indira and her cake

Themis and Yesania playing "concho" with a box. It's amazing what kids will do with their imaginations without Xbox and Gameboy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Banta Basketball

Here is the video from the basketball group that was here two weeks ago.

Friday, October 05, 2007

True Worship

Well I have been trying all week to put this post up. I have some video clips to go along with it but I can't seem to get them to work yet. This past Sunday I went to church a couple of minutes down the road. It is the church that Romano started for the Haitians in the area. As we were leaving for church we noticed a Haitian man just standing on the corner by our house so we invited him to church with us. Just as we asked another Haitian man walked around the corner. His name is Ousma. He heard us ask about church and jumped right into the truck with us. The first guy decided he didn't want to go this time. We found out later that Ousma had gone to the church on our street and the doors were closed because church service was in the evening this week. He did not know so he assumed there wasn't a service. When he heard there was an opportunity to visit another church he was very excited!! After church we brought him back and went and to get some lunch to share with him. He was so grateful! Two days later I saw him in the corner store, I had Landon in my arms and he asked if Landon was my son. I told him yes and then he pulled out his wallet and showed me some pictures of his kids. A man that we happened to run into one day was now sharing about his whole family. Such a small event has made for such an exciting week and a new friend!

Something else that happened on Sunday was the worship service. As I sat and listened to everyone singing I was broken. I could not understand the words, there were no instruments, the leader just had to sing the first line of the song for everyone to join in singing. None of those things mattered. It was time to worship God so that's what everone did. I was broken because I looked around and everyone was praising God, and then I thought about how many times during worship I couldn't stand the singing, or I wished there were more instruments than a piano and organ. I completely lost sight of what was supposed to be going on. Something so simple I had made complicated. I saw the simple act of worship right in front of me and I was broken. I wanted back all of the times I lost the opportunity to just worship Him. The beautiful singing in that service opened my eyes and I thank God for that moment and I pray I don't ever lose an opportunity to praise Him again!