If you’ve been following international weather at all this week, you’ve probably heard about Chantal, who passed over the DR yesterday bringing a lot of rain with her. We first heard about her on Monday via email, and by Tuesday everyone was talking about the tropical storm that could turn into a hurricane before making landfall on the DR’s southern and eastern coasts. I’m happy to say that a hurricane watch was issued but dissipated overnight Tuesday night so all we experienced was a lot of thunder, lightning, and rain, mucha lluvia. While I can’t speak for the people of Cercadillo or the roads to get there, we are safe and sound and enjoyed a huge cooling off yesterday due to the rain. Now let me recap the past several days! (Warning: bring a light snack along for the journey…for some reason a significant part of my post this week involves coffee and good eats 🙂
On Saturday we attended a good ‘ole fashioned 4th of July celebration on the 6th. It was refreshing to spend some time with people of our culture with no translation needed :). We had a great spread of 4th of July favorites of which our clan (Ina, Jess, Ryan, Dave, and Emily) contributed macaroni salad and the most festive 4th of July cake I’ve seen in years (thanks to one of Ina’s friends who thought to mail her a cake mix and bright red frosting!). It rained most of the afternoon, but we enjoyed sitting outside under a beautiful portico and were able to step outside for a brief moment to enjoy some sparklers (purchased locally – don’t ever try to sneak those in my luggage or mail them :). They weren’t the best ones I’ve every experienced, but they did substitute for fireworks in some small way…I’ll have to get to a Friday night I-Cubs game sometime this summer to make up for it! Saturday evening was Emily’s last night with us so Ina and her friend Mary picked out a unique destination for one last café con leche and dessert. We went to El Mesón de la Cava, a restaurant in Parque Mirador del Sur that is down in some caves. What a fun experience!
Sunday morning began a bit too early with a 5:30am trip to bring Emily to the airport. (Em, if you’re reading this, we really miss you!) Rather than make the long trip back home only to turn around and head back into the city for church, Ina and I decided to try an American destination for breakfast: IHOP. First, let me say the best thing about this experience was the unlimited carafe of (you’ve guessed it by now) café con leche. It’s a rarity to find free refills on anything here so it was a treat. Plus, it’s much easier to pass an hour-and-a-half breakfast and brainstorm session over coffee…truth! After church at IBI and a quick stop at Americana Ferreteria for a missing fan part (that’s a whole ‘nother story) we headed home for a quick nap before going to Cercadillo for church. I had the privilege of teaching the women’s class this week (with the help of Ryan for translation), and shared some of what God has instilled in my heart through the class Perspectives on the World Christian Movement…coming soon to a Tuesday near you (if you live in the DSM, IA area…couldn’t pass up an opportunity to plug this life-shaping course!). We spent most of the 30-45 minutes focusing on how the Bible is one story of God’s glory from Genesis to Revelation, and I shared about Genesis 11:1-10, Genesis 12:1-3, Revelation 7:9, Matthew 28:18-20, and Acts 1:8. It was exciting to share with these women that the Lord has a plan to draw people from every nation, tongue, tribe, and language together before His throne and they are a part of that and can help invite others to worship God for eternity. I also shared a bit about how different other parts of the world are where religious freedom is not acknowledged and persecution exists for those in the Church. We spent some time talking about how they can be involved in sharing in Cercadillo (their Jerusalem) and praying for people in Cercadillo, the Dominican Republic, and to the ends of the earth. It’s another step in Cercadillo’s transition from a mission field to a mission force (a prayer that Ina and I share). A most amazing thing happened after church this week…Gloneili, a 13-year-old in Cercadillo, prayed with Ina to receive Christ as her Savior. Praise the Lord!!! Please join us in praying for this young girl, that she will be protected from the evil one in these early days of faith and that the right discipleship relationship will come along for her! What a joy and privilege to witness this young girl joining the fellowship of believers around the throne!
Monday was a mix of git-er-done and Sabbath rest. Ina’s Toyota has been making a slightly-unsettling sound for the past few weeks so she took the opportunity of a free day to make an appointment. Ina definitely sees herself as more a steward than an owner of the 4Runner so she wanted to make sure to get it looked at before the problem turned into something more major. With the roads we travel these days, I think there is a lot of wisdom in that! After dropping the vehicle off mid-morning, Ina’s friend Mary picked us up and took us to La Dulceria, a bakery/bistro in the city. We enjoyed brunch and café con leche and air conditioning :). Since Toyota had not yet called, we had Mary drop us off at the Acropolis Mall to occupy some time. After some YogunFruz, several phone calls, and a taxi ride, we found ourselves back at Toyota with a good report…the sound coming from Ina’s vehicle was just caused by too much mud. The report was “su vehículo estaba sucio, muy sucio” or “your vehicle was dirty, very dirty”. While we’re not sure how to prevent this from happening again (have you seen the roads around here?), we left praising the Lord for an inexpensive visit to the service department and the dependability of Ina’s 4Runner. I can’t even remember what we did when we got home that evening, but I’m sure it wasn’t “work” because we were beat!
Tuesday was a big day of shopping for the team flying in this Saturday and for next week’s kid’s VBS in Cercadillo. At PriceSmart (Costco-ish shopping establishment) as well as a few other places, people were talking about or asking about the big storm coming. We heard every version of when it was going to hit the DR and with what strength. Tuesday evening we went to TIME to set up the Cercadillo market and sell the items her women make. I knew TIME was hosting a team from First Federated Church in DSM, but was surprised when I saw Brent Jackson heading up the stairs! He and I have been on the coordinating team for Perspectives the past couple of years. It was fun to see him in a totally different context and share about what the Lord is doing through Ina in Cercadillo…Late Tuesday night at Ina’s felt a bit like the night before a big snowstorm is supposed to hit Iowa…will we have school tomorrow? Late start? Early dismissal? Ice? Wind? Giddy anticipation? You name it! Wednesday morning at about 7:00am the rain began to fall. We had been praying for God to clearly let us know if we should attempt a trip to Cercadillo on Wednesday, knowing we didn’t want to get stuck out there should the rain fall hard and fast. He was faithful to start the storm in just enough time so Ina knew clearly to cancel the day in the village. Praise the Lord! We worked around the house until about 2:00pm and then made up the Sabbath time we missed on Monday. Ina and I, both teachers from the Midwest, kept remarking about how fun it was to be inside on such a day…it had that feeling of an unexpected snow day right before Christmas! Sadly, today is Thursday and we were supposed to be in the village sharing the gospel message with our teenagers, however with as much rain as we got yesterday, we had to cancel that as well. There is hope that the session will be made up on Thursday, July 25th, so definitely keep on praying for these young people! My time here is winding down, but please pray that I will have the Lord’s strength to finish strong and serve Him with joy!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouraging comments!