Hola from the Dominican Republic!
Today was a whirlwind of a day. We woke up to our alarms beeping at 5:45 (that’s 4:45 Iowa time). Just so you know how blessed we are. I woke up wearing a sweatshirt and was cold… In the Dominican Republic. Can we just thank Jesus for that please? After our morning routine of making sure the boys are awake, we realize that they are awake, sitting in the living room on the couch, and ready to go after a strenuous workout, morning devotions, and showers. Lol. Just kidding. Rebekah made us some delicious breakfast casserole before we headed out to the village.
As we were pulling out of Ina’s driveway to leave, we realized that Ina’s vehicle, which my dad was driving, had a flat tire. So he pulled it back in, and we are so grateful for Millo because he helped us unpack all of the supplies and put them into his van. Squished but still focused and ready for the day, we carted on out to the village.
Straight from the get go, we knew that it was going to be an interesting day. For the morning session, we had no translators. To my complete and utter disappointment, the “mad scientist” didn’t get to make her appearance, but somehow we were able to make due without her. Other than that, the Dominican leaders and the rest of the team continued to step up their game. You’re probably thinking how this can be possible considering all of the amazing things that happened yesterday, but God is good and yes, it happened.
The dynamic duo, aka Keaton & Connor, led the Lego stations all by themselves. With what little Spanish they knew (basically nothing), they successfully directed numerous kids in activities ranging from building small villages to understanding that they can’t steal the Legos. A pretty amazing accomplishment if you ask me.
Jessica and I were in charge of explaining the cycles of water to the kids. Without our sweet translators, Jessica, the Dominican women, and I had a variety of ways in which we explained our experiments. We used some Spanglish, charades, and Q&A’s, along with a few other methods. The kids were amazingly well behaved and we still have no clue if they actually understood what we taught them because from start to finish all of them politely nodded their heads and smiled at us. The kids’ favorite experiment was when we created rain out of water, shaving cream, and food coloring.
The craft squad went a little crazy today. They created huge posters out of bed sheets and painted them with a mirage of colors. Carmencita, one of the women from the village, helped Jamie and Brandi explain the activity to all six groups. She was quite the superstar today. All of the signs said, “When God speaks, things happen.” Since the kids were so excited about painting the signs, the activity itself only lasted about three minutes. Luckily, Jamie had her Spanish to English flash cards and they taught the kids some more English.
The highlight of the day, in my opinion, was game time. The boys carried six 5 gallon buckets of water out to the baseball field and we got absolutely soaked. There were three stations of games: the slingshot, a rendition of musical chairs, and water races. The kids went crazy and loved being able to drench some of the leaders in water. During the afternoon session, the slingshot broke so our activity turned into the “See How Wet You Can Get The Leaders/ Dodgeball” station very quickly. “Muy rapido” as our fluent team members (K&Con) would say.
For afternoon session, we were accompanied by our favorite translators. Not only did they assist at all the stations, they joined us in getting soaking wet during the games part. Personally, it is such an incredible opportunity to be able to interact and become fast friends with girls my age who have lived a life completely different than mine. Most of these girls, while one does attend college in the United States, go to Dominican universities, and speak two to three to four languages. During the water games, one of them pulled me aside and says, “Girl, either your makeup is everywhere or one of those kids gave you a black eye.” She proceeded to using her own shirt to wipe my mascara off my eyes. Besides Christ, we have little in common, yet just within the three days that I have met them, they seriously feel like sisters to me.
In other news, we made it back to Ina’s safely after camp and were greeted with two great things from Ina! The first was a mango smoothie for each of us, and the second is that she is officially in remission from cancer! God is faithful in so many ways, which we have seen so clearly already just on this trip.
After drinking our delicious smoothies, we went to the Time Center for dinner, where they had laid out adorable table clothes and flowers at each table. That was our last meal with them and they wanted to make it special for us. They also gave us cake. I love cake. It’s been a great day.
We headed back to Ina’s after dinner and got to work on a few tasks. The boys finished fixing the ceiling fan in Ina’s living room. It looks spectacular. Jamie and I took down and put up some Christmas lights on Ina’s patio. This is still a work in progress, but I climbed up a tall ladder and didn’t get hurt. So far, so good! The rest of the team was busy prepping for tomorrow and uploading pictures from the week so far.
It was the most interesting thing that the ladies found when they uploaded the videos to the computer. Last night, Keaton and Connor were in charge of making the sandwiches for lunch today. My dad and I had gone to the Time Center and the other warriors had gone to Ina’s to make paint for the craft. If you do the calculations, this leaves Keaton and Connor alone for an extended period of time with nothing to do but make delicious sandwiches. We come to find out that they created an entire video series about how to make the best peanut butter & jelly and turkey & cheese sandwiches.
Seriously, the video was quite enlightening. I personally learned a lot, and according to their video they will have several more coming out so feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to see their videos. Just a quick teaser for you, the video includes a tour of the house we’re staying at, them singing, and the benefits of whole grain bread. They promise to put their subscribers first so if we all come together, maybe they will finally be forced to air on YouTube for the world to see.
On our way to the Time House from Ina’s casa, a huge dark van pulled over to the side and several Dominican men yelled at us to get in the van. My heart dropped to the floor, then they all started laughing. They were the Dominican men interning at the Time Center. Definitely the best joke of the trip.
Keaton wanted everyone to know that the first injury of the trip occurred tonight. While Keaton was showering, Connor came in to show him how dirty his towel was. Keaton had soap all over his face, but still chose to open his eyes. You all can assume what happened after that. Thankfully, Jessica had some eye drops for him to use and he should be back to 100% by the morning.
Today was one of those days that will be etched into our minds for a long time. God filled in our gaps, and the camp went exactly the way He wanted it to go. He is at work in so many different ways. This trip is truly a great opportunity to take time to step away from everything in our lives, set our eyes on Jesus, give our hands & feet to Jesus, and watch Him work in miraculous ways. We are so thankful for your continuous prayers, and are excited to tell you so many more stories about the greatness of our God throughout the week.
Marisa & the Fam