Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day One

On November, 1, 2010, I said Yes to the invitation to work with Students International in El Callejon, Dominican Republic.  Today, on the one-year anniversary of that “Yes”, I spent my first full day alone at the Social Work site. 

Well, I wasn’t totally alone, as Chelsea and Taryn, our two wonderful Semester Students, were with me.  But, I was in charge.  I wore the set of keys, I opened up the Site, I made sure we had everything in order…
Before we started our activities, we spent time together praying for our day, for the Site, and for those who would come.  We don’t always get to pray (people immediately start showing up when they see Daisy arrive) but for me it was essential that we started our day in this manner!  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do anything without it!

Last week's craft - Cottonball Ovejas
After praying and discussing the day’s schedule, the Little Girls came in.  Actually, they started showing up at around 9:15, but we asked them to play outside.  I love the fact that they want to be at our Site!  The Little Girls are ages six thru nine.  Last week we talked about the Parable of the Lost Sheep and did an adorable craft one of our groups had brought down for us. 
This week we read another parable, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  We asked the girls what they learned.  One of them proudly stated, “Hubo un Americano” (There was an American). 

At first I wasn’t sure what she meant, but then I realized she had misunderstood “Samaritano”.  I had to explain that Samaritans were from Samaria, not the U.S.!  Kids, in all countries, really do say some adorable things!

Genesis (l) and Yennifer (r) work at their hearts
Since the Good Samaritan had helped the man, he had shown a heart like the heart of Jesus.  So, we had the girls do some simple embroidery on heart-shaped plastic grids.  Some of them did a great job, others got frustrated.  Instead of them all shouting, “Daisy!”, I heard, “Kimberley, ayudame Kimberley!” (Help me)  It felt kind of good, to have them hollering for me! 
My camera got passed around - not sure who took this one!
Tule (lives next door), Luissania (l), Lorianny y yo
Chelsea and Taryn leave each day to have lunch with the families they are living with, so I was alone for a couple of hours.  Some of the ladies and little girls stopped by.  I didn’t understand everything they said, but it was fun to try!  I was glad that even though Daisy wasn’t there, some of them still stayed a while to talk with me. 

In the afternoon we had one of our Teen groups.  We’re still working our way through the Fruits of the Spirit.  I ‘doubled up’ today with Kindness and Goodness, and used the story of the Good Samaritan here, too. 
Since this group is older, I tried to spend more time explaining to them about the three men – the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan.  Are there people here that others don’t like?  I asked.  Yes, one of the replied, the Haitians. 

I told them this would be like if a pastor and church worker walked past but the one who stopped to help was Haitian.  A couple of the teens were nodding, so I’m hoping they connected more to the really radical words of Jesus.
We finished our time with an English lesson, taught by Chelsea and Taryn.  Today was introducing ourselves.  They used a variation on that game of slapping your legs, clapping your hands, and snapping your fingers to help the girls practice saying, My name is ______, I am 15 years old, I have two brothers, etc. 

The Teens did a good job, although pronouncing words like “Have” was a challenge.  In Spanish, the letter H is silent, and a V kind of sounds like a B.  One of them wrote out Have as Jaf to help her remember how to say it.  Clever!
The day flew by, and we all felt it had been a success.  I know that was only because the Holy Spirit was with us.  I feel pretty tired out, but also elated. 

When I first walked back into El Callejon at the end of September, it seemed impossible that I’d ever begin to feel a connection.  Now, it not only seems possible, but I know that God is in this ministry, and He will make the connections in His way and in His time. 

One year ago, this all seemed like a dream.  Today, one year later, so much has changed, but the same One I said Yes to then, is with me now, and will continue to work out His will.  All glory to Him!

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