Instead, I woke up to the sound of roosters and rain, alone in my little apartment here in the DR. A little sad, but also praising God for where He has led me.Last night I had dinner with SI friends. How fun to eat ‘chili-mac’ with Americans and Dominicans. Very different from Noche Buena, but just as tasty. As a side note, Dominican food is very flavorful, but not ‘picante’ (spicy hot). Carol’s chili had a nice heat to it. It was kind of funny to watch the DR kiddo’s fanning themselves!
Dessert was another fun combination of familiar and foreign - chocolate cake and jengibre. Cake is becoming more popular here, but since most homes haven’t always had ovens, it’s still not common to have homemade devil’s food. (It was also funny to try and explain why it’s called that! “La comida de Diablo biscocho”?)
Jengibre is a Dominican tea made with sour orange leaves, cinnamon, and lots of fresh ginger. A spoonful of sugar brings out the flavors. It is strong, with a ‘bite’ from the ginger, and very yummy!
Carol asked what Christmas meant to each of us. It was beautiful to hear the responses - in English, Spanish, and Spanglish! Being with family, a time to rest, good food, visiting friends, celebrating Jesus’ birth.For me it means that because Jesus left His Home, even though I am far from mine, I am never truly Homeless. In Jesus, I can be at home anywhere on earth because anywhere I go I will have brothers and sisters in Him.
We talked about being hermanos and hermanas in Christ. Daniel told Ron that long before they knew each other, God had made them brothers. Daniel and Yajaira then asked me if I’d like to be a part of their family, too.I could feel tears welling up as I thought about how God was at work long before I arrived, nurturing hearts here so that when we met, we would recognize His Son in each other. The further from the familiar I have gone, the more family-in-Christ God has provided. Not as replacements, but additions to the growing family in Him.
This is the last week of the year, which means that I’m finishing up my Chronological Bible. I love the fact that right after celebrating Jesus’ first coming, I get to read about His second! There is a lot in Revelation which is confusing and troubling, but oh, the ending!! Pain and sadness gone, every tear wiped away...For me, times of fellowship with other Christ-followers are glimpses of that hope. Sitting with friends I didn’t know just three months ago, being able to share my heart in Spanish (with a bit of help!), is a taste of the joy we will have there. There, we won’t have to say goodbye. And, we will be with Jesus, not just in part, but in whole, face-to-face.
While I still miss my friends and family back home, I praise God for giving me a wider and broader and deeper understanding of what God-with-us means. And, it increases my desire to continue serving Him so that I can continue to meet more and more of those who will be with us at the throne of God and of the Lamb. Marantha, Emmanuel!