As I’ve shared before, I’m not an adventurous person. I never feel more relaxed than in the comfort of my little home. I like routine. I hate surprises and the unexpected.
Gracias a Dios, He is stretching me past myself, but going back to my home culture meant that for the first time in half a year, I didn’t have to put energy into the little things, like driving, communicating, even thinking.Even though I’d never been to Visalia before, I knew what to do. With the long days of travel (a solid 24 hours each way), jam-packed meeting days (we were busy from 9am until 9 or 10pm each night), and the four hour time difference, I should have been super tired, but I really wasn’t. Instead, I was... refreshed.
Visalia (and the surrounding area) has a lot of farmland filled with orange groves and other crops. It’s an orderly place; the trees are planted in perfectly straight, neat rows, the streets laid out in a grid pattern. I’d never been there before, but it felt ‘right’, it felt like ‘home’.Driving, meeting other SI staff, making small talk with checkout clerks and others in line, knowing what to do, how to act, what was expected…it all felt so natural and comfortable. The unspoken rules of life that none of us have to think about in our home culture.
The house we stayed in was huge and lovely, in a neighborhood full of manicured lawns and two- and three-car garages, asphalt roads and sidewalks. At 4-way stops, everyone waited their turn. And, I don’t remember seeing a single motorcycle! Some of you reading this may think this sounds dull and unexciting. To me, it was a dream (the good kind!).But, I am not called to live that dream. I am called to a dream which includes the roosters, goats, dogs, and Maria’s cow – with her new calf, that woke me up this morning. The dream here can be frustrating and overwhelming, but it is one of the ‘good kind’. It’s good because it is where God has called me to serve Him.
Today is a holiday (they love holidays here!) so I’m getting a chance to rest up from 24 hours without sleep before heading back to El Callejon to start our year. Oh, my! How different from the grid of wide streets (with hardly any potholes!) and the orderly homes, crops, and buildings of Visalia!
If I'm going to be really honest with you, right now it seems impossible that the Dominican Republic will ever truly be home. It doesn't seem possible that the way of life here will ever refresh me. Yeah, I have to confess I feel kind of homesick today.
But, you know what? It's okay. Feeling homesick reminds me that my true Home waits. It reminds me that true refreshment comes only from the Living Water. Sharing His love with others who are thirsting for something - Someone! - they may not yet know, is why I am in this place.
I praise God for my time in the US. I praise Him for what He is doing in the DR. I praise Him because He meets me, inviting me to find my hope, my strength, my rest in Him. And, I praise Him that on the other side of my life here, I will go Home, and there I will never again be weary or thirsty or out of place. Until then, may I be faithful!
Tomorrow I’ll blog about the “Bests” of my trip. And… like pretty much everything else in this season of my life, they weren’t what I expected! Oh, and there’ll be pictures, too! :O)