Yesterday was a day of goodbyes.
In El Callejon Sara and I spent time cleaning the site and getting it ready for the Christmas break. As always, the little ones came to hang out and play. I gave them sidewalk chalk, and in about 15 minutes the entire back deck was covered! Vanessa drew a huge house for herself, complete with her mom and dad, and even a dog house.
Sadly, I had to scrub it all away as Daisy’s getting back sooner than me, and I don’t want her to have to deal with it. An hour (and tons of buckets of water) later, and it was clean. I’m still not as good at scrubbing with brooms as the women here are, but another year and I just might be!
Before leaving, we walked around El Callejon, saying goodbye and lifting up the community to God. We worry for them during this Christmas season, when lots of parties, drinking and over-indulging can cause all kinds of trouble.
I worry especially for the little ones, who don’t have a choice about where they live, what they see, how they are treated. Please join me in praying that God-with-us will surround them with His love and protection!
Later that afternoon we had a small ‘dessert’ to say Thank You to our semester students. It was great to be able to ‘brag on’ Sara in front of her peers and the other site leaders.
It’s been fun getting to know her, and to share our ‘MK’ (missionary kid) experiences. Our personalities and ways of coping (or not!) with things is similar, and it was good for both of us to have been able to talk about that together. I’m sure going to miss her!From there, it was on to Mata de Platano for a Christmas Dinner with Carlos’ church there. The same building where they have church is where we have our English class. It is another home, another family that God has provided me.
This time, I really felt a part of it, as I was asked to bring things for a salad. All the women bring dishes, and I was so happy to be included! My friend Margot (who is an amazing cook!) took the simple ingredients and made a delicious salad.The rest of the food was amazing, too. Dominicans heap their plates high. Even the little kids eat what would be considered an adult portion back home. (Okay, a woman’s portion! I know, guys can eat a lot!!) There isn’t always much food, so when there is, they feast.
As we left, filled to the brim with good food and lots of hugs and ‘Dios te bendigas’ (God bless you), I looked up to a sky filled with stars. Thousands and thousands of them shining where there really isn’t much ‘human’ light to get in the way.The words of David came to mind, “When I look at the heavens, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (from Psalm 8)
But, God is mindful of us. It’s so incredible that the One who spun out the heavens with a word, loves us enough to send the Word Made Flesh. That He has provided the way of salvation, the way of freedom from sin and pain. That along with eternal gifts, He gives us good gifts every day. Gifts of love, of friendship, of meaningful work.Yesterday was a day of goodbyes, but with each one, was the promise that ‘si Dios quiere’ (the Lord willing) we would see each other again in the New Year. That in Him, we can say goodbye and be confident that no matter what the next weeks bring, God is in control. The One who holds the moon and stars in His hand has carved us on His palm. We are beloved of Him.
So, today I’ll head to the U.S., excited to see those I said goodbye to 18 months ago. God has kept them, He will keep my ‘family’ here, too. “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”