Friday, January 4, 2013

Hola, Jarabacoa!

I’m sitting in my apartment, listening to the song “10,000 Reasons”.  I last sang this sitting in the sanctuary of my home church in Harrisonburg Virginia this past Sunday morning.  Before that, I had sung it here in the D.R. at the S.I. base.  I love it, and I truly do have 10,000 reasons and more to say, “Bless the Lord, o my soul!”

I arrived back in the D.R. after a long trip home.  I left Harrisonburg around 1pm yesterday, and got to Dulles around 3.  My 5:24pm plane ride to JFK in New York lasted all of 37 minutes.  Then, it was time to wait. 

The trip I booked back in September included a flight to Santiago that night, but at some point it was canceled.  Instead, I was to be in the airport from 7pm – 7:15am.  

After a visit to the Delta counter, I found out where my flight would be, and tried to settle in on the floor at that gate.  Nearby the large flat screen TV shouted the news.  I was able to get about 20 minutes of rest before discomfort woke me up. 

At around midnight, a sweet 3rd shift worker pointed me to some semi-comfy benches.  When I got up to them, another worker told me he’d hold of his vacuuming so I could get some sleep.  My ‘cat-naps’ increased to around an hour each.  Thank you, Father, for guardian angels in the guise of cleaning staff!

I woke up for good around 5, washed my face, got some coffee, and was soon winging my way to Santiago.  We landed around 11:30am.  Things with Customs went just fine, and both my suitcases arrived intact, too! 

Carlos picked me up in the (relative) heat and humidity.  We headed to Mata de Platano, as he had come in my car.  How fun to have all the little ones there run to give me hugs hello!  (Or, I should say "Hola!"?  It’s going to take a while to get used to Spanish again!).  Seeing some of our English students and friends was great, too.  Carlos’ mom gave me a big hug and kiss.  What a joy-filled welcome!

At my home, Doña Gloria and some of her family were eating lunch, so instead of just slipping upstairs, I had to visit for a while.  And, Maria fixed me ‘un chin de comida’ (a little bit of food).  It was a Dominican 'chin', meaning a huge plate of yummy rice and beans, meat and salad.  Even the dog, Lisa, jumped around and howled.

I entered my apartment a little after 2pm, 25 hours after stepping out of Dick and Mona’s home in Harrisonburg.  The temperature there was in the 30’s, here in the 70’s.  But, in both, I looked out on mountains and felt amazed and humbled at God’s love and blessing.

I’ll try and write more about my time later.  For now, I’m still quite tired, and still trying to process it all.  God has been so good, and I give Him the glory for bringing me safely from home to home and back again. 

I praise Him for allowing my heart to expand to the point where both truly do feel like home.  Not because everything about both places is perfect, but because, in both, He has provided loved ones to journey with and welcome me.

As I look ahead to another year of serving Him here in the D.R., I know that all will not go smoothly – for me, or for those I love back there.   I am grateful for this time of reconnecting, which strengthened ties with friends and family in Christ.  I will be able to pray for them better, and know they will for me, because of the gift of this time together. 

10,000 reasons?  Oh, yes!  Bless the Lord,  o my soul, worship His holy name! 

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