After our return from the Dominican Republic, a friend asked, “Where did you see God move the most while you were there?” I told her that it wasn’t where she might expect, and it may not have even been evident to others around, but I knew that God was comforting and speaking to me.
Our first full day in the Dominican was a Sunday, and we went to church in Santiago with the Hartsfields (UponThousands). The service was entirely in Spanish, but despite my severely limited language skills (I’m working on it!) I was able to get the gist of the message: we all should be servants, just as Christ gave us the example (John 13:1-20). I thought to myself, “What an appropriate message for the beginning of our trip.”
After lunch that afternoon, we got into the van and made a trip out to San Pablo, Villa González. We all wanted to visit with our sponsored kids before an evening service at a local church in which Kip and our friend Geoff (simplythechurch) would be speaking. It was so exciting to see all the kids and their smiling faces again. We sat in the nutrition center and with very broken Spanish talked with Claudia (age 14) and Yasmiri (age 12). I love that we were afforded the opportunity to build relationships with all of our sponsored children. It’s a joyous thing to see God grow them – physically and spiritually – through the work being done in this community.
After a while, it was suggested that we all walk down to the Rodriguez house. We had visited there last year, and had the opportunity to meet Yobani (age 9), his mother, and some of his brothers and sisters for the first time. Much work had been completed since we were last there. A previous mission team from Ohio had nearly doubled the size of the home. When we last visited, the house consisted of 3 small rooms that housed 8 children and the parents, and was in need of some significant repairs. That was not the case now. The addition to the house included an indoor kitchen, an indoor bathroom, and an additional bedroom. What an amazing difference has been made in that family’s life through the generosity of that team!
When we crossed over the foot bridge on the path to their home, we were greeted with hugs and blessings from Mr. & Mrs. Rodriguez. They invited us into their house that could now accommodate such a large group. After being informed that Kip and I were in the process of moving to the Dominican Republic, Camilo (the father of the house) started to talk, with Brian translating as fast as he could. He looked at Kip and I and began speaking about Moses and the children of Israel – that God had told the Israelites about the Promised Land, but before they could get there they had to be willing to leave what they knew (that sounded familiar). He went on to speak of how Moses had led them out of Egypt, but the trip was not easy. The journey was hard and it had many obstacles (also familiar), but in the end those that kept their eyes on the Lord made it to the Promised Land. Camilo looked at me, and through Brian said, “You are in the desert, but keep your eyes on the Lord and you too will make it to where He has called you.”
On that warm Sunday afternoon, my body was covered in chills. Mr. Rodriguez did not know the details of our past few months. He did not know that just days before we had been in a doctor’s office discussing the next steps in Kip’s treatment. But God knew. God knew that I had been growing tired from the journey and needed encouragement that we were on the right path; His path. He knew I needed the reassurance and reminder that He has control of the obstacles we’re facing, and that He is well aware and understands how the last few months have been an excruciating uphill climb. I needed not only to know that He knew, but be comforted by the reminder that He has been with us each step of the way. God knew that I needed a shot in the arm to keep moving forward, and a simple reminder to keep my eyes on Him as I do.
Properly placed Faith will be made steadfast
I have to admit that the last few months have been difficult, and I have had my moments of discouragement. However, God continues to bless me with these reassurances that His call on our life is real, and He has it under control. It is easy to focus on obstacles that lie ahead, but we are called to keep our focus on Him and trust His leading (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is not on us to wrangle our circumstances into the way we believe things “ought to be.” Our job is to follow Him….to be obedient in doing the next right thing that points us toward Him and whatever He has thus far revealed. When we do that and are faithful in the desert, we will make it to our Promised Land.