Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've learned that water is essential, that goodbyes are hard in English or in Spanish. I've learned that God's hands reach from highways to dirt roads and hold us all when we need it most. I've learned that smiles and hugs bridge language barriers and that when God nudges you to go, you should always, always, always listen.
 I've held hands and heard giggles from little girls not my own. I've missed my Madison and wondered what she would think about these girls, beautiful and happy. My heart doesn't ache as I thought it would, but rejoices in seeing God remain God in the Dominican as well as in the U.S. My faith has been strengthened, in our Lord, in His ways, in His grace.
 I've formed friendships that were divinely put together. We traveled together over the ocean and experienced a country, a bus ride and a batey that few will ever encounter. I've felt God's hand. I've seen compassion bloom and faith meet actions. That is a beautiful thing to see. 

I would wonder why God would call me...and felt assured when we spoke about Jonah at our CrossTalks. That everyone had a Jonah moment coming there, a reason to not be there, a reason to not be adequate for the calling. I've lived the saying 'God doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies the called.' I've lived it. And I've seen it breathed to life through other team members.

I've felt encouragement from our church family, their prayers and their hopes back home that we would do something good to further the Kingdom of God. The whole church went, you know. The prayers gave flight and off we went. He said to go, and so we went. Some stayed home so others could go. Some worshipped the King of Kings and prayers so strongly that we knew this trip would be blessed. We showed God's love through our actions--through building bridges, breaking ground, snuggling sweet babies.  We hoped to be great ambassadors for His Kingdom.
I've seen mothers love their children and been blessed with the site of this. I saw a parallel between my role back home and their role there...loving, raising, hoping for these babies. Beautiful, beautiful babies. One God Himself breathed life into, just like my own baby back home.
I witnessed children want love, need love, strive for love and affection, nothing abnormal from children back home. I witnessed different personality types...the strong ones, the shy ones, the maternal ones that would have a different baby on her hip everytime I'd see her despite her age of 9, the loud ones, the funny ones, the happy ones...The happy ones make your heart want to burst at the seams. Their smiles so white and so beautiful. They smile fully, not hiding a single tooth it seems. Some of my heart is still there...entangled in those smiles and those big brown eyes...
We fed over nine thousand people, with rice and beans.  We scooped carefully to not waste a single serving, we heard thank you's in English and in Spanish. We saw God's work and His promises fulfilled. Such a small meal to us is everything to them. 

I met a woman named Alexandria. My broken Spanish coupled with her broken English managed a conversation that claimed us both as Christians, what a miraculous thing. Her name. My name. Her age. My age. Christiano? Jesus Christo?? Si. Yes. Glory to God, Glory to God. That's what its all about...
I read a letter written by Eledena, age 11, beautiful girl. Thanking us for loving her. For..loving...her. And my eyes flooded with tears of happiness and heartbreak. And when thinking about it more my eyes fill with tears to know His grace is sufficient for her, too. He has His hands on her, just as He does on me. How thankful I am for this...
Thank you to everyone who prayed for this trip, for our team and for the people we were touching as we traveled. Your prayers have reached farther than you will ever know. 

Gloria a Dios
Glory to God

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