Sunday was a relaxing day in a lot of ways, but also very tough for me. We woke up on Sunday and went to a local church for worship. It was wonderful to sing praise songs in Spanish, and the girls recognized many of the songs. It was Father’s Day in the Dominican, so the sermon was about being a godly parent. The reason I know this is because they had a translator for us!
Being Sabbath, after church we drove to the Puerto Plata, which is a scenic spot off of the coast. There we visited Fort San Felipe and took pictures!
Can you see James, Jeff, and the kids?
Group shot of all 35 of us!
|Austin Stone mission trip group|
After the Point, we drove to a nearby restaurant that had a kid area to play! Before we ate, we all stopped to use the restroom. Remember I said in an earlier blog post that it’s harder for kids to remember to NOT put toilet paper in the toilets? Well, the girls toilet wasn’t working so people were just doing their business on top of one another. Rilyn went in and came out sheepishly, “Mom, I put lots of toilet paper in the toilet!!” Ugh. Very reluctantly, I reached my hand in a very full bowl of #1 (and #2!) and pulled out her toilet paper. And I had to do it three times before I got it all out! Shudder. I almost gagged each time. (Later in the day at the Mak house, I would catch Ella pulling toilet paper out of the bowl, and when I said, “Oh Ella!” She said, “What? I have to do this almost every time because I keep forgetting!” D.I.S.G.U.S.T.I.N.G!! That episode caused me not to be surprised when Ella got diarrhea later that day.)
We ate lunch, (which by the way, the food there was always good, not a problem at all for my girls to eat, thank you Lord!) and all the kids played on the unsafe playground!
|don’t see many of these around our parks!|
|Ella flying 6 feet in the air on a teeter totter!|
We rode back to the Mak house in a non air conditioned van with the girls sitting on our laps. Seatbelts smeatbelts! No such thing in the DR! After we settled at the house, we decided to skype with Asher at home. We had had no contact with him thus far, and hadn’t seen him in almost 4 days. Bad move. It was tough to see him non-responsive, and almost mad at the four of us staring at him through the computer. I’m sure he was thinking, “Why have you all left me?” He cried a little bit, and then my parents assured us he was having fun, and we turned it off. I didn’t cry, but I sure the heck wanted to. Honestly, I just never let myself think about how much I missed Asher during the trip. I just shut those feelings away, knowing he was having a great time with family. I didn’t want to “go there” and dwell on what I couldn’t change. He was in America, and I was in the DR sweating my butt off.
The girls had a fun afternoon, getting their faces painted by a sweet girl on the trip who was practicing for the carnival on Thursday. Again, seeing joy on their faces was a sweet reminder of “it’s not about me.”
|Rilyn and Ellie|
Dinner was me reflecting how I wanted to “check out” because there was too many people here. There was almost 50 of us in one house because we were with another missions group from Miami. I couldn’t help but think if there was less people, I could get a shower when I wanted, I could get to know people better, I could sit in my own seat in the car without someone on my lap…
Needless to say I didn’t have a great attitude on Sunday, and God, in His grace, allowed Sunday night to be the worst night of sleep. I say “in His grace” because He wanted me to feel the desperation of needing Him. I cried out to Him Sunday night as I was lying on my mattress that felt like a slightly damp sponge. No power, no fans blowing, just dead silence, snoring from others, and the sticky heat pressing against me on all sides. Just when I thought, maybe I could handle this, Rilyn came climbing up to my top bunk crying. “I can’t sleep!!!” It was close to midnight, and when my kids can’t sleep, I feel the desperation. Again, the thoughts of, “Why did I bring them here? To torture them?”
“I am desperate for You to turn on the power! Please Lord! I just need a breeze, I need sleep! My girls need sleep!” There have been few times in my life that I have ever felt such desperation. Each night I was losing more and more sleep, and I knew I couldn’t keep on like this. We hadn’t even started summer school yet at the Makarios school! 3 days here felt like I had been here 10.
God answered me with a cool breeze, and then a burst of fans flickering on one by one. It was nearly 1 a.m., the power and His Power were surrounding me, and in His grace He granted me deep sleep. I woke up on Monday remembering my Sunday, my tough Sunday. Desperate. And the Lord asked me, “What are you desperate for at home?” “Me?” “Your kids? Your husband? Your alone time to spend on hobbies? Your kids to have a great school?”
There are so many distractions in America that lead me to think I can control any situation. ”I don’t really need God” is what my heart says when I take control. In the DR, I needed God to turn the power on. I couldn’t call the electric company, set up an appointment, and have them fix the situation. Being back in America, I can easily put myself in situations where I don’t need to feel desperate for Him, and I’m left to ponder how I can be desperate for Him, fight for the longing of Him. I don’t want to do anything on my own strength!
What comes to my mind right now is putting my kids in public school. Has the Lord blessed us every step of the way thus far having been there for 4 years now? Yes! Thank you Jesus! Does that mean this year will look like the last ones? No. My prayer is that I feel desperate for Him this school year with all three of mine at Manor Elementary. Now THAT is a scary thing to pray!
1As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?