We (James, me, and the two girls) left on a Friday morning to start our journey to the Dominican Republic. The traveling went so smoothly, and I could feel prayers coming from all directions! (To see more of my pictures from the Dominican, please click here to my photography blog!)
I started praying that all our bags would be checked on for free about 3 weeks prior to us leaving. And sad to say, because I was praying with my kids, my faith waivered, not wanting them to see God not answer, and so a few days prior, I started praying that some of our bags would be free, or that they wouldn’t be that expensive. Between the 3 families, we had 17 bags to check in, many of the bags filled with supplies such as rice and beans, school supplies, and clothes. But my God is BIG, and in His grace, He chose to bless us even in my waivering faith. All 17 bags were checked on for free!! When that happened, I felt God’s presence with His big arms around me saying, “I’ve got this. Go in peace.”
Here we are at the Santiago airport, about 9 p.m. with all our bags. We went with a total of 35 people from the Austin Stone church, and all 73 checked bags arrived!!
From the airport, we drove 30 minutes to a host family’s house. Yes, they have a big house to house 35 people!
|the kids in front of the White’s House|
By the time we got settled in the White house, it was late. And when I say “settled”, what I really mean is “unsettled”, because it was definitely shock and awe for me. There was girls rooms and guys rooms which meant I needed to take care of Rilyn and Ella. There wasn’t enough bunk beds for them, so they got mats on the floor, in the middle of the chaos. James shot a glance at me amongst the 35 people trying to get in line for 3 showers, and he said he saw the tears welling up in my eyes. “This is what I signed up for Julie”, I told myself. No air conditioning, no cool breeze through the windows, just stale air blowing about from the fans. We were told “no throwing toilet paper in the toilet” and “don’t drink the sink/shower water.” These things are semi-easy to remember for an adult, but for kids? (More on that later.) I was sweating from head to toe, but there was no way I was going to get a shower that night. I closed my eyes, and made the girls shut theirs, even though it was hot, muggy, loud, and the lights were on, with people buzzing about. I admit, I started rethinking why I brought my girls. Why did I subject them to this “uncomfortableness?” I was not going to be dreaming happy thoughts that night…
I had to get some sleep. But sleep did not come. Saturday morning came slowly. It was time to drive 2 hours to the Makarios house where we would stay for the remainder of our trip.
*to read about day 2, click here*