Our mornings here begin early at 6:30 a.m. the Dominican way--roosters crowing and a happy Dominican song (GOOD MORNING! HALLELUJAH! JESUS LOVES YOU! WAKE UP GIRLS!) We leave for camp at 8. You have probably noticed that the boys are wearing blue shirts at camp, but this morning we saw something different--pink shirts! We also had some visitors show up who weren't on the list to attend today--a cow and many chickens/roosters! Everyone got a kick out of seeing these animals among the baseball dirt and fields, oblivious to the activity occurring around them.
We had two new translators helping us communicate with the kids today. During our testimony time, the two translators spoke. Ina emphasized that these men were strong, smart, Dominicans who love baseball, but greater than all of that is the fact that they love Jesus. In their culture, church is a place for women. Men who go to church are viewed as weak, so it is rare to see men in church. The men who spoke to us understand the truthe--that it is an honor to be a Christian and something to be proud of.
A young mute girl came to get some shoes, but she had no money. Everyone on our team wanted to step in and help, but before anyone could, Carmenita, a young woman from the village stepped forward. Everyone noticed her gratitude, but the story gets better. Ina has been at this village for 8 years, and the village has came along way. When she first arrived, she went to hand out clothes to the people, and women (two in particular) were physically fighting and pulling each other's hair to get clothing first. Now, by the grace of God, the situation had completely changed this woman, who was shown God's grace was blessing others. Ina told us this story this evening as we were visiting the mercado. The mercado (Spanish for market) is a way for the Cercadillo village women to use the skills they have, like sewing, to make money. It can be easy for Americans to visit a third-world country, see the poverty and oppression, and want to give them money and food out of compassion. But what happens after we leave? Ina has a vision of helping the Dominicans become self-sufficient. Those who work toward this goal may never see the fruits of their labors, but is a marathon not a sprint!
We have been noticing God in the smaller details of our days here--from the smiley 4-year old boy who always has mango juice all over his face, to how we always make it through the crazy Dominican traffic in one piece. We gave our bus driver, Jose, a baseball glove, and we will never forget the happy look on his face! Thank you Jesus, for allowing us to be apart of your plan! We are being stretched this week and are experiencing God in a tangible, no-strings-attached, way like we never have before.
1) Men/Leaders of the village of Cercadillo