This little girl stole my heart yesterday afternoon. Her dad is in charge of making sure that this house gets built properly for one of the other community members, a hard-working woman whose energy amazes me. This young one and I started up a conversation at the end of the workday when she swung by, still in her school uniform, to say hello to her dad. Despite my limited Spanish and her few words of English we soon found ourselves laughing and building a relationship. That is really what this trip is all about.
I looked for her around the same time today but she did not come. About an hour later I felt a tap and turned around. There she was with a big smile and a hug for me. She made my day. These interactions build community and the Kingdom. I have had several of them since arriving. One of the more profound ones happened just before lunch today. I was called over to hear one man’s story. He was in a wheelchair and he said not to feel sorry for him because what happened changed his life for the better. He had been out one night with his uncle who was a police officer, and his brother. The story is long to tell but the synopsis is basically that they got pulled over by a band of local thieves who were looking for the gun that the police officer might be carrying. They laid the three men down on the ground and kept asking where the gun was. The uncle had tossed it a distance away. The man who was telling me the story knew one of the bandits who was a former schoolmate and tried pleading for him to change his mind. When the others realize that he could identify them, they decided to kill him. They shot him in the head and then in the back. Miraculously, the bullet to the head exited cleanly and the other bullet was lodged in the spine. If it had happened the other way around, he would have died. His attackers assumed he was dead because one of his eyes closed. His other eye near to the ground remained open and he witnessed them murder his uncle and heard him kill his brother. There is much more to the story but the gist is that he committed himself to following Christ during his recovery. He remains a committed Christian today.
This really is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the Dominican Republic through the people that we are working alongside. I count myself blessed to be here, working with the crew from Canada and the local folks. I have only seen the ocean from afar. Tomorrow afternoon is a rest time and I look forward to walking on the beach. So much happens in the course of 24 hours that I am saturated with gratitude. Thanks for you continued prayers.
What relationships have been life-changing for you?
Have you ever survived a tragedy?
God of the universe, thank you for the encounters that we have in life. Whether they are fleeting or lasting, they point the way to the kingdom. Amen.