First things first: living in close proximity of 32 other girls can only result in one thing—I’m sick. It’s nothing major, mostly just a cold, but to say I’m lacking energy feels like the understatement of the year. Prayers for a speedy recovery would be very much appreciated, because today I have hardly been able to walk around the orphanage without feeling like I’m going to pass out.

I just began my third week in the DR, which is so weird for me to think about. I’ve been missing a few things from home, but not enough for me to wish I were at home. However, I have my moments of wishing time would go by a little faster here, and then other moments of wishing I could stay forever. It’s a roller coaster, to say the least. But one thing I realize more and more during my time here: I am surrounded by the most incredible people in the world, both from the United States and my friends in the Dominican Republic.

My two best friends, Lori and Leah, wrote me letters and made sure they made it here with the group from Hebron that arrived on Saturday. A woman came over to me and was like, “You’re Lauren? Lauren Greene? I have something for you!” and hands me these envelopes—letters from Lori and Leah, full of the most encouraging words and love, right when I needed them. They are truly the world’s greatest friends.

The letters got me to thinking of all the other people in my life that continue to encourage, love, and support me. The group from Hebron that arrived on Saturday has done nothing but help in any way they can, from buying ice cream for Kelly, Ashlee, and me (we stayed the weekend with them at SCORE) to making sure I have enough medicine to last for the next year. Everyone is such a blessing, even those who I just met three days ago.

And then there’s Kelly, who was on my DR trip last summer. She’s from Hebron, but I didn’t really get to know her while we were here last year. She and her friend Ashlee have been working at a daycare here in the Dominican for the past month, so in the past couple weeks we’ve spent a lot of time together and really gotten to know each other—and I’m totally learning that we are one and the same. Sometimes I feel crazy with my roller coaster of emotions I’m going through, but then I talk to Kelly and she’s the exact same way. There are so many other things, but I’m so grateful to have spent so much time with her in the past couple weeks.

There are about 40 other people I could mention as being incredible during this trip—everyone who provided support money and got me down here, my parents for (reluctantly) letting me spend 5 weeks down here, Dustin Wilbanks, who is the most phenomenal missions pastor anyone could ever meet, all the friends I met my first week here who continually check on me, my friends in the Dominican Republic who are always around if I need them and have offered their home to me (so looking forward to spending the weekend with my two friends, Gabby and Patricia)—I could continue. But this is just to say: I am so thankful for every single person who has prayed for me, supported me, or encouraged me in the past few weeks. Words can’t express my gratitude.


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