Today I arrived home from the Dominican Republic, and as usual, my heart is heavy. What was once a strange and foreign land has become home to me over the years. I’m at my real home right now, and I know I’m at home…yet somehow, I feel far from it. I think I leave bigger and bigger pieces of my heart in the DR every time I go there, and soon enough there will be nothing left to bring back with me.
This week was a full one, and a much different experience than any of my other times in the Dominican, though I’m not sure why. Part of it was probably going from spending five weeks there last summer to spending just one week this summer — I felt off-kilter, and at times things felt oddly unfamiliar this week. But the Lord shows me time and time again that He always provides, even in the smallest of ways. He reminded me this week that even though I might be feeling needy, when I remain close to Him, I already have everything I need.
This summer, some girls from my hometown and I have been going through a Bible study on the book of Jonah. In our session a few days before I left, we talked about how there are times when God calls us to things we don’t necessarily want to do. One of those things for me regarding this Dominican trip was heading up the kids’ ministry portion of the trip. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m honored and so blessed to have had a role like this for our trip. I learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of ministry last summer while living down there, and I was excited to put that knowledge to use. However, I’m not the type of person who can spend all day every day hanging out with children. I’m not the one who can play games all day and have kids crawling all over me. I wish I was, but I’m not. And being in charge of kids’ ministry means being in villages all day every day, hanging out with kids. It means not being able to translate for the medical team. It means not being able to watch the baseball team share testimonies. It means doing exactly what I don’t want to do all day. And sometimes, God calls us to things we don’t want to do. But He also equips us to do those things, especially when we aren’t cut out to do them on our own. God equipped me this week with the patience, love, and joy right when I needed them. Village ministry was successful, went smoothly, and was fun. Looking back on the week, I know none of it would have been possible without Him: I by myself could not have come close to accomplishing what we did this week. And I am so, so thankful for a God who loves me. For one who calls me, who answers me, who is concerned for me, and who allows me to be a part of his great work.
As I said before, this week was a full one. If I can get back into the swing of blogging, I’ll be sure to share more about it soon, but for now I’ll leave with this picture. This is Virginia, one of the girls who lives at Pasitos de Jesús, the orphanage I worked at and lived in last summer. Yesterday we went to visit, and Virginia was the first girl to see me as I walked in. She did a quick double-take and I saw her eyes grow wide like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing; then she ran over for this hug (thanks Avery for the photo ;) ). This was by far one of my favorite moments of the week, and I won’t soon forget that look on her face.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney