Monday, January 25, 2010

A Big Accomplishment

During the last year and a half that I have been here in the DR I have discovered a love that I have for translating. Now, for those of you who know me you know that one of my least favorite things in public speaking, but I have found that I love it when I am not the one coming up with the words to say. :-) When we have teams here that come down from the States, every morning one of our staff members gives a Bible study talk. When that staff member happens to be a Spanish speaker, I am often called upon to translate. Like I said, I really enjoy doing this. Also when we have teams, we get the church service translated. Last summer I told a few people, "my goal is to be the church translator by next summer." This is a pretty bold statement, considering the circumstances. Allow me to elaborate: our pastor is one of the fastest speakers around. There are American missionaries who have been here for years and still don't understand his sermons. Oh, and did I mention his sermons are an hour long? So I've been quite intimidated at the thought of offering my services as a translator, even though every Sunday I sit in church understanding every single word coming out of his mouth.

Well, yesterday I was faced with my worst fear. I was asked to translate. I was so nervous to be up in front of everyone and scared that he would say things that I wouldn't understand. Before the service I met with the pastor in his office. "Are you nervous?" he asked me. "A little," I under-exagerated. "You know what?" he said. "I am the last person who anyone would imagine would want to be a public speaker. But God has given me this responsibility to take the Good News to the Dominican people. And now this is your responsibility: to take God's words to the North Americans who are here this afternoon." Good point. Basically he told me to suck it up and do what God wants me to do.

And I did. And it went well. I made a few mistakes, sure. And I'm sure everyone in the crowd could see my hand shaking as I held the microphone. But I spoke the Good News. I was God's voice speaking through the pastor in Spanish to the English speakers. I was an instrument used by God to carry His message. And that's all I really want in life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An unpleasant Surprise

This week it was back to the school to starting cleaning and organizing to get ready for the next term of classes. When I opened the door to my classroom I found it fairly dusty but not in too bad of shape. I then looked over to my cabinet where I keep all my art supplies and noticed that the doors were half open and there was a bunch of stuff on the ground in front of it. I thought this was pretty odd but then thought that maybe the earthquake had knocked some stuff over. I went over for closer inspection and started to take things out and out runs and HUGE rat!! And I do mean huge, it was about 8 inches long. Disgusting. So after screaming and running to the other side of the school and waiting for some of the kids to take everything out of my closet so that they could catch the rat, I went back in to assess the damage. I never know a rat could eat so much stuff!! This little devil not only ate through a jar of bird seed that I used for discovery table/ science projects, it ate through bottles of paint, construction paper, cardboard boxes, tissue paper, foam art supplies....basically everything!! I literally had to throw away about 1/2 of my art supplies. And did my classroom ever smell bad!!! I had no idea that a rat could cause so much damage. This is not the way that I wanted to start off the school term: without supplies. But now at least I know that I should get a new closet because the doors of this one doesn't shut very well. And I need to store everything in strong plastic tubs to keep out rats and cockroaches.

Live and learn.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family Christmas in the DR

This December I decided to stay here in the DR and not come back to California and instead welcome my whole family here for Christmas in the Caribbean. It was such a blessed time having everyone (mom, dad, leah, jared, lyla mae, and jacob) here in my home and sharing with them my love for this country and it's people. It was also wonderful to have them here to get to know my boyfriend of 8 months, Cristian. Despite the small language barrier he and my family were able to get to know each other wonderfully using "spanglish" with minimal confusion.

We had Christmas Eve dinner (the big celebration here in the DR) with Cristian's family complete with roasted pork, the traditional dish for "Noche Buena". We then had Christmas morning at my house, complete with ebelskivers (danish pancakes, a Lombard family tradition) for breakfast. The next few days were spent relaxing at my house, hiking to waterfalls, visiting Mata Gorda, and the guys going crazy on motorcycles. From there we travelled to a beach resort on the south side of the island in a town called Boca Chica. We spent 2 beautiful days relaxing by the pool and swimming in the warm caribbean sea. On our last day we toured the capital city of Santo Domingo, stopping first at "Los Tres Ojos" which are 3 underground lakes, and then walking around the Colonial District where there are many old historic buildings from the days of Columbus.

Overall it was a wonderful trip and I am so happy and thankful that they were all able to make the trip down here. It is always so wonderful to me to have all my family together, especially after not seeing them for more than 6 months.

If you would like to see pictures of their time here you can click on this link which will take you to my facebook album (you will be able to look at the pics even if you are not on Facebook.)

Earthquake in Haiti

I have received many emails from people wondering how the DR faired in the huge earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday. Rest assured that all is well here. Many people felt the tremor but there was not damage in the DR. Praise God. Thank you so much for all of your concern and prayers. Please continue to pray and support in any way possible the relief effort in Haiti. Pray for me as well as I (being the bleeding heart that I am, according to my dad) would love to go first hand and help in anyway possible. Pray that I would be able to use wisdom in discerning what is the best way I can help, whether that means helping out here in the DR with the many displaced Haitians and orphans who are being sent here, or if it means actually going to Haiti. Both of my roommates work with Kids Alive international, which is a large international missions organization that specializes in working with orphans and at risk kids. They have already been in contact with the government officials of both Haiti and the DR and will be accepting Haitian orphans into their DR orphanages and care centers as early as this week, so there is definitely a possibility that I could get involved there as well.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I will be working on putting together another newsletter soon, so keep your eyes out for that.