It's December, and I am reflecting on my first trip to the Dominican over ten years ago, and seeing the heart of the Dominican people.
As Pedro, our driver pictured above, hopped out of the truck, he began speaking in Spanish, words flying like bullets out of a gun. The mission lodge owners, our chef and hostess, greeted him as his hands flapped in the air. I began shuffling the rest of the herd in the back of the carrier we would use for the rest of the week. Bench seats on each side would seat seven to eight adults. Our cohort of sixteen would have a tight fit.
While the squad loaded up, the sound of our driver’s happiness continued and other voices from our chef and hostess joined his elation. Since the only Spanish words I knew at the time were “Hola!” and “Feliz Navidad,” I had little to contribute unless we stayed another few months until December.
“Pedro saw a friend on the way over today. He had not seen him in many months and was afraid that maybe he had died. So, when he saw his amigo walking along the street this morning, he stopped and spent some time with him,” Mike, our chef, began to explain Pedro's tardiness.
“One thing you need to be aware of here in the Dominican Republic,” Mike said with a smile, “is that people value the journey more than the destination.”
He chuckled. "It’s really a powerful thing when you think about it.”
I did think about it. Right then. And every day since then.
There’s much we could learn about ourselves and each other from that simple demonstration I experienced that day from my friend, Pedro. It’s called presence. It was not a demonstration for him. It was his way of life. And should be the way of life for all of us.
You and I can't be physically present with these families and children in the Dominican everyday. But Jesus can ....through you. That's the story of Christmas, right? God with us.
These children have come to know that God is with them, because of the significant contribution of people like you.
There are more children who need to experience that presence of Christ.
Will you make that possible with a special year end gift or by joining our monthly support team?