This journal entry was written by Sarah, a student at Eastern College, who is serving with HOH this week in the Dominican Republic. -Don
Hey everyone! It's my pleasure to be reporting to you all about our trip to the D.R.
On Saturday, we arrived at the Santo Domingo airport around lunch time, after a late night/early morning of traveling. After getting situated with our luggage and becoming acquainted with our designated bus driver Marcos, we headed to an orphanage for disabled children. None of us knew exactly what to expect, and in all honesty, I was really nervous about the inevitably distressing emotions awaiting us at the home. And again, if I am to be completely honest, there WAS distress in some of the children. A lot of them were physically handicapped, and most had some sort of mental disability as well. It is never easy to see such diseases inflicted upon such innocent beings, but a deeper sadness took root because these children don't have parents to shower them with love and kindness. However, we serve a God of mercy and unfailing love, and we were able to pray for the kids, see their beautiful smiles when we gave them Beanie Babies and hugs, and feel the most beautiful love of Christ for His wonderful children. It was sad, and we all felt the ache that comes with compassion for those in the throws of disease and suffering. But God will make all things right in the end, and we can be assured that the children will someday be able to live in perfect peace and health with Christ. And for now, some wonderful ladies are taking care of them at the orphanage.
We felt a similar ache when we visited the Children's Hospital on Sunday. After sleeping off our jet lag and enjoying devotional time by the poolside of our hotel, we headed off with Beanie Babies, tracks, and crayons for a day of ministry at a children's hospital. We met with another Christian ministry who comes into the hospital on a weekly basis to serve the children and their parents through prayer, visitation, and preaching of the word. We each split up and went into different areas of the hospital. My group went to a room for children with Pulmonary diseases. Again, it was really upsetting to see kids of such a young age suffering so greatly, but God was able to renew my strength and just offer the kids more perfect love of Cristo (Christ in Spanish:). David, from the other ministry, preached the gospel to the parents of the sick children, while we handed out Beanie Babies and tracts, along with verse cards. We then prayed over the children and their parents, and played with them as much as we could considering their circumstances. One team member mentioned that the best part was seeing the children's faces positively glow as we handed them the stuffed animal. Again, another example of how Christ's love can shine simply and beautifully even in the most seemingly pain-stricken places. After this, we went to a church service in Catalina, the village we will be serving for the majority of the week. The service was beautiful-our team member Eveny, a fluent Spanish speaker and Dominican native, translated for us. We sang a couple songs for the church (quite sheepishly), but even though we were timid and unsure, the congregation seemed to love it.
Today, we laid the foundation for a school Handfuls of Hope is building. Using cement mix and concrete blocks, we laid foundation for TWO different buildings. The sun was hot and our skin is STILL gritty, but we were really productive and were rewarded with delicious Dominican cuisine from "Mama", an incredibly hospitable and loving woman from Catalina. But more than all that, we were able to sacrifice comfort to help build a vital piece to a really great ministry--a taste much sweeter than the fried yucca that I will more than likely try to smuggle back to the U.S. :) thanks for the prayers, all! We could do this trip using own strength, but because we have so many prayers and most importantly- the power of God-the trip will have an impact with more true joy and peace than our own strength could ever created. Dios te bentiga! (God bless you!)
-2013 D.R. Team