This morning I took my parents and Madi to Parque Sanchez (Sanchez Park) to see the Independence Day parade. We were told it started around 7 so we showed up at 815. The actual process is to have a church service (Mass in the Catholic Church) first and then the parade. We hung out for part of Mass and then settled in at the park to watch the folks get organized. There were a few things that I noted that reminded me of how much I love the DR. First of all, they started their National holiday with a church service. THEY STARTED THEIR NATIONAL HOLIDAY WITH A CHURCH SERVICE. I’ll let that sink in for a little bit.
Of course during the church service there were folks milling around, chatting on their cell phones, meandering down the aisles, taking pictures, and generally rolling in a good 30-60 minutes after the service started. Outside of the church multiple different schools were organizing ( I use that word loosely) their students to prepare for the parade. The students all held little Dominican flags and were dressed in matching uniforms. Some of the older boys were all having their black shoes shined by the shoeshine boys and the girls were taking billions of selfies in front of the statues in the park. There were vendors walking around selling popsicles at 830 in the morning and traffic continuing to cruise by (rapidly) the parade route. I had to leave around 9 for a meeting but Dad assured me that when the parade finally began (it started around 930-945) it lasted approximately 15 minutes and was so much fun. Madi sat on the curb and loved every single minute. And there ya go, tons of pomp and circumstance for 15 minutes. I love it.
There are a million things that I will miss here and a million other things that drive me insane. I was reminded of that this morning and I will think about it over the next 3-4 months as we continue to transition to a move to the US. It’s been wonderful having my folks here over the last 5 weeks. Dad leaves on Saturday and he’s taking Monchy with him, who will begin work and start to organize our lives for the Next Big Move. Mom is staying another month with me and holding down the fort as we have 4 teams in a row, 2 of them surgical in nature. And although the pending transition has already been brutal for in some ways for us, I can honestly say that Jesus is sustaining me, that He is enough in these days. I also have a great sense of gratefulness, soaking in how incredibly blessed I’ve been to have so many opportunities here.
During the previous two weeks of time without teams, my folks and Madi and I took a 3 day trip to Pedernales. I’ve had the Bahia de los Aguillas on my bucket list for a couple years now and this seemed like the perfect time to experience it. We stayed in Pedernales and took the 30-40 minute drive to arrive at the beach point for the Bahia, where we climbed into a boat and were driven another 10 minutes to the most beautiful natural beach I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to get to and therefore there were exactly 4 people there when we arrived. I loved just sitting back watching the water in such a serene setting. It’s maybe what you dream of when you think of a tropical island and I’m so grateful that we could experience it. There are a few other items on the DR Bucket List and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to check them off before June.
Thank you as always for all the prayers and encouragement. Please continue to pray for our little family as we work on finishing well, as Monch and I process transition in different ways (and in different countries!), as Madi spends time with her Dominican family, as I walk through work and ministry knowing there is an end line in sight. I feel loved. I feel supported. I feel God holding my hand and whispering His promises in my ear. I feel the embraces and encouragement from all of you. THANK YOU. His Grace IS sufficient for me (and for you too!).
The pix above are from some of our most recent surgical teams. I never get tired of working with the most incredible surgical groups ever and am always inspired by how they love on and care for our patients. It’s top of the line care all around!
And these photos above are also incredibly encouraging to me. Now that our clinic in El Cercado has added in a dental office, an ultrasound office, a Family practice doctor and recently a Physical Therapist (that we would sure love to have on a regular basis- please pray for this!!!)…. the lines in the morning are getting longer and longer. This is a BEAUTIFUL thing! I get excited to see those chairs filling up in the waiting room.
And part of my little tribe in Pedernales. We loved our boat ride to arrive at the Bahia de los Aguillas and Madi soaked up time with her grandparents. What joy it is to watch those relationships continue to grow!