It has been a wonderful wrap up to the busiest surgical season of the year. We have 3 weeks ahead of us without teams, allowing us time to prep for the spring/summer seasons and catch up on the stuff that’s been laid aside during the frantic winter. It’s also been a season of welcoming and goodbyes.
Rod and Sandy Nofziger, interim Guesthouse Coordinators, were with us at the GH for 10 wonderful weeks, pouring their love and hospitality into our teams and also into US. It was so great to learn from those whom I consider masters at ministry. Rod and Sandy were here at SRI when I first arrived about 9 (maybe 10???) years ago to go up to El Cercado for a month to serve in the Child Nutrition Program and hopefully learn some spanish. They welcomed me from the beginning, with Rod coming to the bus station to pick me up and Sandy serving me a delicious chef salad for dinner, exactly what I needed after a hot and stressful day of travel in a country that I essentially knew nothing about. They had kindly called me before my trip and reminded me to bring a sweater since the bus air conditioning was freezing. And it sure was. This same love, hospitality, and devotion to details has been shining on the Buchers and I, as well as our teams since January and has truly been an example for and to us. Jon and Alissa Miller, our new Guesthouse Coordinators, arrived several weeks ago and were able to have Rod and Sandy walk through several weeks of teams with them. It’s so exciting to have Jon and Alissa here and we are anxious to show them all that we love about San Juan and the Dominican culture. Monch has already taken Jon to his gym and they’ve seen our translators play dominos so I think we are off to a good start. 🙂
ANNNNNNDDDDD we said goodbye to my parents in mid March as they headed back to PA after 7 heavenly wonderful weeks here with us. I can’t speak to how much it means to have had them here and how I could cry every single time I watch them with Magdalena. We are so very very blessed to have family who loves on us, both here and in the US. I did make it at the airport without dissolving into tears…but much of that is due to the fact that we will be headed to the US for several weeks this summer to spend time with friends and family there. And I also am so very grateful for my Dominican family. Monchy’s parents and siblings are so helpful and loving with Magdalena and we could never pull off this crazy life without grandparents and uncles helping us with childcare and advice and gardens and date nights and all of it.
As I probably have stated in the past, Easter is just about my favorite day of the year. Sometimes it’s a hard season for me here. But this morning Monch and I sat together at the Prince of Peace church and we heard some great worship music that had Magdalena and I hopping together. And then came the Spanish “I surrender all”. And it seemed to really fit lately. I want to surrender MORE. I want to stop the hustle and soak in the goodness and sometimes (always) that’s hard for me. In some ways I love the hustle. I feed off the hustle. I AM the hustle. But I just finished Present Not Perfect by Niequest this morning amid the shedding of many tears over the last several days of tearing through it. I felt like it was written for ME. This morning while singing that hymn- a hymn that I’ve known my whole life- on this day- on this Palm Sunday- felt like a good fit. Things kept getting better. I understood about 97% of the sermon, which is a massively good statistic for me. I kept looking at Monch thinking “this preacher is on FIRE” and every word felt directed and meaningful to me, just like the book.
It feels good. I want to sort out things and get simplified over the next few weeks before the spring teams come, prepping for ministry but also prepping for LIFE. Working on getting more prayerful with Jesus, working on marriage, working on motherhood, planting dill AGAIN, and hoping the hummingbirds will come to my feeder. THANK you, as always, for praying for us, for sending books that change my life and dill pickles that make Magdalena and I swoon in our kitchen, for supporting and encouraging and loving us. I am so privileged to live this life and fully aware that it takes Jesus and our own little “village” to make it happen. I am grateful for all of you and your place in our village.