I have two weeks in front of me without teams. Therefore one would assume that I can breathe and plant the seeds that I’ve been saving to put into my garden and deep clean my house and sing Christmas songs while decorating and cooking homemade meals for my long-suffering husband and innocent daughter.
Yeah, I don’t really know about all that. I don’t think that’s my life and it’s okay. Instead I’ll be working on the Amway report and trying to get all the information from all the January and February teams to submit to Public Health in time to process an approval notice for customs. And I’ll be going to El Cercado to support the beginning of Physical Therapy for our Child Nutrition Program patients and dreaming of opening a dental office and ultrasound office (and maybe even cardiology???) there. And hopefully in the midst of it enjoying a staff Christmas party as well as getting together with some other North American missionaries to celebrate Christmas.
Most importantly- I hope to make some great memories with Monchy and Magdalena this season. I hope we get to walk downtown and enjoy the Christmas lights and drink hot chocolate (even if it’s in the 70s). I hope we can hear Silent Night in Spanish and spend some great family time and giggle at palm trees with tinsel. I hope I remember to make a birthday cake for Baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday on Christmas morning and watch Magdalena’s face as she stares at everything with big wide eyes.
We have had some recent changes in our staff at SRI, with the Verbeckmoes family transitioning back to the US and the incoming support staff for the Guesthouse arriving in January. Jeff, Kamanda, Monchy and I will be holding down the SRI San Juan fort for December with Cora Hunse arriving this week to join the on-ground team for a few weeks. Although it does seem as though there has been much transition in the last several years, I can see God’s hand at work in the lives of others as well as my own. This has given me great peace even in the midst of change, change, and more change.
As I’ve stated before, I feel as though much of my work has changed drastically over the last six months as I’ve stepped more into a role in the Child Nutrition Program and assumed more responsibility with Public Health paperwork and guidelines. However, during the last two weeks I was able to head out to the barrios for about a day and a half. Last week was one of my favorite sites and I love how the kids remembered me and greet me by name. I also just watched in amazement at my incredible colleagues who translate and organize and lead and teach so selflessly and with so much talent. I am humbled to be part of a team that serves as they do. As 2017 draws to an end I remain in awe at how God works with us, despite us, around us. I’ve been able to celebrate at a Christmas party for the Child Nutrition Program in El Cercado sponsored by Amway. I’ve seen Student Sponsorship photos taken, the letters translated, and the big smiles of team members who get to meet their sponsor student for the first time. I’ve seen construction teams make huge progress on the Revolution project, as well as helping out with some Guesthouse projects. I’ve seen the pharmacy get revamped and the scrubs organized better than I could ever have imagined. I’ve seen lives changed by surgery and I’ve seen blind people have their sight restored. I’ve seen team members teary upon their departure and known that they themselves have been changed by their experience here. I’ve seen people come to know Jesus, which is the ultimate and BEST thing ever.
Ministry is hard. So is life. But I also get to see the beautiful moments. I get to watch the good stuff go down and the incredible talent of our incoming teams be put to amazing use. I get to call myself a friend and colleague of the super talented SRI Dominican and North American staff who sacrifice a lot to serve Jesus here. I’m blessed to have this life in this place and so grateful for all of your support. On December 22 I will have served with SRI for 7 years. It’s flown by and I so appreciate your prayers, cards, notes, messages, and financial support during this time. I pray a wonderful holiday season for all, knowing that the baby in the manger has changed our whole world. Merry Christmas!