First off, we want to apologize to all the families that have been panicking because we have not been able to post blogs this week. We have not had very good wife in the past week, so we haven’t had the opportunity to post. But we are okay. No one has gotten terribly sick, and our hearts are full.
While debriefing with our team, several team members have tried to sum up this week in one sentence. “These people have so much hope.” “God’s providence and faithfulness have amazed me this week.” “There are so many types of ministry we can all use.” “Laughter goes a long way.”
We started our week at Palo Blanco. We had no idea what things would be like, so as we were leaving the team house, anxiety and excitement filled the air. However, once we got there, we were able to see what the kids were interested in and what would work with the children. This was also our first encounter with the language barrier, but thanks to our two amazing Spanish speakers, we were able to work through it.
We spent two more days at Palo Blanco. These days were mixtures of soccer, paper mache, nail painting, and basketball. Everyone tried their hardest to speak Spanish. For some it was a challenge, and for others it was a process of nonverbal communication. Nonetheless, we had amazing connections with a lot of the children.
The last two days were at The Ark, another home for children. This is a community that accepts at-risk children, brings them into a new home and family, and shows them strong practical and Christian values. Here, we had the opportunity to eat with different families from other houses, play with the children, listen to stories, and accomplish some mild construction work. We listened to testimonies from two of the people that are a part of The Ark and how God used The Ark to save them.
We heard heart wrenching stories of mothers abandoning their children and a mother that was killed. We heard phrases like “I remember what my life was like before The Ark. I had to steal and sell beer bottles so my siblings and I could eat,” “I miss my mom very much, but God gave me a new family,” and “The Ark saved my life.” While listening to these stories, many on the team broke into tears because of the hope that both of the stories contained.
The last three days, we were placed in a resort named Casa Tranquila near The Ark. It was relaxing, and a good ending to an inspirational week. Sunday, our last day, we went to church at The Ark where we met one last time with the friends we made. This Easter service was particularly special to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with our new friends.
We could go on for days about what this trip means to us, but unfortunately, we have a plane to catch in a few hours. However, the writers of this blog can speak for the whole team and say that the people of Jarabacoa changed our lives and hearts. When we get home, we would love to share every detail about what God showed us and the work He did around and through us.
We also want to share that because of the wonderful relationships that were made, two members of our team decided to sponsor children, one at Palo Blanco and one at The Ark.
Thank you for all your support, prayers, and encouragement. We will post one final blog when we are back in the States, and we apologize again for the inconvenience of not posting sooner.
Praise God that He is Lord over all! We may not know the impact we made, but we trust that God will continue to move in Jarabacoa. In the words of our pastor on Sunday:
“Behold the Lamb of God for he has come to take the sin of the world!”