March 23, 2016

In sickness and in health

Guido 2016 HANDS Team:

Approximately twenty minutes after the last blog post, all sickness broke out in the guest house. After working all day in the heat and sun, a lot of people developed heat stroke.  Autumn and Sid bravely fought through it though, and are at this moment feeling a lot better. Tuesday morning we woke up and headed to work. Ange stayed behind to look after Autumn, Sid, and Ang, who were all experiencing sickness. The other 10 of us travelled to Belen and got straight to work. We helped clean up the cement and made more assembly lines for the rest of the day. One thing that you learn in the Dominican is patience. There may not always be work to do, and sometimes we can feel that we’re useless, but as Mario told us, we’re doing more than we can imagine just being there, and showing the people that we are willing to help them. There are times where we just sit in the classroom, but these are also the times where we can talk and build relationships with the people working at the school. 

We left the worksite at 3 o'clock and headed back to the guesthouse. Once there we all freshened up and got ready for dinner at Mario’s house. Relaxing in the pool after work is a favourite of ours. It was quite enjoyable to be able to watch Taylor try and sit in 3 tubes at once. She didn't succeed, but it was hilarious. 

We arrived at Mario’s house at 6 o’clock. He has the cutest dog! It was all we could focus on for a while. Bill and Jack joined us for dinner from the ministry centre, and as soon as they arrived we sat down for a feast. The food tasted amazing. A lot of the conversations for the past two days have been about the food that we want to eat when we’re back home. People picking us up from the airport, be warned there will be a Timmies or McDonalds stop on the way home. 

After we finished eating Mario led us in a devotion. He asked us how we were enjoying the Dominican so far, and how we have grown. He strengthened and encouraged us to always have faith in God, and that no matter how we feel, God is working through us. We are now ambassadors of COCREF, and highly encourage anyone to partake in a mission trip to one of the schools! It may be hard planning, but it so worth it once you are here. Tash remarked tonight that even though we had to fundraise so much, she would fundraise so much more just to help the people. All of us agreed with her 100%. Mario also asked to remember COCREF in our prayers. They need our prayers, just as much as they need our money and help. God works in many ways to spread His Word.

 

Wednesday:

Today was the start of our last full day. While we are all happy to go home, we are sad at the same time. We’ve grown so close with each other and it will be strange to spend every moment with one another. The Dominican and its people are beautiful. 

Today was only a half day at Belen, but they worked us for the whole time. Praise be to God, Autumn, Sid, and Ang were all able to come to work, and even help out with the work. On Tuesday after we left, they tore down the one staircase. This caused a lot of rubble, and our job was to clean it up. Our team has gotten very good at assembly lines, and another was formed. The pile of rubble was humongous but after 3 hours it was all cleaned up! 

Daniel came to pick us up right at twelve o’clock. It was a bittersweet goodbye as we said goodbye to the workers. Mario came to say goodbye to us as well. Pictures were taken, and hugs were exchanged and 15 minutes later we were on our way. 

We drove to the centre of Santo Domingo to an outdoor market, and picked up some last minutes gifts for family and friends. We’ve all gotten really good at bargaining. It was a hot and slow ride back to the guesthouse in traffic, but seeing what we have this week, we are in no position to complain. 

Arriving back at the guesthouse, everyone showered and started to pack. Some people took naps, and others went swimming. It was a relaxing evening in all. A photoshoot took place, and we began to say goodbye to a place that has become home. 

Devotions were led by Ashley and Tash, and they talked about how there will always be struggles in the road, but there is the great prize of Jesus to look forward too. We finished off with singing, and as the blog is being typed we are all outside playing euchre and dutch blitz, just enjoying the presence of one another. We are so thankful for this trip, and we couldn’t be more happier. Praise be to God!

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