February 26, 2017

Praise and Parades

Trinity HANDS Team:

Today we went to church just down the road from Belen school. There we met with all of our new friends and were able to worship God together. Nathan was back from his trip and was able to translate the service for us. Not only do they worship in Spanish, but they also worship in Creole. This means double duty for Nathan, having to switch between translating different languages for us! Being able to listen to a sermon in both Spanish and English at the same time is an amazing experience, especially when Mario (who preached) would suddenly switch to English forcing Nathan to translate to Spanish instead. They did so well we could barely tell when they switched back and forth. But despite the language, whether Spanish, English, or Creole, it was God’s Word.

While in the church we were treated like family. At one point Tina was handed a little girl, maybe around 5 months old. From there we all took turns holding her and playing with her, at one point she took a little snooze in Alexis’s arms. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, this community is the epitome of that. They all care for each other and their children, sometimes it’s hard to know who is related to whom and whose kids are who’s. And on this occasion, they welcomed with open arms into their family, even if it was just for a day.

What surprised us all about this church service was how similar to ours it was. They have a sermon, worship songs, prayers, and an offering. The main difference is how loud they are during the service! Amps are turned way up and Wesley drumming up a storm! Wesley is about 8 years old and is already an amazing drummer, give him a few years and he’ll be better than most.

After church we headed to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. There we were met by Mario and his wife and two daughters. Have you ever eaten Chinese food, in the Dominican Republic, and not be searched by the people of Asian descent? Neither had we, until now! It’s hilarious to go to a Chinese restaurant and not see Asian people. After a delicious meal we headed to the mall where we had coffee. And, surprisingly, a mall in the DR is just like back home; stores, food court, coin operated kids rides, escalators. Some of the stores here are even the same.

The last stop of the day was to the ocean. We made it all the way there only to realize that a parade was going to start later that day and the road was closed. When we found parking, we walked towards the water. Boy was it hot! We jumped from shady spot to shady spot. At one point we came across a community outside gym, free to use. The guys had to try it out! They were able to get in their daily workout; normally they would be able to get their exercise from working at the school.

At 2:30 p.m. it was already crazy busy with people, and the parade hadn’t even started yet! After walking around for a while and trying to cool off in the shade, we decided to head back before the crowds came. Nathan told us that if we were there during the parade, the area would be swarmed with people and we would never be able to get out.

Once we made it back to the camp, most of us took a little snooze, the heat and activities having tired us out. We are now rejuvenated to continue working tomorrow, even if we will only work for the morning.

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