Life

Somedays, as I drive down the road I am completely taken back by the fact that we live in the Dominican Republic. I look around at the chickens, horses, and cows walking down the road, some of the makeshift houses, the potholes in the road,  the sea of concrete houses, the banana trees/palm trees everywhere and I think, “How can it be that we live here? How can it be that this is our home? How did we even get here?” Life as we know it has changed so much in the last 3 months.

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Our neighbor (we have amazing neighbors) let us go up on their roof to take pictures of the area. Here is a picture of our house from two stories up and a little boy hiding on the wall. Yes, it is weird here to have palm trees growing out of your roof! But, it makes it really easy to describe which house we live in.

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Our neighbor’s banana/plantain garden. They give us plantains and bananas frequently.

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This is a picture of our neighborhood. I wish I would have gone up there a couple minutes earlier to catch the sunset.

Now, don’t get me wrong life is good. We are making friends, we have found a church that we really like, we are starting to carve out our ministry paths. Life is just different and it is just mind boggling to think of all the changes. Here are a few:

  • we ride a scooter almost everywhere
  • our truck runs on propane
  • our kids are not only going to school in Spanish but they are going to school for the first time
  • Our parents arn’t a short 3 hour drive away
  • It is difficult to have deep conversations with people because they speak Spanish and we speak English
  • We love our church but the worship is really really loud (and it is pretty calm compared to most churches we have visited)
  • We are hot all the time. It is really true when I say the only change in weather that we notice is that some nights we have to turn off the fan
  • I don’t buy coconut water at the store, I buy it from a vendor on the side of the road that pours the coconut water straight into a glass
  • little lizards everywhere inside, outside, all over the place. They use to make us jump but now they are just part of life
  • Cold showers
  • tile floors in the entire house. They are easier to clean, but everything that gets dropped on them breaks
  • Running a stoplight is normal and staying in your lane is not
  • Buying fruit on the side of the road
  • Eating a lot of beans and rice
  • Yesterday we went to the dentist without having dental insurance. 3 of us got our teeth cleaned with fluoride, Autry got x-rayed, and two teeth pulled with Novocain. We payed about $50
  • I have a maid that comes once a week for $12
  • we are incredibly wealth compared to the majority of people around us

We are enjoying our life here a lot. We miss our family and our friends but we have a good life here. I often think how nice it is for us to be here as a family. It is impossible to be lonely when you have an amazing husband and 4 great kids.

Here are some random pictures of our life

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A picture I found on our camera that one of the kids took

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Hanging out in the morning. I am drinking my coffee and the kids are eating their oatmeal

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All the boys in Autry’s class

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Autry with all the boys from our older class

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My with one of our students Kervens. This guy is super funny!

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Last month we received a huge amount of school supplies. It was a huge blessing

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Cute little boys

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and silly little girls

A Call for Mercy

To begin, I’m assuming of the people who read this blog, there are some that are quite liberal, some who are conservative, and some that fall in that vast space that we so trivially call “in the middle.” To add to this, I don’t frankly care about your politics as it relates to extra-biblical maters, but that being said, I think this post may rattle a few of your preverbal cages and to that I am sorry.

I (Randy) am three months into living in a new culture and trying to learn a new language. Some days are better than others and I certainly know more Spanish after 10 AM or three cups of coffee, whichever comes later. To put a single word on this experience, it is infuriating. Gone are the days I can strike up a conversation with a stranger and skillfully direct the chat through the ebbs and flows of human discourse from talking about the weather to discussing more meaningful topics such as the existence of a good Creator to how to raise a wild 6 year old. 

I think I know what you’re thinking, “boohoo, poor Randy, how about you get over yourself and stop whining.” And while this is a much needed rebuke, the end result of my missing the opportunity to use my gift of gab leads me to think of the thousands, if not millions of non-English speakers currently living in the United States. You see here in the Dominican Republic, and I’m assuming probably most everywhere else in the world, people long to learn the language of unheard of wealth, namely English. In their mind English is a golden key that unlocks a hidden fortune, that all they need do is master this foreign tongue and start living the lush life of luxury. But for those living in America who can’t eloquintly speak the language that brings the touch of Midas to their lives, they are often seen as leaches on a government that “should be looking out for it’s own.”

When I go to the store, people smile at me, stroke my kids’ blonde hair, wonder what I must be doing outside of my homeland, and sheepishly try out the handful of English words they’ve learned over the years. They believe me to be rich simply because I am from a country completely devoid of the cats Fievel spoke of. I’m betting this experience isn’t shared by a Columbian dishwasher living in East Oakland, or a Equatorian physics teacher who now works as a janitor at a public school in Phoenix,  or a Mexican migrant worker going to yet another town in what is yet another springtime so he can pick some more apples all with the hope that the money he sends back to his family in the Yucatan is enough to pay for his 18 year old college freshman’s books this semester. What hits me over and over as I sing my despondencies into the cup of my sweet sweet mango nectar, is how awful it must be for these non-English speakers in the US. 

So please, please try not to hate people or insert them into the fictionally derived narrative that states that all illegal immigrants are somehow involved in selling or manufacturing narcotics. Try not to suppose they’re bad people or good people, as if there were such a thing apart from God’s grace, but try to remember that they’re are simply: people. I’m not calling you to change your politics in anyway, I’m simply asking you to have some common decency and try to be helpful to someone who is feels generally lost most of their day. Think about it. Think if you were born into a place where it was nearly impossible for you to provide for your family. Think about if you were raised in a country where you can’t go out at night, not in the bad areas, but in any area. Think about if you moved to a new place with a new culture and had to learn a new language, but the locals in this new place treated you as second class.

This blog post is simply about me extending a call for mercy. Please give it a try.

Sweet Adelaide

My little Adelaide turned 5 last Friday. When the older kids turn a new age it feels like they should be getting older, but with Addie and Gibson it kills me every time. Why can’t they just stay my little babies?

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I don’t you can get much cuter! My little girl who wanted a Minnie Birthday. I was thrilled to find the polka dot dress down here.

We had a great day. We woke up early, Autry and CLaire stayed home from school, we had Minnie Mouse pancakes, and then went to the park. Addie was so thrilled that was her birthday. Being the third child and the quietest she doesn’t get to be the complete center of attention very often, so it is so much fun to make the day all about her.

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Birthday Pancakes

Randy’s afternoon students wanted to throw a surprise party for her in the afternoon so we had a blast doing that. I think Addie was a little overwhelmed by it but it was a lot of fun.

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Randy’s students

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Watching when Addie walked in for the Surprise

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Randy created a pin the tale on the donkey game

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All ready to pin the tale on the Donkey

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Everybody loves Gibson

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After the party we came home to get read for the second party of the day. We invited friends over to celebrate Addie again. It was a full day but a good day.

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All ready for her party

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Gibson’s ready too

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Blowing out her second cake of the day

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The day ended with Autry reading a book to his sister. What a good life we have!

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I am so thankful for this little girl that the Lord has given us. She is so sweet and sensitive. She loves her family very much and surprises me all the time by how smart she is. She has taught herself how to write and is now teaching herself to read. She is by far the quietest member of our family, and doesn’t like talking to people outside of her family. However, sometimes she will surprise us with what she will pipe up and say. She loves to crawl up on our laps and cuddle and is always good for an abundance of hugs and kisses.

I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses her sweet, sensitive spirit for him. We pray that the Lord will work in her heart and help her to know and love him deeply.

 

A list of little things

I have been asked a lot what do we need, what do we miss and what would we like if someone was to send a care package. So I figured I would try and make a little list of things. First, of all I would have to say that what we really miss is our friends and family but little gifts from home are a huge blessing as well.

So here are some things off the top of my head…

  • good tortilla chips like Janitas
  • tabasco, frank’s red hot
  • anything pumpkin flavored (our last package from our mother-in-law we  received pumpkin spice via and it was amazing!)
  • Maple Syrup
  • trader Joe’s vanilla (it’s Emilie’s favorite)
  • Christmas decorations
  • Really any whole foods
  • Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter
  • Neutral (Blues, greys, Brown) colored pretty fabric to make curtains, pillow, and table clothes. Dominicans tend to love bright colors, and for me because my walls are bright orange and yellow I would like some things to tone it down a little)
  • any sort of decorations for the house (we weren’t able to fit much in our suitcases)
  • books for the kids (mostly Autry) and me to read (but only light paperpacks because we are charged my weight) I gave Addie a new book for her birthday and all the kids were so thrilled!
  •  little seasonal art projects for the kids to do
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • anything Seahawk related 🙂
  • As far as things for the kids Addie and Claire like anything girly whatsoever, if it’s pink or purple they will like it :), Autry loves books and board games, and Gibson loves Legos

Thanks so much for everyone and the ways you support us, you are all such a blessing to us!

Our address:

Randy and Emilie Poor
c/o Agape Flights
STI-27476
100Airport Ave
Venice, FL 34285
Note on shipping: There is no reliable mail service so we have an outside service  that we receive every Friday. So besides the money it takes to ship money it to Florida it costs us another 1.75 per pound to get to us.  Don’t feel like you have to but if you would like  to send a little something to help cover that charge we would be very thankful!