Update of things going on

We went on a Family Hike to the Jima Waterfalls. It was a

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Autry’s face is blocked out by the sun, but it is hard taking a selfie of 6 people.

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THe kids were such champs during the whole hike. We walked a total of 3 miles, and some parts had serious inclines. It is so much fun doing things like this as a family.

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The river water was so clear a refreshing

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At some points I kind of felt like I was in Swiss Family Robinson. I am glad I know that there are no pythons in the Dominican Republic waiting to attack us.

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Our next door neighbor had a birthday party last Saturday as well. Here are some pictures:

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Sometimes when I take pictures of our kids in large groups I feel like singing, “Which one of these kids is not like the other one”

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Here is the birthday girl and her GINORMOUS cake

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Clarabelle and her friends. The middle girl is one of Clarabelle’s best friends here and one of the families that lives in our neighborhood that we have become really close to.

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At one point the mom threw about 300 peso coin (8$) in change up in the hair and everyone tackled each other to get some.

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Eating popcorn

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Everyone wants a picture with Gibson

I want to take a minute to ask you to pray for one of the families in our neighborhood. There is one family in particular that we have really invested a lot of time in. I try and visit them 2-3 times a week, sometimes more. Their kids are in our house every day.  The family consists of a grandma: Her oldest daughter and 2 sons, second oldest daughter and her son and 2 daughters, as well as her youngest son who is in his early 30’s.  We really love this family.

Recently the second oldest daughter whose name is Miguelina was diagnosed with cancer.  They have been misdiagnosing her for 5 months. It seems like no one really has direct answers, but they have told her it is either cancer in her bones or in her blood.  Either way it is bad. Today I was able to bring her to a town about 45 minutes away (which here where most people don’t have cars may as well be a couple hours) to start her cancer treatment. She will be in the hospital for at least the next month. Her three kids are 12, 9, and 5 months, they are super sad to be without their mom for this time. With the way things work, they will probably  only see their mom once or twice in the next month.

I was able to sit with her today in her hospital room, pray for her, and share the gospel. It is hard to know what people really believe because people always agree with you whenever you talk about the bible, but I am pretty sure she isn’t a believer. The only book she brought to read is her bible, and I pray that she will read it and as she reads it the words will penetrate her heart.

My heart is heavy as I think of what she is going through. Please pray that the Lord will give me the words I need when I am with her. Right now my goal is to try and visit her at least once a week, which will be difficult, but I really feel that the Lord wants me to be there for her right now. I told her that I was going to let people I know pray for her and she was really thankful for this. Please if you think of it pray for her.

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Always on the Outside

I know I have written about how I love our neighborhood, like I really really love it. Randy and I have committed ourselves to this neighborhood and the people who live here.  We hang out with their kids, play with their kids, work with their kids on their homework, teach them how to read and do math, we let their kids terrorize our home, and we go and sit on their porches and talk.  But, learning to do this can be difficult because truth be told we are different, Americans, outsiders.

I have realized lately more and more how difficult it is to always feel different. First of all it seems that I only understand about 85% of what is going on. This has to do with language difficulties, but it also has to do with cultural difficulties. I am sure I have offended them a 100 different ways with my american sensibilities. I still feel like I am breaking every social norm when I enter their house uninvited (which is par for the course in almost every dominican house), I feel intimidated joining in the conversation for fear that they won’t understand exactly what I want to stay, and really I am just different because I am the rich american that doesn’t really understand their Dominican ways. I can’t tell you how many times jokes are told and everyone starts laughing and I realize that I didn’t even realize a joke was being told. Then I feel like everyone is thinking, oh she really doesn’t speak Spanish that well.

I don’t know what its like to  go without the things I want, I don’t know what its like to live in a house without running water, I don’t know what its like to not be able to give your kids the things that they really want…like a bike. All these things set me apart in a way that can be really hard. It is hard to not get whats going on, its hard to be different all the time, its hard at times to not be able to communicate everything I want to say, it is really hard not to understand. Sometimes all these differences make me want to stay in the safe confines of my house all day. It is easy to stay in your house with the people who love you and accept you for who you are. It is hard to put yourself out there, it is hard to feel rejected. It is hard to share the gospel with people, to put yourself out there even more and become the rich “Christian” american. But, I ask the Lord for strength every day because this is what he has called us to do. It is easy for me to share the gospel with their children, but to boldly proclaim the gospel with their parents is much harder. It is hard as well because when I do share the gospel they agree with everything I say.

Another way in which the Dominican Republic is different than what I am accustomed to is that  they all say they believe in God.  When I share the gospel with someone they agree with everything I say and they will even pray with you. For some it would look like everyone is a believer , but their lives do do not reflect Christ. SO, I pray that the Lord would allow his gospel to truly penetrate their heats. That his message of repentance, reconciliation, and salvation will really sink into their hearts.

This is how you can pray for me, that the Lord would give me the strength to love people even when its hard. Please pray that even when it all seems too overwhelming that I would seek to have genuine relationships with our neighbors. Most of all please pray that the gospel would sink in  to their hearts and this would cause true repentance in their hearts and this would cause true repentance

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Kids From our Neighborhood

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