The land of the Dominican Republic as created by God is a verdant tropical paradise where even the poorest regions are lusciously adorned with explosions of vibrant colors and textures, serving up a continual feast for the eyes.
The mountains surrounding Jarabacoa and Pedregal reminded me often of the pleasure our Lord seems to get from the beauty of nature.
Paul & Sharyn's house has a view of the mountains
From almost anywhere in town the mountains can be seen
The Psalmist said, "Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy." I'm not sure what it sounds like when a river is clapping its hands or when a mountain is singing, but I know the sounds of believers clapping and singing their praises to the One we adore! Our first full day in the DR was highlighted by worship at an open-air church where even the local chickens didn't want to miss out on the celebration. We found ourselves moved by the blending of voices singing simultaneously in two languages, as the worship songs were mostly familiar to us Americans. And we were blessed to have a young lady translate the message for us so that we could participate fully in every part of the service.
Throughout the week, evenings were defined by the gathering of our team for devotions after dinner. What a sweet time this was! Pete offered his musical talents with the use of Paul's guitar, and Kristi used her beautiful voice to lead us in some very special times of singing that aptly expressed our hearts at the end of each day of service. We were all swirled up with love for our God, love for the people we were there to serve, love for the missionaries we were partnering with, and love for one another as our hearts were being knit together in new levels of friendship.
Our team with House Upon the Rock staff
The memories we brought back with us are rich, and they compel us to make plans to go again. And again. And again. Even I, who thought I could never be touched the way I was touched in West Africa, am already looking forward to my next trip to Pedregal. I want to go back to encourage Paul & Sharyn and their children in the great Kingdom work they are doing among the people there.
Paul & Sharyn at their home w/ daughter Samantha
I want to go back to have a hug and a conversation with Daniel, an inspiring and godly man who was born and has lived his whole life in Pedregal, now serving alongside Paul & Sharyn in House Upon the Rock Ministry, whose love for God and people just oozes from his pores.
A few Mosaic members with Daniel & his beautiful family
I want to go back to take Dresses of Hope to as many girls as possible, and to start actually getting to know some of those girls and investing in their lives on a more personal level. I want to go back as a servant, ready and willing to do whatever assignment I am given that has the potential to make an eternal difference in someone's life. I want to go back and be the hands and feet of Jesus, if only for a week, that some may come to know Him as I know Him.