After so many days of heavy and often serious ministry, today promises to be a lighter load. After a VERY late night eating at a Mexican restaurant for three hours and then stopping at Bon's for fro-yo, none of us was too pumped about the prospect of an early morning.
We roll out at 7am today and eat the Dominican's favorite breakfast--something called Johnny Kay-Kay (I am sure I am not spelling it correctly) which is a flat piece of fried bread dough. There is also hard-boiled eggs, sliced salami of some kind, and fresh fruit. We have to be at a Catholic school by eight and we arrive through the gate of their compound to find them already lined up and ready for their flag-raising ceremony.
They sing their national anthem, and we sing ours. Then we are divided into groups and get to join the high school students in their classrooms. The whole highschool set up is not like anything I have ever seen. The whole thing is a series of buildings inside high cement walls. The courtyard is a volleyball court lined with trees. We walk up stairs that lead up to balconies of rooms--like a two story motel. The elementary students meet on the ground floor and the junior and senior high meet on the second floor. All the students are in uniforms. The boys are all wearing light blue pants with white shirts and the girls are wearing either light blue or pink pleated skirts and white blouses and knee socks.
Our students are able to speak to the Dominican students through interpreters and they all are able to ask questions about each other's school and hobbies and interests. It is fun to hear how much they had in common and, though things are off to a bit of a stiff start, by the end, everyone is laughing. Before leaving there is a rousing round of volleyball, America vs the Dominican Republic. All shyness is gone now and the gloves of decorum come off. I feel like we are at the Olympic trials. Students from both schools cheer on their teams and there is a lot of laughing. As we are packing up to go, we ask anyone who would like a Spanish Bible to come and talk to us. We run out of Bibles in minutes. Addresses, emails, and Facebook contact information is exchanged and everyone is all smiles as we part. Doors are miraculously opening up for Hillcrest to do more and more visits in school and even universities in upcoming visits. We marvel at what God is doing.
Our afternoon stop is the YWAM base that is a five minute walk to the seashore. We spend the rest of the day playing in the surf, collecting shells, and soaking in the sun. Our translator, Clara, braids all the girls hair in beads and, sunburned and sand-encrusted, we feel even more Dominican than ever.
It will be a tearful good-bye as we head back to American. There is one picture I am excited for you to see the really capsulizes the essence of our entire trip. I took a picture of a bunch of our feet at the beach. It is in reference to a verse I quoted on the first day of our trip: "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news; who proclaim peace,who bring good tidings, who proclaim.salvation, who say to Zion, 'your God reigns!'" Isaiah 52:7
A hour to the airport in Santa Domingo. A three hour flight to Atlanta, another three hour flight to St.Paul and then a three hour drive home around 3 AM tomorrow morning. Today is a day of travel and a day of good-byes. Last night, we spent hours talking, laughing and crying as we shared what God had done in OUR hearts in the past week. Get ready, people--these teens are coming HOME and then have things to say! Ask them about their trip and get ready to see things more amazing that I could even write about. God bless you for joining us on our journey both in financial support and in prayer. God is good! Dios es Bueno!!