At 4:44pm on Sunday, the 21st of August, Jenn Jenn finished college. But that is not what this post is about.
Because, you see, at 10:25 the next morning, my family, a few friends, and I set out on a missions/discipleship trip to the Dominican Republic (DR). That’s what this post, and hopefully the next couple of posts, are going to be about.
The Lord was gracious to us throughout the whole journey over here to the DR, and so I thought it would be good to begin by recounting some of His graciousness that I could see, knowing that there were many hidden kindnesses of which I will probably never know anything at all.
As oftentimes happens, God’s blessings over the past few hours have been blessings in disguise. First off, we went through security. TSA surprisingly allowed us to enter a line where we did not have to pass through that horrid x-ray stuff, nor take off our belts, nor take out our laptops, nor do a pat-down. We all breathed a sigh of relief. But my food had still not gotten the supervisor’s approval, and without that cooler, I was not flying. It turns out that someone right in front of me was carrying something that was definitely not legal, which caused the over-excited supervisor to grow into a mini-rage, turn on me, and angrily convince me that airport yogurt was just as safe as homemade junk. It was pretty hilarious from a foodie’s perspective, his arguments for not thinking my cooler necessary, but I stood my ground and he finally let me through. I think his eventual “giving in” had a lot to do with the not legal thing that was worrying him elsewhere. Blessing in disguise number one.
Then I forgot my lunch. But that forced me to try some naturally-raised meat that I found at the airport, which ended up being God’s way of nudging me to eat something substantial before taking off. He, after all, knew all about the 24-hour fast that was coming my way, even if it looked rather impromptu from my perspective. Blessing in disguise number two.
The first leg of the trip went by beautifully. A half-hour delay in the departure time found us running like nuts to our connecting flight, but that was fun. Really fun. In fact, just enough fun to see us through the next leg of our trip, something about which we knew nothing but God, of course, knew everything. For a variety of reasons that I cannot or will not explain, we were stranded in that plane at JFK airport for four hours. People got antsy, people got tired, people got hungry, and since the people were mostly Dominican, they were not afraid to yell out their various trials for their bored audience’s entertainment. And, yeah, I was entertained. I was entertained watching a lady dole out an emergency bag of chocolate candies to the ravenous crowd and translating the suggestions of bribing the pilot with said chocolate. I was entertained following the flight attendants divvy up their short supply of water, blue potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies. Okay, so I was not so entertained when the airline finally took my cooler away to the belly of the plane, leaving my belly quite empty forever and ever until the next day, but you know what? That delay allowed technicians to realise there was a glitch in one of the plane’s computers, a glitch that could have caused problems midway through the flight. Yep, blessing in disguise number three.
We ended up leaving JFK at the time we were supposed to have landed in the DR, and ended up landing in the DR at the time we were supposed to be sleeping. But that meant that the weather was not sweltering when we arrived, nor was the traffic overbearing as it would have otherwise been. Blessing in disguise number four.
After a quick stop at some sammich place that has turned into a tradition for our team, consisting of roast pork sandwiches and passion fruit or zapote juices, we headed to the apartment where we will be staying for the first part of our trip. The apartment is beautiful and spacious and has a working fridge, hot water, and lovely pictures on the wall! I spotted a perfect table for our daily studies, so it looks like this first week shall go excellently, especially knowing we have this retreat to which to return and recoup. Blessing number five, no disguise.