Today is a down day. I closed my last post with the tentative plan of going to a Haitian shanty town today, but in order to allow for proper recovery time to the sick amongst us, Daddy decided today would be a good to stay in the apartment, get to know each other better, discuss everything we have seen so far, sing together, open the floor for questions of all types, and focus on our studies on 1 Peter and Thinking. I have to say, I think we all agreed with him.
Right now Daddy is breakfasting with a pastor of a local church to talk with him about some pretty important things, so the gang is seizing this chance to sleep, eat, talk, and write. There is a lot of writing going on at the moment, as well as some pretty serious multilingual chess games, plus guitar-playing to give us the right background music.
In light of this setting, Jenn is going to blog random today. Just talk about what we have seen and some of what we have learned, so that you all get a chance to see the details and not just the broad brushstrokes of this trip.
Right now the detail on everybody’s mind is mosquitos. Stinging dragons. Little vipers. Whatever you want to call those critters, they are horrid and hopping. Some of them were born artists, displaying their creative bent in the patters they sting onto our skins. But that is a creativity that must and will be squelched, so between all the activities, there is a bunch dragon-slaying occurring.
What brings the mosquitos? Well, aside from the open windows and the sweet American blood, we have our counter-space brimming with fruit that the villagers from Villa gave us. Mangoes, passion fruit, and bananas are sitting there, beckoning to be consumed with their saccharine sap seeping out of their cracked skins. Of course, we humans are not the only things answering that call. So are the dragons. Thus, our missions team is on a mission to eat fruit to save our skins.
Honestly, the food here is always amazing. Avocados almost as big as my head pairs with mangoes of the same size that dwarf the miniature mangoes which I think originate in Asia. The limes (called lemons here) taste like key-limes but are twice the size of the ones back home, and they make for a really good lemonade or stomach tonic when mixed with sprite. There’s definitely a citrusy sweet scent in the air.
Also in the air are strains of music. Often it is just a guitar being strummed and tuned and drop-based. Other times it is guitar lessons, with “You’ll Be in My Heart” being the teaching song of choice. When Daddy picks up his old pal, he either spins out some gorgeous classical Spanish piece from memory, or dreadfully corrupts ’60’s and ’70’s tunes. Pretty hilarious. But then there are the times that we gather to sing as a group, and that makes my heart glad. We sing all sorts of melodies and break out into harmony (and beat-boxing) whenever it is appropriate, which is pretty much always. I cannot wait until Heaven, where this constant worship will be life! It certainly breathes life into the heat of this Dominican day.
Speaking of the heat of day, when we are at Villa, we were as close to a self-sustaining, resourceful, live-off-the-land sort of life that we will ever hope be. Clean water rushes under ground from the mountains, filtered merrily by the smooth stones beneath the red clay. The rich black soil gives rise to all sorts of edibles, from batata (Dominican sweet potatoe ~ it is white) to cacao, which latter the women pick and dry for a day or two before pounding it in their sizable mortars. The cacao becomes a paste which is further left to dry in the plant’s leaves, and then we shave it off whenever we want hot chocolate. The heat of day does have its benefits, then. Just ask the pigs! They are the trash bins of the community, and at Christmastime turn into the community’s delicious scrumptious succulent food (yeah, so Jenn has a thing for pork). They raise goats, too, while their entertainment is all home-invented, home-made, and home-played. It is pretty neat to see.
It is likewise neat to see the “oddities” of this country. The close, crammed roads, jostling with over-loaded trucks carrying bananas, pigs, used tires, and mounds of people. It is neat to see the motorcyclists obey the law by wearing helmets, except wearing them like a gangster wears a baseball cap ~ twisted and inverted and off just enough to drive an OCDer nuts. Again, pretty hilarious. And time is by all means not of the essence here. At all. Which is why we are not even sure that Daddy will return from his breakfast meeting in time for our 2pm lunch. Jenn chuckles.
But you know what is the greatest thing we have seen so far? Truth. We have had so many round-table discussions and have enjoyed so many hours of studying the word. We are going through 1 Peter for these three weeks and have only reached verse seven of the first chapter. There is so much to talk about! About Christ and the way He made our salvation possible, about God and the way He caused us to be saved, about the Holy Spirit and the way He seals our salvation for Heaven. About the living hope we have been given through that triune God and about how those realities transform and direct our lives. About God being God and us not being God, and how He yet gives us everything we need to live a godly life for a spectacular eternity of being single-minded: Christ. About being refined for that one belief now, and the way that influences everything we do here, our relationships especially. It has been so powerful to observe our culture and habituated actions, whether right or wrong, in light of that Truth and in the context of a totally different country. We are playing the fish who is no longer wet, and the result is convicting, but, Lord willing, beautifying. And that is astonishingly humbling to see.
Well, Daddy just walked in the door and when Jenn gets random she gets long, so I am signing off now. You might see another post up today because Daddy has informed me that, once again, our plans have changed a bit and we are going to a church tonight to talk about family discipleship and homeschooling and all that stuff. Rather intense stuff from the perspective of the Dominican Republic, and therefore stuff most likely worthy of a blog post.
Thus ends RT: Blogger Edition.