Sunday, January 23, 2011

Giving up control.........

"Letting go doesn't mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be." Unknown
As you can see from the date, I'm posting these upon my return from the Dominican.  On Sunday night after being in church all day...I began to realize my focus was so intuned to keeping others informed of what was going on over there that I couldn't focus on what I was truly to be doing and how God would use us.

I had persuaded my supervisor to allow me to work a little, checking emails, responding with information the nurses would need, etc.  I stayed up very late a couple of nights in order to get just 4 hours of work done...WiFi connection was horrible and it would take multiple tries to stay on the internet.  I was so frustrated that I could see satan using it to defer my thoughts and attention.  So, Sunday night I made the decision to walk away from work committments and emailed my supervisor. 

Because of the schedule, being so tired in the evening....and having difficulty getting on-line.  I decided to also walk away from feeling like I had to  post a blog every day and instead kept notes and would do it when I came home. 

The next became easier just to share with my family through IM'ing on Skype and no doubt in my mind...God eased that burden because I let my control issues go.  He allowed me just enough connection to at least be able to check in with them both each day.



What is your faith level?  (Sunday 1/23/11)

We started today headed to LaHoya to attend Connie’s church.  This church has just been built in the past year, and they’ve already started on the 2nd floor.  It’s mainly youth….but as I blogged earlier…God is truly working there.  It was so evident to me today. 
The church sits in this batey of about 1500-1700 people…the kids are walking or riding their bikes up and down the street.  There’s a couple horses walking up the sidewalk…yep, you heard me right!  People of the village, wave as we ride through on the bus…riding through here reminds me of how amazing Connie is, and the work she is doing and is inspiring others to do.  She and the leaders of the youth have prepared a special service today.  It is a celebration of the teams that have come to help in LaHoya & Bombita, and in all their honor, they will celebrate our team.  I have heard Connie share numerous times of how the church was built…how they would come upon things that had to be done, like clearing the land, and doing the footings…then putting up the walls.  She says it seems that everytime there was a question…she would say “I’ll let you know in a few days” and in a few days God would send someone to do whatever needed to be done.  I think if we have faith enough to ask God for something…we’ve got to have faith enough to realize and see when he’s going to make it happen.  What is going on in that community is absolutely God at work.  Connie wanted to build a church…a man in the village wanted to buy an old truck that belonged to COPA…and he traded her the land for the track.  He listens and he provides…what’s your faith level?
We arrive and the children are in sitting on the pews…Connie isn’t there yet but one of the children’s leaders is leading a prayer…several rows of little kids with their heads bowed.  You can sense that this is a safe place.  A place of happiness and great things going on in the name of Jesus. 
The church itself is still undergoing construction as the upper floor now needs to have scaffolding built and then the walls stucco applied.   There are some things still to be done downstairs but the things that have been accomplished, donated by teams, churches, people.  The tile was just recently finished & laid by Aldersgate UMC in Shelby, NC.  This is the church of several of our team members and they came down in November for a clinic trip as well as a few people from that church to do building.  The floor is absolutely beautiful.  There have been pews built as well.  It’s nothing fancy…but when you think about what you need to worship the Lord…it’s just perfect!
The church in LaHoya
The youth provided 3 skits/dances beautifully and several special songs.  We sang some of our contemporary worship songs in Spanish and they sang some of them in English.  It was pretty cool and Connie said they love some of the English versions better. 
In my earlier blog, I talked about Gracie and how I so wanted to get her here to be exposed to this culture, the simplicity…to both realize all the things that aren’t necessary in our lives but mostly to realize all that is…..

I sat there watching Amy, and the other girls with COPA being examples for these kids and I became very emotion thinking of my Gracie working with our  youth at church and how this would link her to them as well.  The last skit they did, well…it was the cake topper.  Gracie and our youth have done a skit at church to a song that Lifehouse sings.  If you go out on or, you can find it by just searching for “Lifehouse skit.” I won’t tell you the whole thing but it’s basically as a person, or a young person…the temptations in life that are faced…heck, it doesn’t have anything to do with age.  No matter what age I am…I am tempted by some of them.  There’s sex, money, drugs/alcohol, materialistic things…like focus on appearance, and evil…self mutilation…suicide.
I can’t get to the end of if without sobbing and thankful for the choices Gracie has made.  Knowing all too well, the temptations are out there for her even now. 

LaHoya wasn’t a Christian batey…it is so evident that God, through Connie is changing all of that.  At the end of her sermon she called out the names of all those who had newly accepted Christ since the start of the church…I couldn’t count everybody but there were at least 20 people.   Connie said it even choked her up as she read the names in realizing what God has done….

What’s your faith level?  Do you believe in miracles?  What’s a miracle to you?
Connie’s message was on the feeding of the 5000…also known as  the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.  In John 6:5-15. The story tells that this was the 1st miracle by Jesus. All these people came to hear Jesus and there wasn’t enough food to feed them. 
The crowds followed Jesus on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.
Jesus directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Connie told the story but then posed a question…When did the miracle happen?  Was it after he blessed the bread & fish?  Is that when they multiplied with more than enough to feed everyone?  The miracle occurred when the disciples accepted the baskets and, in faith, turned to go feed the people.  The fish & bread wouldn’t have been enough had they not had faith enough to “turn and go.”
This struck me, in that all of us on the team have things going on in our life.  I honestly didn’t know the week of Thanksgiving if I would be here or not.  My step-dad was seriously ill and we were told he wouldn’t make it until Christmas.  I knew I would soon have to make a decision to stay or to “turn and go.”  God has blessed me with 2 wonderful men in my life as father figures…both have had health issues in the past couple of years.  Several years ago my mother-n-law had a massive stroke while I was here in the DR.  It was terribly difficult to be here knowing my husband was in so much pain.  So many of the team members have job issues, or issues within their family…people that are dealing with many things in their life…and yet, they’re here.   Not that this is any comparison to the loaves and fishes miracle and what was taught in that day to the disciples, but we do have to step out on faith so much in our lives to do things out of our comfort zone…totally relying on God.  Although, Barahona and this mission feels very comfortable to me…us.  We are all stepping out of our ‘normal’ routine or life to come do what we’re suppose to do anyway…to spread the love of Jesus.  We’re not doing anything in Barahona that we shouldn’t do at home.  To love and care for each other regardless of our language, skin color, or socio-economic status.  It’s easy to be here for 12 days…but could I step out and be here longer like Connie, Olivia, Amy?  I don’t know…am I selfless enough?  No…not yet, and not sure I will ever be…but I do know that every year here makes me want to be a better person…and every year I go home just a little bit better, although I fall way short.  I truly understand and have witnessed God’s Grace and Mercy in the lives of these people.  We are so bold to think we’re sharing the love of Christ with them….when THEY are what God is using to teach me, mold me into the person He wants me to be.  I still have a long way to go….but it’s a journey, not a destination.

children of LaHoya

Bethpage United Methodist Church Sunday School class...I want you to know that $140.00 of your donation went to LaHoya's church.  I know it will be spent to grow the church and provide more ways to spread the word of God just as it has already.  I loved the way they do their offering.  One person stands in front of the church and during bring your offering up and put in the jar.

Offering at LaHoya

Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord

We sang this song at LaHoya's church today.

Abre mis ojos, O Cristo

Abre mis ojos, O Cristo
Abre mis ojos, te pido
Yo quiero verte
Yo quireo verte (2 x)

Y contemplar tu majestad
Y el resplandor de tu gloria
Derramame tu amor y poder
Mientras cantamos
Santo, Santo, Santo (3 x)

Yo quireo verte (2 x)

Open The Eyes of My Heart - Spanish

Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see you (2x)

To see you high and lifted up.
Shining in the light of your glory
Pour out your power and love.
As we sing
Holy, holy, holy (2x)

I want to see you (2x)