Monday, March 2, 2015

Count Down

 It's countdown time for our  team to the Dominican Republic.  They leave on their mission trip to Pedregal this Friday and will be gone until March 22.  How's that for a way to spend your March break?
           You may have seen advertisements for resorts in the Dominican but our team will be working away from the tourist areas, in the mountains. They will experience power outages that last from an hour to a whole day and no one will be able to tell them when it will come back on.  They will have only cold showers and eat rice, beans, plantain and chicken.  They will see lots and lots of flowers for export to our flower shops. The people around them will speak Spanish.    

       They will live in a "macho" culture where women and girls do not go out at night without an escort.  They will be offered extravagant hospitality from families whose average monthly income is $150.00 - $200.00 per month. They will have to tread a fine line between taking too little and being considered rude or taking too much and depriving their hosts.
         They may encounter wild boars but no snakes.  They may see frogs and cockroaches as pets.  Keeping a schedule will be a challenge since island time includes a two hour siesta in the afternoon and long visits and chats in the street.  Since most of the people in Pedregal only know North Americans from what they see on television, they will assume our team members live like movie stars in Canada.  They may experience theft -- after all, to the locals, our team is rich and won't miss whatever was taken. 
     They will experience a class society where those of European background are top of the heap while those descended from African slaves or Haitians are at the bottom.  The whiter your skin the more privileged you are.
      Family is the centre of society in the DR with three or four generations living together. The oldest male relative makes decisions for the entire clan. 
     Our team is going to help build a school.  In the Dominican Republic, school is compulsory until grade 8, although their definition of grade 8 is about the same as our grade 3 or 4.  The children must wear a uniform, including shoes.  Since many families are too poor to afford the uniform, children will stay home. The government supplies the school building and the teachers, but no supplies.  That's why our team is taking things like pencils and pens, rulers, erasers, glue sticks, markers, duo tangs, Geometry sets and backpacks.  There is a complete list in the narthex.
   The team will also help out at the medical clinic.  Since the clinic has very little in the way of supplies, our members will carry things like Tylenol and vitamins with them, as well as towels.  Again, a complete list is in the narthex if you wish to contribute.
    Our congregation has raised the funds for this trip, contributed supplies and encouraged our team members every step of the way. 
On Sunday morning we commissioned the team, sending them forth as ambassadors from our congregation to represent us in the work they do for God's glory.
 Now, while the team is in the field, we can continue to support them with prayer.  Pray for their health and well-being.  Pray that their work is useful.  Pray that they may model Christian love to all they meet.  Pray that God will use them and their gifts to His good purpose. Pray they return home safely.

Thanks be to God for his servants, Felicity, Diane, Maximilian and Linda.

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