Welcome to 2013!
Tonnes of news to share with you so I’m dividing this update into two parts.
Part #1 is family focused.
Part #2 next weekend will include ministry, prayer needs and more Moto’s of the DR 🙂
Riddle Me This… What happens when you mix northern culture kids raised with the winter season that have a two week Christmas break, boundless late night energy, a garbage bag filled with styrofoam peanuts, and a mother who unleashes her inner child?
An impromptu snowball fight and snow angels that’s what!!
In addition to this life altering moment were candle light services, family gatherings and School Programs. Santiago, DR is no different. In fact, when it comes to celebrations I really believe Latin culture hits the nail on the head. We anglo-saxon, european background types (aka North Americans) are real dud’s in comparison.
All three kids dove into their class programs. Watching your children rub shoulders with different other children from around the world is beautiful. Knowing that your kids are missionaries themselves in their classrooms as humbling. We’re so proud of them and keep praying for their hearts to be soft toward what God has in store from them.
After a pretty low key few days leading up to Christmas that included one beach trip and an ol’ fashioned carol sing with North American families all stuffed into our school director’s home…of which I would have given my left arm to watch the expressions of the local Dominican neighbors while the gringo’s belted out old English tunes. Priceless!!!
Music here is moving and shaken as our church Christmas Eve service proved. Loud, passionate, drum solo’s, the works! And what service would be complete without a shot gun blast just across the street. I know! Utilizing my gift of “Ush” I was already positioned at the door greeting families and friends to our ethnically & economically diverse little church. The music was movin’, voices were worshipping and a twelve guage was going off.
My “Ush” buddy and I walked outside to check things out and discovered three “watchies” (security guards) at the Shell gas station reveling in the Christmas spirit…and other spirits. Shut gun in hand, they saw us, we saw them. A friendly wave and good ol’ fashioned fist pump to each other and all was good in Santiago once more. Chances are that’s a new experience for you too 🙂
Home-made Holiday Decor – It is amazing what crazy, creative ideas you can come up with when you try. Christmas decorations are genuinely very expensive here (i.e. a string of little LED light bulbs is close to x2 the price of Canada & the U.S.). So what’s a family to do?
Use a shriveling palm tree skin, grab a can of white spray paint, and load it up with christmas tree ornaments graciously given to you by a missionary family that moved out of country last summer ofcourse.
The break was a great time to settle in with some family time after some very, very busy months. Local missionaries Sonia and Barry Burnett (now good friends) clued us in early on that it takes a year or two to get past the “deer in the headlights” feelings. Learning language, customs, new foods, temperatures and even not experiencing seasonal snowfalls (I’m not kidding) all take their mental, emotional and especially spiritual and physical toll.
Now, I don’t doubt the content of the advice they were passing on but I also can’t say I was as disciple of their teaching at that particular moment. Eighteen months the wiser I more than see their wisdom. By the time Christmas rolled around we were tired, fried, baked, pooped…use whatever term fits best. Different from year one, it wasn’t just physical and mental. Spiritually we were gettin’ a bit dry and dusty. You could sense that things were off. For example, you know our crew is not itself when it is unanimous to not go out and socialize or invite people over. If it were just me (Tim) saying that I doubt anyone would think twice :). But for the other social animals in our family this was a good a sign as any that we needed to recharge our personal and spiritual batteries.
Enter the mountian air and peacefulness off Constanza, Dominican Republic. Located an hour and a half south east of Santiago we found our ‘happy place’. Internet access? Nope. Quiet and restful? Yep. Needless to say the four days we spent there playing board games, laughing, and wrapped up in blankets in the cool mountain morning mist were incredibly therapeutic. We all genuinely thanked the Lord for the chance to decompress, get some real down time and re-gage long quiet times of reading scripture. It was such a blessing.
Lord willing you celebrated the birth of Jesus less than a month ago. Nothing quite compares to knowing where you come from, who created you and that He has you completely in His Hands as life rolls on. Please receive the love and prayers from our family to yours. We’re pretty excited about continuing what is already in motion here. And we’re also exciting about you being a part of it.
Until next time! Blessings.