Here are some videos of Christian songs in Spanish that I've been loving:
As many know, hurricane Matthew is passing over Haiti right now which means that La Romana is getting hit by some pretty harsh rain as well. Even yesterday, coming home school, the water levels risked flooding some of the stores we passed, and the streets looked more like 100 of pools than a road; a child would be up to his knees in the water. Some of my friends are in the process of trying to keep water from getting into their houses and here I am, dry and flood free, with a day off from work. I can't help but to think of all the teachers and kids I work with and what they must be going through, so I just want to start this post by asking that we pray for all the families and friends affected by this hurricane. That includes all of those in Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and parts of coastal U.S. May He watch over and take care of those affected by this storm and may we unite to help and keep praying in the aftermath of the storm.
I'll be honest, I've never been much of a religious person; spiritual, yes but religious not so much so coming to La Romana and going regularly to church has deeply impacted the way I think and deal with things in everyday life. I grew up in a household that rarely, if ever, went to church and therefore was never taught the word of God. At the age of 11 I started to pray. I wasn't sure to who but I just knew there was someone watching over and listening, someone taking care of me; I felt safe. At the age of 18, on my first mission to the DR is when I first witnessed the work of the Lord and the miraculous ways in which He works. Yet, I still didn't search for a church community in the States or actively open my Bible to educate myself; I just kept praying and talking to God and to me, that was enough.
Fast forward to now and I feel a little overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that, although I feel a connection to God, I don't know Biblical passages the way the people my age do. Overwhelmed that I have to explain that although I have a tattoo and a cartilage piercing, I am still a Christian. Overwhelmed that my belief in God is questioned because my views on certain social issues are very different than what the Bible says. It makes me question, am I such a bad Christian? If I accept other people's sins, am I sinning? But, if I don't accept people's sins, then aren't I in a way judging, and isn't judging bad? If God's word is written in one Bible, then why are there so many different types of denominations and why do cultures interpret and apply His words differently? My mind fills with all these questions and more but then I take a step back and remind myself, we are all human, all here on earth for a purpose. We make mistakes, bad decisions, steer from the path and come back to it and through all that, God loves us. And I think to myself, if God can love us, as imperfect as we are, shouldn't we be able to find love in our hearts for everyone regardless of religion, race, or sexuality. Because ultimately, in the end, it comes down to you and God.
So yes, it's been overwhelming in a cultural, philosophical, my mind is about to explode from thinking so much way but also in a WOW I feel God's presence and I'm so blessed to be here. To put this in perspective, in the past 3 weeks I've: been asked to be part of a band formed by the youth (18-26 yrs old) of the church and had the privilege to help them harmonize some songs and design their t-shirt logo for a concert that occurred last Thursday (more on that below), found an apartment near the church at a more affordable price, lost my fitbit charger and found it, left my Dominican phone in a taxi and got it returned to me, have found three small part time jobs, one of which is teaching English at the church, to help have some pocket money, and have been blessed by the support and funds of those in the states to help me build tables for the library at the school I work at in order to better use the space provided for the kids. The list goes on but those are just examples of how God is looking out for me, and supporting me. I can't help but smile as I write this because I'm filled with such joy!!
Speaking of joy, I want to backtrack to last Thursday, when the band of youths Adonai & New Grace performed at the church. Prior to the event, I was a little nervous about how it would all play out. Rehearsals were always shorter than intended due to late rehearsal starts and sometimes members didn't show up at all. In addition, rehearsal set-ups always took way too long, and people didn't know how to play all the songs. But, as it often happens, everything turned out wonderfully and the presence of God was felt throughout the church community. It was an indescribable feeling and mas aun (not sure how to say it in English...oops) I remember thinking, wow, how lucky am I that I get to be a part of a group like this and to have people welcome me so quickly, with such open arms. In such a short time, I feel like I have found a family that cares for me and loves me and I them.
I know this post was long but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences while I've been here. I feel I owe it to you to be honest about how I feel and hope people can relate to or give me insight into some of the questions and thoughts I have. Here are some pictures from this past week including the concert and a visit to Batey 50 with the hospital :). (The first picture is the logo I designed)