Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends and Family,

It is so hard to be so far away from all of you on this holiday, especially in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving. Everything goes on as usual on that Thursday!

We are so blest to have our daughter, Melissa here with us for Thanksgiving. Our friends, Madge and Steve, gave up their Thanksgiving with their family to help make ours easier, and we are so grateful.

We have so much to thank God for during this season, but, most of all, we want to say thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, supported us and kept us going during these first few months of our adventure. We are here because of that support, and we pray that God will bless you on your journeys and that our paths will remain intersected!

Today, we want to share the beauty of this country with you through a few photos. For this beauty and the peace and the repose it brings, we give much thanks to God!

Alta Gracia and her 2 day old baby, Omar.

"Listen to the song the Angels sang on the day you were born"

The Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo

"Happiness is not tomorrow. Happiness is Now!"

Bayahibe, Dominican Republic...Isla Saona

"Nothing has changed except my attitude and so everything has changed!"

The view from our walk to the Batey every morning.

"Extend your arms in welcome to the future, the best is yet to come"

Sunset view from our roof...

"How rich are Nature's songs. How deep her silence"

Another view from our see why we seek peace on the roof!

"Only look and someday you will see!"

The incredible beauty of God's keeps us going. Carmelita.

"God cannot be seen. He can be recognized".

All quotes have been taken from Anthony De Mello's Book, Wellsprings.

Happy Thanksgiving with love and gratitude, Cindy and Greg

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

La Tormenta (The Storm) Noel

Tropical Storm Noel - October 29, 2007
Batey Lecheria, Dominican Republic

Tropical Storm Noel swept throught the Dominican Republic with a vengeance. There were 2-3 days straight of rain and winds from a tropical depression before the tropical storm actually hit. One of the first things that we noticed about storms here is that there is very little warning. In the US we have the Weather Channel with tropical updates very hour; we have dopplers with up-to-date weather for YOUR neighborhood; the weather people work around the clock to tell us what Mother Nature is doing now or will do in the next 24 hrs, and then they give us the 10-day forecast! We had no such thing here....which fits right in with our lessons in living for the moment and trusting God with the future.

In the middle of the night, we awoke to 60-70mph winds and torrential rains in our house (remember we have no glass in our windows! We truly were in the midst of the storm...) When the storm moved on, the rains continued for several days and brought the floods. At that point, electricity and along with it, the internet, were gone, and we had no idea how long the rains would last. We had reports from the locals that up to 100 people had died and many more were missing.

We finally trudged through the mud to the Batey and found the people really suffering. The waters had flooded many of there homes. The rain had soaked everything they owned. They had no "carbon" (charcoal) to cook with, and no food to cook. The mosquitos were multiplying and the parasite-infested water was all they had to drink. The floods had destroyed the fruit trees and vegetable gardens that they received much of their food supplies from.

As the rains continued, we scrounged around and found some cans of beans, rice, pasta, boullion cubes, peanuts, etc, and went down to the batey and made soup. It was a blessing for our community as we gathered people from our neighborhood to help us to prepare and serve the food. We piled 20 people in a truck in the pouring rain to find a way to help our Batey community. The rain stopped just long enough for us to serve everyone, before it began again.

The children gathered with bowls and cups to receive the soup and bread (sopa y pan).

Esperando y Esperanza

Our great lesson during the last 3 weeks as we move past La Tormenta has been in Waiting and Hoping: Esperando and Esperanza. Isn't it wonderful that the these 2 words in Spanish have the same root? We would not wait if we did not have hope that the blessing is around the corner, that God is present in the storm, that people care and help will come, that love and life are present all around us. Hope is showing up for life every day and believing that the God of Miracles is waiting for us and is in us.

Whether we are waiting for the electricity to come on, or for clean water to drink, or standing in line for a cup of soup, or to see the doctor; whether we are a little white dog sitting at our back door waiting for a chicken bone, or a sick, elderly man waiting for God to take him home, we wait with hope knowing that God hears our cries and is never far away. And we wait because, so often, there is nothing left to do except to wait... and hope... and trust.

"Waiting is endless....I wait because I am powerless to do anything else. I wait because what I most treasure is what is deepest within and protected by silence. Out of the waiting comes patience. Out of accepting my powerlessness comes strength and love and the courage to dare" - Christin Lore Weber