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


Anonymous said...

Dear Greg and Cindy,
Thank you for sharing your "adventures" with us and keeping it real---it continually confirms to me how blessed I really am. You are so brave and so very loyal to God for all of the wonderful things you are doing there. It amazes me each time I read your updates what has come up. I will continue to pray for you and your health and safety, and also for the guidance you provide for the people of the DR, and I also will contiue to pray for those you have touched there and those yet to be changed by you. You two really are special people and are a truly real blessing!
Jennifer BLand

Ryan said...

Hi Guys,

I was praying for you when I heard of the Hurricane over your way. I was excited to see that you updated your blog and relieved to see you both are doing well. Each of your posts is a real reality check for all of us who take things like the local weather forcast(and windows) for granted.

Take care, and may God bless you and the people you are helping!


Bob and Chris said...

Dear Cindy and Greg

Thanks for the great book..."Jesus Before Christianity" by Albert Nolan. It is inspirational as is the life work you haven chosen to do. This past Sunday, we read about the choice Christ made by being baptized by John. As a result The Trinity is manifest to the world! Thru Jesus' heartfelt compassion and thru the power of faith, Christ sets about liberating those from their suffering and anguish. How many stones have you removed from the tomb entrance so others may have hope and dignity?

May you find joy in achieving the impossible!!