It’s July 27th, and we are more than halfway through summer. In a way, it seems like yesterday I was leaving San Juan with no idea what was about to happen in our world. All of our lives have been turned upside-down. None of us know what the future holds, except God. Now more than ever we must trust God and know He is in control. In previous blogs, I wrote about when I left San Juan…I had no idea I would still be at home sitting in my kitchen writing my blog on July 27th. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. Sometimes, I think I must have been naive and was trying to only focus on the positives. Honestly, I never thought when I got on that bus I wouldn’t be returning for so long.
Having said that, I am ready to be back. I really love summer in the DR…especially Mango season! I was looking forward to eating those fresh mangos! Last summer, I had braces — which made eating a mango (similar to how one would eat an apple) almost impossible. I had even talked to some friends about how excited I was for those mangos, haha! I remember one conversation I had with a friend right before I left. I said, “When I return in three weeks mangos will be ready!” Summer in the DR also means its Vacation Bible School time. I loved going to the sites and seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces. The kids love learning about Jesus, singing, and doing crafts. The VBS songs come to my mind right now, as I write this. Summer is busy! So much goes on at the guesthouse… which makes it so fun. I miss all the people, I miss my friends there, and I miss my home. When my dad came to visit in February we worked so hard to make my room feel like a home….and It really did feel like home! I came home with only a carry-on and very few things packed…so my entire summer wardrobe is still there, haha! Lastly, I miss walks at the stadium, hikes in the mountains, the crystal clear ocean water, playing dominoes with friends on Friday nights. I miss it all.
In February, I committed to another year of ministry in the Dominican Republic. I am now committed until September of 2021! I know my time is not up in the DR, and I will be ready when God opens those doors back up. I have learned so much in my first year as a missionary, and I know God has so much more to teach me. Things were starting to feel normal. I was beginning to feel confident in what I was doing every day. Then, one day it all changes, and a global pandemic brings you home for six months, and maybe even longer.
Have you taken this time for granted? I would say I have. Maybe not my first month home, but certainly after that, I have. Time with family is just what I needed when returning home. We have made so many memories. We’ve been busy in a time where many are not. Time seems to be going faster than ever. It is so hard to believe July is coming to an end this week. I think back on the last four months and all I have been able to do that I would not have been able to do in the DR. I’ve seen many family members I haven’t seen in years. It was so good to reconnect with them. I’ve reconnected with friends who I hadn’t seen in so long. My family went on vacation. They had planned to come to visit me, but you know, COVID. I was so excited to show them the DR, but God had other plans, and you know what, it was pretty great. We went to our favorite place in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island. I’ve eaten at restaurants I’ve missed, I’ve gone to my brother’s sporting events, and I’ve mowed the lawn — which is something I love to do. Last week, I was also able to attend a meeting at Northwoods Community Chruch and discuss its partnership with Solid Rock International. It was so encouraging and fun to see so many people who are committed to the ministry of SRI.
In just two weeks, our house will be quiet again. Here is what makes me think about this time I’ve taken for granted. My mom will return to teaching in just two weeks. My brother Quinn — a sophomore in high school — will return to school that week as well. And my other brother Cole –a sophomore in College — will also return to school that same week. My dad has continued to work throughout the last few months. As for myself, I will continue my schooling from home. I just finished up U.S. History, and in one week will begin a class called Christian Theology. I’m excited to learn more about the study of theological methodology and the doctrines of revelation, God, humanity, sin, and the person of Jesus Christ with emphasis on the biblical bases for each doctrine.
As of right now, we have teams scheduled to come in October. I want to say I’m confident in returning then, but then again I’m not. I’m trusting that God will make it evident when the right time to return is. The schedule has changed so much over the last four months that I just don’t know. Our ministry assistants have begun to do ministry in and around San Juan. Over the last month, they have gone to nine different sites distributing masks, food, and information on COVID 19. They also spread the gospel during home visits. I’m so proud of our team, and thankful they are able to continue to do ministry during this time.
What have you been learning or focusing on during this time? For me, I’ve been doing a devotion called Draw the Circle by Robert Batterson. This devotion is an excellent way in which you can work on your prayer walk. I encourage you to read it. One day that really encouraged me was a chapter titled, “Find Your Voice.” This chapter was about a 19-year-old who felt in a dream the Lord calling them to the mission field. Has the Lord been speaking to you during this time? At the end of each day, it gives you something to “circle” in your life; something you want to focus your prayer on. Then it says, “If you want to find your voice, you need to hear the voice of God.” I encourage you to listen to what the Lord is teaching you during this time.