Well, its Day 3 & we've already had to say some goodbyes to some precious faces.
We started out day at Brisas to visit the preschool our group has helped build & our church (along with others) fund through the years. See those smiling faces in their little blue shifts was such a joy! In the past, my mom has shown me PLENTY of pictures but nothing beats seeing it for yourself in real life. We played, we sang, I taught today's lesson about Jesus feeding 5,000 & then the little ones ate lunch before they left to go home......and what a taxing morning that was. To watch these children lick their plates after what might be the only meal they have all day, opened my eyes tremendously. A little bit of rice, chicken & beans followed by a glass of water goes a long way for a child. They aren't allowed to have their water until they eat, so that way they do in fact eat. Several kept asking me to eat with them & told me how good their food was. After they left, the wonderful women who cooked the food brought ours out, and I broke down. My appetite was gone. My stomach had become full & my heart was heavy. To see these children appreciate so little & there I was, in front of a mound of food.... It just didn't make sense to me. How could I eat so much for one meal, after they had so little for probably the day? But, I had to.
Once we all finished lunch, we started prepping to head back to Los Rios for the afternoon. When we arrived, the atmosphere seemed less tense today. Smiling faces were around every corner. We split into two groups to do some prayer walks and again, an eye-opening experience INDEED. We got to visit the first Haitian Baptist Church in the Dominican, toured a tiny village & the other group got to see the more wealthy section of the neighborhoods. All that separated rags from riches was a plaster wall.
At Los Rios, we danced, we sang, we did little art crafts and we did a little something different with the young adults - we shared testimonies, with the help of our translator Vonni. To hear where they came from, what they've done & what they've experienced made me realize just how sheltered my life has been. Yes, I've traveled all over the world but this was one of the most poverty stricken places I've seen. But their hearts are full & they are eager to learn. Unfortunately, our time at Los Rios was cut short & as we said goodbye, all the children came to hug each and every one of us (keep in mind, there's like 40 kids & 18 of us). It was amazing to see the transformation in a day's time from yesterday's timid children, who might not have ever seen light complected people - dancing, taking pictures & kissing our cheeks as they said "Gracias". It's something that pictures cannot express, it comes from the heart.
Again, camera quality pictures are not loading here in the DR so iPhone pictures will be coming from now on...ENJOY!
The rough-draft of the second story to the preschool in Brisas
On our prayer walk in Los Rios. The first Haitian Baptist Church in the Dominican (Iglesia) and the surrounding village. So many textures & so many colors - a photographers dream! The smell though... As you can see, trash lined the streets, the streams & the open lots.
Shoutout to Vonni for giving his testimony in both Spanish & English