Today was one of the most interesting culture rich experiences I have ever had! It started out with a filling breakfast of eggs, pineapple, and bread. I couldn’t eat much because I was so excited for the things to come. At 9am we headed of to La Higuerra. The ride went fast. I chatted with one of the Spanish translators, Daniel, about how he learned English. Turns out he knows German, French, Spanish, along with his English. He really took an aggressive approach to his education. He educated himself in order that he would have the best possible chance of getting a job. He compared the things a Dominican needs to be successful to a traditional Dominican meal( rice, beans, chicken) and saying that languages, computer, skills, and education were all apart of things that helped a Dominican become successful. I also chatted with a few other people on the bus and took in the beautiful green and mountainous landscape.
When we finally got to La Higuerra, we went into a school that Hope for HIspanola had built. We got a brief overview of what were going to do and then I went off with a bunch of other teens and a few adults to teach vacation bible school. We walked through a dilapidated neighborhood towards a small one room church where I would be teaching my VBS lesson on the Parable of the Sower. I had a few amazing God moments at that location. First of all, I forgot to bring my craft, which was a good thing because I had underestimated how difficult it would be to teach all those kids how to do the craft. Because of this, everyone was able to focus more on relationships and less on trying to have a nice craft for the kids to take home. My VBS lesson went way better than expected. Somewhere between 5-10 kids accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior! It had been a goal of mine for years to lead someone to the Lord and to see it fulfilled felt absolutely satisfying and amazing. I got to chat with a lot of the kids in some conversational Spanish, which was neat because I didn’t know how well I’d be able to communicate. The kids were so sweet. I was able to say “Mi gusta( I like)” to some of their drawings and their little faces just lit up.
When we walked back to the school for lunch, we were surrounded by a large group of kids. I thought we looked like a parade! A little girl grabbed onto by hand and it was so sweet. We left the kids for a little while for lunch and they were sad to see us go. Lunch was good because we were able to connect with each other for a short time. Then, after lunch, we went outside and passed out some balloons to the kids. The cutest thing was when a mom asked for a balloon for her little baby and when she blew it up it was almost as big as her, After doing that for a bit, we walked as a small group, holding hands with all the little dudes. We came to a large field where some of our group gathered a larger group of kids to play soccer. I and some other girls pained some of the small children’s nails. Some of the boys even wanted their nails painted! There were kids everywhere! There was an adorable six year old who stayed with us the whole day. Here’s a picture of her making a goofy face:
The kids were so fascinated with my camera and wanted me to take their pictures, that I had to keep saying “No Toca(don’t touch)” so they wouldn’t run off with my camera. It was really kind of cute. After taking a bunch of pictures, one of the translators wanted a few of us to practice giving the Gospel message to each other and they translated it into Spanish. It was a great way to prepare me for the evangelizing that I want to do this week. After that, we headed back to the school as a group so that my team and I could head back to our compound. The kids didn’t want us to leave! We had to keep telling them. ” ¡Hasta Lunes!( See you Monday)”. Finally, we boarded our bus at 3pm, tired yet satisfied. So far the trip has been so surreal and awesome. I’m in awe of God’s power and just the personal aspect of His love. I’m fascinated by this new culture, landscape and people. And I can’t wait to see what’s next!