Taking a break after hard work.
Submitted by Wanda Huntington
So what is a March break compassion experience?
Our CE-DR 2015 team from FBC-Smiths Falls all agree-you need to come and find out for yourself.
Words, pictures and DVDs don’t make you understand the real impact. (paraphrased from David Schoular.)
However, just to try to start to explain it a little bit.
- If you are adult, it means taking at least seven days off work or giving up 10 days of relaxed retirement. For teens, it means giving up your school break and slugging your guts out in the tropical heat (in this case the Dominican Republic).
- It means driving to Toronto at least twice for orientation and training. It means spending months in preparations, medical appointments and raising support from your family and church.
- It means four hours sleep the night before you get up at 4 am in the cold Canadian weather dressed for the DR heat, waiting in lines at the airport for 4 1/2 hours before your first plane takes off 1/2 an hour late, then flying five hours into another time zone thinking you will miss the next flight – not knowing the time changed – then finally making it to the other end of the Panama City airport (how come no one ever flies from the close end?).
- Arriving after dark (we started in the dark ) in the heat of the night, it means lugging your overpacked bags to a bus (at the other end of the airport) for a two hour ride to The Light House School Project in Los Alcarrizos, DR.
- It means a 10 pm supper of BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes onions and peppers (or a peanut butter – make your own – sandwich. )
- It means another onsite hour of orientation and then team and leaders meetings before we get to our dorm bunk bed after midnight.
Here was the surprise. Thanks to previous team efforts, there is a brand new dorm (which officially opened in February) with a toilet and cold water shower in each bunk room for four.
Seven hours later we are in the new basement chapel for morning worship and then upstairs outside at 8:30 am for breakfast (possibly more peanut butter) of boiled eggs and oatmeal.
At 9 am, we walk 20 minutes being greeted by smiling faces all along the way with hands waving and voices shouting to all “Ola” and we respond as well.
What is work?
Here is where you need to experience it for yourself.
We walked into a large 10 foot walled compound of “rubble” (walls are built by our previous teams) where there was once four tiny DR homes. Here, the unfinished cinder block walls will oneday be a community church. The team task is to clean out the initial building ground rubble and level the ground with large rocks and course yellow gravel piled 10 ft high outside the building walls. Cristian Santiago, the Director of the Lighthouse Project and our onsite leader, has plan A, B or C (which are all identical): by Wednesday there will be a cement floor poured in that church so we can have a community party there.
On another site a few blocks away another part of the team of 64 (we’re joined by three other churches from Ontario) were tying rebar together for the foundation of a smaller church.
Our third group stayed back at the school to help with Saturday English as a Second Language training.
After that the Canadians tried to play basketball on the school courtyard. It actually worked well as they put Dominicans on both teams.
Noonish everyone returned exhausted for fried plantain and rice and tuna macaroni salad (or peanut butter). The afternoon was a repeat of the morning at the two work sites.
Now really exhausted people became revived with pork chops rice salad fresh fruits and ice cream for supper as everyone ate outside reminiscing the day’s activities with new friends they were working with all day.
From 7:15 -8:30 pm, we meet for our evening worship and team debrief time until 9 pm and lights out.
Tomorrow, we will start all over with morning worship at 7 am, community church at 10:30, lunch and community interaction for the afternoon.
So, yes words and pictures cannot describe it. We are the hands and feet of Christ this week in the DR. showing His love through our actions.
Thank you for your prayer support.
Submitted by Ron Ferguson