Back to work, back to those nagging feelings grabbing at your heels, back to the what if?s?

There are a lot of questions returning from the Dominican. Lots of ruminations as I flew. Big questions like, ?how can we break this cycle of oppression for a people who have no sense of dignity and personal worth and no aspirations at all. Even to keep their 10x10 concrete home clean or grow food for their families? to little questions like, ?I wonder if we?ll be able to get good internet to communicate home,? to big questions like, ?should we live in a 10x10 concrete hut because the people we are trying to work with live there,? to ?should we live in the house provided because we can likely engage a bunch of visitors over the 6 weeks that may engage the ministry and engage people in need like they never have before??

Lots of questions. Not too many answers to be honest.
So ? I?m going to keep thinking here on the blog, because it is helping me, and we?ve received some good response to my thoughts on this ? but be forewarned, I?m not sure where this yellow brick road leads?.because it was abundantly clear these three days that ?we?re not in Kansas any more!?

First ? Thank you for your concern the couple people who have worried about us abandoning jobs and leaving. We love you for it ? however, let me also address a concern that has been brought up at least twice and therefore I imagine is thought by many more ? we are not going to the Dominican Republic as some sort of crazy response to Rob being taken home. The process of changing our lives to challenge our hearts to live by faith, to use what strength and love we have to make the world different, and to seek after Jesus with all our heart no matter the consequences was minted long before Rob was promoted to glory. In fact, it was what made Rob and I such dear friends. So?for most of you, none of your darn business?for our closest community of friends?well you weren?t really worried anyway... were you?

OK ? so here is what I saw in the Dominican ?
The slums as I said in my last post were pretty much the same as everywhere ? what I found intriguing and upsetting was walking the Villages that are a few years old ? Samaritan Foundation has been doing work in the Dominican for 22 years building houses and schools and clinics and church buildings, so there are some that are fairly old ? there is a marked difference between Haitian villages and Dominican Villages. Marked. Part of this is because of the local racial hatred towards Haitians. Garbage pick up is sporadic, water is sporadic, electricity is sporadic and then you move on to a Dominican Village right above the Haitian one and it is completely different. This is difficult for me mostly because it seems that there is a cycle that is not broken by having a better living situation.

There are people here working with the Haitian Villages who are remarkable ? but in their desperation are pulling their hair out. Example ? I met a woman named Maria ? Italian lady, perhaps 60. She apparently has a mansion in Haiti, owns part of a well-known chain of hotels in the United States, and a 300-seat restaurant in Florida. She has money. She has worked in extreme poverty all over the world, and I mean worked. When we came to visit her, she was in a field using a pick ax to break up the ground for some plants she was importing from Thailand for a Haitian Village that clean water as they grow, and their leaves make furniture and cloth ? she was planting them, and vegetables and fixing a shower cube and working like a dog ? and furious with the Haitians! She said, ?these are the most difficult people I have ever worked with, they don?t care, they don?t want to work, they would rather destroy what I do then work to put food on their own tables.? Context ? this is a very poor Haitian village ? there is a feeding program, there is a clinic and a school, there are real, real issues here. Maria is not ignorant of this kind of life though ? and she has offered her life for people in this state all over the world. So what do you do? The Haitians who are foiling her work say she doesn?t respect them ? interesting how social fabric almost is more important that physical fabric. My friend Leah has some thoughts on that and we?re going to talk about them.

Alright that?s enough to chew on tonight ? you can see how this gets complicated very fast ? and how one could just say ? forget it. I don?t think that?s what a disciple is to do. So, my prayer again tonight is ? Jesus, let us hear You say ?come, follow me.?

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