Here are some things that you may want to know about living in the Dominican Republic. One… Everything. Takes. Time. Fruits and veggies need to be soaked in a bleach solution and then rinsed with bottled water before consumption. There is no one-stop-shopping. You may buy a box fan or a party hat at the store that you buy dog food, but the best place to buy limes is the hardware store. The washing machine has two basins—one for washing and one for rinsing, but the rinsing basin only holds one-third of the load at a time. Line drying is simple enough—lest it rains. As for the dishwasher, his fingertips are getting raw, but he’s doing a pretty good job keeping up with everything. If you want to take a warm shower, don’t forget to turn on the water heater about 45 minutes in advance, or cold shower for you. The power goes out just about everyday. In fact, it is out right now and has been for a few hours. Don’t open the fridge! Thankful we have an inverter on an outlet in the bedroom—not everyone is so lucky. Second thing that you may want to know about is that the motos, which include motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes and four wheelers, are absolutely NUTSO. They are everywhere in every direction. Trevor has lifted his (self-imposed) ban on riding two-wheeled motorized vehicles and is getting around town just fine on a dirt bike that is on loan from Luke and Naomi. No passengers [yet]. But me (Kathy), not so much. But in his infinite wisdom, God provided us with a vehicle within a few days of our arrival, because He knew that I am NOT ready [yet] to hop on the back of a moto with my two kids wedged between me and the driver who happens to be holding a five gallon bottle of water in one hand and 27 loaves of bread in the other while talking on a cell phone driving the wrong way on a one-way street. In one Sunday offering, our home church raised money for the three families down here to have a vehicle, plus more for two other ministries. In American standards, our church is not rich, but once again, I am blown away by the generosity of our church family. Not to mention the ability of God to meet our needs before we even knew what they were.
Before we came here, one of our biggest concerns and prayers (I say “concern” but honestly we were never “worried”) was how was I going to manage my health situation. Having a blood disease, I am on daily oral chemotherapy medicine and get my blood checked every two weeks. I wondered if there would even be a lab anywhere close to us and I wondered if my medicine would be available in this country. Well, yes, I’ve already got the medicine from the pharmacy and cheaper than if I had gotten it from the states (with no insurance). Here’s the best part. About a three-minute walk from our house is a brand new shopping plaza that feels very American with a frozen yogurt place, a pizza place, school supply store, coffee shop, and… wait for it… a brand new beautiful medical lab. For 260 pesos ($6) I can get my blood checked and get the results in an hour—no prescription required! It’s almost like God knew we were coming or something! ::wink wink::
So for now, we are just getting our bearings on everything. I am pretty sure that we are in Family Unit Boot Camp and God is our drill Sargent. We are working together and looking out for each other in ways that we have never done before. We had quite the “adventure” on our first hike in a remote Dominican jungle in the rain (aka torrential downpour). We practiced teamwork as we had to help each other over rocks and through streams and up and down rocky terrain. In attempt to take a short-cut back to the car, we had to hoist the entire family over a twelve foot gate in which at one point, I thought there was no way that I was going to make it over. Several times Trevor had to calm Luke down and say, “Don’t you trust Daddy? I will always take care of you!” With every wild turn, I knew that God was trying to teach us something, but what? The next morning, God answered that question in my devotion:
“The platform upon which all true prayer rests is to remember who you are speaking. You are addressing not an admiral or general, not a president or superhero, but your Father, your heavenly Father. You are related to him. He gave you birth and rebirth. He loves you more than you love your own children. You may claim his attention with childlike confidence… You are talking to your Father. And he loves taking care of his children.“
Instantly Trevor’s words came back to me, and through his words I heard God say, “Don’t you trust Daddy? I will always take care of you!” I love both of them for that.
Before we left for the DR, people had a lot of things to say to us, but two things stuck out most in my mind. While perusing one of our many ‘sales,’ a friend said to me, “detachment is a very humbling experience,” and she was right. There have been adjustments for sure, but we are taking one day at a time. Slowly but surely we are making this place our home. I can speak for all of us to say that we don’t miss most all of our “things” that we left behind, but we do miss our people. It is true that there is a cost to following God.
The second thing I clung to was a friend told me, “you know you are smack dab in the middle of God’s will when the rest of the world looks at you like you’re crazy.” Phew. That explained a lot of crazy looks.