My heart aches. I have a massive lump in my throat and feel like crying.
I’ve been transported from a place of incarnate misery and oppression to a place of incarnate joy and love.
To be honest, the way I feel now is in shock over the polar extremes I’m experiencing.
Where I’m at now is a boys home in the Dominican Republic. Arrived last night after an exhausting two-day bus trip with a few crazy adventures thrown in. To say it was stressful would be an understatement.
Currently ten boys live here, all of whom came directly off the street. They are all either orphaned or abandoned and have each undergone tragedy in their life beyond what I can imagine… their emotional needs are immense. But here they become part of a family… for life, literally. It’s amazing. Here the boys are well fed, well clothed, and live in an enviable tropical location. It’s like Swiss Family Robinson. The couple who runs the place have been doing this type of ministry for 20+ years.
The property I’m at consists of several buildings on a secluded plot of land outside Sosua, Santa Domingo. The location is knock-out beautiful. On top a hill we have forest views surrounding us as far as the eye can see with azure ocean for backdrop. The grounds are well maintained tropical green foliage. Gentle ocean breezes waft through the open-style structures and intermingled throughout the property are quaint “resort-like” buildings with cobbled paths connecting them. I can’t even describe the peace and serenity here. Not to mention the outdoor basketball court, the wide grassy area for soccer, and an awesome beach nearby.
This morning we had a relaxed church service in a second story open-air pavilion. We sang songs in Spanish to guitar and had a Bible lesson I couldn’t understand because I don’t speak Spanish.
Then we spent the entire afternoon at a nearby beach. We swam, flew a kite (got it stuck in a tree), caught big waves with our boogie boards, snorkeled, and had a picnic.
Here the children receive an education, vocational training, recreation, but most importantly: Christian discipleship. They learn about God and the power of restoration He can bring. They also experience – probably for the first time – what it’s like to be truly loved and part of a family.
One of my main tasks here will be helping out with the school each afternoon. So I need to start cramming muchos Spanish into my head quickly.
The contrast between here and where I was (which was more akin to a holocaust-era concentration camp) is so dramatic my breath is taken away. Like, I can’t describe it. Just want to cry. Not sure why, but I think it’s because I feel so bad for the seventy kids I left behind in Port-au Prince who are so often hungry, who wear rags for clothes, who are desperate for attention, who live in a bleak unsafe building, who have only a tiny concrete yard to play in (and wash and cook and clean in), and who worse of all have nobody to love them.
It’s totally heartbreaking. But this place is totally amazing.