Dominican Republic Mission Trip 2013
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV
|LCCS students trace the template to the wall
|Luis (in blue) and Alejandro
|Jeremiah 29:11 in Village 106 with the face of Christ
A Haitian villager in his 40’s, Luis Francis, showed up on our first day in the village wanting to help my students work on the wall. He ended up working with us for the duration. Since I couldn’t speak Spanish, fortunately he also spoke French. I dusted off my high school French, and at the start of each day, we would exchange a French greeting ritual which included inquiring as to the health of our respective families. I remembered enough to handle the pleasantries easily and laid in my best French accent. For the rest, however, I was able to decipher just the main gist of his conversations. It was only on the last day, after I had turned my brain inside-out looking for the words to describe a particular set of instructions, that he helped me out in English. The look of surprise on my face elicited a smile, but he wouldn’t use English again.
What I really appreciated about Luis was his faithfulness in executing the given daily job. Each day he’d take a pencil or brush and proceeded to apply himself to the task of drawing or painting with serious concentration for hours at a stretch. When I felt like wilting, I just looked at him, and his example kept me going. On several occasions he was my interpreter as I relayed instructions in French which he then passed on in Spanish to other Haitian villagers who wanted to join in. On the final day of painting, all my students were otherwise engaged making the most of their last times with their village friends. Resident artist and MGM employee, Barb Charles joined Luis and me to complete the work. Not long into it, two other Haitian men in their 20s asked to participate - Alejandro and Wilhelm. I had been content and happy to enlist the older village kids to work with my students in the making of the mural. To have three Haitian men work together with other young village men looking on was more than I could have dared hoped for. At that point, I stepped back and completely gave over the finishing of the painting to them as they took ownership. When it was done, and everything was put away, Barb prayed powerfully for it to be used to God’s purposes.
Throughout the conception of what to put on the wall - to the logistics of transportation and execution, I had been sweating over all the details. In my typical fashion I had plans A, B, and C if things went south. I’m not normally an anxious person, but I was plagued by worry about the painting aspects of this trip. I worried about getting a large template and stencil onto the airplane, I worried about finding the right colors of paints locally, I worried about what I was forgetting to bring, and I worried whether the people of Village 106 would accept the painting as something that added a measure of beauty to their environment and served as an encouragement to them. God came through and answered immeasurably more than I could have asked for or imagined. He is faithful, and I’m grateful – to him be the glory. Amen.