Ten days until I leave with a group from my church on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. At basically close to the last minute I just felt the tug to go on this trip. I had thought about it and prayed about it for quite awhile and everything just kept leading me to try to make the arrangements to go. The trip had been booked for the group that was going for many months and at the time that they planned this trip, I had "plans" in my mind to return to Jackson, Michigan this summer and work with New Tribes mission at their school there. I worked there last year and it was such an easy trip, no flying, no hot bus rides, no unusual food, hot showers, and even a swimming pool. There were no language barriers and we put a roof on with POWER tools. How easy is that? (the worst hardship of the trip was when the air conditioning in my car had issues and had to go the Chevy Dealer there to be fixed under warranty)
Then I got the call that they were planning two work groups for Jackson this year...the first one week before my fourth grandchild was due to be born and the second the week after. Needless to say, that eliminated the thoughts of joining up with either of these groups. Then a decision had to be made...should I skip an annual mission trip this year. I have been on at least one every year for the past six years, weighing in my mind, the economy, the responsibilities that I have here and more praying, where did this fit in with God's plan?
Finally I mentioned this to a couple of people that would be on the trip and yesterday my ticket and itinerary showed up here and so I am off and packing and sorting and trying to find the "mission" clothing and trying to remember what all that I will need. You see last year, staying in the states has made me rusty of packing all that I will need to survive where the nearest Walmart is 750 miles away back in the States. My tetanus was updated this past fall thanks to a stingray sting in Alabama. I haven't given blood as much as I would have liked in the past year, (they will not take it until you have been home at least a year) a dentist appt to cancel, that procrastinator's challenge that I entered at A Hole in the Basket, leaving my poor husband all on his own, (he misses me, I know that he does, people tell me) and well, they were all minor items.
This will be my 6th trip to the Dominican Republic. There are always so many projects that need done and so much to do that each trip becomes unique in the people that you meet, the people that you travel with, the lives that are changed, both for those of us that travel there and those that we meet when we get there. In all the trips that I have made I have received more than I could ever give and yet that is not the reason that is even in your head or heart when you decide to go on a trip like this. It has been three years since I was last in the DR, two years ago my younger daughter and I had the opportunity to go to Haiti, a very memorable experience that I was so blessed to share with her, I am excited to see the changes, see people that I have not seen for three years although it can be such a transient population that I wonder if I will see any of them, to work, and to worship again in their churches.
The photo at the top was from 2006 and taken in a Haitian Camp in the DR, someone had called me over and told me that the little girl's name was Cathy!