I’ve been working out of my quart-size baggie since getting back from Haiti last month so I didn’t have to rethink and repack it. Today I’ll add a little more moisturizer and a little more foundation to the mini travel containers and set out my malaria med to start tomorrow. Friday I’ll say goodbye to a negative wind chill and board a plane to Miami with knees knocking. Because on Saturday I’ll meet up with blogging friends Kris Camealy and Amy Pederson along with a group of Compassion International staff and sponsors on their way to meet their kids. We’ll be there from January 10-15, and quite honestly, part of me has been kind of hoping for some roadblock to keep me from going to the Dominican Republic.
But there’s no roadblock. There’s a clear path–because none of this is my doing. There’s only a holy thumping in my chest.
Last summer I told you how the three of us were invited to join a sponsor tour so we could give voice to what happens when a sponsor meets their child face-to-face. When that child becomes even more real.
Thing is, I don’t even “have” a child there. Our girl is in Kenya, and one day I hope I can meet her. But right now I feel like I’m standing on the outside. I’m guessing, though, I’ll have a different set of eyes and ears and more freedom to record the stories and interact with other children. Or maybe I’ll actually meet the child I’m supposed to sponsor and feel those special heart bonds when you connect skin-to-skin.
I’m feeling very inadequate to this challenge, and I suppose that’s a good thing. Because isn’t true that God’s bestest work is usually done through the weakest vessels?
And I don’t know Spanish. Isn’t everyone these days supposed to know Spanish?
Anyway, Saturday we’ll land in Santo Domingo–where the temperature is in the 80’s. During our time there, we’ll visit one of the Compassion projects, conduct some VBS activities, visit homes, hang out with Child Survival moms and babies, spend time with Leadership Development students, view files and curriculum, share meals, and have time for a little shopping and sightseeing. One day will be devoted to fun with sponsors and their sponsored children.
And we’ll see poverty and sickness and children famished for someone to show them they matter. We’ll see not only the joy of sponsor and child wrapped in an embrace and excitement. We’ll also see children whose shoulders slump a little more, whose eyes leak a little when mail call comes and their name isn’t called. We’ll see children who ache for someone to know their names, who have no sponsor. And those who have sponsors but still don’t feel known because letters don’t come. We’ll meet children who want to dream they can be someone, children who want to believe God has a plan and a dream for them. Children who need someone to help them believe. Children who need to know that God knows their name and that He sings over them.
I’ve been reading up on the Dominican Republic where Compassion has had a presence for over 40 years. The country forms the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola with Haiti on the west, and I’m wondering what differences and similarities I’ll see. Will it seem strange to be so close to Jeremie and yet so far away?
Would you pray for all of us–for safe travel and health and that those of us who will be blogging will find our words? And follow us as we tell the stories?
You can find all my Dominican Republic posts here.
In the stillness,
Maybe today’s the day as we enter a new year to let a child know you know their name. Maybe today’s the day you’ll sponsor one or a second or a third. Maybe that child will live in the Dominican Republic.