Anna+Ian in the DR: the Vargas family + Puerto Plata

Sunday, August 7, 2011 (evening)

This morning, we returned to La Mosca for church. Ian and Jess helped out with music (using songs from last night, which they had learned in Spanish thanks to the worship clinic). Luis preached about Paul's balance of wisdom and boldness as he shared the Good News, with Jenn translating for us. After the service, we spent a little time with the community (and took some group photos).

group photo in la mosca

Then we were off to Hato del Yaque to pack for the beach — we're taking an overnight trip in Puerto Plata with the Vargas family. The guys all finished in 5 minutes and even had time for a nap before lunch. Us ladies took a much more communal approach and shared packing suggestions. We're on Dominican time anyway, so a 1:30 p.m. departure is more of a suggestion...

Two hours and a bathroom+ice cream stop later, we were checking in at the resort. Ian and I dropped our bags in our room, then headed to the beach. It was a little overcast, but still beautiful. We relaxed in the water until it was time for dinner.

afternoon at the beach

After dinner, we gathered on lounge chairs and took some time to share our experiences on the trip. Danielle, who knows sign language and is working towards translator-level fluency, shared how God allowed her to cross paths with three different deaf individuals, bringing two of her passions (the deaf community and the DR) together. People who have been on the trip before talked about the amazing growth they've seen in both La Mosca and the individuals in the church. We also were amazed at how God worked through us despite the language barrier (particularly with the worship clinic). And how despite the different languages, cultures, experiences, we all share the same purpose: pursuing God and redeeming lives and communities.

We stayed around long after our "official" debriefing was over. I was part of an interesting conversation with Jenn — she shared some of the stories behind the rules for teams serving with G.O. (I'm blown away by how one thoughtless decision can ruin someone's life). Then we had fun interrogating Luis and Reina (thanks to Emily's translating skills). Reina gave us a little more detail about having Luis investigated after he told her he was interested in her (the report: he's a good man). After seeing photos and getting ministry updates, it's nice to learn about them on a more personal level. Luis also called Ian his baby (i.e. his son) after Ian laughingly called Luis his father in response to Luis telling him to sit up straight. So we're family now.

sunset at the resort

On one hand, it seems a little frivolous to spend a day at a resort, albeit a very modest one (at least by our culture's standards), when there are so many unmet needs all around us. (How do we enjoy all-you-can-eat buffets when the kids we've spent time with are lucky to get one meal a day?) On the other hand, it allows us to grow our relationship with the Vargas family, and treat them to a much deserved vacation. They're a pretty amazing family.