Dust boogers :)
These things didn't bother me a bit. I spent so many years thinking they would.
These things kept my mind and heart broken. I saw and heard about these things from the people of the DR and the family from Cross Point that went with me.
But COMMUNITY and HOPE. Those are the two things I can't get off my mind and learned so much more about.
COMMUNITY: Through hearing some of the stories of God's faithfulness and love from my Cross Point team and the G.O. Pastors and leaders, I experienced community like I never have before. G.O.'s mission statement is all about changing the world through relationships. I left this week knowing all of G.O.'s staff in Santiago are family now.
"G.O. Ministries seeks to empower passionate, Local Leaders serving inside their cultures to Redeem people, Renew communities and Restore Creation by developing dynamic International Partnerships in Ministry that result in mutual transformation."
HOPE: It was everywhere. To see the church and feeding center Cross Point has spent years building, COMPLETE! Oh, what a feeling. Kids were flooding in to get a hot meal and love. The church was nearly full on Sunday with Haitian families, Dominican children and Americans, worshiping together. The kids understood the Good Samaritan story when we did our skit. They listened. God was speaking.
We went to a place called the hole one afternoon. It is a landfill slum where people live in extreme filth, danger and poverty. The kids litterally jump into your arms for you to hold them. Others tightly grasp your hand. We made sure to tell them all, "Jesus te ama." The words to this song came to my head as I was walking through the slum. I sang them to the little boy I was holding,
"There will be hope for the hopeless. Rest for the weary. A day when ALL wrong is made right. They will see God."
Hope, not despair.
We heard stories of how far the hole has improved. 10 yrs ago it was a much darker place. G.O. has built a church/feeding center there and Pastor Felix just opened a water purification building where people can get clean water.
There are so many plans for more life change. I can't wait to go back and experience new things. I keep asking myself, "Why did I wait so long to go on this trip?" But I know this was God's timing. I cried a lot. It was a joke that if I wasn't crying then we weren't doing things right. :) I needed to see the World through the eyes of Jesus. I will truly never be the same.
Take a moment and check out all that G.O. Ministries is doing. Pray about how you can help. And enjoy this sideshow of our week, doing our part to change the World.
2011 Videos: Cross Point Church 2011: "Cross Point Church 2011 from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo."