I’m finally here! After a long day of travel, I made it to Puerto Plata around 2pm on Sunday, October 1. I was greeted by my wonderful host family and a bunch of other Makarios friends. This week I’ve been showered in so much love and hospitality by all of the Makarianos, but I’ve had some hard moments mixed in with really great ones. Life in the DR is a lot simpler than the US, so I’ve had to adjust to a lot of new things. I am so thankful for Milka (my host “sister” and fellow group ministry team member) and Margaret (my “boss”… and really great friend!) helping me to adjust well. They’ve been so patient and loving as I learn about what life looks like for me in the DR.
A few days ago I had a really hard night. I was extremely homesick, hot, and I had a really bad migraine that wouldn’t go away. Of course in that moment I cried a lot while convincing myself that I did the wrong thing by moving to a different country straight out of college and while in a committed relationship. But then I remembered the verses we read a few nights ago at a bible study for American missionaries that work for Makarios:
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
I’ve also had good days alongside the hard ones. I killed a cockroach this morning that (no lie) was about as big as both of my thumbs put together… probably the biggest I’ve ever seen. Yesterday morning I saw it scurry across my bedroom floor and dart under my bed. I looked for it for about 10 minutes after that and couldn’t figure out where it went. Then, this morning as I was getting something out of the suitcase under my bed I saw it again and smashed it with my shoe. I got a huge smile on my face and felt so accomplished as I threw the nasty thing in the garbage.
I have to remind myself to celebrate the small victories as I’ve had some awesome days and some not so great days this past week. These days it’s the little things that I’m beginning to count as big victories. Like getting to Language school 15 minutes late because I couldn’t find a carrito (what they call taxis here… except they jam up to 6 adults and 2 kids into one car), but celebrating because I survived the 30 minute public transportation journey to Sosua without getting lost.
I have to remember that even though sometimes I have doubts about why I’m here when I miss my family and friends, I am here for the sole purpose of following Christ, and hopefully leading people here to do the same thing. I felt a tug to move here, so I did. I took that first step, and now I just have to keep on taking more steps and trusting that God has a plan for my life that is greater than anything I could have come up with.