Today has been another hard day. I was going to type out all of the reasons why I cried pretty much all afternoon, but after I did I realized how American and whiney I sounded and decided to delete that part. I’m actually really ashamed at some of the things I cried about… but to sum it up, my reality these days is so different from what I am used to and it’s really wearing on me.
But I really do have so much to be thankful for here. I love my host family so much. They are kind and thoughtful and have been so, so good for me while I’ve been adjusting to Dominican life. I have awesome friends here who know and are experiencing the exact same things and feelings as me. Every time I see the Makarios students or a group member on a mission trip I remember why I’m here. I know I have to push through the hard stuff and trust that in all of this God has a plan and He is good. But at this moment it’s taking everything in me to not go online (once the power comes back on) and buy a one-way ticket back to Texas.
Although in moments like these it seems like my world is ending, in hindsight I know that one day I’m going to miss this place and the people I am serving with here. So, I am trying to soak it in as much as I can while staying emotionally stable at the same time. I am so grateful for scripture and for people speaking truth into my life as I deal with all of these emotions in a foreign place. We had family time again last night (every Wednesday the American missionaries at Makarios get together for a time of fellowship) and when we read 1 Peter 5:6-11 it instantly spoke to me.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
These words are such a comfort to me as a missionary living in the Dominican Republic. So many times, missionaries hear our supporters, friends, family, fellow believers, and even non-believers say, “I could never do what you are doing.” I think that for me, hearing these words (that were most likely meant as an encouragement) make me feel even more anxious and weary. “Hang on,” I think to myself, “I can’t do what I’m doing either.” And that’s so true. I can’t do this by myself. I need Jesus with me every step of the way.
I have to constantly remember that I am in a really hard time of life right now, and that even if I wasn’t in the Dominican Republic I would still be facing trials wherever I was. Being a recent college graduate is hard. In the blink of an eye our tainted reality of what “adulthood” looks like is shifted and we are finally on our own for real. I don’t live with all of my closest friends anymore or have my sister right down the street to go to when I’m having a hard day. I can’t go to my church every Sunday that I attended all 4 years of college at Baylor. The community and support system I knew for so many years are now thousands of miles away. I packed up 4 suitcases and moved myself to a country where I barely speak the native language and where I’m the “gringa” who stands out like a sore thumb everywhere she goes.
I’ve had really hard days since arriving in the DR over a week ago, and I’ve had really good days too. Living here, it is so evident that the enemy is trying his absolute hardest to make me crack. The only thing that is holding me together is the reminder that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” God never promised us comfortable or easy lives. But he does promise his Grace and to comfort us in times when we think we can’t go on. He will restore us, confirm us, strengthen us and establish us. I’ve seen this over and over again in my life and I know that the life of a Christian (not just missionaries) is a constant cycle of ups and downs. I absolutely love this place with all of my heart, but with that comes the good and the bad. It’s a paradox (thanks MTI) that is going to follow me for the rest of my life, wherever I am… not just in the DR.
I am doing my best to always tell myself these things when I’m having a day like today. I also know that this will be something I won’t just have to do here in the DR, but will also have to continue to remember for the rest of my life. This post is mostly intended to remind me to cast all my anxieties and fears on Him, but I hope that these words will also speak to someone else who reads it and is having a crummy day. Sometimes in difficult times we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I am doing that right now, and it is such a relief to know that I serve a God who is Good and who loves me more than I can even begin to imagine.
Please continue to pray for my time here in the DR. Especially pray that the months I am spending learning Spanish would be fruitful and encouraging, and that I would remember to always look at the bigger picture when I am having another day like today. Please also continue to pray for all of the lives that the Lord is touching through Makarios and that the number of believers in this country would grow exponentially.