Sorry for not blogging in a while, but I have been keeping very busy, in both good ways and bad. So I took a little trip to the Emergency Room two Thursdays ago. I love mangoes, but apparently the feeling is not mutual. I had an allergic reaction. Fortunately, the hospital is only a 5 minute walk from my house so I walked myself to the hospital, where I was told there were people who spoke English…this was not the case. So here I am all swollen, red-burning face, speaking no Spanish (partly because I don’t know the language and partly because I can barely move my lips) Praise be to God, he sent me an angel! Someone who came to the hospital to visit family saw that I was in need of help and came over and translated between the doctor and I. That was truly a miracle. Then I was brought to a bed/cot thing where I sat and waited for the two shots that I needed to get. One in my arm and one in my butt – there is a first time for everything. Dominicans are on Island time. They have a very relaxed attitude and are rarely on time or in a hurry to do anything, which I think is great. Except when you are in the ER, haha. So I was sitting there for a while. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. So I took out my rosary and started praying, partly because I felt scared and alone and frustrated so I needed some motherly love, and partly because I thought, “maybe someone here needs to see prayer.” Eventually the nurse came and I got the shots and went back to my house and rested for the next couple of days.
The rest of the past few weeks have had their ups and downs. I’ve been getting frustrated in my classes because learning a new language is quite difficult. I also had a cold for a couple of days. But I did get to visit some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen in my life, went out to jazz concerts and Hispanic dance clubs, and I’ve gotten to spent time with a lot of awesome people.
But what I really feel called to share in this blog is about obedience to God.
I came to the Dominican Republic for a lot of reasons. I love visiting places I have never been, and meeting new people, experiencing new culture, trying new foods, and I have a special place in my heart for Spanish and the culture surrounding it it. But the most import reason I came was to give this new place of beauty, the beauty that has been given to me through God. I felt like I hadn’t been doing enough. I felt like I was being bad because I told people I was coming here for mission work and felt like I had been doing so little in that area. Sure, I gave to almost everyone I passed and I prayed for people a lot. But that wasn’t good enough, how could I do more?
Step One: Seek God in everything you do. It’s necessary to have a constant Christian mindset. This is a rather tough thing, I think. Often it involves doing things that push you outside your comfort zone. So one night I opened up my Bible, asking God how I could help more people; how I could make a bigger impact…this is what he showed me.
Philippines 6. God is good, it is for his glory, it is for him, not you. You do not need to prove to him or yourself or anyone how much you can do. Maybe we just need to “do small things with great love” (Mother Teresa). That way all the glory is going to God and not to ourselves. If everyone lived that way the world would be changed. Philippians 12-14. Paul wasn’t out teaching children or feeding the homeless or saving women from being trafficked – he was in jail. But even in this, a situation where he had very little opportunity to do anything , he was inspiring so many people to proclaim the word of God.
So with this gentle reminder from God, I had a new prospective on what my mission was for the past couple of weeks. For the past couple of weeks my ministry has been with those around me. My classmates at school, most of whom have no religious affiliation, and also sharing my faith with my teachers and my host family. I have found that it is usually most effective to live out the word of God and proclaim the Gospel through your actions rather than preaching the gospel itself. Then once people become a little more familiar with God, they will want to get to know him more themselves, and the you can go deeper and share scripture and doctrine and things like that. That is just my opinion.
God is constantly having to remind me to be present where I am. I so quickly lose interest or feel the need to go somewhere else or be doing more. I love thinking big and planning big. But most of the time God is just calling us to be present to the moment we are in. To help the people around us. To be aware of all the little ways to invite God into our lives. Mission work isn’t about going to a foreign place and helping people less fortunate. Your mission field is literally everywhere you go, everyday. You are called to minister to EVERY person you meet. The clerk at the check out, the women waiting in line in front of you, your next-door neighbor, that person who annoys you at school or work. We are called to minister and to be an example of Christ to everyone. So my challenge for you this time is to change your perspective of your daily routine and invite Christ into it. Just keep an open mind and an open heart and God will always find his way in.
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