Derek arrived about 30 min before we arrived at el aeropuerto (the airport) to meet him. We could easily tell him apart from everyone else standing around. It is nice to have someone else with us. After getting a coffee, (which was quite difficult and the smallest coffee for $5 I've ever gotten) Derek and I ventured out of the airport while Holly and Vicky stayed and had a snack. Adopting the Dominican habit of "freeway jumping", we took our chances and darted across the road and walked along the cliffs dropping off to the ocean.
The weather is absolutely ideal and the water is a crystal clear turquoise. Derek threw in a rock and we realized that we were looking down to the bottom about 30 ft below. We scaled along for a bit hunting for an area of the cliff where we might be able to get out if we had "accidentally" fallen in. Not gonna lie... we both were seriously contemplating diving in. Alas, we couldn't find any good foothold that wouldn't smash us against the rocks and the rocks here are a mix of sedimentary rocks and coral. It almost looks like the Pumice kind of volcanic rock. (i.e. Not fun to crash up against.) That's kind of how the whole landscape is with scraggly plant growth and coarse brown grass growing between the rocks and garbage all over the ground.
In a few minutes Travis, Amber, and Caitlin will arrive and the translator will be here to pick us up for our 4 hour bus ride to Casa Bethesda in Barahona. Apparently we will be getting a roadside chicken dinner 2 hours in.... yummy? I'm hoping to make an addendum to this tonight when we arrive at the Casa. Peace to you all!
This is it. This is what I've been waiting for! Maybe I'm getting my excitment get the best of me, but at this point I don't care. I've wanted to travel to a country for a mission trip for years but never thought it was possible. Travis asked the question tonight, "Did any of you think that by volunteering for a youth sports camp, you'd end up in the Dominican within a year?" Thinking of it that way is pretty incredible. Holly, Travis, Caitlin and I all met at the Flood Fripple Games. I'm going to venture to guess that none of us thought we'd end up here, but are very happy that it did.
I am amazed at the ways God works in our lives completely undetected. Excuse me for the reference, but I think it's so true: there was a Futurama episode where one of the characters meets God in the form of a star cluster. One of God's quotes was "When you do something right, people aren't sure that you've done anything at all." Or something to that effect. How often are we completely taken off guard by the way things come together and we see the happenings and choices in our lives have all worked together to get us to something incredible? You can call it chance if you want or luck or irony, but I call it God.
Soon after Amber, Caitlin, and Travis arrived we had an unexpected guest show up. Ben from COTN's I Love Baseball program approached the group. None of us knew that he was even going to be here and apparently he didn't know that we were going to be here either. He has become a welcome addition to the group. He really helps to balance out the male to female ratio. And I've already had several rewarding conversations with him. He will be out doing ILB work, but we will see him for meals and each evening since he is lodging at Casa Bethesda too.
The bus ride here was everything I was expecting and more. We loaded up on an old school bus that had NINOS DE LAS NACIONES on the side and were on our way. It didn't feel like 4 hours at all. Lots of good conversation. We did stop to have that chicken and it wasn't bad at all. Same as any American fast food place. We were welcomed into Casa Bathesda with open arms, hugs, smiles and all. We got set up in our rooms and then all came back to the main building for devotions. Tonight was my night to lead. Holly had me pray at the end because I am working on steping out of my comfort zone and spoken prayer has always been a struggle for me. Surprisingly I did well.
After the devotions most of the new arrivals went to bed and I staid up to blog and as I waiting my turn on the lab top I had another good chat with Ben and finished out the night talking with both Ben and Derek. Now I'm off to take a cool shower (there is no hot water here) and get some sleep. Coffee at 7am and breakfast at 8pm. Coffee and morning quiet time sounds wonderful!
Tomorrow we tour the bateyes.