Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ready Heart for Day One

a picture of our whole team ready to head off

We were all packed, hoping we remembered to bring everything, and that our one shared suitcase wouldn't go over 50 lbs.  I fell asleep by 9, knowing we set the alarm for 4am the following morning. Brian set two alarms...both of which he somehow turned off in his sleep. Knowing he did the same thing when we went to Korea in the early morning, this time I set one as well (thank goodness!)

I didn't really know what to expect from my first mission trip.  This made me increasingly nervous. What if I wore the wrong thing and offended someone? What if I said something wrong or didn't understand something important?  What if we got sick?  SO many What if's that made my stomach turn at the thought of going early the next morning.

I am so thankful I went with Cailey because it forced me to step up and not show that nervousness (that I knew she shared). I wanted to be strong for her..but Brian and Laura knew I was a wreck inside:).  I don't like the 'unknown' in any situation but knew that I'd probably come back wanting to leave and go we crossed the first hurdle and woke up in time to leave:).

I also beyond thankful that Brian came. I can't imagine going without him...we were able to experience our first mission trip together and process each day together. He was able to see WHY I would say, "So...we are selling everything and moving here?" (Don't plans for that...just a heart full of love for the sweet people we met in the DR)

We met with our team at least four times before the trip but everyone was pretty quiet during the discussions so we didn't really 'know' anyone before going in. Cailey knew Cora, Xander, and Will from Route 56 but not very well. Two of the other families were from the Durham other than being familiar with their faces from the meetings we had barely talked to each other. Good thing I'm a talker:).

 I'm not going to post any of the same pictures that Cailey does. This was her first (that she could remember) plane ride. She was SO VERY excited and made sure everyone around her knew it. We were able to sit together (after some switching) but she was with friends for all the other 'legs'.

 We flew into Miami where there was a 3 hour layover. Perfect for getting to know people better, eating lunch, and playing games!

 Cherie with Cailey, Julia, and Cora

After switching seats so the girls could sit together I ended up sitting next to Dawn. I'm thankful God placed us together because we were able to talk and get to know each other during the two hours. They went on a mission trip to Africa last summer so I was able to hear all about that and their amazing time. She also told me that we would ALL be processing this trip for months to come. For some reason I had it in my head that Cailey would come back 'changed'. Dawn told me that her kids spent months processing and didn't just happen overnight. That REALLY helped put it into perspective for me and made total sense. SO so thankful I was able to sit with her on the way down!

 Cailey was able to sit with both the girls on the flight to the DR. It was only a couple of hours then we went through customs, got luggage (YAY!!) and met up with Miguel, who was our driver for the week.

 The first ride on the bus was pretty comical because it was stuffed FULL of luggage and baseball equipment to donate. We drove to San Pedro de Macoris, where we would be serving during our stay.
 We went to the resort long enough to drop things off then meet back up to go over to the church for dinner. Now...we did stay in a resort but know that this resort is very different than what you would think of in the US. Yes it was great...but had some quirks too:).  Like...

1. of course you can't drink the water but that's the same all over the island
2. the shower water was either scalding or freezing...and would switch back and forth during the whole shower. there was no in between. good times:).
3. very basic bedding...a mattress with a sheet (no mattress cover, etc.) BUT the mattress was super hard which I LOVE...Brian...not so much.
4. there was a pool. it was green. but the kids did swim in it one day...and so far have been ok.
5. you can't flush the toilet paper (true all over the island)

I'm SO very thankful we stayed there on our first mission trip though. It's a great way to ease into it.

 beach pictures
 It was cool the first day so I wore my long sleeve most of the time

 i mean...these TREES!

 We loaded the bus and went over to meet and have dinner with the missionaries who are serving there. We met with Pastor Gary and Allison, Steve and Julia Griffin (and their three sweet children), Miguel and Deomaris, and their children.

I was able to talk with Steve and Julia a lot the first night. They had a huge impact on my outlook of missionaries. Their story of going on a cruise, seeing poverty, then selling everything and fundraising was amazing to me. They are just normal people. They had twin two year olds and a four year old at the time they moved to the DR two years ago. Normal neat.

We were graciously served a hot lunch and dinner everyday, prepared by sweet ladies who cooked in the heat (of course there was no air conditioning) for us.
 Cailey is amazing with younger children and was already loving on Julia's girls the first night. All the kids had huge smiles on their faces (both ours and the ones who lived there). It was neat to see how a smile works in any language and helps bring people together. Such a blessing and gift from God!

 After dinner and lots of talking we went back to the resort for a bible study and team meeting

 more beach pics

We gave our first impressions that night and everyone started to really open up. I loved hearing from everyone..we all had such different thoughts about it. Some of our team had been on mission trips before so they had different perspectives.

this was how we got drinking water in our room.

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