Just tonight, I wrote an update regarding my recent trip to the Dominican Republic for the Oak Glen church "paper". And so I thought since the work of writing it out was done, I would include it here as well, for your interest.
As many of you know, this past January I went to the Dominican Republic for about a week-long trip. The purpose of the trip was to help build a medical clinic in Hato Nuevo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (If you have a very good memory, you might remember an article in the Christian Renewal about this very clinic a while back.) The two-story clinic is the project of Ministries In Action (MIA) and Dr. Silvia Martinez, the local representative of the Luke Society. It will replace Dr. Silvia's current clinic in Santo Domingo, which is very crowded and badly in need of more room.
Our group was 19 strong, 18 of whom came the Edmonton Orthodox Reformed Church (a URC). When I was in Edmonton this past summer for an internship, they kindly invited me to come along with them on this trip. We were quite the crowd of people all told! The local kids would always shout out upon seeing us, "¡Gringos, gringos!" To which we would reply, being Canadians, "No, ¡canadienses, canadienses!" :) But we were there to work, and work we did. Our main job was to paint, and so we were very thankful to have a professional painter along to direct us.
On one of the days, we made a trip to one of the bateys. (The bateys are some of the poorest sections in the Dominican Republic.) There, after a small VBS program, some of the girls who were nurses helped Dr. Silvia in an impromptu clinic while the rest of us were busily occupied playing games with the kids.
By night we were invited to come to different churches in the area. I had originally been told that I would be asked to preach once, but as I soon found out, I would have to preach five times in four different churches! I was quite nervous about preaching in Spanish and also was quite worried that any grand ideas they had of a Canadian preacher would soon prove to be reversed. But I found the congregations were very encouraging and appreciative. It was a very different experience, but I am so thankful for their warm welcomes given to our group.
Other highlights from the trip included late-night 5-inch spider-killing, as well as forming a mid-night fire brigade. (Ask me if you want to hear the story.)
All in all, it was a busy, tiring, yet very encouraging trip. What was most special to me was the bond we shared with the D.R. Christians - the bond of being Christians joined together by the body and blood of Christ.