Friday, July 31, 2009

fearfully and wonderfully made

i have been welcomed HOME by such an amazing family and beautiful friends! its good to be past 3 days at home have been jam packed with seeing friends, being up north, family, and weddings...all very fun, but as a result, i have not had a moment to breathe or reflect on the heartache of leaving behind the people on the beautiful island of the dominican republic. maybe this is a good thing? i tend to think not though. i am doing my best to remember and ACT ON all that the Lord taught and showed me while there. i think one of the greatest reminders that God let me see was that "to who much has been given, much is expected." i have never found that to be more true for my life. i have been GIVEN SO MUCH. this truth and unending blessing of God's grace and goodness has equipped me to devote my life to bettering our eternal Home, His kingdom. i am not sure of the form to which this will take on, but i know that the Lord has it perfectly planned out for me...and hopefully my future husband and family...but it starts now, even before all that. i trust that He will lead me...He always does. I need only to be willing...

my time in the DR was a blessing unlike any other. through any and all of the hurt and hardship that i experienced the Lord was at work- BIG TIME. He knew exactly how to grab hold of my heart best...He allowed me to be vulnerable with those around me...creating an unbreakable and unique bond that can only be cultivated by the Hand of God. each day brought upon new obstacles that resulted in the greatest blessings and gifts, from above. this was truly an "adventure with God" as one my best friends put it before leaving for this trip...and the day before i flew home, one of my new and dear sisters in Christ turned to me and said, "Corinne, this summer was another part of your love story with God." i could not have said it any better myself. her words and the realization of that truth created an overwhelming sense of gratitude to and for my greatest Love. because of this Love, i so desire for the Lord to fully use the life He has given me, for His glory alone.

so thank you all for your many prayers and daily encouragement. being away let me see HOW loved i am...i have been surrounded by such beautiful people...who consistently teach me how to better live and love in the Lord.

Friday, July 17, 2009

little good byes


so i believe this will be my last post, here in the DR! i am staying away from the internet and anything that can distract me from my last week i just wanted to say a little hello and let you all know how great these last few weeks have been! you know im excited to come home, but im also very sad to be leaving here. the Lord has blessed me so much through the relationships that ive made here. the kids are beautiful in every way...its going to be hard to say good bye.

you all are in my thoughts and prayers still! i am so thankful for my time here and cant wait to share more with you, when im home! thank you for all of your support...even up until these last few days!

a little update for you on what ill be doing here this next week...
today we're going to a waterfall with some of the kids from the really excited for this, because ive heard its beautiful! and tomorrow, some of the other interns from Jarabacoa are driving up here to hike another mountain with us for the day! i CANNOT WAIT to show you all pictures! then, this next week we'll be doing the usual classes and activities during the day...however this week is super crazy...getting ready to say good bye and such. on tuesday, my roommates and i are having a bunch of the teachers over for dessert and games to say thank you and just enjoy more time together! Friday night we have a little good bye party with all the kids and then saturday or sunday all of us interns will be heading to the beach until Tuesday, when we leave! i cant believe it!!! i also want to note, that last night, we had a little princess party with all the girls here at the Ark. we had so much fun together just being CHICAS!

anyways all, i love you very much! im sorry that this seems a little vague and distant. its just super hard for me now to try to organize my thoughts, because im not quite to the point where i can reflect on everything ive learned here...theres been SO much! thank you again for all the love and prayers. God is soo good and has allowed me to know and feel His sovereign and Divine hand in everything that has happened here...around me and within.

all my love and gratitude.
just in case youre wondering, ill be landing in Miami around 4 30 on Tuesday (the 28th) and getting back to Detroit around 11 30 pm. SEE YOU SOON :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

broken cars and broken hearts

hello to all! i am so sorry this has taken me to long to write a new blog...its been almost a week! i feel like i have so much to write about, so i hope i get it all thoughts are pretty jumbled right now...especially im writing from one of the Ark houses, so theres kids all around :)

as some may know, this past weekend, i was able to visit Julio- the little boy that my family sponsers. i was not expecting my visit to impact me the way it did. one of my good friends, Ashley, went with me to Santo Domingo, where we met up with our guide, who then drove us to Julio...his town was about 40 minutes away. the poverty was overwhelming in the town that Julio lives. his family literally has nothing, yet the joy of the Lord carries them through. side note: the people here struggle and suffer here in ways i have never experienced but their faith and trust in God is unbelievably convicting and inspiring. i learn from them everyday...they always have a smile on their face, and somehow, their giving of Love is never ending. so we stood in Julio's one room house and tried to talk for a while...he was very quiet and shy, rightly so. i had bought him a few gifts before our visit so i gave them to him pretty soon so that maybe he would open helped a little. he seemed very grateful but i also know that receiving a gift is very foreign for him. he told me he wants to be a pro baseball player when hes older...apparently hes already very good...when playing with the other neighborhood boys. about half way through i asked if Julio would like to go with me to the nearest Colmodo (mini grocery store), so that i could buy him a coke and candy. our guide from Compassion, said that he doesnt usually allow this, but in this case, it was necessary and a very good idea! so we got a few Cokes and candies, but the Lord wanted me to buy more for them...i seriously dont even remember how it happened, but before i knew it,we had bags of groceries in our hands for his family that could last a couple of weeks (hopefully)! it was amazing to give to them in that way. i honestly dont know if they even had enough food in their house for that day. it is such a blessing to give. i think this was my first time here, that i was able to do something like this for someone. so once we got back to the house it was about time to we prayed together and all of the sudden during prayer, i was overwhelmed with how little they had...not just them, but so many people here, and other places in the world. i was holding back tears enough to say good bye, but as soon as i got in the car, i lost it. my friend Ashley knew exactly what was coming and just held me in her arms while i gained composure and began to think about all i have been given, what others have not been given....such conviction, gratitude, and overwhelming hurt- all at once. pretty much the rest of my day was spent holding back tears and going over what God desires of me, in terms of missions and case youre wondering, i still dont know...i am hoping to have clarity by the end of this trip. so saturday was very exhausting and eye opening. i want to thank my parents though for all that they give to Julio. they provide a way for him to go to school, be in a safe environment, and eat two hot meals a day. it is also so comforting for Julio to know that he has a family praying and caring for him...even though miles away. i got to see the difference you make in his life...i hope you know the blessings you are to Julio, Mom and Dad...and of course, to me and so many others...thank you!

while all of this is pretty heavy, but necessary to witness the truth of what this world holds, i had an amazing time Saturday night, celebrating the 4th of July!!! we went over to one of the American missionaries' houses with many other americanos and we enjoyed burgers, potato salad, fruit salad, the works! it was so fun and such a nice time to relax and celebrate. however, the drive over to the house was not so...i was asked to drive a van of us kids over to the house...i felt very honored and thrilled to drive in the dominican republic...the driving here is CRAZZAYYY!!! haha. so yes, the sight of me driving this jeep with kids was a sight for some and i made it even better, because the car broke when i was driving it! its totally fine, apparently it was on its way out and i was just the person to "finish the job." i felt so bad though. i should clarify, the car was still driveable, it just shook uncontrollably, when in Drive- it felt like sitting in a massage chair, but not relaxing at all! so thats just a funny story for you of my driving experience, here in the DR.

this week has been really good! we have a team here from Mississippi...they are wonderful! i love southerners and i definitely want to live there someday :) its a blessing to work along side them! also, i should note that my Spanish is improving so much! i didnt even realize it until some of my friends were commenting on how well i understand and speak...ive even been translating some...very cool and an answer to prayer! keep praying please. i apologize for the lack of organization of writing this blog, but theres a lot going on around me and this week has been pretty busy. oh, i have met another amazing young woman from the DR. her name is Josephine and we met so randomly, but she is my age, spunky, God-loving, strong, and so beautiful- inside and out! she doesnt know English and i barely know Spanish, but our relationship is so special and we ussually sit down for a half hour or so everyday just talking (as much as we can communicate) getting to know one another...its been amazing...and its so cool how God can bring people together, despite the language barrier. i will miss her...

well, i think that about does it for this blog. this Saturday, we are heading to Santo Domingo (again) where we will meet up with all the other interns to hang out and tour the city! we're looking forward to it, but also we have been so busy here...we've had no down time! and tonight, we are going to dinner at one of the teacher's houses...some mo good food :) i still wake up missing everyone, everyday, and i am so excited to come home in a couple of weeks!!! but God is using this time to shape me in ways i couldnt have even imagined.

i love you all with all my heart.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

i got a manicure...dominican style!

hello again! i dont have much more to report, but i wanted to note that i got a MANICURE in the dominican republic...ha!!! it was quite the experience. one of the teachers that we work with, ada, asked my friend jenn and i if we would like to get our nails done with her, and of course, we said YES! it was such a treat and we felt so blessed. so, after school yesterday, we walked over with ada, through the barrios, and arrived at someones house...thats pretty much how they roll here...salons and homes are the same thing! the girls were very nice and soaked our hands in a bucket full of soapy water before painting on our wild designs! here comes the awesome part...manicures are not simple or plain here, like they usually are in the states. it is a must that you get some sort of hand painted design on top of your already bright nail i have magenta pink nails with white and yellow flowers on each nail...pretty snazzy! when we got to school this morning, all of the little girls noticed our nails right away...its a pretty big deal, and we feel very privelaged! another fun fact for you, we have mice in our house!!! so we have set up glue traps everywhere and in the past 3 days we have caught 4 mice...its actually the saddest most inhumane way to catch a mouse, i think. once the mouse is caught in the glue it spends the rest of its life trying to break free which only results in the mouse becoming more stuck to the trap, so what we do, actually, my brave roommate alli, drowns the mice in water as soon as we catch them so they have a less traumatic death. i know, very sad!

this week went really well...i got to spend a lot more time with the kids and just hang out with them in the afternoons! and this saturday, i am going to santo domingo to visit julio and then off to jarabacoa for a 4th of july party with some americanas! we are all looking forward to this so much! sorry this blog is pretty short with not a lot of substance to it, but i will write more in a few days...after this eventful weekend! i love you all so so much and thank you always for your prayers and encouragment...i still need them!

Monday, June 29, 2009

MT. MOGOTE...claimed it!

wow! i have never felt so blessed...all of your comments and prayers mean so much! you all give me so much more love to give!!! the Lord is GOOD. i would love to start out by saying that this past weekend, i hiked Mt. Mogote, yes the second hightest mountain in the DR!!! it was nuts, but so so beautiful! i have never witnessed anything like it. the summit was 5,000 feet...which means i hiked 10,000 feet total...i think?! any pro hikers out there who would know what this means? people were saying that we summitted a 5,000 ft you all can do the math! anyways, we started out at 6 45 in the morning and drove a couple hours to our destination we hiked all day and got back to the base of the mountain around 4. i cannot wait to show you all the pictures...glorious! one of my favorite memories was when we had hiked about half way up the mountain and we came to this huge clearing...where you could see for miles...just more mountains. everything was lush and green...of course, we broke out into song singing, THE HILLS ARE ALIVE...with the sound of was so funny and i will never forget it...even the grown men with us were serenating our surroundings! haha. Dad, this really made me think of you! you would have been the instigator (sp)!!! as for Sunday, it was much more relaxing. after church, we did our routine grocery run and then headed home for lunch. we had planned on going to a friends house to do laundry but it didnt work out so we washed EVERYTHING in the kitchen sink...3 loads and 7 laundry lines later...our apartment is currently lined with hanging laundry! it is the funniest sight...dont worry, we have pictures of this too! and last night, we had a huge thunderstorm, which i loved! so it was a wonderful weekend!

today, was also amazing!!! i cannot believe how much better i am feeling...and truly able to rest in the Lords care and grace here. it is an answer to so many prayers...and i thank you all for your constant support. this morning, i read a book to the kids, in SPANISH!! that was a huge feat, and hopefully i will continue to do this daily with them. i so enjoyed my time with all the kids today...this afternoon, we baked a cake, dominican style! they really know how to cook here...i am hoping to bring some recipes back to the states, but no guarantees.

currently, our water is back on, but you seriously just never maybe keep our running water in your prayers! also, this weekend i am trying to make it to Santo Domingo (the capital) to visit the child that my family sponsers. please pray that this can it is the only time i have available to do this. it would be another awesome adventure and such a gift for Julio. if i go, my friend Ashley will be going with me and we will be finding our way via public transportation, so it will be super interesting!

i am still missing the comforts of home and being surrounded by you all, but God is fully allowing me to let that longing go and cling to the people and beauty here. this is happening only by His power and i am so thankful. i am finding that the DR is an easy place to fall inlove with...everyone walks everywhere (very healthy), the food is delicious, the people are so friendly and serving, it is surrounded by Gods handiwork...and He is clearly working in so many lives here...i am privelaged to be with the people here who practice and live with the Lord as their first and greatest love. also, they make coffee here at 3 in the afternoon...Mom, you would love this...i sure do!

i love you all so much and praise God that He has given me such a divine and treasured circle of support...i am truly held by your prayers and the Lords sweet sweet love...we all are.

Friday, June 26, 2009

for the love of lunch ladies

so here´s a little bit of info for you of my life in the DR. i just spent about a half hour writing a new post for this blog when the city lost power. it happens everyday, numerous times...most of the time you never know when its gonna anyways, i will try to recap what i wanted to share...

so as some of you know, yesterday was extrememly hard for me. the Lord usually has His ways of letting me shake the overwhelming feelings of discouragement that can consume my thoughts, but yesterday i couldnt seem to break away. it was lunch time and i wasnt feeling any my amazing friend, Jennifer, and i started talking about why i seem to still battle with being homesick and so almost 21 for crying out loud. as we read the story of the Israelites wandering through the desert for 40 years, found in Deut., God began to break through...He let them suffer but it was purely for their good and benefit. this form of discipline is not out of wrath by any means but out of the great and immense love that the Father has for us. He knows that what He has for us is so much greater than anything else this world can offer. i have easily lost sight of that, especially on this trip. the devil has made it seem as though going home is the only way to remedy my despaired feelings, when in reality God has me here, and He is the only one who can satisfy my longing for peace and contentment. this time of intense humility in the Lord has been harsh but also one of the most beautiful understandings i have ever had with our Creator...and i cant tell you enough how much it means to me to know and feel your prayers and love...i have been blessed with so many guardian angels.

in addition to this, last night we ate dinner with the team who is here for the week. i sat next to a woman whom i had never met before, but i know that God placed us together...she is a woman of resilience and unending joy and faith in the Lord. she has been through many obstacles in her life, but she endured on...letting the glory and love of God flow through it all. she didnt even know the extent to which i had been hurting yesterday when she gently placed her hand on my shoulder and said do not give up. her words were straight from the heart of God...and she was yet, another angel.

i am surrounded by this type of kindness and sevanthood everywhere in the DR. this culture is so others focused...constantly serving one another. i especially cherish the lovely women who prepare our lunch everyday. their smiles seriously light up the room. they hold the joy and love of Christ within them. it is pure Beauty. they give such generous everyone. and it is so amazing because despite our language barrier, the Lord has bound us together in His likeness.

on the lighter side, today was spent preparing the curriculum for next week. it was super chill and fun to put together next weeks activities. and tonight, us ladies have bible study. we are going to this small little bakery, which we have all been waiting to go smells SO GOOD. and tomorrow, we venture on our first hike up into las montanas. we are all so excited...i cant even imagine how beautiful its going to be...i really wish there was a way that i could upload pictures here for you all to see, but since im only using public computers i dont think its an option. so i cant wait to reveal some of the beauty of this place with you, when im home.

and Mom, a little special thanks to you for those Bible verses this and Dad are such wonderful parents...people keep telling me that its a blessing to be this homesick, because that just means that the roots of our beautiful family are forever entwined...i would never have it any other way. i love you each so much.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

mom, eat chocolate!

okay, i realized i have kind of done a poor job of writing out what my day looks like, so i am going to try! also, Mom, i have eaten some chocolate, so please allow yourself something delicious! it was actually really cool, because we have had no running water for the past 6 days...dont ask how were managing, but please pray that it will come back soon! anyways, on sunday night, us girls were eating dinner and we were sitting there just wishing for some chocolate. no joke, as soon as i said that we heard a knock on the was some friends bringing us brownies and buckets of water...2 for 2! God has even been looking out for my chocolate cravings!!!

as for our days here, i am woken up by roosters every morning at 5 a.m. sometimes i fall back asleep but usually i just lay there until about 6 30 and i finally get up and make some coffee, which is made in the coolest way! i will be bringing that back to the states! we usually just take it slow, get dressed, read a little, talk and then head to the Ark for devotions with the other teachers and then at 9 a.m. class starts, for everyone! i am with the little kids until about 11 30 but today 2 of them feel asleep at 11...very cute! after that, we eat lunch...sometimes i eat with the dominican families and sometimes i eat with the other kids from the surrounding villages. at about 1 we resume class for an hour and i help with the older kids. we are done around 2 and then, we have planned activities-sports to play with the kids. also, i am helping to tutor some of the kids here in the afternoons...they are helping me too, with my espanol! that has been very fun!!! at around 4 or 5 we try to make a trip into town to hit up the internet cafes and get our American kick for the day! we walk everywhere, and it has been very fun exploring this area. the mountains surround the city on every is SO beautiful! around 6 30 we head back to our apartment and make dinner for ourselves and usually sit around talk for quite a while. doing the dishes has been fun, especially with no running water...we have to wash everything by hand with soap and then let the clean dishes soak in Clorox water for 20 min so that all of the bacteria from the water is killed. i actually really enjoy doing the dishes, so this has been nice. we end up in bed around 10 or so and read or talk until we fall asleep. however, last night we attempted to do our own laundry for the first time, so we filled the sink and hand washed our clothes, and then hung them on chairs or string to dry. we dont know how often we will be doing is quite the process, but this is how people live.

the days are very peaceful here. dominican time is much different from the US. no one is in a hurry and everyone seems to just enjoy the moment they are in. its very laid back and friendly! almost every weekend is filled up with hiking or visiting the other interns in jarabacoa. we made some good friendships before we all dispersed so we are doing our best to keep in touch with one another!

i also want to share that this morning, i was feeling a little discouraged with my lack of spanish and i was praying that God show me His reasons for why i am is easy to feel as though i am not needed, but i know that is a lie. so, today we were playing the kids and one of my friends, Veronica, who is 14 came up and gave me a bracelet that she had made for made me cry. she is the sweetest girl and her kindness was all i needed to be reminded of the Lords sweet love.

i am reading a book called The Only Road North by Erik Mirandette and there is quote that i wanted to post, because it depicts a lot of how i am feeling and what i am experiencing here...
It is only when we are pushed past our self perceived limits that we are able to clearly see our truest nature, discover our deepest selves, only then can we hope to improve upon what we find. To do so is neither safe nor comfortable, it is both dangerous and scary but we warriors were meant to live in this way.

i know, im not really a warrior, but i am being stretched...building so much character and heavenly understanding.

i love you very much family!