Hola Everyone! I am in Jarabacoa, DR and I will be heading to my final destination of Constanza tomorrow night! My trip so far has been very trying, humbling, and beautiful. I have never felt so in need and yet, God always has His ways of showing me that He's here with me and holding me through these times when I feel alone and incapable of this work. These past couple of days have been especially hard, because I am not at my official site (Constanza) yet. My time in Jarabacoa has kind of been a waiting process, but I now know that the Lord wanted me here a few extra days so that i could experience even more of His love and Divine presence. For the last couple of nights i have been staying at the home of some AMAZING people. They have been missionaries in the DR for 7 years now, and they have the heart of Christ living within them. They are constantly selfless and giving of their time. They live their lives to serve one purpose- loving these kids who God has led them to rescue from the streets and heart-breaking living situations. These children, who they have loved and nurtured in the orphanage here come to know God through their love and endless willing spirits. It is eye-opening to witness and often overwhelming, but it is SO AMAZING!
This upcoming Monday we will be starting our first day of the summer program for the kids living in all of the orphanages and surrounding villages. We have spent the last two days organizing and preparing our curriculum, which consists of Bible stories, Math, Science, and Reading. We will not be assessing the children because this is not school, but it's being implemented to keep them busy (and out of trouble) as well as to bring more opportunities to love them. I will basically be spending almost every hour of my life here (come Monday) with these precious children...as well as the host families and missionaries here!
On a lighter note, today i experienced my first Dominican meal. Their culture eats lunch as their biggest meal, and i was invited over to a Domincan family's house (by myself) for the first time. It is also assumed that the guest is given the biggest portion and is expected to eat it all. Due to the heat and my aprehension of being out of my comfort zone I tried so hard to finish my meal. The family was so gracious and generous to me. It was a bit overwhelming, but i am experiencing love in such amazing ways here! Also, you would probably all enjoy hearing that the people here call me "Cori" wich a rolling "r." This is funny because for the past two years i have tried my hardest to lose that nickname and as soon as i get here all of the kids ask if they can call me "Cori" because is makes more sense in the Spanish language. Go figure!
Thank you everyone for all of your many prayers and thoughtful bits of encouragement. I am so comforted when i think about and realize HOW blessed i am to have you all waiting for me at home. I miss you dearly, and i'm praying for often!
I LOVE YOU,