With a heavy heart I write this 😦
The Dominican Republic- Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and nice resorts… But that’s not where you’ll find me.
Where can you find me? Places where kids’ stories start like this.
…A rigid body abandoned in a shack, the child was barely alive and covered in bugs.
…I can’t bring my three daughters to the event tonight because well, they haven’t eaten in a day. I can’t ask them to sit through a program on hungry bellies.
…Anna my cousin just fell off the second story of our house and onto the street. She is in a lot of pain; will you go and check on her?
In my old tennies, my hat and the infamous lime green t-shirt (You’re all thinking it…Does she own any other clothes?? Haha) walking down the coral, that’s where you’ll find me. The places where I should feel most uncomfortable, that’s where I find my home. It is time to go home, but I feel as if I am leaving a family behind and I am already looking for opportunities to pay my next visit.
So if you can’t understand why I am wired the way I am, why gratitude is my favorite word in the dictionary, why I have chosen to live my life differently…let me tell you where I left a piece of my heart.
It’s a place where disabled children live. Literally the dumping grounds of children, I witnessed it with my own eyes. It is a place where a mother left her own child with nothing more than a napkin that said her name. It’s a place where together, kids can celebrate their differences and bond in their loneliness. She can color with her mouth because her hands don’t work. He can bounce up and down on his bed to express his excitement because he can’t talk. He can shake back and forth to show us he’s alive because he is blind, deaf and unable to walk. Some people feel scared, some people feel uncomfortable, some people feel guilty; but for me, I feel God’s presence. I know that these kids may have been left by their own family, but that doesn’t mean they are alone. God has a very special place in His heart for the orphans.
You’ll find me where the road ends and the hungriest kids live. A place where if you just got a pedicure I can guarantee you will need a touch up. You’ll find me walking in the hottest tropical sun just to pay a child a visit. A place where if you bring a delicacy such as chocolate, you WILL get trampled to the ground by 100’s of kids. You’ll find me worshipping God alongside the Haitians as were all dripping sweat in a 3 hour church service. It’s where kids who have nothing find it fun to walk miles with you to see you surprise a kid in the community. Some might think it’s too hard to be near that type of poverty, some see the dangers and question their safety; but for me, I feel God’s grace. I see kids who literally according to science should not be alive. But every week, they’re there to greet me. God has a place for the poor in His heart. He doesn’t forget them.
You’ll find me in the Dominican hood. Showing off my Dominican tigeraje and “flow”. It’s the place where danger prevails and you know which streets and corners not to go near. You’ll find me upstairs with Felix. A man who was hit and his car slammed into a brick wall. Literally, Felix should not be alive. But he is, and he is the most peaceful man living among the chaos. It’s a place where everyone will do just about anything to earn a peso. A place where girls start their lives way too early and boys become fathers to kids all over. Some think, it is way too dangerous, it’s a type of people I prefer not to associate with, it’s dirty and scary. Not me, it is the place where I see what faith is. I meet people who don’t just pray to say sweet things. No, they pray boldly and they believe in God that if it is His will, He can do anything. It is a place where you walk into a home for the first time and so quickly the conversation turns to Jesus. God has a place for those who love him in his heart.
And if you can’t find me in any of these places, then check my bed. I probably worked myself to the bone or caught yet another Dominican virus, or just really needed some beauty sleep. Turning 25 wasn’t easy. Haha God has a special place for Anna in his heart.
So even though it is almost time to go home, some of my heart will still be here, whether it’s physically or in spirit. Now you’ll always know where to find me.
So get off the beaten path, find your place. You just might learn a thing or two 😉