Friday, March 27, 2009

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

Day 2: Puerto Plata. As the sun rose over the Dominican shoreline, the senior class awoke to the "harmonious" sound of Mrs. Bonorandi's singing, Japanese alarm clock...and her singing. We all traveled--in what is actually a mini bus, contrary to my previous blog--through the city on the way to our first ministry destination: Metro West Caribbean Mission's primary school. We traveled throughout the city, witnessing scenes of Puerto Plata unkonwn to the tourists who flock here each day. Poverty, stray dogs, and roads worn by countless motorbikes make up a majority of the inner parts of this Caribbean city.
We arrived at the school where we held a chapel service for the 3rd through 6th grade students. A few of us led them in song, Jennie shared her testimony (with Mike translating), and Mike preached to them as well. Following the chapel, we held a "kid's fair" for the children, playing baseball, jump rope, and soccer. A few of us also made crafts for the kids while others made balloon animals that the children enjoyed playing with. We struggled at first to recall as much Spanish as we could to communicate with the children, but finally, Spanish class paid off and many of us were able to talk to the students and enjoy their company.

After lunch, we boarded the bus bound for Mustard Seed Orphanage for disabled children. An uneasiness could be felt in the air as we filed through the rooms of young children, many of whom are unable to move on their own or even feed themselves. It was far beyond what many of us expected. However, it warmed my heart to see that in only a matter of moments, so many of us surrounded these children with love and compassion. Though these children may not have been able to understand the words that were spoken or the purpose of our visit, they certainly could understand the love of a caring embrace--and that is what we set out to do. Some of us organized the clothing and hygiene products for the orphanage, while others gave massages and manicures to the women who work at Mustard Seed. Still, others played with the children and fed them their lunch. There are not words that can describe the feeling of holding a baby with cerebral palsy or simply being there to hug a child who is deaf, blind, and mute. God clearly moved in the hearts of many of us, and He led us to reach out to those children in need.

Following our visit at Mustard Seed, we had the opportunity of heading back to repeat the morning's activities with kindergarten through 2nd grade children. In addition, we got to exchange our American money for Dominican currency as well as visit a local "supermercado" (a Dominican equivalent of a Super Target).

Tonight, we gathered for dinner, and had a time of devotion and sharing led by Jennie and Jessica. As most of us now prepare for bed, we look forward to the exciting day that lies ahead of us. Tomorrow we will be trekking through waterfalls outside of Puerto Plata, which is sure to be a blast. God is already working in amazing ways, and we are eagerly waiting, with the faith of a mustard seed, to see how He will bring this class both further and closer--as paradoxical as it may seem. Everyone here sends their love and regards back home! Ben, we miss you and we're continuing to pray for you. Feel better! Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. God bless, and good night from Puerto Plata.

Posted by: Steven Gallo