What a great day of celebration...and sadness. We celebrated the completion of the 7 houses. They're beautiful, and to think that they were each built by unskilled and inexperienced laborers. Each dedication was special and tears were shed for our new Dominican friends, and the need to say goodbye.
On build team 6, the new homeowner shared that his father passed away one month ago today. In tears, he shared how his father would be proud to see that he now has a home of his own for his family. We matched those tears with our own as we asked for God's blessing on his family and their new home.
Each of the other project teams also made special connections with the Domincans. The women leading Princesas connected with girls and their mothers, as our sports camp leaders did the same with young athletes.
Those who served in the clinics helped many impoverished people get the care they needed, while building special relationships with their translators and local medical staff.
And, while our team made an incredible impact, the lives of our team members were impacted as well. Michele Wilson on our medical team gives us this great learning from her week of ministry:
Working in the dental clinic, I can't help but draw some similarities between my personal journey with Christ and our work here in the Dominican. When a patient arrives, we begin by diagnosing them and, if they need, we will extract any teeth that are rotten and giving them pain. Most patients are scared. Some cry out or refuse to let us pull the bad tooth. Eventually most let us pull the tooth, but not after a little bit of apprehension. After the tooth is out, without avail, each patient is incredibly grateful to be out of pain. Although they were afraid, they realize now that this was the right decision.
I feel like this is an accurate description of my spiritual life at times. I come to God, knowing there are parts of me that may be rotten or are causing me pain, but when he tells me what to do, I protest. I am afraid. I do not trust like I should. I know I am in pain but I am stuck in my ways, refusing to let go of my pain. Eventually, in time, i have to let it go. Finally when I let God show me his incredible love, I can see the truth. I did not need to be afraid. I have a God who loves me and knows what I need more than I even could. He knows my heart, and just as he is using me here to help others, he is helping me all the same. Every day the lord works in our hearts, making us clean. This week I had to ask myself, do you need to visit the spiritual dentist?
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
The team is tired after giving all they've got this week, and will be relaxing over the next two days to unwind before returning home. We're so proud of Northside's DR team and what's been accomplished through them, and we continue to hear of how we've been blessed through the experience!