Tuesday, June 22, 2010

AIM Dominican Mission Trip: Day 6

Day 6 of the AIM mission trip was our first non-camp day.  We finally had a chance to go out and explore the local area for ourselves without a schedule in the way.  We broke up into two groups and loaded up into buses to go out to the local villages and hand out candy to the children.  I had no idea how humbled I would walk away from this experience.  No amount of preparation could have prepared me for the next few hours I would experience.  It is something that is deeply ingrained in my mind, and it changed my heart forever.  I am only saddened that I didn't stop and take a few moments for myself to take it all in...and I mean really take in the scene around me.  I think I learned a lesson in photography:  Sometimes we can get so caught up in all the subjects around us, we can forget to appreciate the subjects.  I regret not taking a few minutes right there in the poorest of the poor places to thank God for all the blessings he's given me in my life.  With that said, I hope you will take the time to thank God for all the blessings in your life.  The following photos are just a very small fraction of the ones I took, but they are the ones that moved me the most.

This is the beginning of the village road, looking out into the mountains.

The kids were jumping onto our truck as we drove up the village roads.

Word quickly spread that the candy had arrived!

I'm giving away dum-dum's.  The look on their faces was unforgettable.

This is a mom giving her baby a bath.

The woman bending over is bathing in a 5-gallon bucket as well.

Most children under the age of three or four did not have any clothing on.  
Many over that age, including more than a few adults, were without shoes.

She was excited to see herself on my screen!

He is hiding his candy so he can get his "1" piece...again!

Yes, that is an infant sucking on a dum-dum.  No, we didn't give it to him/her!

Cock fighting is legal there, and is watched by many for entertainment on Sunday's.

This is a concrete wall with broken glass on the top for security.

Our medical team stopped into a few houses to tend to a few babies.  We each helped them carry a can of formula and a bottle to give away to moms with infants.  I have a couple of other stories to tell from this time in the village, but I'm saving it for my plant post.  We left the villages after a couple of hours and returned to the hotel to eat lunch and get ready for church that evening.

We all attended Pastor Rivas' church that night and had an awesome time doing so.  I find it incredible that you can feel God's mighty presence in the air even though you may not understand the language being spoken.  We all sang songs and listened to a sermon that was incredible (thank goodness we had a great translator!)  It was an awesome way to end such an incredibly moving day!  

When I'm feeling depressed or worried, or lose hope, or feel anxious, I hope I can remember this day and feel thankful instead!

Stay tuned for day 7 tomorrow...

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