Showing posts from April, 2019

The Whole of Holy Week

Happy Easter Monday!  ¡Ha resucitado! ¡Ha resucitado en verdad! You can probably figure those out. I've already shared how I spent the first part of Holy Week in the Dominican, but you might be wondering what Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the pinnacle, Easter Sunday, were like here.  First, a few pictures of my feeble attempts at decorating.  I've seen people put palms behind wall crosses like this and always wanted to try it! I plan to enjoy it as long as I can; it's slightly more shriveled than this now but still green.  GLITTERY bunting courtesy of mom, who makes sure my house is adorned for all US holidays.  Refreshingly, stores weren't overrun with bunnies and plastic eggs (or, unfortunately, chocolate ones in pastel-colored wrappers) in the weeks - and week - leading up to Easter. Rather, Semana Santa  (Holy Week) was the buzzword. Before you applaud Dominicans for their piety and lack of commercialism, allow me to explain. In popular cult

Gleanings from Gideon

The most obscure Bible story we (local ministry leaders + a short-term team from Tampa, FL ) taught at Ozama's first ever VBS was Gideon. Reflecting upon the mini-VBS that wrapped up last night, I see its applicability.  Taking advantage of a week off school for most Dominican children, Iglesia Luterana Pan de Vida offered a 3-day reprise of last month's "Rescued by Jesus." The Bible stories this time connected God's promise of a Savior in Genesis with its fulfillment in Jesus' death and resurrection through drama, song, prayer, crafts, and outdoor play. I spent three nights in the capital supporting Rev. Sergio Maita and wife Yoxa, Rev. Willy Gaspar and daughters Estefani and Yeandra, Vicar Isaac, seminarian Rafael, and several church members who stepped up to help. Throwing it back to my middle and high school days as a VBS volunteer, I was the craft lady.                                          Hay Tormentas  remained the hit song.  Inspir

Why don't I do this more often?

Saturday was a beach day.  Every time I put in the effort to spend a few unplugged (you should be proud of me - I didn't check my email AT ALL) hours reminding myself that I live in the tropics, I think, "Why don't I do this more often?" Kelsey, a new friend who's on staff at a local international school and will be confirmed at my church in June, and I checked out a beach that was new to both of us (not hard in my case): Playa Ensenada. It was an easy two hour drive and started off quiet but slowly filled up with Dominicans as opposed to tourists as they day wore on. It never felt crowded, though, because you could go a football field's length out into the shallow, turquoise water and still touch the bottom. I could have done with a little less loud music, but I suppose that's what you get at the start of a week when many people are off work and don't have school. I was too zoned in on finishing an ebook I'd already renewed multiple times to

Women in Third World Countries are Laughing at Me

Confession: I don't know how to make rice. I grew up on Minute Rice and stuck with the quick cooking stuff once I lived on my own, so, while I've followed recipes with passable results, I don't have a go-to method for making white rice. (I'm sure it surprises no one that grocery stores here don't carry Minute Rice.)  Not long after Spanish teacher Sandra asked if I wanted a Dominican cooking lesson (duh!), we settled on rice with conc√≥n , a layer of crispy, browned granules on the bottom of the pot. We'd serve it with fried eggs - a common combo when a) there's nothing else in the house or b) a comfort food craving hits - and a tipile , a Dominicanized version of Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. The latter wouldn't normally accompany arroz con huevo frito , but we wanted something fresh, and the typical sliced avocado doesn't require much in the way of teaching.  First things first: Monday was grocery shopping day. The pot on the far left is

The Erins

The latter portion of my Jamaica trip was characterized by an unprecedented visit to LAC by Erin Alter, LCMS Director of Short-Term Mission. She had sit in on the spring FORO, but an absence of partners put the kibosh on a traditional semi-annual partner meeting. Nonetheless, her keen, experienced eye helped me sort through some questions regarding the future of short-term teams in Jamaica. We talked all morning on Saturday while Charles led a pastoral formation module for a handful of local men. Then, it was off on an adventure through the famed Blue Mountains! Undeterred by this sign, we drove on.  The mist lent a certain mystique to stunning views of Kingston in the valley below.  Some of the most famous coffee beans in the world, folks.  Section, Jamaica: the climax of the drive, at which point we were seriously asking ourselves "Is this a road?!?" Google Maps was useless, so all we had to go on was the advice of a dreadlocked guy who sold Charles a