This is Not an April Fool

I promised to post a Part II of the Wray, CO, short-term team, and I am. I'm also committed to posting more regularly in April than my schedule allowed for in March!

"Mission Education" includes culture! Moreover, Monday is an off day for the bulk of DRLM mission activity, so we spent the day in Puerto Plata. We toured a fort I'd never even been inside, had a leisurely lunch, took in the characteristic architecture in and around the plaza, got gelato, and stopped at a chocolate factory (my 2nd time in under a week) on the way back to Santiago. 

I mentioned host home meals before, but I'll highlight two: Venezuelan empanadas with one of our seminary couples, and a typical Argentinian asado with the Fritzler family. 

It's really a shame I don't let my teams have ANY fun. 

Within minutes of arriving from the airport, several of the youth from the Good Shepherd Lutheran Homes group home had made friends with the team. Throughout the course of the week, the five team members and six youth bonded as the team had lunch in the home, took the youth to the park, brought extra crafts over to do with them, and led a weekly Bible story activity for them + several special guests from the surrounding neighborhood. 

Randy does best with 1-on-1interactions and, beginning with playing catch at the park, he seemed to single out Brent as his buddy. 

Joining several of the DR missionaries for an English Lenten meditation at the regional office. YOU, too, can join us Tuesdays at 4:30 pm AST on the LAC Facebook page.

Finally seeing more of the seminary building they'd been staying in for days!

A few brave souls even trekked up to the dormitory where this year's four single residential pastoral formation students live. 

I kept saying I might stay in Palmar to minimize the number of times I had to make the 20-25 min. drive from my house, especially at night in a rental car with window tinting that was far too dark, IMO.  I finally did mid-week, which meant I could join the team for nightly devotions. 

My other issue with the rental car was that a piece of the undercarriage dislodged and started making a scraping noise as it dragged the ground. Brent tried to wire it back in place once before deeming it better to just remove; it was essentially a glorified piece of cardboard!

The latter half of the week was heavy on visits: Wednesday in Palmar, Thursday in Pueblo Nuevo, and Friday in Licey. In Pueblo Nuevo, we didn't so much as divide into groups and pop into people's homes as popped a squat on the sidewalk and held an impromptu devotion under a shade tree with a group of faithful ladies, including Concordia Lutheran School director Mercedes, who've been friends and neighbors longer than I've been alive. Afterwards, we all shared a Lenten treat: habichuelas con dulce (sweet creamed beans). It gets a bad rap sometimes, but I like it. Several of the team members had bravely tried it as a gelato flavor in Puerto Plata and liked the real thing, too!

The team's last hurrah on Saturday morning was leading "Sunday" school in Pueblo Nuevo. Together, we taught the parable of the Good Samaritan, sang in English and Spanish, played a balloon relay race game, did a coloring sheet, and shared a snack. 

A Dominican empanada lunch on the way to the airport and they're off!

Until next time, blessings in Christ!