My Shadow

Before I even got back from El Paso, I'd gained a shadow!

Sarah, a recent CUNE grad currently working as a special education aide at a Lutheran school in WI, spent just over a week in the DR as part of a new-ish program for individuals seriously considering future missionary service. "Shadows" do life with their missionary host(s); Sarah had three. She started with deaconess/nurse Tirzah and mom/wife/music teacher extraordinaire Becca, so I could unpack, clean, grocery shop, etc. but moved in with me on a Thursday. 

I love to show off my host culture and city so we may have done a few things I wouldn't have if I didn't have a shadow, but as a general rule the pressure was off to plan a full slate of outings and activities. Evidently this is what me not planning looks like (!?):

Águilas baseball game (we won 10-9 in 11 innings!)
Dinner party with the Naumanns
Eye Dr. appointment
Movie night (The Star) @ the Kreys'
Grocery shopping
Monthly Family Night at Pueblo Nuevo
Bible study & worship at Cordero de Dios
Road trip to the capital
Colonial Zone
Festival de música at Amigos de Cristo
Homemade enchiladas & overnight @ some friends' Santo Domingo apartment
City hall Christmas light display
Concordia Lutheran School opening flagpole ritual & tour
Coloring with Ramona at the Group home
Seminary chapel

...and in Sarah's words, "going to a lot of meetings"!

Instituto Oftalmológico still had a mask mandate. My prescription hadn't changed much since last time I went, at the height of the pandemic in July 2020. 

The "kids" ate pizza on the trampoline in the Krey backyard before movie night.

Family Night consisted of a hymn sing/devotion; Bible charades/Pictionary; a craft; decorating the sanctuary for the first Sunday in Advent; and snacks. 

Sarah had to draw a pesebre (manger). 

Each family got to cut out an ornament, write their name and a Bible verse on the back, laminate it with contact paper, and hang it on the tree. Mine reads:
The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.

The English faction started a new Sunday morning Bible study series on Luther's explanation of the Lord's Prayer as expounded in his Large Catechism the Sunday Sarah was there. 

Our first stop in the Colonial Zone was Galería Bolós to pick up the coffee table I'd special ordered. It had been ready for upwards of a month; I just hadn't made it to the capital since. Sarah helped me unload and situate it when we got back Monday. 

Plaza España was decked out in its Christmas finest. Check out what it looks like at night in this post about my first time there.

"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" | Members of Iglesia Luterana Pan de Vida

"Go, Tell It on the Mountain" | Seminary choir

Remember the crazy rain the DR got a couple weeks ago? I was out of town, but it caused several casualties and made the US news. Its aftereffects were still evident in multiple historic Colonial Zone facades covered in green tarps and in flooded overlooks at Los Tres Ojos. Sarah braved standing water for that perfect shot. 

The morning she left, Sarah got to personally deliver a bag of donated hygiene and school supplies she'd brought to Mercedes, director of Concordia Lutheran School. 

Ramona (foreground) and Sarah exchanged pictures they'd colored. 

It was a joy having Sarah in my home and letting her gather what any missionary will tell you: there's no such thing as a typical day. She gained an insider perspective whose ripples will extend outward from wherever she lands in the future. Pray for her and the other "shadows" who've experienced missionary life in LAC and other regions as they discern whether the Lord might be calling them to a life of international service. 

Until next time, blessings in Christ!