Last night, as the mission team was wrapping up the week, someone commented about ‘how different the community looks from the past pictures they have seen……they really don’t seem to have it so bad.”
And that’s the truth…..and it’s the truth because 12 teams of missionaries and so many people through prayer, hard work and generous support have helped some of the poorest of the poor have stable housing and an opportunity for a better life. In other words…our efforts are working. Thanks be to God.
It’s working because of 7 days, in grueling heat and intense sun, Mission Possible Team XII has worked very hard to help show a better way….through paint…through smiles….through cement block….through passing out water…..through fixing a swing and playground….through sifting sand…..through laughter and tears….through faith in action. It is working because WE are working for those most in need in the name of the Lord.
While there is progress…the needs are great. This mission trip, I clearly saw again that even those who are able to work are hungry….money for food is tight. WE purchased sacks of rice that should provide the families of 6-8 who live in their 360 sq ft homes with food for the next three weeks. It should help.
One of the unspoken goals for this trip was to move one of our storage containers from the current community to a new piece of land. We did this for both practical and symbolic reasons. Practically we need to be able to store our tools and materials on the new land that will house a Church and 65+ homes. Symbolically we are done building in the current community….and while we will continue to find ways of building community and supporting programs and efforts to strengthen their ability to have meaningful work and stable family life, truth be told, we are ready to literally move on to our next projects and establish new homes for new people who will become our new friends. This is an exciting and hopeful moment for Mission Possible. Who could every have imagined six years ago all the good that WE have done in such a short time.
There’s a good metaphor that sums up the efforts of Mission Possible and our current trip. Wilson is a sixth-something Dominican. Every night, he slept at the site of construction of the Church in the new land. He stayed there to keep watch over the block and other building materials that could not be locked up. Every night he and his dog faithful watched and kept vigil. the other day Jake bought him a flashlight. Nothing really fancy or profound….a flashlight….and last night….with the greatest of joy and pride he was showing off how far the beam of light shined. He radiated as he showed off the gift of the light that he received.
….Mission Possible XII, the team and all who have gone before and/or supported our efforts, are light that beam of light….shining forth…bringing and bearing the Light of Christ to our world. In the small and large efforts, we have been bearers of the light….with only a glimpse of the radiant light.
….Each and every day we are called to keep vigil…like Wilson….to watch over all that God has entrusted to our care. How can we use each day to be bearers of the Light and love of Jesus.
…In the days ahead you will hear stories, see pictures, and scroll through facebook postings of the mission team…..as you listen….hear….see….notice the radiant joy and the light that comes from this very, very, very hard working and generous group. They did is seven days what is rarely done in seven weeks or months in the DR or anywhere….built two houses….set the foundation and walls of a Church….visited with hundreds of sick and wounded…..painted endless walls….planted fruit trees for shade and food….lead a Super Camp to help children learn….made hundreds of PB and J sandwiches…and mostly….spread the Light that is Christ.
So truth be told, this community is in much better shape that one, two or five years ago. Truth be told, we are ready to move forward to help more people move from the river (tin city) and find a home and the opportunity for a better life. May God bless this team….May God bless Father Andy and Teresa Szary who did GREAT work in leading the day to day efforts….God bless all who helped support our MP fundraising efforts.
Things are better…and our world has MORE LIGHT today because of the good MP XII has done. Pray for our friends in the DR….and pray that many more will come forward as we spread the Light and Hope and Peace of the Lord.