Greetings from the Dominican Republic! We’ve made it back home to Santiago and are settling into life here.
After Daniel was born, obtaining immigration paperwork became our avid hobby, and your prayers for a speedy completion of his residency are appreciated! Last week we were in the capital, three hours away, attempting to reconcile the differences between what various government offices say the requirements are for Daniel’s residency. We took his passport pictures outside the immigration offices, printed under a trash bag!
Dominican infant advice 101: Baby must wear socks or shoes at all times. Baby must be carried lying on his back at all times- attempts at improving motor control are not acceptable (“OH!! Daniel, tell daddy how uncomfortable you are!! Poor baby!). If baby looks upset, he might need water- or you must be holding him badly again. Thankfully we don’t doubt our skills in these areas, but have learned to go ahead and put the socks on to go to church if we’d like to avoid the furrowed brows.
Other parenting thoughts have been more difficult to discern. Parents are responsible for the safety of their children, and we have plenty of reminders that while living here holds many great things for Daniel compared to our former life in the U.S.,safety is probably not one of them. Things like putting screens on our windows to protect from malaria, dengue and now the Chikungunya virus have suddenly felt quite urgent! On the one hand, it is a great reminder that our greatest call is to LOVE, not to keep ourselves and our own SAFE. On the other hand, we realize that in order to be able to reach out to care and protect others in all of the ways we’d like to, we must also tend to our own physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. “Love your neighbor as yourself” holds quite a tension to it when you think about it. We’re glad for the new perspectives on both self-care and care of others that Daniel is teaching us.
The Chikungunya mosquito born virus has hit the DR in full force. Several church workers and missionary friends in other cities have caught it, and in our friend’s Episcopal Church, 70% of the congregation was out this last month dealing with symptoms. While not deadly, the body aches and rashes appear pretty intense, and seem to recur over the span of weeks. Please pray for the eradication of this disease and strength for all affected.
Pray as we transition back into ministry, including the ministry of parenthood. One of our students wrote this week in English: “I just saw your baby Daniel, may always God bless him and both of you, so you can teaching a lot. I hope you’ll be around for a while.” Pray that we can balance our family and ministry roles WELL and healthily, so that we can be around for awhile!
Nick is settling back into planning for the OTFOL rehabilitation continuing education conference in September, and we are excited to host Cheryl Caldwell, a PT professor from Washington University to provide the professors an intensive course this week. God is good to continue to provide opportunities to train and support local leadership, both at church and in higher education.
In closing, we’d like to extend our deepest thanks for the generosity of time, friendship, baby items and the financial support that many of you extended to us during our time in the U.S. We return with our joy renewed and fresh eyes for the work and relationships ahead. All of our love,
Nick, Laurie & Daniel