We arrived back home in the Dominican Republic in January, after several weeks of continuing education, time with family and transitional planning in the US over Christmas. The space away from the DR sharpened our sense of gratefulness for our time here, and helped us hone in on what we want both personally and in ministry for our remaining months. We also saw Daniel’s Spanish fluency drop sharply, and realized just how hard we will have to work to keep up our Spanish upon returning!
Please continue to pray that our final ministry opportunities would be both impactful and allow a positive sense of closure to our time. We’ve chosen to work with Creighton University for the month of April, where Nick will supervise U.S. students completing their last clinical rotations in Santiago. Nick and I first met through this program. Out of our experiences with Creighton in the DR, God called us into a longer term commitment in Santiago, so wrapping up our ministry engagements with them feels particularly fitting. Nick has also taught several semesters of Dominican students at the clinic he will serve in (Las Colinas), so will have a final opportunity to follow up with clinical recommendations he has modeled there previously. His lived experiences should help bridge culture and language gaps and support both parties to more deeply engage and reap the benefits of the month-long exchange. It will also give Nick the opportunity to experience the transition to U.S. clinic culture in his students, which is a gift.
We’ve planned some relatively straightforward (here’s hoping) work items to fit into our final 2 months here. Last week Nick coordinated and distributed a room of rehabilitation supplies from Creighton, which looked like dozens of walkers, standing tables for children and a wide range of other supplies making their way to 13 welcoming organizations and clinics (top pic). Satisfied nuns from one of the only nursing and hospice care facilities in the area marveled over free adult diapers, compression stockings, a bedside commode and oxygen tank carriers. In the context of health ministry work, we are especially sad to be leaving the country. The relationships we have slowly built only make the work easier and better over time, and it seems a shame to stop now! We are trusting that God will keep us in these friendships for some continued exchanges even after our move.
Nick has slowly begun looking for work in California, and we appreciate your prayers for a good fit. We got confirmation that there is space for us at Providence Mission Homes, a missionary transitional apartment complex only blocks from Laurie’s parents in Pasadena. We are grateful to be a part of this similarly transitioning community for about a year as we get our footing. Anticipating a full April of ministry activity ahead of our May move, we started posting our car and just about all of our household items for sale this week. Eek! Pray for wisdom to manage saying goodbye to stuff in the healthiest way possible for Mateo (18mos, and not likely to remember much) and Daniel, who turns 4 in April. The game has begun to whittle down to 7 last suitcases.
We continue to be vigilant, mourn, pray and find small ways to act with you from afar in the variety of challenges that you in the States are experiencing. While we have somehow unfortunately gotten used to the variety of large guns readily on display on DR streets, I am certainly not used to the reality of mass shootings in the US, for example. May God help us to not get used to these things once we move back. We are glad for the perspectives that some life away from the States has brought, and glad also to be able to partner again in loving others with you in our still internationally influential United States. What you do and how you love matters to your neighbor and to us abroad! Keep up the good work.
Peace, Joy, and the active and ever-present love of God to you this week,
Nick, Laurie, Daniel & Mateo