Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Fiesta in 122 easy Steps!

Hola todos!  Y Feliz Navidad!  Laura and I would like to extend our Holy Days blessings to all of you at this special time of the year!  May God bless you richly as you spend this time with friends and family.  We are more mindful than ever at this time of year as we spend our Christmas away from our own friends and family, we miss you all; especially our own children.  We are encouraged with recent emails and Facebook posts from our support team and friends back home!  Progress has been slow however, as we are enduring a most wet December here in the D.R.  This is "normal" according to the locals, but we are hopeful that the sun will soon shine and dry up our land so we might begin the foundations of the guest house.
We are still planning on bringing the first mission team to assist with the construction in March, however the dates have yet to be confirmed; more details will be forwarded early in the new year.

We recently assisted Dominican Advance with the gift giving fiestas for over 300 children at the two schools they manage in the area.  We went with Kim and Josie to Santiago (about 2 hours over the mountains) to purchase the gifts for the kids; sponsors donate gift money for this purpose, many of the children receive only one gift each year.  I write about this experience because of the joy we witnessed on these little faces as each received either a doll, or a car, basketball or hula hoop!

The journey to the first village was uneventful for Laura and I except for the start; we stopped at the local pasteleria (cake baker) to pick up the two cakes for the two schools.  Simple enough task, except these two cakes were large enough to land planes on, built up two layers high and beautifully decorated; supported by two large trays but no boxes.  Now most of you would see this as absurd, transporting two large cakes, in the back of a car, through Dominican traffic, up windy gravel roads, muddy in many spots, to the first village of Paraiso; but we did it!  The journey to the second village of Nazareth was different though; even though it should have been a five minute drive not far from Paraiso it turns out trials must be endured.  Rounding the final corner to the entrance to the village of Nazareth we cam across a man who was digging several trenches across the road for water lines to the houses which surrounded the area.  The road was impassable as the trenches were numerous and deep running right across the road; good thing there was another way into Nazareth.  Our caravan turned around and headed back down to the main road (about 4 miles down and around a hill through several small villages and back up another muddy road which incidentally joins the road we had been on when we discovered the ditch digger.)  Confused?  Rounding a bend in the road we encountered yet another crew working on the other side of the entrance to Nazareth, digging a large trench right down the middle of the road, this time with a backhoe.  Now normally this would not seem to be a problem however, two construction digs on either side of the main entrance to Nazareth (the only entrance) blocked all passage into the village by car.  Hmmmm....we could see the village across the valley but could not get there.  I jumped on the phone to call Josie  and explain our predicament, she informed me that there was one more way to get up into Nazareth.  So Laura and I jumped into the car, turned around and headed back down and around the mountain yet again, continuing around through to another village which was located in another valley, directly below the village of Nazareth; only a few hundred feet below.  We jumped out of the car and unloaded our last cake which I managed to perch on my shoulder, now remember, this is a cake about three feet by two feet, about 25 lbs and beautifully decorated.  We followed a path through the village of Redemption, (below Nazareth) and came to a set of stairs, concrete (mostly) and winding up the hillside out of site; 122 steps to Nazareth.  Good thing I had been exercising, finally we made it to the top of the stairs and meandered our way to the top of the village where the school was. Yeah! I shared this with all of you to help put a smile on your faces!

I hope you all see your journey as something similar, you may not be delivering a cake to a Christmas Fiesta for deserving kids, but something may distract your attainment of your goal on your journey that is beyond your control, that sometimes you might encounter a trench in your road, or even a backhoe digging it up right in front of you.  Know that there is always a way around your trial, another way that may prove arduous or even dangerous, causing you stress or physical strain.  You see we could have complained bitterly about our trial while it was happening or even worse, given up; but God wants us to keep our eyes on the goal, entrusting us with patience and wisdom that we must lean on when times arise.  Trials will always come and go, patience and wisdom give us the strength to endure; these gifts are from God.  Each of us has the ability to reason, trust in your gifts that God has entrusted in you, patience will allow you to endure, wisdom will allow you to find your way around your trial, have Faith that these gifts are yours to use wisely, trust that you are moving forward in the steps available to you at the time, as God has given.
Bless you all with all the Joy of the Holy Days!  May your Fiesta be as fulfilling as ours!
Michael and Laura Boisclair