Roof panels

roof blog

This week I got to work with a smaller sized group that came to the Dominican to build a roof for a chapel. Typically we get to build the whole chapel (or in last weeks case- a house) but since we had less people, building a roof was a better option.

Coming into this week I was like “cool we get to build a roof.” Pretty neutral about it. As the week went on, my attitude got a little more negative. I just felt like building a roof was not nearly accomplishing as much as building a whole chapel. The group worked incredibly hard and quickly, and we often didn’t have enough work for the amount of people we had.  There was more sitting around then usual. Because my job as an intern is to equip the short timers, oftentimes I had to sit back and let them do the work.

As we headed to the chapel site at 4 in the morning to build our roof, I was riding in the bus thinking about how much cooler it is to build a chapel. I was thinking solely about the practicality and necessity of a chapel versus a roof.

When we finished putting the roof up on the chapel we circled up with our group, the pastor, his family, and other church members. We all came and worshipped together in that chapel with the  roof we had just constructed. We sang songs that could be sung in both Spanish and English. I was standing between our group and the Dominicans, and I could clearly hear both Spanish and English words being sung to our Creator. The presence of the Lord was so prevalent in that chapel. To hear people from such different cultures worshiping together is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. There’s just something awe-inspiring about hearing people worship in two different languages. It just reminded me how powerful our God is, that he connects even those from different countries and backgrounds.

What I realized when building that roof was that it may have taken less work than a chapel, but it still blesses the body of Christ and that’s what matters. Sometimes God’s will is not glorious and all encompassing. Sometimes he needs us to do the little things. Not that this was a little thing- we built so many stinkin’ roof panels [so many I even dreamed about constructing roof panels].

We don’t get the credit for building the whole chapel, but focusing on that made me lose site of what was truly important. God has already been glorified in that building. Constructing the roof was so incredibly worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing about the week. What an opportunity to witness the first worship songs sung in the completed chapel. Maybe we didn’t get to put up the whole chapel, but we got to build a dang roof for a place that’s purpose is solely to glorify God! What an honor to get to take part in that.

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Honeymoon phase

DR blog tres honeymoon

I like to think there’s a honeymoon phase in every big commitment or adventure. There’s the nerves and adrenaline that come prior, but as you take that leap into a new adventure there’s this excitement and naivety. It’s like this huge blank canvas that you’re starting to write. It’s a clean slate and it’s (somewhat) easy to start.

Being in the Dominican the first two days didn’t feel real. It was all so foreign to me that I felt like I was going to wake back up in my air conditioned room at home. I kind of think it was my body’s way of taking it in – not letting me realize that this is what the next 10 weeks would look like. At least until I was ready to accept it.

It was a short “honeymoon phase,” but the first couple days I looked around like – how cool I get to do this! The other interns are awesome! This is gonna be my best summer yet! And while those are all still thoughts I have, I’m also coming to the point I’m realizing it’s going to be hard. I always knew that, but now I’m experiencing it.

I miss home. Not necessarily my house, but I miss the people in my life at home. My family, my roommates, my friends… I miss being known. I don’t think your past defines you, but your past helps define who you’ve become. There’s other random things I miss too: Chick-fil-a, driving my car, easy access to anything I need (aka target), air conditioning…

I know that it will get better as this becomes my relative home for the summer, and I really am so incredibly excited to see how the Lord will work here this summer. What an amazing opportunity to get to live in the Dominican for a summer and be able to evangelize and build chapels and most of all get to know the people here!

The “honeymoon phase” is ending. I’m starting to realize that this is a really big blank canvas I’m writing on. It’s not just a short-term, mini trip. It’s gonna take determination and grit and most of all Jesus to joyfully serve these next 10 weeks. It’s when things are hard that we allow the Lord to work through us. It’s in our discomfort that we truly learn and grow. I can’t wait to see what He will do here.

Do you trust me?

trust1

People have been asking me if I’m excited to go to the Dominican. Yes, I am excited. But my excitement is masked by a slight terror. I’m terrified to leave everything I’ve known and go to a foreign country that speaks a foreign language to eat foreign food for 10 (foreign?) weeks.

There has come a point where I’ve had to decide if I truly trust the Lord. I’d love to say the choice came easily, but it really didn’t. It’s an obvious choice, but it’s not an easy one. Obvious because of course the Lord is trustworthy. He created me. Doesn’t that make him worthy and capable to fulfill my needs? To be my friend when I’m lonely? The answer is yes. My head knows it but my heart fears full dependence. To fully depend upon the Lord is something I’m definitely learning.

As I was thinking about what I’m afraid of – how to prepare and get ready, not knowing anyone, not being totally sure what I’ll be doing there, fear of having no freedom –

I started praying about it and i felt like God was clearly saying one thing to me-> “Do you trust me?” Not an accusation, just a question.

Do you trust me?

I started to seek out in scripture verses that related to this, Jesus Christ being my sustenance and here is what I found.

 

Psalm 18:2-3: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

When Paul is being afflicted by a thorn in his side, he asks the Lord three times to take it away. But to keep Paul humble, the Lord does not answer Paul’s request to take the thorn away. Paul then writes in Philippians 4, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound… I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul recognized that it was through the Lord that he received his strength. He chose to be content.

Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

The director at the camp I’ve worked at in the past says that God allows our inadequacies  to increase in order to become more dependent on the Lord.

Trust is a choice. That’s what it comes down to. Even though life can be terrifying at times, his word says that He is my rock and my stronghold. I can do anything with his power that strengthens me. He brings peace. He supplies our needs. Our God is with us wherever we are! All we have to do is trust Him and be willing to go where he calls us.