Published : Tuesday, July 18, 2017 | 5:56 PM
Dominican Republic Team Update (July 8): Today is Saturday and it was our last work day for this trip. This week we have labored hard on two building projects – both of them homes for full time staff of Mission Emanuel. On Monday night, all but 2 of our team members were stricken with “tummy rumbles” (a local term). Thankfully, it was a very short ailment, and by morning about half the team felt well enough to go to the mission to resume work. In the end, the team was only inconvenienced for about 18 hours. Since Tuesday was the Fourth of July, the staff of Mission Emanuel had a special cookout for us that evening (hot dogs and hamburgers), and even a fireworks show!
On Wednesday, work resumed on the two homes with the full team in place. Throughout the week, our students have learned to mix cement, have carried numerous buckets of cement, and placed bricks to build up walls. Everyone had a chance to trowel on the cement, place and level the bricks, while master builders oversaw the process.
Thursday morning our group visited the only leprosarium in the Dominican Republic.
Mission Emanuel’s Executive Director Jim Sweeney prepared the students in advance for what they would experience and dispelled any fears about contracting the disease. Our team was able to visit with the dozen or more patients at the leprosarium that society considers to be “the least of them”. We asked them about their lives and shared a bit about ourselves. Some we sang to, while others we could merely sit next to show them they mattered. Many of the patients don’t get visitors, even family, more than 1-2x a year, and yet they seem to be filled with contentment. It was a life lesson for us all. That evening we had the opportunity to visit the historic district in Santo Domingo, do a little shopping, and have dinner.
We traveled to a beach west of the city on Friday so our team could take a well-deserved rest and enjoy some time laughing and playing together and with the Mission Emanuel staff.
Today (Saturday), was our final work day. After lunch, some of the team volunteered to keep working, while part of the team played with the neighborhood children. The friendships made this week will be difficult to leave when we depart on Monday.
Throughout the week we have met some of the most amazing people! It is nearly impossible to adequately describe the powerful impact that Mission Emanuel is having on the community of Cielo, or how this experience has changed our lives. But we were blessed to experience God’s love in new ways and be vessels to share His love with our sweet Dominican friends. If you’d like to learn more about Mission Emanuel, follow them… https://www.facebook.com/MissionEmanuelDR/
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.