I have officially settled in to my apartment down here. It was an incredible blessing to move into an apartment with all my furniture and appliances ready to use. Ryan Holloway, the previous Microfinance Director lived with me for the first three weeks, followed by several weeks of living alone before my friend Mark arrived a few weeks ago to be my new roommate. My apartment is much too big for just me so thankfully through Super Bowl parties, a weekly Guacomole and TV night, new roommates, and friends, God has sent people to fill the empty spaces. Another gift that God has given me so far is a fun group of Dominican guys to spend time with. They enjoy doing things outdoors and we especially enjoy driving dirt bikes through the mountains. It has been incredible to drive through the dirt roads of the mountains and simply the beauty of God’s creation.
Overall, while adjusting to living down here has gone smoothly, it has not been without its challenges and frustrations as well. Many times, simple tasks become long drawn out tests of my patience. About a month ago, I went to a communication services company called Claro in search of internet service for my apartment. Since this is a large company here in the DR, I figured that it would be a quick and painless process. I’ve never been more wrong. 3 trips to the service center in Jarabacoa, 3 round trips to the service center in La Vega (35 minute drive), 5 ½ hours of waiting, 3 hours of working with service reps, leaving in the middle of a meeting to meet a service technician and 3 phone calls later I finally had internet. Other unfortunate events have been my car breaking down 45 minutes away at the airport, hitting a guy on a motorcycle with my car and killing a dog on my dirt bike within 4 hours of each other, and being stopped by a cop for doing nothing wrong yet not being allowed to leave until I gave him a bribe.
The first several months of working at the MF (Microfinance) site have been excellent. While language barriers and a lack of technical and cultural knowledge have definitely made the site challenging at times, I have greatly enjoyed my work. Over the past two months, Miriam, the Dominican lady I work with, and I have planned for the vision of the site, implemented a new accounting system, created a new banking group with Student’s International national staff, and hosted two teams of students. While all that work has been fun for me personally, the most rewarding parts have been the personal contact that I have made within the banks. Whether it has been helping Ramona begin her dream of building her own house, business coaching with Liliana as she starts a new restaurant, or simply spending an afternoon chatting with Frankely, the 22 year old son of one of our associates who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident last summer, it has been neat for me to see the way that the site is able to not only care for people’s financial needs but also address their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
There is much more that could be said but I think I will save it for another letter as my computer is going die soon and I currently don’t have electricity at my house. Thank you for all of you that have updated me on what has been going on in your life and for those of you that have been praying for me. Continue to pray for the MF site that we would continue to become more like Jesus in both the personal connections and administrative tasks. Continue to ask that the Holy Spirit would lead me and guide me as I lead and guide this site. May God’s glory be made evident in the actions of our lives as we continue to rest in the joy our salvation. I love you all.