Sunday began at 6:30 a.m., with meditations followed by preparing for the 9:00 a.m. Eucharist at the Iglesia Episcopal de San Juan Bautista, Bonao. The time of the service was an hour earlier than last year’s. Nevertheless, after breakfast, prepared by Ron McDonald, we left for the church at 8:20 a.m. Ron makes very good grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Prior to the commencement of the service, Padre Vicente Pena introduced me to Padre Daniel Robles, a former priest (now retired) of the Iglesia Episcopal de San Juan Bautista, Bonao. His picture is displayed on the gallery wall in the Sacristy. Fathers Vicente, Daniel, and I were Concelebrants at the Eucharist. As a cultural practice in the Dominican Republic, congregants arrived at various times, even as late as 45 minutes after the start of the service. Although the attendance was small at the start of the service, it dramatically increased into a large congregation, as the Eucharist continued. I gave a reflection (in English of course) on Galatians 1:11-24, while Father Daniel preached on Luke’s Gospel 7:11-17.
One interesting aspect for me thus far, is that the temperature in the Dominican Republic is not as warm and humid as in earlier years. Even the interior of the church building, though warm, was not as hot. I was able to concelebrate at the service without having to wipe my face with a handkerchief.
Since our visit last year, Father Daniel has started a Scout Troup at San Juan Bautista. They were in corporate worship at this morning’s service. At the conclusion of the Eucharist, together with Padre Daniel, the scouts sold small cups of coffee to church members, as a fundraiser. We realized that there were a number of new members of the church and several of our old friends, many of whom assisted us in the past, were not present. This observation was also made at our team meeting last night. Hopefully, this is as a result of growth in the church and not a turn-over of members. We are hoping to see our old friends during the week.
Over the past couple of years, I wrote about Jerry, a difficult boy who needed a sense of direction. His mother and I have seen remarkable change in this little boy over the years. Before the beginning of the service yesterday, Jerry came from behind and embraced me around my legs. He was happy to see me as I was him. I was also delighted to hear that he is doing well in school.
After the Eucharist, we returned to the hotel for lunch and to unpack and assort 19 large boxes and 10 huge duffel bags, filled with medical and Vacation Bible School supplies. We also learned from Karen Eddy, our Team Leader, that Vacation Bible School (VBS) will not form part of our mission this year. The members of Iglesia de San Juan Bautista will lead VBS the week after our mission trip. Our team will primarily be focusing on the medical aspect of our mission, with Ron McDonald engaged in painting.
After the unpacking of the supplies, I took a short nap before dinner. Immediately following was our team meeting in which Karen thanked us for working tirelessly in unpacking and getting the items sorted. She also asked us to thank those who donated the supplies. Karen outlined today’s (Monday’s) program and then I led the spiritual aspect of the meeting. First, I thanked the team for sacrificing their time and taking their vacation to be a part of the mission. Next, I asked the team not only to focus on the “doing” of mission, but on the “being” of mission. While they are engaged in the “doing” aspect of mission, I invited them to focus on the “being” aspect of mission by answering two questions:
1. What was the “God moment” as you engaged in missionary work each day?
2. What have you done today in pointing a person to God?
We closed with Compline and at Dr. Pat Rowe King’s request, we prayed for the Miami Heat in last night’s game in the NBA Basketball Finals. I led the team in prayer and with God’s help, and with faith, it worked. The Miami Heat won 103-84 against San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The series is now tied 1-1. Congratulations! Go Heat!