June 14, the fourth day of our missionary work, was a very interesting and varied day for me personally as the rest of the team continued to serve with dedication and love in their hearts and in their assigned positions on the medical and VBS teams and the painting crew.
The day started at the usual 5:30 a.m. with a knock on my door from Maryella. Being not accustomed to waking up at this time, I am amazed that I could get up this early and be alert or somewhat so. But it is the grace of God that is keeping, not only me, but all of us going each day. It is truly marvelous what our missionaries are doing this week. They have dedicated a week of their vacation time to minister to the people in the DR and in our other mission in Jamaica.
As usual we gathered at Iglesia de San Juan Bautista for the Eucharist. The readings were taken from Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 57 and John 17:20-26. Brian McClain and Ron McDonald read the first reading and the psalm, while Father Vicente and Maryella Reed read the Gospel and the Prayers of the People respectively. While the VBS team held the second Vacation Bible School at the church during the morning period, the medical team and I journeyed for 20 minutes to a village named, “Piedra Blanca” (“White Stone”) to conduct a medical clinic there. Father Vicente drove the team. The clinic was held in a small, abandoned government building which had no electricity or running water. The people placed an American flag on the outside of the building to welcome us. Father Vicente is seeking to acquire the building from the government to be used for worship and school. In addition, he would also like to acquire a uninhabitable house next door to use as a pharmacy for the residents in the area. Father Vicente took me to see the building he is presently using in the area as one of his mission churches. It is the home of someone from whom he rents. About 70 members worship in that church.
Then it was back to San Juan de Bautista Church to get Father Vicente’s car which needed repair. I drove for the first time in the Dominican Republic since I needed to pick up Father Vicente after he took his car to the garage. It was an interesting experience. However, if we, as Americans, drove in the United States like they do in the DR, our driver’s licenses would be revoked PERMANENTLY (the redundancy is for emphasis). But it was fun while it lasted – I did not hit anyone and no one hit me. Thanks be to God!
Next, Father Vicente took me to his home, the Church’s rectory. It’s a nice home in a quiet and beautiful neighborhood. He gave me a tour of his home and showed me the changes that he has made since he and his family resided there. His horticultural exploits are an important aspect of his life. One of my highlights at his home was the passion fruit juice he offered me. It was the first time I had real passion fruit juice, made from passion fruits in his garden, since I was living with my parents whose home I left 22 years ago (now I am telling my age). They also grew a passion fruit vine in their back garden.