Well... its early February but Ive been out delivering Christmas pressies! I felt a little like Mumma Christmas... Over my time in the UK this winter I was privileged to be able to speak at various different churches, youth groups, fund raisers, dinners etc etc and share some of the stories of the beautiful people in Esperanza and the Dominican Republic. What really blessed me was how interested people all seemed to be! Either Brits are all fantastic actors, or God was on the move!
For the past 2 years now Ive taken my good friend Megan's gift catalog idea and tried to use it to help fundraise for items for people living in poverty who need a little helping hand. It means that the nice people in England give a donation for something- like a bed, a birth certificate, food, a goat, passports, working visas etc, then I get the money, come to the DR and go and make the purchases. Then the best part comes, when I get to deliver the item to those who really need it - whose lives it will impact and improve, who I get to tell that God loves them and so does someone in England!
So the challenge today was to purchase goats. Ive never purchased a goat before, or had any close dealings with a goat, apart from when I was about 5 and a goat tried to eat my sleeve...tut. At one point I was imagining myself on a motorbike taxi, clinging on to two small goats...but fortunately that didnt happen. Danni, who is the only person in Esperanza wirh a truck, kindly drove to the place where the goats were, and loaded them into his truck. Phew. He has a leg in plaster and a flat tire on his truck, so I decided I wouldn't go along for the ride...! The goats arrived and everyone was pretty excited, which was fun to watch. The family of goats are now in Esperanza, enjoying an ocean view and in the loving care of Bernardo and his father Fernando. The hope is they will be used for milk and possibly breeding - producing mroe income for the family.
In the last few days I have also been able to purchase a new bed for a man who claims to be 104 years old! He just arrived in Ascencion village one day last week with no family, no possessions, nothing but his faith in God and a smile on his face. The people of Ascencion - which is another Samaritan Foundation village - have loved him and taken him in to one of their homes. It never ceases to amaze me how people living in poverty are so kind and generous with the little that they do have. I learn so much from their generosity and value of human life. It is humbling to witness.
Today we tried to get the first 6 working visas for the people in Esperanza too - without a current passport and working visa the people - who are of Haitian descent- cant legally work in the Dominican. Through donations given this winter we have the money to get some passports and visas - which is so fantastic! If people cant work they have such limited opportunities. I will have to wait until later this week to find out if the visas worked or not...!
So right now is a pretty exciting time! Thank you to everyone who made Alternative Christmas Gift purchases - I am so very aware that without your support and financial gifts I could not do what i am doing. It never ceases to amaze me how God uses all of us together to carry out His plans, each part working together - its such a privilege for me to be here, and I thank God and my supporters every day.
IM not sure what tomorrow will bring, but out here its usually not quite what I think its going to be anyway!! Goodnight & Sleep tight!!
To God be the glory!