The past few days have been pretty crazy as everybody in my area (South Florida) has been monitoring the path of and preparing for Hurricane Irma. This storm has some of the fastest recorded wind speeds ever and has the potential to do some damage. As we have been clearing the shelves of the grocery stores and draining the gas stations, many have forgotten that Florida is not the only place that is going to be hit. Quite a few Caribbean islands were/are in the path, as well.
I was worried sick for my dear friends in the Dominican Republic, as they were in the path. Their homes would not be able to withstand the strength of the storm and their community could not withstand the devastation of the storm since fund are not something anybody in the village has a lot of. (Spoiler alert: THEY DIDN’T GET HIT! THANKS BE TO GOD!)
As I have mentioned before, I have three very dear friends in the Dominican Republic that I met on my first mission trip in 2015. Some members of our group support them by paying for cell phones to keep in constant contact with them. I was texting with one of the boys last night and we talked about the hurricane. I asked if they were prepared and safe. He said that they had food and water. I told him that I was scared for them and that I was scared for my safety, as well. He told me that we will all be okay because we have a great God.
A while later, another one of the boys reached out to me and asked if I was afraid. I told him that I was afraid for all of us. What he said next was phenomenal.
He said to me, “you are not going to die because you are a great person and God is going to take care of you so you can come back here.”
Now, this did not hit me at first, it actually did not really resonate until today, but that was probably the biggest compliment to me…ever. People say that I am a good person for “what [I] do”, although I simply see it as doing what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to love the least of His people.
This statement is insane because it is another sign that I am reaching my goals. My goal is to help these three boys rise above their situation and make a difference. The fact that he is recognizing that the work that I do is the work that we are all supposed to be doing, the work of God, is amazing. So, no, him calling me is not boosting my ego, but it is making my passion for helping guide these boys and many others in their community on a path of goodness and prosperity.
I am going to take this opportunity to further explain the situation these boys were in and how they are now. Their progress is truly amazing.
Eddy and Joselito are brothers. They have been living with their grandmother and many (about 5-8) family members in a very small home with not much more that walls and a roof. About five years back, the grandmother took in Eddy’s friend, Chino. They have become to be like brothers.
This summer we learned that an older brother was living in and selling drugs out of the house. Drugs, even marijuana, are highly criminalized in this place (which is super ironic since the police/military officers are super corrupt and will let somebody out of trouble in exchange for “use” of a young sister but I digress). With criminals constantly coming in and out of the house, it was not a good situation. The parents (who are not completely in the picture) were pushing the boys to drop out of high school and work in markets and stores.
The boys are about two years behind in school. Since regular attendance is not mandatory, they would go about once a week and the teachers would still pass them even though they could barely read and write.
This summer, our group came together, and by a great miracle, was able to get them an apartment to live in and better schools to go to. We also got them “jobs” at our pre-school/daycare establishment, where they have people to help them with their homework and they return the favor by helping with maintenance around the facility.
The boys are doing extremely well. They are studying and being fed everyday. They are learning what it means to work and help others. They are safe.
My heart is so incredibly full. I was able to video chat with them last night. They were so proud to show me their homework. Eddy told me that he is getting good grades so he is allowed to come visit Miami when he graduates and Chino was showing off his newly learned English skills. They are so grateful and so happy. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them. I cannot wait to see what nice young men they become. I am so glad that we have been able to help facilitate a miracle for these boys. I love have insane amounts of love for them.
Sorry for the bad quality pictures. They are the best that their phone cameras can do!
If anybody feels compelled to help with this situation or another part of our mission, feel free to contact me and I will give you more information!