Turquoise ocean waters rolling in perfect synchronization up to sunny, pristine looking beaches from 12,000 feet. I’m on final approach to Porta Plata, flying across the Dominican Republic, a majestic tropical island that could easily be mistaken for one belonging in the Hawaiians. I have had opportunities to travel all over the globe, but I am thinking to myself that I have perhaps never taken in so much beauty for such an extended period of time, literally in every direction I am awed by what my eyes are taking in.. WOW!
In twenty minutes we are on the ground at a really cool looking semi-outdoor airport. What an interesting place. Neat and exotic designs, people, and stuff.. yeah, I’m absolutely falling in love with this place! For safety and a good night’s sleep the team is staying at an all inclusive resort just minutes from airport(my first such experience and only $43 a night). Our little piece of heaven for the next three days is down a beautifully landscaped boulevard. As we pull up I am immediately taken by how everything is so open, maximizing the pure delight of perfect temperatures in this Caribbean paradise. The outdoor restaurant is my favorite place on the complex.. continual coastal breezes dancing lightly on me, enjoying delicious tasting foods and juices, perfectly manicured golf course and pool in the background, and like minded teammates conversing at our table.. don’t pinch me I might wake up.. WOW!
The next morning less than two miles from my comfortable all-inclusive resort beauty converged with brokenness. Trash and despair everywhere I looked and moved.. repulsive smells, crying, disease, and hopelessness.. death is viewed as relief. The team tours a village stepping in ankle high trash and open sewage. I bend down and tie a few more knots in my shoestrings to lessen the likelihood they will be exposed to this filth. A few steps latter it doesn’t matter as one of my feet sink six inches into a combination of things not fit to describe here. An entire town of dilapidated dwellings and not one of the homes is the size of my son’s bedroom. We hear the villagers stories, pray over a man dying of cancer and a lady whose 12 month old child has been taken to the hospital (a place where you go to die).. its not the first child she’s had that has taken this sad journey. We meet four girls 13 and 14 years old. All but one of them have been sold into prostitution by their parents. The other girl is parentless.. an orphan prostitute and in her arms is an 18 month old child.. who will no doubt grow up as an orphan as well. I have an ache inside of me that is hard to describe. It’s physical, emotional, and spiritual. How can these things be.. as the days quickly click by this feeling only grows as town after town we are confronted with the same unforgettable reality.. total brokenness! And for almost everyone in these towns over the age of eight or nine hope has already died.. WOW!
The world takes broken things and broken people and discards them. Few even know these people exist. I had not given these creations of God much thought before I pulled up to their towns a couple of weeks ago.. that’s all changed now.. I am aware that these Haitians and Dominicans are on the island of despair right now. It’s not getting better.. the Weather Channel is highlighting a tropical storm is beating hard on the people.. WOW!
I read in the Holy Scriptures a question from the book of Isaiah, “What more could have been done?” It’s a penetrating question isn’t it.. what more could be done? ..To look back on the measure of our life and truly evaluate our contribution for His Kingdom. I am growing convinced that our greatest fear in life shouldn’t be the fear of failure, but rather of fear of succeeding at the wrong things. To invest our entire lives climbing the ladder of success only to realize at the end that our ladder was leaning on the wrong things.. WOW!
You and I are called to a Great Cause.. to love “the least of these”.. to care for orphans in distress. Well friends, the distressed are in the Dominican tonight existing in unimaginable conditions. Hope is coming.. We can do more! We must do more! We will do more! We are going to plant churches and schools in these communities. We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus! We are going to let these precious souls taste the richness of God’s love and glory! Do you want to partner with us.. we could really use someone like you. Yep, I already know you are the perfect fit because you are still reading and these children of God are still waiting. Give me a call and let’s get to work. Lets make a difference.. lets replace brokenness with beauty!