Monday, January 26, 2009

Life On The Other Side

Here I am in the Dominican Republic, amazed at the difference a few kilometers can make. I awoke in the morning in my beautiful hotel and went downstairs for my breakfast buffet with all the touristas who were ready to hit the beach. This afternoon I was up in the mountains visiting a village of Haitians who came to find a better life but were still looking. They live in shacks pieced together with whatever scraps of wood and metal they can find and subsist on whatever they can find or have given to them.

I'm here looking at a medical clinic that our church will help to sponsor. It will provide the only medical care for miles around - free. I had the chance on Sunday to preach at the church that was erected alongside of the clinic. What a great experience to worship with a group of people who love God for who He is. Tomorrow I will visit the school which is also part of the compound. More than 100 children from Grades 1-4, who wouldn't otherwise get an opportunity, get an education so they can have a better shot at life.

Behind the school there are rows of simple block houses being built. Here, Haitians can move out of the shacks they call home, into small but solid homes with running water and electricity. There are small shops being built to provide some employment and slowly the people are gaining a scent of hope.

Yesterday I was able to join in on the celebration for a completed project. Mr. Elya Madonia, who has spent years and a small fortune of his own money to help the poor in the Dominican, invited me to come as one of his villages was being incorporated officially into a nearby community. What a transformation! What joy on the faces of children and adults alike as they saw what God, good people and hard work accomplished. Thousands of people were able to have a new beginning because someone cared.

Isn't that really what it's all about? That's why I said I was amazed at the difference a few kilometers can make. I took a picture from that Haitian village in the mountains where people lived in squalor. The picture was of the beach which could be seen off in the distance. I don't begrudge anyone their vacation, but I wonder how many take the chance to get off the beaten trail to look a little deeper and see how the other half *or 2/3s* live. I have and I'll probably never be the same. Say a prayer tonight for those who don't have enough. Then tomorrow wake up and help answer it.