Sunday, April 17, 2016

Week 30: Transition Time!

I would’ve never realized how hard it would be to keep up a blog every week. I sit at my computer and I stare for a long time at the blank screen; it usually takes hours to come up with the five or so paragraphs that make up my weekly updates. Sometimes I feel like my life is so boring that I have nothing to write about. Some people blog and share these crazy life or death situations, and here I am, just freaking out that I saw two cockroaches on the floor. Sometimes people will tell me how crazy my experiences are, but now they’ve become normal to me, so normal that the craziest thing I feel like I will experience will be my transition back to the US.

Just this past weekend, I got a taste of what that transition might look like. My friend and I stayed at the Capital, and it was the greatest time. The family we stayed with is always super welcoming and we got to hang out with a lot of Dominicans our age, which is super rare for us.

On Friday night we all decided to go bowling (fun fact: they only have one bowling place in the DR), and that’s when I realized that returning the US was going to be hard. The flashing lights, the bar and the loud, blasting music reminded me of what I was coming back to: over-stimulation, busyness, chaos. As all of this nostalgia was coming back, I was handed a bowling ball. And although my tendency to get the lowest score out of my friends in bowling didn’t change, I realized that I had. Bowling brought back memories of my old friends, my old life, my old self. I am not that old self anymore, and I’m nervous to see how people will react to that. Maybe they won’t notice, but I definitely will.

My view of this whole world has changed, including my home country called the United States. I’ve come to appreciate some parts of America and despise other parts of it, noticing that no matter where you are, culture influences everything you do. Stripping myself away from that culture-influenced religion in the States and being placed in a different culture made me understand and appreciate the raw goodness of the Bible alone. Only now do I realize that some of the things that I had always taken as fact regarding my beliefs are nowhere found in the Bible. I realize that being busy and always having plans is not always the greatest idea. Most importantly, I realize how important it is to have a good, Biblically-sound community of believers by your side. Man, this transition to the US is going to be tough!

After being over-stimulated in bowling and reflecting on life in the US, I learned that my other friends on a host home had a complete different experience from myself. After hearing a scream of a woman coming from outside their house, they came out to find two guys who were high, running away from a woman who, high herself, was bleeding profusely and refusing help. While I was bowling, going out to eat, getting my nails done, my friends were making sure that the woman got picked up and taken care of. That’s the hard core truth of the DR, some places in the States, and in a lot of parts of the world. Oh, how we can so easily lose perspective!

“Lord, may I not lose perspective when I return. May I continue to learn more and be able to use this time of preparation in the DR to further Your Kingdom in one of the greatest mission fields in the world: the States.”

-          I think I found a Spanish-speaking church in the US that I can plug into when I get back!
-          Teaching on the topic of fasting for the interns at SCORE went well! If anyone feels like talking about fasting with someone, shoot me an email!
-          Despite the nostalgia from bowling, I really did have an amazing weekend with one of my favorite Dominican families.

Prayer Requests
-          We’ve been talking about these three dreaded words a lot more recently: Reverse Culture Shock. Please pray for all of us that are coming back to the States within the next two weeks, that the transition would be smooth and that we would transition well but also refuse to turn back into our old selves before this GAP program.
-          This week is our last Bible class, and we have finals on Thursday and Friday! Please pray for motivation for everyone to finish strong and study for finals this week!