|Patrick is our First guest writer|
May 9, 2018
WS Fellows Mission Trip…
Day One Write-up
Wow. What a remarkable ~6 days spent in the Dominican Republic. As having been tasked with unpacking and putting into words the joys and takeaways of our first day there, that is what the content of this blog post will be about.
|The view out club bamboo|
|The crew at club bamboo|
Obviously with this being our first day doing service work, expectations for the day were low, not non-existent, but by no means concrete. What become a daily routine and rhythm for the week, was entered into and begun on Monday. We all rose between seven and eight in the morning, to be out the door, and in route to Cielo & the Mission Emmanuel worksite, by 8:30 am.
Our first day at Mission Emmanuel was comprised almost exclusively, with painting the walls and ceiling of the Women’s Co-Op building. Found within these walls, on the same site as the large gymnasium / basketball court, with physical therapy rooms, dentistry space, educational learning room, and an immunization lab underneath, women from the community come together to build and develop crafts of all shapes & kinds, to be sold domestically and abroad.
Furthermore, the community aspect & building piece of this particular space we were told has also been life-giving. The women who work in this building entered the program as ‘mother of such-and-such.’ Now, after years and years of hard work and interfacing with one another, they identify first and foremost as themselves, secondly as mother of such-and-such. That is no small thing.
From there, around two o’clock most days, we would head back to our hotel / resort quarters and transition into vacation mode. At first I’m sure as you read and process “vacation” in the same space as the word “mission work,” that can only come across as jarring and unsettling. To be honest, I think we all felt the same at first as well. We quickly realized though, that the intentional choice by Mission Emmanuel to house and furnish their volunteers with quality living spaces was not a mistake.
Having the space to relax and decompress, after a full day’s worth of hard work and taxing, truly exhausting, labor, was crucial. IF that had not been the case, if we as a group had had to be in the environment that was Cielo 24/7, that would have been beyond onerous. And the work we would have entered into the subsequent days, day after day, would have been done at an exceedingly diminished rate. We would not have been able to engage with nearly as much energy as we were able to, having been given the chance to rest up & recuperate the late afternoon / evening before.
After getting back to the Fiesta Hotel & Resort, the group broke up into various pockets of people, with some people reading, others working out, and the majority of people longing poolside. The evening brought Jim and Alex, coupled with the rest of the Fellows, to the local Fusion (not entirely sure what that means, but the spaghetti Bolognese I had for dinner was exquisite) restaurant, not a three minutes’ walk from the hotel.
After dinner, the Fellows, minus Jim & Alex, all unpacked our day together in the corner suite (aka the boissss corner suite – v. groovy development from the fellas perspective). That was a productive rendezvous, giving us as a group the space to collect our thoughts, and make a concerted effort to continue moving forward in a positive frame of mind, so as to make the most out of time there in the DR.
In conclusion, the Fiesta Hotel had a ‘Sports Bar,’ (meaning space with a projector and another mounted flat screen television, sprinkled with low top & high top tables alike throughout the room), where Tucker and myself watched the second game of the Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers series. That was casually most enjoyable for the two of us.
A few final thoughts regarding the mission & vision of Mission Emmanuel. First and foremost, the long-term vision of this outfit is beyond good & worthwhile. The work they are doing is simply put fantastic. They require buy-in from the community and community members, while also working towards the good, for those whose lives they come to interact and influence. The leadership team, especially Jim Sweeney & Emmanuel Corsico, are all absolute fire. They get it. They get what Mission Emmanuel is all about, and how to continue to advance the good work that this organization is doing, in advancing the kingdom.
I cannot stress enough how blessed of a week this was for all of us, and the impact that it will have on myself moving forward. Getting prepared (as “prepared” as one can to serve as a Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer – being a missionary in the eyes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) to serve the Lord as a missionary in South Africa starting middle / end of August, until the end of next July, I do feel as if this trip had the vibe of a mini- missions lite trip, and one where I was exposed to so many things that will manifest themselves in fuller, more ever-present ways while I’m abroad. And for that I am grateful.
Mission Emmanuel’s work is good. It is a blessed undertaking and endeavor by all involved. Again, kudos to Jim and Emmanuel especially. If you ever have the opportunity to peep what this non-profit is all about for yourself, I highly encourage you to consider…and then act on that opportunity! And when you see Jim, give him my best, as Tucker and I rode around in the Jim Mobile, back and forth from Cielo and Mission Emmanuel and our hotel, the Fiesta, all week long.