C came down, and so it was just the Oldest Princess, C and I sitting there, when the picture taking man from the afternoon before came and sat directly across from us us again. I told the girls that we needed to go and get our things, so we got up and left. I did not want to sit there with that guy staring at us again. We went to our room stayed for a few minutes, and then took our luggage to the lobby. The lobby was then filled with people from our team, and the stranger was no where to be seen.
We had a group meeting. E got teary eyed, because she has such a tender heart for missions/ministry. Mrs. B reminded the kids how much it takes, and how many years had been poured into the ministry that we saw and worked with this week. Grammy was ready to sign Mrs. B up and take her on the road to share her speech with others.
Some of us, with some of our luggage
The bus arrived and we loaded the luggage and ourselves one last time before heading to the airport. The trip to the airport was uneventful. We made it there and tried to sign in using the little computer stations for that purpose. We even had airline people helping us, and it turned out to be a disaster. Finally, we just moved over to the counter and checked in the old fashioned way. I was waiting with E while she checked in her bag so that she would not be alone, and her bag was on the dot the exact weight that it could be, without being charged anything extra for being over the weight limit. On the dot. The exact weight. It was crazy.
With all of our bags packed, we then filled out some paperwork and it was time to go through the dreaded security. We all made it through without any trouble this time. Our boarding gate was right next to a little food deli, and some of the kids bought something to eat, as we would not be eating anything substantial until we arrived in Atlanta.
The flight was smooth. We were a little more spread out this time. We had individual televisions, so we could choose our own movies. I dozed/watched Cinderella, and then dozed/watched Annie. I had taken motion sickness medicine, and was already exhausted, so I could barely keep my eyes open.
We made it safely to Atlanta and then faced customs. On the 15 minute hike to customs, we found out that my Prince and the Youngest Princess had come to pick us up, and we would not have to ride the van back to the school. I was very glad, because I really wanted to see them as soon as I possibly could. Knowing they were there, made going through customs seem that much longer. But we finally made it through and we were all together again. We took a couple of group pictures, and then headed to the car, and the team headed to the shuttle that would take them to the hotel where the van was parked.
Atlanta at last
We got a little out of the busy Atlanta area and then stopped to eat, because we were starving. Then got on the road to head home. One of my sweet friends at home called to tell me there was a major backup on the interstate, that we might want to keep tabs on it, and may need to go a different route. Later we heard that traffic was flowing again, so we didn't worry about it. But, when we got to just before our exit, traffic was backed up. There had been a different accident. It took us about 45 minutes to get to an exit that we could have walked to in less than 10 minutes. We finally made it home at about 11:30 that night.
It was absolutely wonderful to be home. And now that I have been home for a while, given the chance, I would head back to the DR in a heartbeat. I love seeing updates on social media from my friends there. I love that one young man messaged us and told us that he accepted Christ as his Savior. I love that they share prayer requests with us. They feel like family now. Who knew that we could pack so much ministry, love and friendship into 7 short days. But it is possible. I know, because I have experienced it.
Thank you for sticking with me through my long rambling blogs about our trip. I hope it helped you to see a little of what a short term mission trip is like, if you have never been on one before. I hope that it helped you to feel like in some ways, you were there too. I hope that you have a bigger heart for the Dominican people now, like I do. I hope that you might also have a burden to do something to help me build a baseball field for their baseball ministry. And speaking of that...I told you that I have already had someone donate some money. I have also had someone contact me about doing a fundraiser. I am beyond excited! God is already moving! I'll tell you more about it as the details all come together!
Until then, I will leave you with a few random pictures...
Those are the legs of the Young Prince sticking out from under that pile of Dominican children.
The ninja pose
Putting on temporary tattoos
A view of the back of our first mode of public transportation
It is very common to see clothes hanging any and everywhere to dry
Some of the kids at the bon fire
Playing like they were going to push N off the bridge
The children at the Bible club
One of the many interesting things seen on a motor scooter
They invited them into their home and allowed them to hold their baby.
One more of the cattle drive down the mountain, so you can see how up close and personal we were
with it, and this was before we drove right through the middle of it.
This guy definitely wins the prize for the most creative motor scooter.
A typical street store. Almost everyone is selling something in order to make extra income.
Our kids being silly
A dentist's office
Shopping at Jumbo
One of the chapels at the Palms Christian school
A great picture of the rocky coast
Saying goodbye to our friends in Constanza
See the bottom left of this picture? Sadly this is a common site.
Bananas or plantains, I'm not sure which
It is also common to see crude types of transportation along side of modern types of transportation
Mrs. M taking a break from planning, and organizing to have a little fun
Ball on the street in front of Pastor M's home
The way your pizza would arrive in the Dominican
A girl watching our Bible club from her rooftop
Notice the lack of personal space...
We had a great time, and we definitely left part of our corazónes in the Dominican Republic.