The past week of training has gone by so fast.
Last weekend, we went on our church retreat in a small town about 45 minutes from home. Can I tell you, the leaves and good company could not have been more beautiful. My five mile long run went by quickly with beautiful views, leaves crunching under my feet, and cheers along the way from our friends who know exactly why I’m running.
One of the best parts about this weekend was that I got to hear from so many other people who have been and will continue to go on the same mission trip I’m raising money for. I got to hear a deeper story behind a picture I had seen months ago as the last group returned from the 2015 trip to the D.R.
I distinctly remember the evening I was scrolling through Facebook only to overwhelmed by the video of a Dominican woman so incredibly happy that she had received her first real bed. Previously she had been sleeping on a small pile of her own clothing on a dirt floor. Let that sit with you for a minute…. a grown woman has never had a bed in which to sleep. That video has been burned into my mind since seeing it. The utter joy exuding from this woman over the construction of a bed by some handy, burly guys was breathtaking.
While on the retreat this weekend, I happened to be leading a group discussion and brought up this video. One of the men in my group happened to be a part of the team that built the bed for this woman. He said that during their last trip, not only did she gain a bed, but they had built her a real house. Previously she had been living in a pieced together “shack” (for lack of a better term). Now she has solid block walls and a roof to keep out the weather. He told me that she had taken the remnants of her old house and built little houses for her goats and chickens. That’s right, she lived in suitable only for the construction of a goat or chicken pen. Despite all of this, the woman’s smile was ear to ear. How many times today did I frown at my lack of an extra cup of coffee, let alone other things?
I don’t really know why I’m sharing this story other than to say that it’s one of the many reasons I want to go to the Dominican to serve. I don’t have delusions that I will be going to simply make the lives of the barrio residents better. I know they’ll make mine better, too.
This is why I run. To be closer to the Dominican. To love others. To serve others. To remember that joy is a spirit condition, not a possessions condition. Joy is a choice.
This Saturday, I’ll be on my 6 mile training run. 6 miles closer to the D.R. I’m actually really looking forward to my long run…except it’s supposed to be cold. Today I ran in 72 degree weather and Saturday I’ll be running in temps somewhere right above freezing. Since last Saturday, I’ve also learned that I need to cover my ears below 50 degrees and that anything above 65 degrees in late October means you’ll be eating gnats the whole way. Pray that I find the right balance of clothing and a lack of insect protein this Saturday. It will be my longest run to date.
*As always, don’t forget to check out the donate link if you would like to contribute to my mission trip.