Friends and family; the last day has come. For a lot of people, it’s a bitter sweet day where we now have to say goodbye to the people that we’ve been building relationships with for the past two weeks. A lot of people are pretty excited to go back to the States, although just about everyone would say that they’ll miss the amazing people and the laid back culture here. I definitely could get used to the two hour lunch breaks and think that we should bring that back for sure.
Today began with the usual morning devo, finishing up the study in Timothy along with worship and a short time of teaching. As per usual, breakfast came and went quickly and we were on the busses, heading off to our sites for the last time. You seem to notice everything is a little more vibrant, a little more detailed than usual once the fact that this is the last day is in your head. This place that now looks normal and routine was first seen by us Joshua students less than two weeks ago, but for most of us, will never be seen by our eyes again after tonight. Work took on a different tone, as each person we saw we knew that when we said goodbye, that this was it. It’s the end for that persons time of influence on our lives, and for our influence on theirs.
That fact has proved to be very important in my takeaway from this trip. I have learned that though my time is short here, Students International is doing some long-term, hard fought work within this community. I am not important. These two weeks that the Joshua Wilderness Institute is here is not important. What is important is the consistent, methodical, and sometimes monotonous work here that students international is doing.
By the fire last night, I was sitting, listening to my friends recounting the important truths they are taking away from this trip. I have been frustrated since I could not think of anything that I could take away, feeling useless in the grand scheme of things and wondering what I should be gaining from this experience. I went to Tiffany afterward and asked her, since she is always able to offer wisdom. She told me that the purpose of our visit here was to provide consistency and to further the reputation and the ability for the full-time staff here to impact the community. This made sense when she expressed it as being able to “water the plant” here. I think the most helpful way to think about what I personally did, and to be able to put it into perspective what we did here, was that each one of us is a single drop in the water that will grow what someone else planted, and that someone else will harvest in the future. This really puts into perspective what we are doing. It was nice for me to be able to understand what we were doing and why. It allowed me to be okay feeling like we didn’t shake the whole earth with the work we did.
Tonight (Friday) we went to Rancho Jarabacoa and had an amazing dinner. It was at a beautiful place right on a wide, slow-flowing river where everyone was able to sit and enjoy the last of this awesome culture.
This trip was an incredible experience and I am so glad to have been able to spend it with these people. God did amazing work in many of the people’s lives here and we will forever remember our time and the people here.
-Chad (hey mom, love you)