The whole month of November, leading up to Thanksgiving, my social media news feeds have been full of what my friends are thankful for. Last week as Nick, the girls and I were preparing a Thanksgiving meal that we would share with our Dominican family I thought about all the things that I had to be thankful for. Things such as God providing for us daily as we serve in the Dominican Republic, my Godly husband, our beautiful healthy daughters, our family (new and old), our friends (new and old) and for the beautiful children and their families that we work with in Villa Gonzalez. I quickly realized as the list was flowing through my mind that God has taken such good care of us and that we have never been more blessed than we are right now. I can’t help but wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that we’ve never been more dependent on Him that we are right now.
The day after Thanksgiving we were able to spend most of the day in Villa Gonzalez at Project Mañana’s first annual Family Day. It was an awesome day serving in the community side by side with Nick and our girls. Many of the people in Villa Gonzalez have very little in the way of earthly belongings but you’d never know it based on their attitude. They are living proof that thanksgiving is not based on how much stuff you have, but is an overflowing of what is in the heart. I have grown very attached to many of the children in Villa Gonzalez in the past few months and love that Project Mañana focuses on providing discipleship, clean water, healthy meals and an education to these children. I was recently heartbroken when I found out three of the children we work with have moved out of the community. This hit me hard as I had grown very attached to these girls and was enjoying getting to know their mother who is a new believer. This is not uncommon for families to move in and out of the community, but it is the first time I have experienced it since I have moved here. It reminded me of how short our time can be with people we meet and how we should never miss the opportunity to share God or show his love. This can mean the difference in being thankful for the time you had with someone and being regretful.
I don’t know about you but I want my light to shine so bright that everyone around me knows the God I serve. I love the scripture of Matthew 5 verses 15-16: Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand and gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. These verses remind me of a song I listened to many times growing up called Salt and Light. The chorus of the song says “We all need a little salt. Need a little light. Need a hopeful word shining bright. We can be a little salt. Be a little light in this darkened world we can shine so bright”. I haven’t always gotten it right, but am working towards being bold enough to stand up and share God’s word and love with everyone I meet. My prayer is that every time I think of the children in Villa Gonzalez I will remember that I am to be the salt and light in that community. I also pray that I teach these children how important it is for them to be the salt and light in their community that is often filled with darkness and sin. Remember, we may be the only Jesus that some people ever see!