Day number six of the Project 52 mission trip was a lesson in Dominican culture and wisdom..... given to me by a young lady who if she was in the states, would be well on her way to business success. She'd be someone who any company would be ecstatic to have as an employee. The only thing is, she's living in the Dominican Republic. And I hope for the Dominicans sake, they're able to hold onto her. Keep her on the soil she is passionate about. She is by all accounts, on a journey.
To hear Debora Heredia tell it...."the book of Proverb's is how I roll". And as you listen to the energetic 20-year from Santo Domingo, you get a sense, she practices everything she speaks.
I first got a first glance of Debora as we came through the airport in Punta Cana. There she was waiting..... searching the crowd for a couple of faces she'd not seen in almost a year. Those kissers belonged to Larry and Karen Meyer of Wellsburg, Iowa who had agreed to sponsor the young lady several years prior. "They are like my grandparents', Heredia related. "I am so thankful. God wanted them to help me". When the three made connection, it was obvious of their true affection. And as the week has gone on here at Lighthouse Schools there is continued proof. Karen said, "I'm not sure I know the whole story yet about Debora. But I do know, she is a very nice young lady. And we are so proud of her".
So, let's find out some more about Debora:
1. She is the youngest of three (one brother and sister). Lives with her mother and father. Her mother is attending USAD University and majoring in social work. Her dad is a driver.
2. She is a frequent face at the school despite graduating in 2009 at age 16.
3. Every year in school she received Merit recognition for her schoolwork.
4. In the 20 years of Lighthouse's existence, she has been involved in some way or another in almost 16.
5. She is a full-time student (in her last year before beginning work on her Master's) at USAD University carrying between 18-20 credits. Major is social work.
6. Most days require her to put in a 12-13 hours with school work and practice (at a hospital). At least three hours of her day is spent on the road traveling an hour and a half each way to school. She must spend between $25-$30 each week in her travels. That expense is the biggest portion of her education commitment. Credit hours cost in the neighborhood of $3.
7. When missions teams are present at Lighthouse, she pulls in hours as an assistant in various capacities. Wednesday, she spent the early part of the day arranging rerod forms for walls in the new dormitory......served as a translator for an interview I did with the Physical Education teacher at Lighthouse, spent an hour with me for an interview.....then returned to work with the mission team on the building project......spent a little down time with the mission team prior to supper.....then served as the translator for the church service we attended together. A full day for sure......but Remember, it's how she rolls.
Despite the youthful exuberance, I had to ask her, "don't you ever feel burned out/". To that she fired back, "whenever I get tired, I ask God for strength. But I enjoy doing what I'm doing. Lighthouse is a light of Hope to people in our community and that makes it all worthwhile".
|The quickest way to success is a straight line|
Those last words have remained in my head and heart since yesterday. It makes me wonder how many of us can say the same thing. And I say that to you know matter what country you live in and what your situation is. This morning as I finish this writing, I am having the pleasure in not only hearing but seeing a people who have "joy" beyond anything I can comprehend. The kids are singing and dancing and clapping on the school house grounds.....completely uninhibited. Without a care in the world.
|In thought between assignments|
Again, I am reminded by Heredia's comment of the Santo Domingo culture, "that's how we roll here"........
Thank you for your wisdom, Ms. Heredia. You've made my week complete with those five words.
"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, "you are my sister, "and to insight, ""you are my relative" They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words".-Proverbs 7: 1-5