I've been on missions trips and I've always rode a bus with 20 other people, that had to be counted and herded on and off while we watched the people we were ministering to zip by on buses and taxis. For the first time, I got to abandon all of that and learn bus routes. It was pouring the rain, but I haven't been waiting all winter and spring to let a little rain ruin the adventure that I've been praying for. So we took our leave in the rain armed with a map, a list for the scavenger hunt, and about 200 pesos. Our mission, buy one egg and ride 3 different bus routes that we had to trace on a map of San Pedro all the while keeping our egg safe. Our egg was purchased, named Alberta, and put in Hannah's soft, capable hands while we tried to figure out which bus went where. We also had many other objectives, such as finding out prices of certain items, finding points of interest, and so on. All in all, it was a day that I have never had before. There may have not been much ministry, but it was practical and applicable to living life as a real missionary. I cannot expect to be carted around like on regular trips, but I have to figure out how to navigate myself around this city whether it be by bus, taxi, or walking. And while it scares me a little to do that, I'm excited. I feel more like a real missionary and not just another kid that came down for the week.
And today was another applicable day. Our days start at 8:30 with Spanish class. And even though I just graduated with a degree in Spanish, I am enjoying the basics. Today we did pronunciations. It is a fact of life that I cannot roll my "r's". My tongue does not vibrate, no sound comes from my throat. I have accepted this fact. However, this fact is not readily accepted by other people so easily. So that made for an entertaining class today. And as with every Spanish class I have ever taken, I had to start it with prayer. When I changed my major at Marshall to Spanish, it wasn't about me at that time. I've always had an interest in the language, and I've always watched with awe and a tinge of jealousy when I would observe others translating. It was something I wanted to do, someone I wanted to be. However, my switch to Spanish wasn't for those reasons; at least not primarily. I've known and committed my to missions in Costa Rica. I fought it for years, but finally gave in and acknowledge that passion that beats inside of me for the foriegn field, for the Latino field. And I know that if God sends me there, I have to know Spanish. Its as simple as that. I could either learn it in school and prepare myself for God's plans, or waste 4 years of my life doing something that wouldn't help me. So I decided to see where God would take me with this and I changed it to Spanish. It has not been easy, and many times I wanted to quit. That is when I started to pray before I went to any Spanish class. I gave this class to God before ever walking through the door. And God used me. And He's using me now. So while I may get flustered, I may feel that I can't do it, I know that I can't, but God can.
After Spanish class, I was given the opportunity to go to the dress shop with a few other girls. I've been dreaming about this shop since I went there last year. Inside, the girls and I helped to reorangize the dresses by size. It was hard work and more than once I thought of the show "Say Yes to the Dress" and how those women spend everyday carrying those heavy dresses from room to room. But here, it was small and had no air conditioning. It was hot, and the dresses touching your skin made you feel hotter, but once everything was said and done, I felt great. It was a small favor that helps the ladies in the shop minister to one more person, and that was what mattered.
After the dress shop, I finally got to do what I wanted to do ever since I first came to the Dominican on my first trip: ride a motorcycle taxi. The other girls rode together, but I volunteered to ride on one alone. My driver was the only one who knew where the apartment was so we shot off first. I felt a moment of nervousment when I looked behind me and realized that the others weren't behind us as we flew past other motorcycles, people, and buses. But that passed when we stopped at a corner to let the others catch up. From then on, I never felt a moment of fear, but exhilaration. The wind whipped through my hair, San Pedro and life shot past, and I felt more happiness than I have in awhile. I've been dreaming and yearning for adventure these past few months when so many things felt stagnant and bland. Everything so planned and normal, but for these past few days, I've done things that I've never done before, and it has challenged me. I like a challenge. I'm not the kind of girl who wants to ride the backseat as everyone leads her from place to place. I'm the kind of girl who sees something and isn't satisfied until she gets to do it. I crave that edge feeling. And I'm in love with San Pedro, because here, its all an adventure.