Ardell and I arrived back in the Dominican Republic on Monday, December 4th in the afternoon. A solar oven team from South Dakota was due to arrive that same night but they got delayed by a snow storm and did not arrive until Wednesday afternoon, December 6th. That delay gave us a day at home to begin to resettle, a blessing for us but a pain in the neck for the South Dakota team.
When the team arrived we decided to go directly to the worksite in Tamayo, about a 5-6 hour drive to the west. After dark we arrived to the home of Pastor Elsa and her husband Jairo and were served a light meal of plantains and yucca with passion fruit juice. Plantains and yucca are the Dominican equivalent to our potatoes. And passion fruit, well, we have no equivalent to that intensity of sweet and sour. We ate our fill and bedded down at the local econo-hotel.
The following night our team was visited by a prowler at 3:00am who stole a wad of cash from two rooms of team members while they were sleeping. There was quite a stir that began about an hour later with the arrival of police, detectives, the town mayor, and other official types. A chunk of money was lost but no one was hurt and so we checked out of the inhospitable inn and found other accommodations about an hour away in Neyba.
Elsa and Jairo were grieved over the incident and so ashamed that we got robbed in their town. But we assured them that we were ok and would not be deterred from our mission. The work of a solar oven demonstration is intense and requires a singular focus of thought and energy as to leave no room for rumination over small misfortunes. We moved on and had a great week of solar oven activities.
God is gracious and always present with us but that doesn’t guarantee that we will not hit some jarring potholes in the road. Remember the journeys of the Apostle Paul who was often in danger, whipped, beaten, stoned, and shipwrecked. It seems that our resolve to follow Jesus will be tested from time to time. When we get knocked down, we hope to get back up, dust ourselves off, and continue on, not discouraged but rather blessed.