Laura W. recently traveled with us to the Dominican Republic. Below she shares what she learned through the experience.
I first visited the Dominican Republic with VisionTrust way back in 2000. I was 17. I babysat, wrote support letters, and worked with the youth group to pay for the trip. I didn’t worry about missing anything while I was away for one week over the summer, and I wasn’t leaving anyone behind at home. Essentially, I had nothing to lose.
Fifteen years, one husband, three kids, and a business later, it’s much harder to hop on a plane and leave the country for a week. I hemmed and hawed about the lack of money, the lack of childcare, and the time away from work. I asked God to speak to me if He really wanted me in Santo Domingo that week because otherwise, it didn’t make much common sense.
“Faith makes a fool of what makes sense.”* During a worship service at my church, a woman leaned over to me and whispered that she felt the Lord telling her to share with me. “The answer to the question you’ve been praying is, ‘Yes.’”
God doesn’t usually speak audibly to me through another believer, but I’m thankful He did this time. And so I went. I still didn’t know my entire purpose in going. I still wondered if I should have used the money for something else.
And then Wednesday came and we made kites with the kids at the Remar Orphanage. They came in plastic packaging, and if you didn’t hold one end just right as you assembled it, the thin paper would tear. The kids didn’t care. They excitedly decorated theirs with markers and couldn’t wait to toss them in the air and run, dragging the delicate kite behind.
Miguel, a quiet 7-year-old boy with doe shaped brown eyes asked me to hold the kite end while he held the string. He took off running. The kite bobbed up on the wind for a few seconds, Miguel beamed, and then the kite fell to the dusty, dirt path, littered with rocks. The forlorn look on his face made me unintentionally start worrying: We should save the kites for another day when there’s more wind; All of these kites will be ruined if the kids keep trying to fly them right now without enough help—the kind of worrying we do when we think we’re being smart and practical.
But God reminded me on this trip that His ways aren’t always practical. I ran over and over again, holding Miguel’s kite and tossing it in the breeze as he pulled on the string. Finally, the wind and the tension worked together, and I stood looking into the blinding sun at a small white kite and then back at a little boy with a content, joyful grin.
As I watched Miguel’s kite soar higher, I thought of how God is the giver of all good gifts. It’s tempting to hold tight to what He gives, even our very lives, afraid they will get damaged or lost or uncomfortable. But when we let the Holy Spirit lead us, He can use those gifts, and our lives, for their intended purpose.
That day, watching something do what it was created to, made me thankful for a loose grip so I could be with a bunch of orphans to see a kite fly.
For whoever want to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. – Luke 9:24
*Hillsong United, Here Now