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several weeks ago, at the beginning of march, the rome/floyd county younglife team traveled down to the dominican republic to partner with several teams in their ministry down there. 

notice i said partner. because one thing that was powerful about this trip was that is was not a “mission trip”. we did not go to minister; we went to partner with our brothers and sisters. 

we spent the first half of the week living in the homes of leaders in santo domingo. being completely honest, my spanish speaking skills are horrid. i can understand a lot of what is said, but just can’t quite form my thoughts into words. this gave the opportunity (regardless of being frustrated sometimes) to not speak, to only listen. we were completely emerged in dominican culture, which i found to be a huge blessing. we were one with those we were blessed to be staying with and we relied on their hospitality. they were the ones endlessly serving us. we got to go to younglife club with the leaders and spend time in fellowship. how beautiful to get to talk about how we care about the same things, in completely different cultures and worlds. 

from there, we traveled to pico escondido, the younglife camp in jarabocoa. we went from city to mountains and spent the next few days waking up before the sun, drinking coffee, praying over the camp, and working hours in construction. never in my life (and i feel like a pretty tough athlete) have my muscles hurt that bad. the culture of the dominican is heavily focused on community, which is something our culture of glorifying the busy is often devoid of. at least, i know i am. we were there to build and aid, but mainly we were there to grow. it blows my mind that precious people support young people like us financially when the reality is that we are growing our own perceptions of life more than helping others in the end.we have so much in america, but there is also so much dirt of a different type in our culture. we need a ministry of the soul. 

comfort is something that we often expect. but it is not promised to us. we might have to face the reality that we don’t need comfort, it may not even be good for us. 

Luke 17:25 says, “but first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation”, in reference to Christ. 
the Bible talks countless times about suffering because a necessary component for our growth, so who are we to ever think we shouldn’t suffer? we are not entitled to comfort, not in the least.

i was thinking a lot about our heart as a solitary piece, attached only to the heart of the Lord. my heart is still His in the Caribbean, i am still his regardless of time, circumstance, or surroundings. it is so easy to attach ourselves to the things around us, where we feel comfortable. being isolated, being one with Christ alone is uncomfortable, it takes us beyond our ease-filled sense of belonging. i am having to learn over and over to find satisfaction is the Lord alone.i am having to learn to give up control and comfort. and i am continuously thankful for opportunities that help to do just that.