Guys, I'm having a really hard time trying to blog about the Dominican Republic. There's so much we did and saw, so much that happened, that I can't decide what to share or how! And when I finally thought I had decided, my computer chose to act up. So, for tonight, I'm just going to share Deborah with you.
One day early in the week, a few of us went door to door (to specific houses of children in Pastor Sergio's program) to meet them and invite them to the kids program we were doing that week and some of the services. Our last house of the day was Deborah's.
Stone walls, about 7 feet tall, surround the property. A small, rundown house is tucked in the corner. Plants of all kinds have taken over the courtyard as chickens peck around for food. Benito and his wife take care of the property in exchange for the housing. As soon as we arrive, they bring out chairs for us to sit on. As we start talking, a somber little girl comes out of the house, very shy, clinging to her dad's leg. Our leader jokes about bringing her home with us. At this, Deborah runs to the house to ask her mom if its okay :)
Deborah starts to warm up to me as her parents talk with the Pastor (I speak next to no Spanish, so I just played with her, offering her some fruit snacks from my bag). The first few pictures I have of her show a very serious, stiff, and kinda confused little girl. She was so sweet, and leaving that house, I knew I would never forget this family.
The next night, we had an outdoor church service, and guess who was there! Deborah and her family! She came up to me right away, still kinda shy, and warmed up very quickly. Before long, we were playing, laughing, dancing, best friends! I took a "selfie" of us and showed it to her. It was the same as the first few, stiff and serious. I soon learned why. She kept looking at the camera, then at me, then staring at the photo again. I started pointing to us, and to the photo, saying our names. After about two minutes it clicked (with both of us!) I realized she had never seen a picture of herself, and didn't understand what a camera was. She realized what was going on and was so excited to show her daddy! She kept yelling "Papa! Papa!" until we found him and showed him. Then we took more pictures :)
Throughout the whole night, she never left my side. She sat on my lap in the grass during the service. One of the sweetest moments of the night was when I was holding her and singing. All of a sudden, she leans over and gives me a big kiss! This little girl is so sweet! I have lost my heart to this sweetheart and will definitely never forget this family. I can't wait to go back and see them!