¡Hola amigos! Este es Vicki. (Translation: Hello friends! This is Vicki)
So I find that my typical blogging style is to note current events in our lives and cultural observations. I believe this style of blogging comes with the nature of my studies in college and my natural curiosity… which I believe comes from my dad. This blog however is going to veer from its normal course and take on a different form.
Since our arrival here in this gorgeous country, I see God differently. I account for this change in that our surroundings have changed… people, scenery, occupation, relationships, daily living, etc. We live in a country where “religion” is the center. Whether people really believe in God or not, Catholicism intertwined in this country and its inhabitants. People greet others by saying, “Dios le bendiga” = “God bless you”. Being surrounded by a people group who use God in their everyday speech and live a life with less material things than we are used too, is another reason for this change. I see God’s beauty, love and mystery more clearly here than I think I have before. I am learning to sense his promptings and hear his voice. Life here is at a different pace, which has opened more time and desire in me to search God out and find him.
A common question that Christians and non-Christians alike ask is, “If God is a loving and compassionate God, why does he allow people to live in conditions such as these?” The best answer I have come up with is that our idea of love and compassion is so polluted from God’s idea of love. God never said in the Bible that his way of showing love was giving us material things. Because we as Americans are blessed with much, we see that as God’s way of showing love, and that those with less are clearly suffering and being treated cruely by God. (Sorry if I offend you here) That way of thinking could not be any more wrong. The people here are blessed in a completely different way, and are richer if you ask me. Riches in the form of “things” easily deceive and distract. Richness in faith is what you will find here. This is a richness that is hard to find in the U.S. The wealth of faith and reliance on God found among the people here is amazing (to say the least). It puts me to shame… but pushes me in my own relationship with God.
Do you remember that saying in the Bible, (paraphrased here) “it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven”? Now that we are living here and experiencing more of this culture, I can see this phrase in its fullness. In the U.S. people rely on themselves for everything because they have the means to do so. It’s so easy to push God aside and just say, “I can do it”. People here long for a creator God, someone who will take care of them amidst the hardships and trials. They are looking for a God who will love them in the good times and when they fail. When Dominicans pray “The Lord’s Prayer” – “give us this day, our daily bread”, they are really praying this prayer. When you do not have the resources to provide your every meal, that prayer really comes to mean something. In America we have been blessed with opportunities to provide not just our meals for the day, but to have cupboards, drawers, and pantry’s full of food. It’s not common to have a fridge or shelves in the kitchens here because the food they do have gets cooked and eaten when they have some.
I am not writing these thoughts to make anyone feel guilty, because that is not my intentions, nor does God ask those with abundance to feel guilty. I am writing these thoughts so you can read how I am growing and learning in this amazing culture.
Through these and many other deep-thoughts, I am learning more about God and love. I am praying differently, my world view is changing, and my love for life, people, and God have changed in a great way. This short blog is merely a sample of the wonders God is teaching me.