The Art of Mission.
Like many girls I have a boy who captured my heart. My story is not a romance but it is all about love. His name is David and he taught me what unconditional love is.
In May of 2010 I ventured to the Dominican Republic for my first time with a missions team from Lift Church. One of our main projects was helping re-construct homes in David’s town. This five-year old gem stole my heart from the moment I saw him. While my team and I were in his school presenting about something I can’t even remember, I was exchanging smiles with him sitting amongst his peers. Immediately following the presentation David plowed through the crowd towards me. His hug truly made me feel welcome. That afternoon David became my shadow. If I was carrying rocks to the construction site, David would carry rocks too. I felt as if I was enforcing child labour. Despite our inability to communicate in a mutual language, we had no problem conversing.
My team returned to David’s town for the following two days. The majority of my time was spent with David as opposed to with my teammates sweating away at the construction site. But I knew I had met someone special. My heart desired to know him.
At one point in time I was walking away from the construction site with David in my arms. He started pointing at something behind me while rambling on in Spanish. The further I walked the more agitated David became. Turns out I had forgotten my water bottle at the site. Typical Claire. Overwhelmed with concern, David quickly fetched it for me and returned into arms. The relief on his face was priceless. However, this reality shocked me as we were warned that theft was a huge issue in his town.
Before saying our goodbyes a translator in our group told David in his sneaky Spanish to punch me as a joke. Still to this day I’m not sure if he was flirting or had too much sun. Regardless, David refused to follow through with his request. He responded by saying “maybe tomorrow or maybe the next day”. It hit me as we were driving away, and I was chocking back tears, that David was under the impression I was coming back.
I battled with this reality as I transitioned back to my life in Canada. As a privileged Canadian I have the ability to show up in a third world community to assist with need and give love for a brief period of time. Is this actually a good thing? Is this a healthy way of developing relationships with people? Was David left confused by our involvement and then quick disappearance? Though I couldn’t find answers to these questions I did know that I wanted to return to the Dominican again.
My desire to return prevailed as I spent Christmas 2011 in the DR. On Boxing Day, my team (consisting of four other girls) travelled to David’s town to teach the Christmas story. Awaiting this day was just like awaiting Christmas; I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. In the morning program at the school I was more than disappointed when David didn’t show up. Though, I had hope that I’d find him soon. Prior to lunch our team was taken on a tour of the community. I had photographs of David that I was showing to everyone possible. I tried to communicate that I needed to see him. People acknowledged that they recognized David and reassured me that he still lived in the town. Every corner we turned I envisioned seeing him. But still, no David.
David did not attend the afternoon session at the school. My heart was becoming discouraged. Though the room was filled with other incredible children I was fixated on finding him. Following the session my team relocated to the local store to look at jewelry for sale. At this point in time, I was frantic. No body seemed to understand how important it was for me to find David.
Just moments before we had to say goodbye, a deaf lady approached me. While wearing a big smile she reached for my hand and led me into the town. Though we were warned not to venture off, my trust in this lady trumped all. It’s as if my heart knew what was going to happen.
I was led though a back yard to a dark doorway. As soon as I stepped inside my heart rate easily doubled. When I turned the corner my eyes found great delight in what I saw. David, who I had been searching for all day, was smiling and dancing around the room. I called out his name and he immediately grew a smile and ran into my arms. Tears. Tears were flooding down my face beyond the point of embarrassment. The only words I could muster were “I found you”. David responded by wiping the tears off my face and kissing my cheeks. I reached for my backpack to give him presents that I’d brought from Canada, but he pushed them away to hug me more. Of course this brought more tears to my eyes. At this point in time, David’s mildly confused father entered the room. Fortunately he spoke enough English to understand that I wasn’t some crazy lady trying to kidnap his child. After learning my name his Dad gave me one of the two photos that he had of David and his sister. Still to this day that photo follows me to wherever I call home. It is my most cherished gift.
When I returned the to DR in May 2011 I was able to get to know David and his family a little bit better. I learned that David wants to become a doctor to help the poor. He apparently has quite the brain and skipped ahead a grade. I am more than excited to have the opportunity to get to know him and his family better now that I live only a bus ride away.
My David story plays a significant role in my life. David helped me fathom what it is like to be God. Ever since I can remember I’ve been told that God loves me. Psalm 103:8 says “God is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails”. What I find absolutely adorable is the fact that David from the Bible is the one who wrote this. If God desires my love more than anything, I have a concept of how this feels.
It was overwhelming when I finally found David.
It was the happiest moment of my life.
It is hard to find words that describe the experience.
God has nothing but love for us and in exchange He desires only our love. This is mindblowingly beautiful.
Originally posted to The Art of Mission.