Faces of Nations
Faces of Nations is my new “ongoing” blog series. To know more about this series and the heart behind it all you can read that here: Introducing Faces to Nations. I’m excited to share with you this new series where I will be introducing you to important people around the world!
This article of my “Faces of Nations” blog series is definitely my favorite. I’m excited to introduce you to someone who has utterly changed my life and heart. I adore this boy with everything inside of me. While I write this, I am currently preparing for a three week internship and missions trip back to the Dominican Republic where I will be able to see this sweet boys faces again! I can’t wait!
In the summer of 2010 I was doing a missions internship in the Dominican Republic. During my first day visiting the orphanage we were working with (Pan De Vida Orphanage and Feeding Center), Rick and Carrie (the missionaries) were introducing myself and some other new interns to the kids. They were filling them in on how long each of us were going to be staying, etc. I was standing beside one of the posts around the covered patio area with one child already on my hip. I could feel someone else to my left. Behind the post I was standing in front of was one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen in my life.
I peeked around to look at him. He was half hidden behind the post listening intently to Rick introducing us. The minute we locked eyes God showed me what I had asked for. God was showing me my WHY. I was there for him. I didn’t even know his name yet. One thing I did know was that he was the main reason why God brought me to this country. I knew I was going to spend the next four weeks discovering the depth of this why.
He giggled and went back to hiding behind the post. We peeked at each other a few more times. Eventually, I knelt down to say hello and ask him what his name was. His name is Danni. He then read my name from my name tag and finished it off with the biggest grin. I stood up and within seconds he had reached out to grab my hand. Which was the perfect confirmation to what the Lord had just shown me. I didn’t have to work it up and try to force a relationship. We both chose each other right from the start. After all, love is a choice.
All this was for him.
From that moment on we spent as much time as possible together. All my favorite memories of my time in the DR revolve around him being in each one.
One day he and I were walking hand-in-hand through the property at the orphanage. While we were walking through some trees we came across one of the little boys from the area named Esmerlin. He was sitting on the ground against a tree by himself. He looked a little “out of it”. I watched him for a few seconds from a distance, wanting to automatically scoop him up. Danni gently nudged me and pointed to him. I looked back at Danni and he just smiles and winks at me.
We sure communicated well even though we couldn’t speak each others languages. Danni stayed there as I walked over to Esmerlin. I asked him if he was okay, the best I could in Spanish. lol He could hardly talk. He just looked at me. I sat down and scooped him up. After holding him for a bit, I see Danni smiling and walking towards us. He sits down next to us and just waits. We noticed Esmerlin would reach up and clutch his head quite often. We walked him to the house and later discovered he had a concussion from the previous evening when his mom has beaten him.
I’m so thankful for this sweet compassionate boy who notices when his friend isn’t his usual self, who notices when someone is hurting. Not only does he notice but he’s willing to sacrifice time with me so I can be there to comfort his friend. He just waits patiently by knowing I love him and no one could take his place.
Next to meeting Danni, my absolute favorite memory with him is this one I’m about to share with you!
Towards the end of my first week in the DR I had talked with the missionaries about what it looks like to sponsor a child. We talked a lot about Danni and what an amazing boy he is. When you sponsor a child you commit to pray for them, love them, help financially support them to provide health care and education, you send them letters and gifts, etc. Your sponsored child refers to you as Madrina (god mother) and Padrina (god father). I had decided to sponsor him and I was trying to think of a special way to tell him and officially ask him if I could be his Madrina. I wanted to make is special.
So one afternoon, myself and two other interns, Tiffany and Delroy, were painting the inside of a two story playhouse that a missions team had just built for the girls at the orphanage. We were all sitting in the top story painting away. Danni was sitting on the top of the ladder leading up to the second story. He sat there giggling away and watch us, just wanting to BE with us. With my back towards the three of them as I painted the window sill, I overhear Danni whisper to Tiffany and ask: “Tiffanyyyy, Sarah es mi Madrina?”. She was shocked and started laughing.
There I am in the corner, facing the opposite direction, painting the window sill and I over hear this exchange of words. No joke. Tears start streaming down my face. Not because he ruined his own surprise but because he perfected it! After wiping a way tears I turn around to look at him and we lock eyes. He puts his face in his hands and starts to bust up laughing. He realizes I know exactly what he just said. lol
I would love to have this moment caught on video but in my heart is just as great of a record. Meeting this boy has been a highlight in my life. I look forward to loving him forever. I know without a doubt God asked me to go to the Dominican Republic back in 2010 so he and I could meet. Now, He’s taking me back again this June. I can’t wait to see my baby boy again and make new memories.
This is what missions is all about. Missions is about loving well, cultivating community, it’s about gathering family, and demonstrating the Kingdom. Thank you for joining me on this journey of exploring the different beautiful faces in the nations. I look forward to sharing with you all in the next article.