So as Owen posted we are on flights back to the northwest. Madeya is staying in Santo Domingo for another month, so please continue to pray for her as she learns more Spanish and enjoys getting to learn even more about the culture of The Dominican Republic. Thank you so much for your prayers up to this point! Please continue to pray for our team as we process our trip and prepare to adjust back to life in America. Also pray for Shannon as she prepares for a trip to Guatemala with the nursing program later this summer in August. I (Lauren I.) am currently writing this from the Phoenix airport, while Shannon, Lauren F., and Rosemary are on a 6 and a half hour flight back from Miami to Seattle. We are excited to see family and friends and share many wonderful stories and quotes with you! Thanks for your time, thoughts, and prayers!
The team just called – they’re back in Miami and looking for lunch at the airport. We’ll see them soon!
After three weeks in the Dominican Republic, the team will return to the States Friday night. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
Here’s flight information for those of you meeting students at the airport:
- Lauren Frehner, Rosemary and Shannon return to Seattle at 12:15 AM on July 12 on American #1057.
- Lauren Isham returns to Portland at 10:54 PM on July 11 on American #671.
- Madeya will stay in DR for a month with the Hispaniola Language School. She’ll return to Los Angeles on August 9 at 12:40 PM on American #299.
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
- Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
- Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
- Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
- And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and we’ll encourage them to keep meeting together to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
You might appreciate this perspective on returning to America in a blog post from Emily Brown, a former SPRINTer who spent the past year in Zambia with the Mennonite Central Committee. As Emily looks forward to her own return home she brings up a number of feelings that will also be relevant to SPRINTers in this season. http://emilybrowntozambia.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-countdown-begins/
I’ve mailed team members a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you have time I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student. Take a look at some of those articles here: http://www.kristafoundation.org/index.cfm/page/the-global-citizen-journal-5/
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.
So we finished up the week with files in Don Bosco, one of the batey communities. We were able to get quite a few done and felt like our Spanish has improved over time and working with people.
We had a trip northwest on Saturday to Enriquillo Lake and the Haitian border that took all day. We stoped at three different rivers and saw a lot of birds and iguanas around the lake. The dominicans we’ve been spending time with have told us a lot of the history between the two countries in addition to what we read in preparation for our trip.
Thanks for tracking our trip and for your continued prayer for our work this week! Tonight we are going to church in one of the bateys, Los Robles (which means the oaks), and then we’ll continue our work on health histories and teaching lessons. Look for more updates later this week! -Team DR