Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
(At the end of today's blog post, I'm sharing the first video in the Dominican Republic taken just now! I forgot my tripod (boo-hoo!) but I'm making do with a "Selfie Stick" Hubby Eric bought for my Valentine's Day to take with on this trip! Watch this amazing story taken on Day 0 Sunday in the D.R. I'm calling tomorrow Monday Day 1, since that's when I'll be going "in the field"!)
"preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words." st. francis of assisi
every story matters. give people your heart. simply be present & free hearts to be loved, heard and seen.
The first child I saw in the Dominican Republic -- as we drove out of the airport -- was a little boy standing on a street corner. He seemed to be standing unnoticed in the middle of his story, a woman passing him by -- his father hanging wares for sale -- strangers & a broken sidewalk, characters in his young history. Will we become the voice to a little boy or girl who whispers to him or her -- I see you. I hear you. I love you. Sweet child, I love you because I know what it's like to be loved, seen and heard by Jesus. This is why I'm sponsoring you...
The First Dominican Mom
The first Dominican woman I met was a mom, with her daughter, sitting next to me on the flight over. When I told her I was visiting D.R. for the 1st time w/ @Compassion to write about the children in poverty waiting for sponsors, she told me:
1) it's dangerous in the D.R. with theft/crime at a high because people are so poor. that is why I'll see men (keeping the law) dressed in camo w/rifles patrolling the streets -- to discourage crime.
2) don't walk down the street by myself.
3) the police here are corrupt -- she & her husband got pulled over for a random reason and would be taken to jail if they didn't "help out with some money" (they paid)
4) parents who are workers cannot afford to send their kids to school because they don't have money to buy pencils, notebooks. most of the people are living in poverty (25% of the population) & live day to day.
There are corner stores called colmados where people buy just 1 garlic clove (!!) or just enough rice for 1 meal. People buy one day's meal at a time.
She told me children we help sponsor are going to really be helped & she thought it was amazing what we are doing!
I Couldn't Believe This
And guess what? A guy sitting across the aisle from the Dominican Mom and me heard us talking. And he started telling me his story: he came to the U.S. when he was 17 & now he is a truck driver with a wife & three young children under 7 but he is so thankful to God, he asked me to email him info BECAUSE HE WANTS TO SPONSOR a child (!) & can I send him information to sign up with Compassion!?
I couldn't believe it! Here this young dad responding God's prompting -- because he experienced God in his story. How inspiring is his faith!?
(don't worry friends, i am well taken care of & safe w/Compassion's amazing team and hospitality (super established in the region))
My First Video in the D.R.! Click to watch this video: (Day 0) Francimar's Story... so blessed to hear her story... could God be touching you to enter into a little boy or girl's story and be present too? Consider it. Sponsor a child with Compassion!
(note: I mention in the video I wanted you to hear about Francimar's drums, but I ended our conversation w/out making sure to ask her about it. oops! and the nearby kitchen added "sound effects"... sorry... thnx for the grace!)
Sponsor a new child using my link & get a special Lisa Leonard You Are Very Loved Necklace made just for my #CompassionBloggers trip. #everystorymatters #UnscriptedCompassion