13 08 2012

I have just completed another memorable and meaningful venture to San Marcos in Puerto Plata of the Dominican Republic.  And now, whenever I do return back to New Jersey these days, I still end up leaving big chunks of my heart back in the Caribbean with some of the most incredible people that God has placed upon this planet.  I can honestly tell you that my devotion has nothing to do with the climate of the DR.  I am not going to lie to you. I hate the weather there!!! The excessive heat does a number on my body and physically wipes me out early and often in any given day.  I don’t care what kind of super power deodorant that I do try, I am never dry for longer than a minute or two over there.  But I am realizing that here in the States, it is my eyes that are not too dry for longer than a minute or two because of the genuine compassion and love and mercy that God has given me for my brothers and sisters who inhabit that little corner of our globe.  God has made us full-fledged family!

We here in this country are always bragging about how blessed we are! And I can’t help but notice that nine times out of ten when we do talk of all of our good gifts- we are referring to the animate objects that we have compiled in our possession! We brag as if it is this and that which makes us so well off- but does it really?  Look around you!  We’ve got more junk than any other part of this planet and yet we are all still yearning for more and still unsatisfied in our gut!  It is very true that we may not have all the so called “comforts of home” when we are in San Marcos of the Dominican Republic- but something tells me that maybe comfort is just flat out overrated!!! I do know that I love living life when I am there.  I do things there that I never do at home! 

Do you know that last week I played baseball again?  Not slow pitch softball mind you, but the real hardball deal!  We got together at a sandlot in the neighborhood, invited the men to come on out and play some ball.  I was 12 years old all over again- except that now I am 52!  We chose teams and I was back at first base playing with some guys who had amazing talent.  One young man almost put a hole right through my glove hand because he threw so hard and fast!  My palm is still a shiny bruised shade of black and blue!  But I came alive and even though the temps were a blistering 100 degrees- we played and shared and had a picnic and I even got to tell them all about my story and heard some of their stories and we connected heart to heart!  When was the last time we had a neighborhood impromptu picnic in the states?   Maybe I should ask- would there ever be a first time?  We don’t get together like we should because we are too busy taking care of the stuff that we are tied down to that we say makes us so blessed!  What is wrong with this picture?

Maybe the secret of success really is more about loving God and taking care of one another more than the gathering things part anyway! We are so busy competing with one another for more rights to hoard the items that we don’t even need that we usually don’t even realize that what we really want to do is just have the time to come out and play! Hey, your stuff may look nicer and cost more and be bigger and better than my stuff but in the end it is still just stuff and stuff can’t love you!  You can have my stuff because the less I have the more mobile I can be!  I don’t want to be so weighed down by the contents of this earth that I might miss the privilege of soaring to the heights of the real joy that is found when I take the time to get to know the beautiful majestic God created containers of heavenly gold that are known as human beings!  I want to hug someone that can hug me back!  I want my love and time and energy and tons and tons of sweat to be invested in those that are eternal and not that which is temporary and passing away!

On Sunday before church, we as the entire body of believers of San Marcos, both young and old, made up of both USA and Dominicans, marched triumphantly through the humble streets of the neighborhood together holding homemade banners that we had made the day before that proclaimed our unashamed love for God- and invited others to join us for the Service to follow- and served as the backdrop to our singing songs at the top of our lungs to just celebrate life!  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it,” Scripture exhorts us- but how can you be glad in the present when you are so stressed out by yesterday and so overwhelmed by tomorrow?  Could it be that if we gave more away- it would allow us to be less worried by what doesn’t really matter in the long run anyway?

I have planned a Banner Day for The Lighthouse Church on Sunday August 26th at our annual Beach Service down at Morey’s Pier.  I can only hope and pray that we here will be just as exuberant about the exercise as my San Marcos family was.  If we will only make the time to take the time to totally dive in to the project- it will be a sight of pure joy to God and an opportunity for all of us to make a bold proclamation of who we are and what we are truly all about!  If I can bring banners to Citi Field to cheer on a lousy Mets baseball team in New York City- how much more I long and want to make a placard of praise to a God who never loses what I fully surrender to Him and He will always be about genuine victory!  We don’t just win a pennant- we win a place with Him forever!  If you have nothing else to do on that Sunday- join us!  But don’t come without your artistic bed sheet of sheer shouts to a shining Savior!

Thank you Lord for allowing me another trip to San Marcos!  Thanks to all my family and friends who helped support the venture with prayers and needed finances!  Thanks to “Just Sports” in Cape May Court House for donating the first new baseballs that these men and boys had ever seen! Thanks to Dr. Eric Thomas for the cases of toothbrushes and tooth paste.  Thanks to Tina and Dan Nees for the many “Michael Fisher T-Shirts” that we handed out.  Thanks to Doreen Verrity and the ladies who sewed with love the unique stuffed animals that we passed out to all the kids!  Lord willing, I will be taking a group of college and career aged young people in January!  It will be here before you know it so until then I wrote a little ditty sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things!”

“Avocado sandwiches straight from the tree… Boiled yuca and bottled pepsi… The smiles of the people who love here so free! These are a few of my favorite things! Singing “El Gozo” again and again…  Playing real baseball like I did back when…  Making our banners that tell all God can…  These are a few of my favorite things!  When the kids hug- sharing God’s love-makes me feel so glad- I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!”






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