Sunday, April 24, 2011

Missions Trip Part Seven - Siete - the Land

I am so taken by the people - I absolutely love them.  They are beautiful and giving and loving and sacrificial.  But today I'm going to attempt to sidestep these wonderful people just to allow you to look at the land.  It too is beautiful, in its own singular way.  Ready?
Trees!  What more can I say?

Couldn't get enough of these pleated fans.  These were in one of our hotels.
Got a lot of views from the autobus...
Plenty of fields...
We went to some really remote places.  As we drove, it got more and more remote.
And more and more beautiful.  The azure seas were amazing.

Wild and unspoiled.  On and on.
This isn't the greatest photograph as it's from the bus window, but it does show how unspoiled and wild everything is.
 When we finally could not take another moment in the bus, they let us out to walk a coral beach.  I've been all over the world, and have NEVER seen a beach like this!  Anywhere else, the coral would have been worn flat, but here, we felt as if no one had come before us!  Difficult, and fascinating walking!

By the way, you can double click on any of these pictures to zoom in...

A good lesson in texture for all my art students.
 We were standing at the edge of a cliff.  It was quite a ways down from here.

 As usual, Oelber taking a picture of me while I'm taking a picture of him.

 Really beautiful coral.  Nice toes, too!  Oops!  It was seriously bright - I couldn't even tell what my pictures looked like until I looked at them later.
Whatever this little plant is, it's definitely tenacious!

We found beauty in the tiniest of places.

I'll have to stop with the pictures here.  After this, we began an unusual drive up into the mountains.  I'll save that for a later time.

Even though everywhere we looked we saw beauty, that beauty is greatly usurped by the beauty of the people.  I had a hard time choosing out only natural things as I tried to NOT include people in this entry.

They are poor.  They are very lacking in 'things,' even necessities.  But I found them ever so rich. They are rich in family.  Extremely close family ties.  They are rich in love.  Even if they have almost nothing, they will give sacrificially of themselves.  Wow.  Very humbling.  They are very rich in their faith in Christ.  Strong, strong believers.  They know their Bibles and know where they stand, and they WILL stand.

Even as I state that, I have to step back and clarify one key point:  the BELIEVERS are rich.  I'm a person that can get just about anyone to smile, even just walking down the street.  When walking down these streets, I noticed that many of the peoples' faces were simply dead.  Blank.  Without hope.  And really, they have precious little hope.  It's having a personal relationship with Christ that gives us all hope.  When all else blows away, this is what it comes down to.  The beauty of Christ, and the work He did for us all.

The last time we went down, I remember flying back into the States.  I remember flying over all the gorgeous, rich homes with swimming pools and reflecting on how much 'stuff' we have here in America.  I remember checking into a hotel room with SEVEN towels - just for me - soap, AND toilet paper - necessities that these people don't even have.  And at that point, through my tears, I realized that they are still richer by far than we are.

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