There you go again.

It’s not new anymore. I know the routine of checking bags, connecting in Miami, customs, immigration, and passport control. I know the name of the street where we’ll stay, the name of the pastor at the local church, the name of several local leaders, the way to the La Sirena store, the best ice cream place.

There you go again.

It used to be new, now it’s familiar. The cute kids, the piggy back rides, the street ball outside the church building, the ministry site tour, the GO Kids dinner. I know there’s no hot water even though there’s supposed to be. I know the hand washing station drill. I know not to flush your toilet paper. I know not to use the water to brush my teeth. It’s not that it’s unenjoyable, it’s just old hat.

There you go again.

So there we are, sixteen strong, matching team t-shirts, in a foreign country that doesn’t seem so foreign. I’ve been 5-6 times, my wife 6-7. We’ve had adult teams go and student teams. I’ve gone by myself to teach in the local seminary. The Dominican Republic is not new to us. We go, then we go again. This time, with students and adults alike, we do some kids clubs and dig a trench for a foundation and paint an outdoor classroom. I teach a class. Kari works in the medical clinic. We catch up with good friends. We watch new people’s eyes open wide. We watch other returning travelers reconnect as well. It’s rich.

There you go again.

When you find yourself in a place like this again, you think of your first visit. You think of when the streets were all dirt and there was a house where they’re building a medical center and you got sick after you got home — body sick and soul sick. The Hole, a neighborhood built in a landfill, made you cry.

There you go again.

When repetition causes the edges to get worn off and the newness to fade, what do you do? Do you get too comfortable? Do you not see the need like you once did? Do you forget that you’re just as broken as the people you’re meeting on this one-week trip to a foreign country to help the people many call “less fortunate?”

I don’t know what you do, but I know what I try to do…

I try and see what I’m seeing like Jesus sees it. Don’t get me wrong. I get tired and fussy and retreat into myself, too. Sometimes it’s a hard pace to keep up. I have to pay attention to what’s going on with our team, and I can get distracted. But mostly, I try and see what is going on and praise God for it. I try and notice and be sensitive to how God is moving people to live fully in the Kingdom. And as I do, I notice something.

There He goes again.

There He goes again, building His church. There He goes again, challenging the rich in this world to be generous and willing to share. there He goes again, exposing teenagers to realities outside their normal bubble. There He goes again, inspiring a reformation movement in a country that is in need of sincere Christians to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. There He goes again, developing leaders passionate about evangelism. There He goes again, turning drug dealers into pastors who minister in the prisons, inspiring other drug dealers turn to Jesus.

There You go again, God, doing what only you can do. Kids getting nutritious meals, vitamins, and clean water because of your people. Seminaries offering training to leaders who are desperate to share your word. Medical clinics offering education and resources to those who can’t get affordable healthcare. Families in the U.S. linking arms with families in the D.R. to see kids get a quality education. Neighbors caring for neighbors, cleaning the streets to protect from dysentery and mosquito-spread illnesses.

There You go again, God. Being the light. Shining in darkness. Using your Church to spread hope. To redeem. To renew. To restore.

There You go again, God, so I’ll go as often as I can. Not to start something new, but to join in what is already happening. The familiar is not unimportant.

The routine is just as holy an endeavor.

_____________________________

These reflections are in light of a trip I took with Current – A Christian Church to serve with G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic. Find out more about this outstanding organization.

 

One thought on “There You Go Again

  1. Thank you for this! I can relate to it on every level as I’m in the middle of making preparations to take my 13th trip to South Africa with a group of students in June.
    Very well said, Titus….thank you!

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