Good afternoon, St Luke and friends!

I once served on a church committee where we started each meeting with the following prayer:

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.” – Sir Francis Drake

When I copied that down before the trip, I thought I’d be reflecting on it from the DR. But, here I am unexpectedly sitting in Phoenix, Arizona, when I thought I’d be on a bus right now on our way to the Casa Bethesda in Barahona, Dominican Republic. And somehow it seems more appropriate than ever.

Our logistics for this trip blew up last night like a thunderstorm over the Arizona desert, or in fact, because of a storm over the Arizona desert. The storm wiped out our flight from here to Miami, and we were forced to give ourselves to the mastery of our Lord. We are now rerouted to Charlotte, and then to Punta Cana. And our drive to Barahona has now doubled. The shores we had planned to visit have not so much changed, but our journey has certainly been disturbed.

But, despite our many challenges, our youth remained infectious in their enthusiasm during our 2:30 pm to 1:30 am stay in the Phoenix airport, our chaperones built relationships over bad jokes and good times with Sean at the American Airlines customer service counter, and all of us gained a greater appreciation and heart for Taran as our “chaperone of chaperones,” friend, and mentor to our children. We have been blessed along the way with care and support from Sean at AA, Seattle and in-country staff for COTN, and the incredibly hospitable Sleep Inn in Phoenix.

Our dreams for this trip and final destination and service in the Los Robles and other bateys are still 48 hours away, but our “horizon of hopes” has become more clear. We yearn for the smiles of the Dominican youth, the rewards of service work and partnership in the bateys, the care and hospitality of the COTN staff and Casa Bethesda, and the continued community we are building with each other.

We ask your prayers for us and those we will encounter in this journey for strength, courage, hope, and love!

Brendan

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