I wasn’t sure what I was feeling that Sunday morning as we stepped into Compassion centre DR-337 for church, into a space I felt was sacred yet intimidating. It has taken a few weeks to finally understand what I was feeling during my week in the Dominican since I just couldn’t put it into words. As I finish reading the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing in Genesis 27, I am reminded that life has never been fair.
Is it fair that I was born in Canada to a middle class family that taught me about the love of Jesus as a small child, even if I didn’t want to accept it right away? The fairness of my life and the lives that I have interacted with in the Dominican every time I have been there was staring me in the face again.
Over the course of the week, being among so many wonderful, generous and loving individuals from our team, to our Dominican hosts, to the pastors and tutors of the Compassion centres, to all the children and their families that opened up their homes to us, I saw something I couldn’t reconcile.
Was it fair that they were living in homes made of steel and concrete that leaked when it rained, with no proper electricity and that they had no means of making sure their families ate more than once a day when I come home every day to a home with everything I could possibly need and so much more?
Life isn’t fair, as my Dad constantly reminded me as a child. I know that it isn’t fair because if it was I wouldn’t be changing lives through my sponsorship with Compassion or going to the Dominican to visit them. It’s what we do with that unfairness that changes things.
I see that now.
I saw a mother proclaim to us that her husband and two sons would come to know the Lord; she was firm and had no doubt in her mind about God’s grace. Her faith was rock solid and it glowed on her face as she talked about what Jesus was doing in their lives and how trusting in Him had changed their living situation and the life of her oldest son. I will never forget visiting that home, the family and conversation we had, and I pray that the rest of the family comes to know Jesus.
The laughter, generosity, love and faith over the week made me realize that life isn’t fair at all but we learn through that unfairness. I wasn’t sure all week why I hadn’t taken more photos of the sights, sounds and people around us until I was reminded that maybe I just needed to be.
Be in the moments and conversations and laughter and tears.
Be in a place where I felt it unfair that those with less physical things than I, had a much stronger faith.
It doesn’t matter what possessions we have, where we were born, what our parents do for work or what school we went to. Our faith in Jesus Christ and what we do with that faith is what counts. I met so many people who knew without a doubt that Christ was the reason they were doing what they were doing, from amazing testimonials of Compassion university students to those who wanted to give back and were a part of Compassion’s ministry because they believed in it and what Jesus is doing in the lives and communities of the Dominican Republic.
The unfairness I felt was staring me in the face all week was wiped clean by God’s grace, powerful love and the incredible knowledge that Christ “works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28a).
The difference is Jesus.
Miranda de Rooy visited the Dominican Republic with Compassion Canada in January, 2016.