Written by Jaime Rodriguez
With a smile on her face she handed me an ice cream pop, but undoubtedly there was so much more I received than the sweet refreshing treat.
Driving through the windy roads, we found ourselves in the town of Moca, approximately 30 minutes outside of Santiago. When we arrived at the home of one of the Vida en Cristo church members, we were immediately greeted with big smiles and genuine hospitality. Sandra lives on the street above the church, and enjoys serving her community through selling ice cream and sharing her joy by simply being the light that she is to those around her. The view from her home was gorgeous, with rolling hills and trees surrounding the property. The reason for our visit was to video an interview, but we left feeling as if we had met a new friend.
Although she was a tad nervous once the cameras were on, she ensured to show us Dominican hospitality and made our visit comfortable and familiar. Passion showed in her eyes as she spoke about the way her church family had meant to her, and the positive influence Pastors Ruben and Vicki had in her and her family’s lives. She, like me, is passionate about worship and getting into the presence of the Lord, and encouraged us on the importance of daily entering a time of worship and adoration. Our time concluded with laughter, dancing, and singing, as she and her daughters blessed and entertained us by singing one of their favorite songs from church.
My husband and I ended our visit in Moca by following Jesus Ramon in our car behind his motor through more winding roads and forests, and arrived at his quaint little house alongside a river. The family was so charming and humble, and served us with smiles and refreshments! Their two sons enjoyed showing off their little birds and talking about the dirt bikers who often rode through the mud behind their house! They introduced us to their neighbors who thanked us for visiting their part of town, and invited us to return again soon!
As we were getting ready to leave, Juan scaled up the tree to pick some avocados for us, something I actually hadn’t seen before in my year of living here! They used what looked like a very long bamboo branch and a makeshift basket to retrieve the fruit. We were a little surprised but honored by their determination to give us this gift. We thoroughly enjoyed the teamwork displayed as the mother held the bamboo while the father would throw the avocado to one child who would then roll it to the other to collect in a bag for us.
The humility both families embodied and love for their pastors and Vida en Cristo community was evident, and we knew that they were showing us a glimpse into the core of who they are. The Dominican people not only have a tremendous gift of hospitality, but are an admirable example of the importance of community and family. My experience in Moca was a sweet reminder of the goodness of people, especially during these times we are living in 2020.