Update letter, May 2012

Times of Rest
Usually we try to highlight the work we are doing down here, but Christ also calls us to times of rest. Whether it is the weekly Sabbath, or a seasonal festival, or year of jubilee, etc. the Bible clearly teaches that there are times in life where one should rest and be rejuvenated.
We were able to experience a wonderful time of rest and refreshment as a family recently. Even though we don’t get away from town very often, we realize that we should take advantage of living in the Caribbean for the time we are here. The closest beaches are about 2.5 hours away over sometimes sketchy roads but many of them are worth it. Over Semana Santa (Holy Week, aka Spring Break) we headed with some friends to a new area to do some exploring. On the way to the beach, we stopped and did some jumping at 27 waterfalls. Besides being a bit of an adrenaline rush, the beauty of this watery canyon makes it peaceful and rejuvenating.
The new beach area we explored had gorgeous blue waters and white sand beaches. But what was really a balm to our souls was the little excursion we took to Cayo de Arrenas (aka Paradise Island-not a direct translation…). This is a strip of sand out in the ocean that took us about 20 minutes to reach by boat. Once on this little sandbar, you gear up for some amazing snorkeling. This little spot is surrounded by it’s own mini barrier reef. Sand has filled up much of the area between the coral and the island so you can strap on a mask and just walk around with your face in the water. There are a myriad of fish that seem undisturbed, sometimes curious, by your presence.
For the more adventurous (all of us of course!), you can swim out through a gap in the barrier reef and wow!!! On that side of the reef the bottom is 150+ feet down and the coral forms a wall that reaches from the bottom all the way up. The coral is pristine, colorful, and huge. The same fish inhabit this side of the reef but often seem dwarfed by the immensity of the coral. Huge schools of fish swim with you as you drift along the coral wall. Once out there, I felt like I might never return.
Many of the coral reefs on this island have been destroyed by pollution or misuse. This experience is not typical here. To be able to partake in something so magical is such a blessing. Even here, in the Caribbean, we cannot take this experience for granted.
Although we don’t get to the beach as often as we would like, we find other ways to have moments of rest and refreshment. Our family loves to be in the outdoors so we try to find times to hike and visit waterfalls. We also take time to read, alone and together. We love to swing in our hammocks and just chat with each other. It is important for us to find moments of rest every week, even when we can’t swing a big vacation. We would love to know what you do to find little moments of rest during your busy week.
Abby, Harley, Kaden, Tavin, Logan


About harleymc31

My wife Abby and I are missionaries in the Dominican Republic, working as a High School Math and Science teachers at Doulos Discovery School. We are joined by our three boys, aged 9, 7, and 5 who attend the same school and bring us untold joy every day.
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