Posts Tagged ‘ Missions ’

Dealing with culture shock

I’ve decided that every time I leave the US, the harder it is to come back. I am so in-tune to the culture of Latin America, the culture shock of coming back is never easy.

Honestly, I am not thrilled about being in the States right now. After talking to my dad I realized there are a few reasons why this trip back seems so much more difficult than others. First, my trip was only a week – the shortest time I had been out of the country prior to this trip was 2 weeks. My brain, body, and heart were definitely not ready to leave after a week. Second, the older I get, the more clear it is what I need to be doing in the future. The difficult part is waiting for that future to come and trusting in God’s plan for my life. Third, I just flat-out love life in the DR. It’s way better than law school.

So, yep, I’m bummed. I’m trying hard at getting back into my normal Lynchburg routine, but it’s difficult. One thing that made my life a little brighter was finally being reunited with my cat, Tani. The vet isn’t open on weekends, so I had to wait until this morning to pick her up from boarding. She’s happy to be home, and I am glad to have her back. She’s contently purring on my lap, completely sprawled across my legs. That’s nice.

The bridge in Los Calabazos

I kind of feel like I’m crossing this bridge right now in life. It doesn’t appear to be all that safe. It’s risky. You never know which boards are secure and strong and which ones to avoid. Crossing it, however, brings thrills that can’t be experienced anyway else and joy that comes in being brave and making the journey successfully. Law school is something I would never have anticipated being put in my path (and also something I would not wish on my worst enemy). But God called and I answered. During my trip, every organization/mission I spoke with said that having an Spanish-speaking teacher by trade that also knows the law would be a great asset to their work. Even so, I still haven’t seen all the pieces fit together. It’s difficult to feel called to the missions’ field, and yet be stuck in school, acquiring loads of debt. All I want to do right now is be in the DR, but, God will provide, and all will be in his timing.

I continue look to my favorite verses for encouragement – Habakkuk 1:2-5

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer: “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

~Amber Joy


First post about the Dominican Republic

Daddy and me, 2009

For those of you who know me, the Dominican Republic has defined my life since I was about 5, and has directed my life since 5th grade. My dad went to the DR for the first time in 1993, and came back with a new passion for serving the Dominicans. This passion leaked into my soul too, and I began studying Spanish when I was in 4th grade. In 5th grade, our family made a trip down to the DR.

Here’s an excerpt from my spiritual autobiography:

“In 1999 we took a family vacation to the Dominican Republic, because my dad had finally decided to share a big part of his heart with the rest of the family.  I never expected it to become such a big part of my heart, but the moment I stepped off the plane I felt it.  I felt like I was home and felt God’s presence.  I knew that the Dominican Republic was the place for me.  I was not sure why I felt this way, seeing that I had only been in the country for a minute, but I knew it was from God.”

I’ve gone back four times, joining the team from our church, with my dad by my side. Each time, God’s calling became clearer and clearer.  In college I majored in Elementary Education and Spanish, thinking that God would use me as a teacher in the DR. I still believe I’m meant to be a teacher today, but God has put (at least) one more think in my path – law school. I’ll leave the whole story of that major decision to another post.

Because of law school, I’m left without a plan. I know God wants me in the DR. I know that I’m supposed to be in law school. But how to the two fit together? Here’s my most recent epiphany: Invisible Children of Latin America. And by epiphany I mean  this is something I’ve been uncovering and studying for the past few years. However, I’ve just recently begun to had the opportunity share my passion about the issue. I was able to write about it for the Liberty Legal Journal (see Also, I will be writing a major research paper on the topic for both my International Human Rights class and a nation Human Rights contest. I feel incredibly blessed to have these opportunities to share about such a hidden issue.

So that’s where I sit. A law student, with a calling to be in the Dominican Republic, and the great opportunity to share about the issues in Latin America through writing and research.

Oh, one more thing. I am going to the DR this March to join Rick and Becky Mackey in ministry!  Rick was my youth pastor, and he and his family are now missionaries in the Dominican Republic. The purpose of their ministry is to reach the locals, teach them about Christ, and give them the tools to be Christian leaders in their communities. I will be joining them for a week, doing what they do, and also spending time connecting with people working in the legal field. Awesome, right?

God is definitely blessing me.

~Amber Joy