Someone had casually poised the question to Ronal, "How did you end up here in the D.R in Chichigua?"
Ronal's bright white smile, between bites, answered, "I walked."
"When I was 12, I walked from Haiti to Chichigua," it rolled off his pearly whites as if it was nothing. It's not nothing, right? He was 12. He walked. Alone. A very long distance.
Hope has feet. Yes, it does. And in Ronal's case, his feet brought him to a new place, and that place brought him to this day :) The day that he and Kikina vowed before God and a community of family, friends, and children from various cultures to love each other until death do they part. I honestly know very little about Ronal and Kikina at this point, but I can tell you that their wedding was a spectacular event.
Anytime that I get to be a part - observe or take part - of our host culture's special moments, it takes my breath away in the most marvelous of ways. It is thrilling, really. And some of our Makarios staff had special parts in the ceremony - I can think of NO GREATER COMPLIMENT than to be asked to step into these special roles - not as foreigners or aliens, but as friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Seriously, a beautiful thing. I long for the day that my newness wears off and my friendships here are blossoming, and I trust that those moments are building one interaction at a time.
The bride was escorted into Chichigua, her chauffer the matron of Honor, Margaret Beck, the hostess with the mostess for Makarios. They were greeted by four legged and utterful admirers, while her groom waited out of sight.
The church in Chichigua, adorned with palm frans and greenery, a room full of various skin tones, ages, and cultures, was spilling out with beautiful characters.
There were MANY things that I adored about this wedding, but one of the things that I loved the most about this ceremony is that the bride and the best man sat in front of the matron of honor and the groom in the front of the church. Until a certain part of the ceremony, they remained apart, the only glimpse of his bride was the back of her head until that time.
Before the Pastor started in with the ceremony, he offered multiple escape routes to the bride and groom and congregation concerning the union that was about to occur. He asked no less than 3 times if there was any reason that the two should not be joined. I wondered if the Pastor was prepared in the event that someone came forward . . . . but no one did . . . and the ceremony continued.
Pastor Maris delivered a superb message in slow, deliberate Spanish (I say slow because I could understand everything! His first language is Creole:) The congregation filled the air with Creole praises. And at one point, a group of Chichiguan ladies sang a song - it was beautifully rhythmic and tropical sounding. Loved it.
By the way, it is totally acceptable here to get up and walk around and take photos - there were lots of family members with phones doing this, but I still can't bare to be noticed with my camera (I stick out enough already) but a day will come when I will just get over that. Soon. Very soon. But alas, I was able to capture a lot over the heads and shoulders of the people in front of me :)
See what I mean. This was one of the pastors/singers performing the wedding. The audience DID look pretty good too!! But I digress . . .
During this time, the smell of rain falling filled the church, and when the wedding party emerged from the chapel, everyone was met with the most dramatic of skies. It was as if heaven was participating in this celebration and the skies were filled with divine decorations.
Under the sherbert dusk, all of Chichigua and friends gathered, ate, celebrated.
Two of our Makarios staff, Darren Young a.k.a. El Doctor, and Margaret Beck, hostess extradorinaire, had the special honor of being in the Bridal party as Best Man and Matron of Honor. How COOL is that?????
Ronal the Ring Maker never looked more joyful! Will you join me in praying for a long and joyous marriage for him and Kikina???
Hope has feet. And wings. Hope does NOT disappoint. Hope's beginnings are in tribulations' stretchings. Hope is the drippings of God's Spirit.