The Hall of Fame

What a difference a year will make!!  Last year, when we returned home from the mission field, I was sad.  In fact, I was so sad that I was mildly depressed for several weeks because it was hard to find meaning in my life/ministry here in NC after seeing and ministering to the needs in the Dominican Republic.  But tonight, I can say that I’m GLAD to be home!

Oh, I’m not saying that the need isn’t great– it is.  And I’m not saying that the ministry wasn’t fabulous– it was.  And it surely was hard today to leave as our bus drivers, pastors, and translators asked us repeatedly to stay and when would we return.  But at the same time, I feel a lot of purpose in my NC life these days.  And there’s just really no place like home–especially when you’re sick (I’ve got an upper respiratory infection) and worn out.

Last year, when I returned from the DR, I wrote a kind of “Hall of Fame” of sorts to honor the special people on my trip.  Because this year was just as special, I would like to do that again.

I would like to thank God.  I’m still not sure of everything He was trying to teach me on this year’s trip.  But I know that He won’t stop working on me until I completely “get” it.  This trip was not as physically hard on me as some in the past, but it was more mentally and emotionally difficult in a lot of ways.  I’m still sorting through all of the mental and emotional puzzle pieces of this trip.  But when God’s finished helping me put it together, I’m interested to see what the picture’s going to look like.

I’d like to thank Barry and Missy for stepping up to the plate and taking leadership of a team on only their SECOND time on the field!  When God said, “Take this group to the DR.”  They said, “We’ll go.”  When money looked like it wouldn’t come through, they kept pressing on.  When team members dropped out, they kept pressing on.  When Barry broke four vertebrae in his back, he said, “Forget it, Doc.  I’m going anyway.”  God rewards that kind of faithfulness, you guys!  And I won’t forget it anytime soon either!

Special thanks to the Clowers…  I know it’s like technically your “job” to host us, but you never make it feel like a job.  You make it feel like a special privilege.  Even when you were going through what was undoubtedly a heartbreaking time with the loss of Darrel’s mother, you went out of your way to bless us so that we could minister to the people of this country that you live in and love.  What a testimony to us and to your people!

Thanks to Andres and Pedro– the most precious pastors that I’ve ever met.  Don’t worry, I’m not stroking out.  My face really is naturally this red.  🙂  And yes, I do believe that God will let me come back to you one day.  If not, don’t worry.  In heaven, we’ll be speaking the same language without having to use silly sign language.  🙂

Thanks to Smith, Osram, Omar, Jorge, and Isai– our faithful, skilled translators.  You showed up every day and helped us ask embarrassing questions to total strangers.  We worked.  We laughed.  We loved.  We prayed.  And at the end of the week, we’d managed to change the lives of almost 1,000 people.  God used you guys and He will bless you for your willingness and your work.  Dios le bendiga!  (Isai, PLAY BALL!!)

Thanks to Alberto & Ramon– you came early and stayed late.  You got us everywhere we were supposed to be and  you got us there safely.  You held our purses while we shopped, held our hands when we stepped on and off the bus, and made us feel as safe in a foreign land as we’ve ever felt at home.  You became our family.  Alberto, thank you for asking me to come back soon.  It makes me feel like I blessed you in some way.  Ramon, thank you for the blessing today at the parking deck of the hotel…  Yes, God IS my fortress and He DOES bless me!  And thanks for the little pieces of candy you slipped me each day just to encourage me.

Jess H., Jackie, and Lisa– you came into a group of strangers and became family.  You opened your hearts to us and most of all to the people of the Dominican Republic.  And none of us will ever be the same.  (Hey Lisa– Barry jokes, but we all know that you have one of the biggest hearts we’ve ever known.)

And finally– Harvest Temple youth– last summer when Barry, Missy, and I started talking about taking you guys to the DR, I knew that it was a God thing.  It was hard.  But it was worth it, wasn’t it?  I saw you taking temperatures and blood pressures.  I saw you holding babies and playing frisbee with the kids.  I saw you cutting voo-doo bracelets off of babies and then praying to dedicate them to God.  And Dylan, I saw you washing that lady’s feet.  You guys have a purpose and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Play hard, but work hard, too.  God has so much that He wants to do through you.  Just watch and see!

About Sarah Salter


  1. So thankful you all are home safely! Love you!

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