Sunday, December 12, 2010

He's Home!!

And we are so thankful! Mark's plane came in late Thursday evening. He was gone for 3 months studying abroad on South Caicos Island. 800 people live on the island- most are originally from Haiti or the Dominican Republic. The island is very poor. Their are no stores and only one restaurant. Litter is everywhere. Homes were more like shacks. 

There are more wild dogs than people on the island, hence the once a week phone call "Can I please bring home a dog?"

We are sorry to say, each time we answered NO!

The people on the island did not like the dogs but the students did. The dogs would follow the kids everywhere- for a little petting or a morsel of food.

The island had about 20 churches. It was predominantly Christian.
Mark got to know some of the local residents. They were very nice to the kids and I think they had some very interesting discussions.

There was no law on the island but the do have a police car.  It used to be an island for pirates long ago. While they were there a large amount of coca*ne washed up on the shore. They were told that it may happen and it did. What did the locals do with it? 
They sold it.

He said when he got on the plane in Miami- he thought to himself- "Wow, there's so many white people!"

I am guessing that is how our daughters felt once home.

The stories he is sharing with us are fascinating. He was kind of in a culture shock when he first got there and is experiencing this again upon arriving home. He gets shaky and teary talking about his experience on the island. Although it was wonderful- it was very challenging, too.

Food was delivered every 2 weeks by boat... unless the boat couldn't come. Then they ate whatever they could find.
He said they were outside most of the time... there really wasn't an inside- except for the bunkhouse. He was able to take a cold shower once a week. First thing he did once home was take a hot shower!

He went to study marine biology. They snorkeled and scuba dived every week. His pics are fascinating- they were under water with piranhas, shark, sting rays, octopus - you name it. It makes me feel like I should have been on my knees a whole lot more praying for our boy!

We asked Mark what did he take away from this experience. He said first we really don't need all the stuff we have or think we need. Second, the locals had a sense of despair. They were unmotivated and had become lazy. He said it is important for everyone to have a focus, a passion, a reason to get up, to work hard, to care...
Sad to say with 20 Christian churches their is still a sense of hopelessness. 

Johnny was so excited to see him! The first thing he said was "SLEEPOVER!!!" His big bro is home and his little bro really missed him!! (I don't think Johnny likes sleeping downstairs alone- to be honest!

Now he doesn't have too! Well, at least not for the next 2 weeks!!

Welcome Home Mark!!


Angie said...

Sounds like he learned a lot more than marine biology real life stuff you just can't get in a classroom. Welcome home to all the snow!!

Miller Moments said...

How wonderful to have your boy home! What an amazing experience it sounds like he had.

julie said...

I think the dogs are glad he's home. Such cute pictures!

The Heald Family said...

Enjoy having Mark home! So fun to hear all the stories I bet:)

Sarah said...

Wow! Sounds like an amazing trip!


Lori said...

Sounds like he had a very humbling experience that made a lasting impression.

And it also sounds like those 20 churches need to see a revival!

It must do your heart SO GOOD to have him back home safe and sound. :)

Cari said...

what a great story to share...and nice tan! I'm jealous. :)

Pam said...

So glad your boy is HOME! Our oldest son studied for a semester in Beijing. And when he came home close to Christmas it was one of the best gifts ever!

Karin said...

Wow...what an amazing life experience! So glad he is home for Christmas. Love the photo of your two boys together. :)

Janet and Kevin said...

You can tell what a great guy your son is by the way the dogs are so happy to see him. What sweet pictures! His stories make us all rethink our nice, comfy lives here. Wow! I am betting you will hear more stories as the days go by. Glad he is home and safe.

janet and gang

Serving the King said...

Oh Jean that was so precious. I can't tell you the number of times I picture my little men grown up as I read your stories about your grown little men. What an experience it sounds like he had!

Dr. D said...

So happy for you that you have your son home. Great Christmas present. :-)

Anita said...

WOW!! So many thoughts. What a blessing to have Mark home. I know the feeling since our two older ones live in TN and we're in OK. Hard to have them gone. But I must say the timing of reading Mark's thoughts on his time there was such God-timing as my Mark and I are praying through some ministry issues right now. Those words spoke volumes to us and confirmation. :)