New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

A Week in the [Pandemic] Life: Part II

Posted: 23 Sep 2020 08:00 PM PDT

Wednesday, September 16
6:00 am Left for the botanical garden. 
7:19 am Came home to this sunrise view from my balcony. It’s my favorite spot in the house, especially on evenings when there’s a breeze. 
8:57 am Dryers are few and far between in missionary homes, but my IKEA drying rack serves me well in that I never have to hang my laundry outside in the elements. Been there, done that, washed too many loads twice when they got rained on. 
9:00 am (or shortly thereafter) Headed to the office for a morning of collaborative work with Courtney. We’re trying to be trendsetters by maintaining regular office hours and encouraging colleagues to stop by during them instead of sending emails and WhatsApp messages. (Side note: I still don’t relish the half block walk from home to the office, but my confidence is increasing. Carrying pepper spray and silently reciting Psalm 23:4 helps.)
12:40 pm Headed home for lunch and to give fellow missionary Cindy a refresher on cataloging library books. 
1:30 pm Joined the weekly DR Lead Team meeting upstairs while Cindy kept plugging away at cataloging downstairs. The Team Lead circle spent much of our hour together planning for Saturday’s Asamblea. 
3:10 pm “Hit the books” with Cindy after the meeting. No typical week would be complete without a Freddy picture; he thought he’d put the “cat” in cataloging. 
4:53 pm Posted the “Trivia Wednesday” link in our regionwide WhatsApp group. Every Wednesday morning, a Scrabble buddy of mine emails 10 random, multiple choice trivia questions to a distribution list of ~60, then follows up with the answers later in the day. Midway through the pandemic, I was experimenting with different interactive educational tools, so I tried my hand at converting the questions into a Quizizz quiz. It worked brilliantly, so I’ve kept it up since as a way to boost morale and foster friendly competition. I have a reminder on my phone to post the answers on Friday nights. 
5:38 pm Called the colmado (corner store) for replacement botellones of drinking water. They run RD$50 (~$1) each nowadays. 
5:50 pm ¡Colmado! Sometimes the moto arrives within minutes; other times I need to call multiple times. I’m enough of a regular that I’m known as the Americana!
5:53 pm I propped my phone up against the balcony railing to capture the above video and retrieved it minutes before it started downpouring!
Thursday, September 17
~6:30 am Enjoyed one of my favorite smoothie combos featuring fresh, tropical fruit (coconut milk, papaya, banana, oats, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla) before heading to the garden a bit later than normal for a leisurely stroll with my Kindle. Is it odd to read while I walk? I just started reading a new murder mystery that I’m totally hooked on!
9:01 am It’s immediately obvious that the pile of books to be cataloged is MUCH smaller. 
10:00 am The entire LAC regional team meets weekly. Besides the Dominican Republic, there are faces on the screen in Belize, Canada, Spain, [currently] the United States, and Uruguay. I take minutes!
12:33 pm Sat down to the second installment of a working lunch with the director of both Lutheran schools in Santiago and their respective chaplains at the home of LAC Regional Director Rev. Ted Krey. More about my newfound involvement with the schools here and in an upcoming post now that week 1 of teaching is under my belt. 
2:30 pm Joined a Zoom meeting with a partner organization from Ted’s house since we talked professional development so long I didn’t even have time to drive the few blocks home!
3:03 pm Met up with Cindy for a downtown adventure: sourcing some of the Spanish books on our library wish list from a Catholic bookstore. 
4:02 pm Headed back to Cerro Alto after learning that the bookstore closed at 4 pm. Curfew is still at 7 pm on weeknights (until Monday!), so many businesses have altered their hours to open and close earlier than what’s listed on Google. I’m pleased to report, though, that Cindy went back the next morning and is best buds with Sister Maria now!
6:52 pm Prepped for tomorrow’s women’s Bible study (even though I knew I’d miss most of it because of CHE training) by going through Week 1, Day 5 of Heidi Goehmann’s The Mighty & The Mysterious.
Friday, September 18
6:00 am Left for the garden. 

8:21 am No typical week would be complete without at least one new recipe, either. This Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal Bake is a keeper, but in all honestly, who knows when or if I’ll make it again because there are so many others out there to try!
9:00 am CHE training continued with guest presenters Rev. Gary Schulte and Sharon Thomas of Lutherans in Medical Missions
12:47 pm Caught the end of women’s Bible study. We live in different parts of the world and represent different ages and stages, but I’m so built up by the wisdom of these beautiful ladies. 
2:30 pm #lessonplanning
4:57 pm Yes, that is the LAST book to be cataloged. How should we celebrate???
5:18 pm Left for a lovely tapas dinner and a new (to me) Scrabble card game at fellow missionary Kate’s apartment. 
6:58 pm Got home just in time for our 7 pm curfew. As of Monday, it’s getting pushed back to 9 pm on weekdays and 7 pm on weekends!!!
7:11 pm Posted Trivia Wednesday winners. 
Saturday, September 19
6:00 am Left for the garden. I go often enough that I notice the subtle changes they’re always putting in place. This week, it was replacing caution tape that had been there for over a year with this secret-garden-esque portal at the entrance to the maze. 
9:06 am DRLM Asamblea – a chance for each ministry area (short-term teams included) to present on its activities of the past six months. Typically this is done in conjunction with an in-person FORO meeting, with US guests present, bilingually. In re-imagining the FORO to go 100% online, though, it made the most sense to gather as the DRLM on a totally different day. 
12:20 pm Ate a quick lunch and then went to IKEA to pick up my order, an end table for one of my guest rooms (and a picture frame). 
2:22 Commence IKEA furniture building!
2:54 pm Furniture-building interlude when my carpenter friend came by to drop off the Spanish Psalm 23 wall hanging he framed for me. 
3:56 pm Done! When are you coming to visit so you can stay here? 
4:16 pm Saturday afternoon writing (editing the “What’s next?” section I wrote for the end of the new series of short-term volunteer devotional booklets in development)!
5:02 pm FaceTimed with dear friends in the Chicagoland area. 
My typical week couldn’t have ended any more typically, with leftovers for dinner, Cardinals baseball, Netflix, and drifting off to sleep in eager anticipation of gathering around God’s Word with my Cordero de Dios church family the next morning – the perfect place to start a new “typical” week. I hope, after reading this post and the previous one, that you feel like the curtain has been peeled back a bit on real #missionary life. It’s full of surprises and the variety and challenge I thrive on. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t easy. But it’s the life to which I’ve been called, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 
Until next time, blessings!