Overcoming comparison with gratitude

By Annie Ansley, HOPE Trips Liaison, Dominican Republic

After almost a year living in the Dominican Republic, my husband and I have adjusted—for the most part—to the pace and style of life here. However, I still get frustrated when tasks that used to be simple in the U.S. are difficult, inconvenient, and time-consuming. I think it’s natural to make comparisons, but it’s almost certainly not helpful. So I wanted to realign my perspective by writing down a few things I’m thankful for in the D.R.:

  1. Water being delivered to my door. I may think it’s inconvenient that I can’t drink tap water, but guess what, I can call and get a 5-gallon jug brought right to our door. No delivery charge!
  2. A plethora of public transportation. Sometimes I miss having a car… But now I live somewhere where I can call a taxi that will arrive to pick me up within five minutes. I can walk to work, to church, and to the grocery store.  Or, for about 50 cents, I can always take the metro, hop in a public car (community taxis that run a set route on major roads), grab a bus, or jump on a motorbike.Bus
  3. Incredibly helpful people. Dominicans love to help! I have had strangers stop traffic so I can cross the street, personally walk me to where I need to go when I’ve asked for directions, and spend 45 minutes asking a shopping center full of stores if they can make change for my 1000-peso bill.
  4. Fruteros. Fruteros, or fruit stands, are everywhere here. I have a go-to guy down the street, Jean, who I can count on for cheap and fresh mangoes, pineapples, bananas, and avocados. He’ll give me discounts, and he’s even let me take my fruit for free when I didn’t have money with me.
  5. A full year of summer. To be able to wear short sleeves all the time, to constantly keep the windows open, to be able to head to the beach all year long. I love the heat, so I guess I’m in the right place.

pretty2Great, I’m feeling more thankful already! But I think there’s a bigger lesson here for me. No matter where we are or what we experience, we can and should see God in everything that is beautiful and good. All that we have is ultimately from Him, and it is our privilege to thank Him, the Author of generosity, of mangoes, of sunlight.

Still, sometimes life is hard, regardless of your home country. When I go back to the U.S., certain aspects of life will be inconvenient and dissatisfying at times. Though our God is perfect, our world isn’t. Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As it turns out, we weren’t meant to feel comfortable here; we aren’t home yet. So while we should thank God for the good He’s placed on this earth, it’s essential to wait expectantly for Heaven—where we can spend eternity with our perfect God!

AnnieAnnie is the HOPE Trips liaison for HOPE in the Dominican Republic. She welcomes trip participants and introduces them to clients, hearing and seeing firsthand the impact of Christ-centered microenterprise development. Annie loves being outside (especially if she’s running or at the beach!); cooking and eating; and spending time with her husband, Hamilton.

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered microenterprise development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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