When I came to the Dominican Republic in June of 2004 for an interview, I had such a small concept of what life in the DR would be like. I’ve adjusted more easily than most & love my life here, but that week was a small part of the start of many relationships that would enrich & change my life. Whether we realize it or not, relationships (friends, family, whomever) have incredible influence in our lives. That’s how its meant to be, God knew what He was doing in creating us to be relational beings. He desired relationship with us & for His children to have fellowship with one another.

One of those people I met the week I was here for my interview was Willy. Willy was a student at the Art School at that time. A young man about 16 or so, full of life, friendly, good-humored, with so much ahead of him. Willy’s family doesn’t have much but in the DR, economic circumstances don’t crush most people’s spirits. In the time that I was back in the States raising support & preparing to move to the DR, Willy was able to find work to help support his family. Since moving here in November, Willy would visit Francisco & I at the art site when he could. No longer able to study art, working a man’s job for little pay & trying to finish high school, he’d stop in to visit his old art teacher & American friend.

Last week we were hit with the shocking reminder of the fragility of life. Willy contracted Dengue Fever from a pesky mosquito. After three days of a high fever & his mother not wanting to take him to the doctor, Willy passed away after taking himself to the hospital. There are many bits of the story & what happened that I don’t know, but what I have heard is that Willy made a decision to accept Jesus as his Lord & Savior with one of his brothers who is a believer. This life passes like the blink of an eye. Not that we should live every moment anticipating or fearing death, but rather that we should live every moment to the fullest. Willy was supposedly hanging out & swimming in the river on Sunday & breathed his last breath on this earth on Tuesday.

While I wish Willy could have experienced real “life” on this earth after making a decision for Jesus, I now pray for his family & friends that there may be an impact on the community of Barrio Blanco, that God may use it for His glory.

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