This missionary trip to the Dominican Republic really has been amazing. The experience, the memories, and the culture will all stay in my heart. Throughout my time in the DR, I have seen God working in miraculous ways. I have seen God through the hard working people that live in the DR. God gives them the strength to wake up everyday and work for their families and loved ones. These people have determined hearts and minds. They continue to praise God even when they don't have materialistic things like shoes, technology, a big house and more. I have always lived by the motto of being greatful for everything I have, but it's really a whole different experience when you see it rather then saying it. It's truly amazing that God continues to be faithful and gives them joy and happiness. This trip is something I will never forget and I was so blessed to be part of it!
I thought I was prepared for my trip. I thought I was ready to see the immense poverty and hardships that the Dominican Republic faces, but It turned out I wasn’t. It was convicting to see people without certain things that I take for granted such as clean water, shoes on my feet, or my home. But just because they may not have certain luxuries that Americans do, doesn’t mean they aren’t happy. The people we had the privilege of working with had such a joy and a glow about them. This joy didn’t come from “stuff” but from the love and the hope that they found in Christ. They didn’t need the luxuries to glorify God. They used the little they had to share God’s love with others. The way they served Christ and others was truly an example that I will strive to follow. God really opened my eyes on this trip to look past myself and start looking for ways to serve him.
My time in the Dominican Republic truly taught me a lot. When I arrived, I thought that this experience would give my spirit some much needed refreshment, but as time went on, I felt the complete opposite. With every day that past by, I'd find myself even more frustrated and confused, which was not at all how I expected to feel. You see, even though I had humbled myself to do God's work, I wasn't feeling any improvement in my relationship with God. I would stay up late at night, most likely the latest out of my whole group, just staring at the ceiling and thinking to myself about these things and personal struggles I was dealing with. Nothing seemed to be getting better. But then, as the trip neared it's end, I had a revelation. I wasn't as close to God as I thought I was. Even though I wanted to heal my relationship with him I'd been trying to do it out of my own strength, not His, and that's what was off the whole time. I learned to truly lean on God's strength to help me through my struggles in life, and that's the main lesson I took away from this trip. I've also come to have a greater understanding of the world and how my brothers and sisters in Christ live in other countries. It's made me value my blessings way more, that's for sure. I'm super thankful for this opportunity, because without it I wouldn't know these things and wouldn't be growing spiritial as much as I am now.
During Q19 I saw God working last our limitations to complete His will. God created a connection between us and the Dominicans even through the language barrier. God gave us the abilities and strength to dig, paint, mix cement, work with rebarb, and do things we never have before, to help Pr. Alberto and Ina. God used people of all ages and ethnicites to work together and serve, He went past our differences and united us. I realized a lot of times I don’t make myself available to God to use me, because I feel I’m not fit for the job, task, or activity. But God can use us if we humble ourselves and surrender to Him, turning over our limitations to a god who has none. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:36
The experience I had in the Dominican Republic
was life changing. My mind is overflowing with topics I could share about my trip, but one topic in particular stood out to me. The DR is faced with countless struggles. Pastor Alberto told us that the only way to earn money was through baseball, politics, and drugs. That statement alone can make anyone’s heart ache. But the people in the DR didn’t see it as a roadblock- they saw it as an opportunity to see God work. The smiles I saw in the DR seemed to be endless. They could praise God without shoes on their feet. They could praise God without a roof over their head. They could praise God through financial instability. They could praise God through it all and it was absolutely inspiring to see.