I first felt the Lord calling me to go on a mission trip a year ago. I had never been on one and, with three children and a tight budget, I didn’t really see that in my future. However, I also understood that God’s plans for my life often don’t line up with our budget or timelines. My husband had been on a few and even lived in Venezuela with his family for a year as missionaries. We had very different upbringings and I never imagined doing missions myself. My husband is content with almost anything. I, on the other hand, am not the “roughing it” kinda gal. Still, he felt it was important for me to experience it at least once in my life. I am so grateful to him for his encouragement and support in leading our family, which led to this mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
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My Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic
I had always wanted to travel to the Dominican Republic but never imagined my first trip would be with my 13-year-old son and a mission team. It makes me wonder what other adventures await as I let go of my plans and vision for my future and let God lead. The trip was initially scheduled for Haiti. However, a few weeks before our travel date, the unrest in Haiti forced us to find an alternate destination. The organization we were working with had recently opened two additional locations; Turks & Caicos and the Dominican Republic. Our only option was to change plans or cancel our trip.
God’s Plan & Provision
Everything miraculously fell into place and all 20 of us were able to find a last-minute flight to the Dominican Republic during Spring Break. The way that God orchestrated this all was truly incredible. None of us could deny his hand in the matter. We thought we were going to Haiti, but he had planned for us to be in the D.R. the whole time. One of our group leaders said the Lord placed the D.R. on her heart for this year so she would not be joining us in our trip to Haiti. However, in wanting to support her church youth, she agreed. She had not been wrong. The Lord had prepared her heart for the D.R. and brought us all there.
Because of the short notice, we were not able to fly into the closest airport. We arrived in Santo Domingo and took a five-hour trip by bus to Sosua. This was the first time I flew in a plane and didn’t feel motion sickness. I was sure the 5-hour bus ride would get me, but it didn’t. Praise God for his mercy towards me. Once we arrived at our campus we were all amazed. Were we on a mission trip or a resort? The scenery atop the mountain was a beautiful display of God’s craftsmanship. It’s funny how we sometimes forget that the same God who created the Heavens also created us. Everywhere we turned, nature was singing his praises and so were we. As if that weren’t enough, there was a beautiful waterfall and pool on location. We barely expected indoor plumbing or hot water, let alone a pool!
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Receiving His Shalom
Before the trip, both my parents were informed of health issues they had. It was a stressful few weeks leading up to the trip and I doubted God’s timing in all of it. He reassured me that he is always in control and told me to receive his shalom (a phrase I would not normally use). As I walked on campus the first day, I passed a sign that read, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” in English and Spanish. Upon reaching the dorm, I saw that it also had a sign about peace. I knew I was at the right place.
On a Mission in the Dominican Republic
We ended up doing construction work which I didn’t really expect. We helped build a retaining wall around a community center in a town that would go from dry to flooded in less than four hours. A woman from another mission group runs the local community center that serves as a daycare, youth center, and offers adult workshops. Her plan was for the center to become an even safer place for the community in case of flooding. Since the main mode of transportations are motorcycles, it would be helpful for people in the community to be able to park it there in the event of heavy rains.
It was nice to see all of our teens working so hard. They took turns carrying concrete blocks, digging a trench, mixing and transporting cement, and playing with the kiddos. They didn’t complain once but truly impressed the other workers and showed the love of Jesus through their dedication and smiles. During our lunch break the kids were the life of the party, encouraging us all to dance to “Church Clap” and “Cupid Shuffle.” They also taught the kids some card tricks and other stuff.
Blessings Upon Blessings
There were so many great moments had on this trip. We took turns leading morning and evening devotionals, played Rummy 200 after dinner (I was always in the negative so getting to 500 was a stretch!), and got to know each other in a deeper way. I enjoyed quiet time praying on our roof with an amazing view, watching the kids jump in the pool and bond, and laying on the beautiful beach on our last day there. Still, the best part of the trip for me was getting to pray with each of the translators and workers. I was blessed to hear God’s plans in raising up these particular men, especially the Haitians who have been marginalized in the D.R.
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What made coming back home a little easier was being able to connect with some of the interns, translators, and the woman who runs the community center through social media. Now we get to keep up with what’s going on, share praise reports, and witness God move there even though we can’t physically be present. I feel like some of their dreams have become my dreams. While I will not realistically accomplish those dreams with them, I’m so invested in seeing them come to fruition. I thank God so much for keeping them in my heart and using me to intercede on their behalf. I pray that we can meet again and continue doing his will together, even if for only short periods of time.
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Do you have a mission trip story you would like to share? I would love to hear it! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or send a message to [email protected].