I’ve been promising to write about my mission trip to the Dominican Republic for a while. Forgive me for putting it off. Honestly, I could sit and talk about the experience all day. But strangely, when I sit to write about it, I still find it hard to put into words. Does that even make sense? Anyway, One Vision asked me to write an article for their newsletter about the trip and this is what I wrote. I thought I’d share it here with you.
We bumped down a dirt road, and I squinted out the window of the bus, trying to take in everything on this my first international mission trip.
A friendly face smiled and waved at our pink bus as a rooster scooted behind her. Claudia, the local One Vision missionary, called to us in English.
Nine of us filed off the bus and down a mud path towards the children’s center. We rounded the corner of a concrete block building surrounded by Palm trees and lush vegetation and immediately heard the sing-song “Hola” – the voices of the children greeting us.
I’m a mom.
It’s who I am. So my first reaction to seeing the children was an emotional one. I wanted to scoop them up and squeeze them.
The sweetest faces smiled at us as the team set up for a Bible story and craft. One group headed out for a prayer walk through the community. Another told the story of Jesus and made a Popsicle stick cross with markers, stickers and glitter. While they did their craft, I took pictures of the kids who needed sponsors.
Through the lens of my camera, I tried to frame up the children so people back home could see who they were. But how do you capture such personality and sparkle through a tiny glass square? My viewfinder didn’t do them justice. With each click I prayed, “Lord, provide a sponsor.”
Much to my amazement, this small cinderblock children’s center services 150 children. They provide snacks, help with homework, lead them in crafts, but most importantly, they show God’s unconditional love. Sponsorships from people like you and I help provide that. Being there helped me see how important that support really is.
An hour later, covered in glitter, sweat and love we left and prepared to begin the women’s conference. Each of us worked in the gift God gave us to minister to these women whose language we didn’t even speak. I was the speaker and shared with them about how when we don’t think anyone notices all the things we do, God sees. God chose each of us for our specific tasks, and He can use those ordinary things to do something extraordinary.
The women communicated time and again how God spoke through the messages. Each of the ladies on our team led incredible workshops about relevant topics like forgiveness, grief and prayer.
Our team member Roberta led a prayer corner for them, and they lined up for their turn to pray. Tears were shed – both theirs and ours. It’s amazing to watch as God uses each of His children for His glory.
On one of our last nights, we sat around a table at the hotel and sang worship, while one of our interpreters played his guitar. Another hotel guest heard the music and told us through translation that he was drawn because he could feel the presence of the Lord.
I could say the same of this trip. The Lord drew me to the Dominican. He drew each of the team to the children and the women there. While ministering, we felt His presence. And in His presence, we all have been changed.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
Would you be willing to partner with One Vision to sponsor one of the children there? Or perhaps you want to experience a trip for yourself. Contact One Vision and find out how you can get involved.