The Perfect Mission Trip

What makes a perfect mission trip? The perfect combination of service, relationship building, rest, and team camaraderie. Kudos to David and Lisa McCarty from World Servants and glory to God for making last week’s mission trip to the Dominican Republic a perfect one. 

After a good dinner Saturday evening, we went right into our first 24 hours of building relationships by walking up and down the mountainous hillside visiting the people of  San Cristobal.  me visiting

Then on Sunday evening, we enjoyed sharing worship and stories with them during their church service.  DR Church

When Monday came, we split into four teams to begin our projects and show love to the people of San Cristobal by getting our hands dirty…

We had the privilege and joy of restoring a couple tin roofs and laying concrete floors in the homes of those who could not afford to do it for themselves. One of whose owners was in the hospital because the mother had just given birth so it was a joy to know that we were creating a new, clean environment for mom and baby when they returned home. One of the things that was special about this trip is that we were not laying floors all by ourselves with the Dominicans looking on. Instead of us coming in and showing them the American way, the Dominicans worked hard alongside us showing us several techniques for mixing mounds of sand and cement and teaching us how to level and spread a concrete floor using string and two-by-fours.  cement lines

blog laying cement

As I said in my last blog, we receive just as many blessings from these mission projects as we give.  But there was something new about this trip that I hadn’t expected…  Our team ministered and enriched one another as a by-product of reaching out to and serving the Dominicans.

 

 

 

 

This was the most impactful team I have ever been apart of.  None of us could have laid seven concrete floors, built a community garden, or conducted kids programs for hundreds of children in just one week without the help of every other member of the team. For instance, mixing the mounds of sand and cement required several people at a time, it took a bucket brigade to move the concrete to the floors, and several people at a time to spread and smooth the concrete in the houses. It was very rewarding to achieve so much while working side by side with new friends.  mixing cement with me in background

Sure, it was hard work. However, the hot working days were only seven hours long and when you were exhausted at the end of the day, there was the option to go to bed as early as 8:30 and get up at 6:30 in the morning.  And yes, I did that a couple times.

Then there was the garden that we helped plant for the school so they will have food for school lunches when the kids start attending full days next year. The project started on Monday on the side of a hill where one of the teams had to break through hard ground and pull brush. Then they had to cut down trees and make a fence for the entire area.breaking ground for the garden

By the time my team got there, they needed us to clear a path to lay PVC pipe so they could direct spring water down the mountain, we had to rake up the rocks, and then the donkeys had to carry more bags of black dirt up the steep mountain side so we could finish adding the top soil.me raking garden

It was amazing that within five days, we were planting seeds.planting seedsIt will be a joy to see pictures of fresh vegetables during harvest time!

My favorite part of any mission project (whether it is here or overseas) is spending time with the children.  Each of our teams went to a different school to tell a Bible story with drama, sing songs (that we learned in Spanish), play games, face paint, make balloon animals, and do a butterfly craft.  DR school teaching

Then when there was a break in construction at the homes, I would pull out the “Spot It” game and work with the kids to find the matching objects. me playing with the kids

This is the closest I have come to understanding how Jesus felt when he told the disciples to “let the children come unto me.”  Their love is unconditional and they are so eager to enjoy all you have to give them.  me with the kids

This is my new friend Jakela.  Isn’t she adorable?  me with Jakela

Not only did the team camaraderie and working side by side with the Dominicans make this a very rewarding trip, but the times of encouragement and sharing in the mornings and evenings were inspirational with the devotions centered around the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Mark 6).

We were of all ages and total strangers. The majority of the team came on this trip alone but we all left as lifetime friends. We had to trust one another and be there for one another. Never before has it brought tears to my eyes as I think about my mission friends. I love you guys:  Pat, Patti, Heather, Heidi, Denise, Barb, Amy, Joy, Loren, Nan, Howard, Brian, Andy, Julie, Jason, Amanda, Danny, Haley, Erica, Jadee, Jolee, Steven, Jennifer, Dave, Lisa, Katie Johnson and Katie Jorgenson!group at the garden

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