This summer has been quite a busy one! The boys went on many trips with their Grandparents and Joe and I got to go on our first Missions trip to the Dominican Republic.
It's amazing to see how God works but I really love seeing it when it is happening. That's what happened with this Missions Trip.
A few months ago, our children's minister put on his facebook status that he was looking for people that wanted to go on a Missions Trip to the Dominican. Of course, I was very interested but Joe was skeptical. As time passed we still were undecided about going. During the week of VBS, our friend Patti came up and asked me if Joe and I were going on the trip. She said that her daughter was probably going to go and wanted us to make sure she would be OK. Not that she isn't capable of doing so (she's an extraordinary girl) but because she's 16 and going off to another country. Then the same day, our children's minister came to me and said the airlines dropped the ticket prices $200. So, we booked the trip.
We arrived in Santo Domingo. We had a local Pastor waiting for us to take us to our Taxi. We went to our hotel to check in and I think we all thought the hotel was OK, nothing to brag about. We went sight seeing and then back to the hotel. Joe and I were terrified to brush our teeth with the running water so we kept a bottle of water in the bathroom.
The next morning we headed about 2 hours north to camp. We were going to a VBS type Christian camp to help with about 400 children from ages 5-16. I was not expecting to live the way we did for the next few days. It was so hot and so humid. The room we were in had a portable fan and that was all the air we had. The running water was cold and more of a drip than running, and the thought of washing my hands made me nervous. There were bugs, spiders and lizards everywhere. The shower water would come and go as it needed. We had to keep Off bug spray on us 24/7. If you know me, you know that this is a far stretch for me. I'm not the outdoorsy type much less the camping type. The first day at camp was one of the longest days of my life. I didn't know how we were going to survive 4 days living this way. That is until after dinner that first night. A little girl came up to me and grabbed my hand. I looked down at this beautiful little girl (about the same size as my boys) and said "hola." She spoke hardly any English and I speak little Spanish but I was able to learn her name and that she is 7 years old. She followed me to our room where we met the rest of the people in our group (there was 6 of us!) The little girl (Marie) showed me so much. She trusted me. She didn't know me and she came up to me, took my hand and followed me. The first night went a little quicker than the day.
The next day, many of the children were coming to our group. Throughout our time there we led praise time, we led an entire worship time (with a translator of course), we presented cardboard testimonies translated in Spanish and we prayed with the older kids. We helped with crafts and played sports. We sat talking to the kids, teaching them English while they taught us Spanish. The time flew by. We had such a great time with the Dominican children and Joe and I had a great time with our new friends or family which we now call them.
This trip has forever changed me. I realized what a spoiled American I am. I have so much to be thankful for and all though I am, it wasn't enough. The people in the DR have so little material wise. Their houses are as big as a shed. For most, camp is the only time they even get to look at a pool. But they're happy. The love of Jesus is more than enough for them. They didn't complain they praised. That first day, we all complained and we didn't realize it until our attitudes had changed. I am so thankful God showed me how He blesses me each day. I have forever been changed. I've learned that material things are just that...material! Life is about relationships, especially with Jesus.