When we first got to the Dominican Republic it wasn’t what I expected. I had expected it to be a little more developed than it was, it took me by surprise. I didn’t think it was something I could ever get used to but now we have been here for 10 days and I’ve become used to it. Also, when we first came here, I was also not expecting to like the food because I am a picky eater most of the time, but I ended up loving it. I have come to appreciate how simple everything is, and how everyone just goes with the flow here.
When we go into the communities I go to the neighborhood of Los Higos. Here we build relationships with the youth and adults through sports, crafts, and other interactions. Our main goal is to build connections between the church and teens, which seemed to be a challenge at first. We had a large group of little kids come to the youth camp in the morning who really wanted and got our attention. However, in the afternoon we got a larger group of teens come but it was somewhat hard to connect with them due to the younger kids hanging around us and the older youth got annoyed with them. When we went the next time, we decided we would really try to focus on the older kids who came and distract the younger kids with a game. This gave us an opportunity to talk with the older youth and build a connection with them. They told us some of what they have gone through or experienced in their life. The next time we went into Los Higos we went to the river there with youth 13 and older. Here we connected with the teens even better being able to talk with them without any younger youth being around. On this day we had someone accept Christ into their heart. This was very special and amazing to witness. At the rally that night we had a group of older teens who had admitted they had no faith. This was sad to hear but they continue to show up to the activities we put on and it was interesting to talk to them about Christ and what they believe. I pray they continue to listen to what the church has to say about Christ and that they will accept him into their hearts.
We went to Los Calabazos with the team one day. It is a beautiful river town where we were given the opportunity to spend time with Christ alone. I was able to reflect on my relationship with Christ and everything he has done for me and my family. I was also able to appreciate the beauty of this earth that God had created for us to live in. After we had spent time reflecting on everything and talking to Christ we went to a different part of the river. Here five people were baptized, and it was amazing to see their reactions because each person was so different. I was glad to be part of such a wonderful experience. We were also able to jump off a large rock into the river which was a lot of fun. Los Calabazos was a great place to connect with Christ and appreciate the earth and animals he created.
This trip has brought me closer to Christ and other Christians in my church which I am grateful for. I enjoy being able to connect with people who have a culture that is different than mine because it gives me a larger understanding of the differences in the world. I have learned that just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Even though the people here may not have as much as we do many of them are still happy and rejoice in Christ. They are still thankful for everything they have even if it’s not much which is amazing to witness. Overall, I hope that everyone can have an experience like this in their life so they can see the true workings of God and the role he plays in people’s lives daily.