I’m back from the Dominican Republic, and I miss it already!
For the Cliff’s Notes version, my wife Krista and I took our two girls, Brooklyn and Sydney (ages 6 and 5), down to the village of Esperanza in the Dominican Republic, just outside of Santiago. My friend and Servants Heart Ministry co-founder Rob Dublin and his wife, Kyna, led the trip, and brought along their two girls, Baylor and Addison (ages 5 and 7). Their daughter Baylor had been on a mission trip before, but their other daughter and our two daughters had never been. We not only wanted to help the people of Esperanza, but also we wanted our kids to be able to experience another culture and the mission field first hand.
Since we brought young kids, this was certainly more of a ‘mission-trip lite’. We stayed in a hotel. We only spent two days in the village, and the good side of that is that the girls were left wanting more. Syd almost started crying, as she really wanted to go back and meet all her friends for a third day. Servants Heart has a food program in three areas of the DR, and Esperanza is the closest to a major airport, and also the safest.
The first day was a bit of a party atmosphere for the kids. In the weeks leading up to the trip, friends and family had graciously donated flip-flops, crayons, toy cars, sun glasses, and money for purchasing those popular string back-packs. The flip flops and string back-packs were more on the practical side, and the rest was more for fun.
The second day was the food program day, and I got to hang
out with some of the boys there. On a whim the day before we left for the DR, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and got a case of baseballs, which turned out to a bit a hit (har, har)- baseball is the biggest sport in the country (Dominican stars include Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Big Papi, etc). Through my broken Spanish and a mutual love of baseball, we went over which positions each of us played (I’ve played about every position, but could only remember the word for ‘second’, which is ‘segundo’.), our favorite teams (I tried to convert them to the Reds), and the best ways to hold a slider and a circle change-up.
The Hardest Part-
There are 93 kids in the program, and there was exactly enough for 93 meals of rice, beans and chicken. (in that area, kids get a glass of milk and some fortified bread at school, and oftentimes, that’s all they get to eat). However, word got out (especially with the goodies given out the day before), and probably 20 more kids showed up. What impressed me the most was that kids who weren’t in the program would tell the workers “no program, no program” and didn’t try to take the food. That was probably the hardest part of the trip for Krista- seeing hungry kids and not having food for them. It’s hard for us in America to conceive, but if you have food for 93 kids, you don’t have enough food for that 94th kid, let alone the 113th. Luckily we’d gone to the DR’s version of Wal-Mart the day before, and picked up mass quantities of cookies- so the non-program kids were able to have something to eat, even if it wasn’t as nourishing.
Speaking of which, if you want to sponsor that 94th kid, you can do so easily online here at www.ServantsHeartMinistry.com. Every single kid matters!
We were able to meet the little boy we sponsor, Michael, and also were able to meet and pass along letters and some gifts for 7 kids who our friends and business sponsor. It meant a lot to our girls, but all of us were changed for the better in this amazing trip. You can also see more pictures my wife took on the trip here.
Have you ever gone on a mission trip? What impacted you the most? Comment below!