We will never forget our time in the Dominican Rrepublic or the wonderful people that we got to interact with. Our main agenda was to help with a summer camp for teenagers at a local church. If you know anything about my life, I am a BIG fan of summer camp. This was the first summer camp that they have been offered and we were humbled to be a part of it. We lead workshops, games, crowd breakers, and gave testimonies. It was a challenge in the intense heat with a language barrier, but I am proud to say that the 13 people we brought from the States gave it their all and did a good work.
At the end of the camp, 45 teenagers had accepted Christ out of the 150 attending and 85 of them signed up to be a part of small groups that will do a book/Bible study on purity in the weeks to come. We will continue to pray that God works in the hearts and lives of these teens far beyond what we did!
We were honored to work with one of our missionary families, Jamie and Berly Bello. We’ve known Jamie for decades; since college, then youth pastoring, and now supporting her on the mission field. She spends her time raising up a generation of youth pastors in a country that has not typically had youth focused programs. One of the youth pastors told me that Jamie was the first person to believe in the dream that God had put in his heart. He is now youth pastoring (as a volunteer because there are no paid youth pastors in the DR) and is obviously anointed by God to change his nation.
This was the perfect trip for our church. We got to pour our support into people on the frontlines of youth ministry and serve them with everything we have. We love teenagers, we love our missionaries, and we love hard work! Jamie said our group asked her more times than she could believe, “What can I do for you?” If we left the DR nothing more than that, we were successful.
I’m not sure that anybody who went will ever be the same, and that is a good thing. Our eyes have been opened to a culture where some things are different, but the needs, wants, and desires of the people are very similar to our own. We all left with certain faces burned into our hearts, as God tied us to their hopes, dreams, and fears. We will carry a little of the Dominican Republic with us wherever we go.
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