I’ve finally stepped foot outside of US borders!
I spent last week in the sunny and warm Dominican Republic doing missions work with an organization of churches called the Red Del Camino Network. Each year, my university sends out several teams on missions trips to various places around the world. Being the wanderlustful (is that even a word?) soul that I am, I was really interested, and settled on the Dominican Republic based on conversations and information on what this particular trip would entail. Needless to say, it was an amazing week and I am beyond happy that I decided to go.
We walked out of the airport in Santo Domingo and smelled the ocean breeze and I was like a little kid in a candy store. It was such a weird feeling being in a foreign country for the first time, and in the Caribbean on top of that! The church we worked with for the first half of the week in Santo Domingo had a guest house, and that’s where we stayed. It was so beautiful; a 4th floor condo with a really gorgeous view!! We could see the sea in the distance. Our second morning there, we woke up for the sunrise, which put me in awe and amazement. Things like that always speak to me as a testament of the power of God and the beautiful creation He’s made for us.
While working with the church in Santo Domingo, we had the opportunity to help out in the soup kitchen that they run for the homeless of that part of the city. It’s 5 days a week, for lunch. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, but the people we were able to meet and the things we experiences were unforgettable. A pastor from a different church about an hour away comes in every day to do a devotional and prayer with the people that come. He’s so dedicated, and of course doesn’t receive anything in return for this incredible act of selflessness. Right now, he’s been going through the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which is a book I love, but he was reading it in Spanish, of course! It was really neat to see how receptive and attentive the people were that he was speaking to. They don’t have anything – they’re living on the streets of the capital of the country, and yet so many were joyful and full of kind words and smiles. The pastor opens up the floor at the end of the devotional for anyone to sing a song if they feel inclined. And some people did! It blew me away that even though these people are so poor and have nothing, they can still have this kind of joy. I couldn’t help but think that if that same type of thing was in America, there probably wouldn’t be any singing. From the entire week, I noticed something. Island life is different. And God’s hope is different from the usual as well. Many of these people don’t know Him yet, and are still living in sin or living a destructive lifestyle. But God is still there and He is still moving. And the awesome thing about God is, He meets you where you are. He always is there and ready for anyone to run to Him.
Several of the people that worked at the soup kitchen were formerly homeless and attendees of it. But they met God, became part of the church, and were lifted out of their homelessness, as well as hopelessness. There were so many amazing testimonies. I saw God present and moving everywhere I went on this trip, and I hope you’re as excited to hear about it as I am to tell it.
Stay tuned for my Part 2 post about my Dominican Republic trip, and thank you so much for stopping by!