We went to bring change, but this happened instead. real life electricity schoolhouse rock

####

Spring Break in a small rural suburb of Barahona, Dominican Republic. Simple enough. Fifteen adults and 14 high school/middle school students set out from central Texas, bound for a rural community near Barahona in the Dominican Republic, with one mission: change the world. Isn’t that what a mission trip is all about? Changing others? Aren’t mission trips about bringing support, help, our hope, and in our case, the love of Christ? Yes…and no. The story of a mission trip does not end there. That would be too simple. That would be too “clean” and easy.

Our Real Life mission trip to the Dominican Republic was incredible; and yes, cliche as it sounds, a life changing event! This group of 29 individuals, slept on concrete floors, all in one large community room, separating male and female during sleep hours by a strung plastic tarp curtain. All 29 of us, shared two toilets, one “shower”, running water during the hours of 9am-4pm (some days) and electricity that had a funny way of shutting down at 10pm, right when you got into the shower stall to try and rinse down with a bucket of water collected when the water turned on for a few hours earlier that day. These are the same 29 individuals, that if asked, “Would you go back” would simply smile and reply, “How soon can we go back?” What we learned, by the end of our 5 night journey was, our lodging conditions were preparing our hearts for change. God is funny like that. Just when we think we know what we need: hairdryers, make-up, a hot shower, fresh towels, Jack-n-Jill bathrooms, and master bathrooms with large soaker tubs, He has a way of rocking our world. Of shaking us and like snow in a small snow globe, letting us gently fall back down, right where He wants and needs us to be.

During our time in the mission field, we were hugged, more times than I think we can count. We had little hands and fingers holding our hands and pulling at our hearts. We were invited into homes, made up of tossed aside pieces of wood of metal, and filled with more love than one can possible imagine. We talked for hours with men, women and children, without either understanding the other’s language. We held babies, just days or weeks after coming into this world. We brought fresh, clean water into a home. We allowed women and children to no longer “pedal” water along the street. We gave families back 50% of their small salaries, that they spent on clean drinking water. We blew bubbles, while telling a small child that Jesus came and died for her. We entered a public school, and talked with the students about a God who made a promise… and further, that God keeps His promises! We colored, we sang, we danced, we played hot-potato with soccer balls, and baseball in an amazing field, they referred to as “Yankee Stadium.” We laughed. We smiled. We cried. We came with a goal of bringing change to a community. We brought a method of having fresh water. We conducted a mini-Vacation Bible School and talked about God’s love. Did we succeed? Yes, I think we did. I think we did bring about change in a community. A community both in a small, rural suburb of Barahona, Dominican Republic as well as one in central Texas, USA. Mission trips are about bringing change to the world, and not only a change to a remote foreign community. It is the change that happens in all of the lives that participate in, or are touched by the mission trip. If you wish to learn more about a Real Life mission trip and how you can be part of this change, please visit https://myreallife.org/missions/