I know, I know. I've been MIA around here for a while.
I've been with my husband and 2 oldest kids on a family mission trip with our church.
Where in the world did we go?
Well, not Ethiopia this time, although portions of this trip reminded us of our beloved Ethiopia and we did need our passports to travel and could NOT drink the water there.
It was a shorter plane ride, though, but to a land of great beauty:
But also great poverty:
The Dominican Republic!
(Right next to Haiti if you're geographically challenged like I am.)
This was the first ever family mission trip for our church. Thirty-eight of us went, with exactly half, nineteen, of those being kids ranging in age from 4 years old to 17 years old. It was a week-long trip. There was a bit of pressure for it to be a success so it could become an annual thing, with possibly even more than 1 trip next summer for families in our church to serve.
Nobody knew exactly what to expect. We just knew we wanted to serve and love those in need and we wanted to do it right alongside our kids.
And we did!
It was a great success, with the lady who ran the organization we served even commenting that she was worried we wouldn't get any work done with all the kids in our group, but boy was she surprised, "Your kids know how to WORK!" she exclaimed at the end of the week.
We built desks and bookcases for a school that serves children too poor to otherwise attend school and delivered them, we built church pews, we conducted 2 medical clinics, we put on VBS two days for 2 different local churches (our team split up with half at each site), we babysat children so their parents could attend a marriage seminar, we delivered food to needy families, we ate with local families sharing our testimonies with them, we delivered supplies to an orphanage and spent about 4 hours loving on and playing with the kids there.
It was a busy, busy trip with so many stories I'll have to spread them out over a few blog posts.
But, I can say, I'm glad we went and I'm thankful to attend a church that believes in sending families on mission trips, kids and all!
Seeing our American kids serving those Dominican kids was a beautiful thing!
And seeing the times when the cultural barriers and language barriers and socioeconomic differences melted away and the kids just played together was priceless!