Something very special happened at the end of our Dominican Republic mission trip.
Our 7 (almost 8) year old daughter was baptized in the Caribbean Sea by our church pastor on the last day of our trip (which was our rest and relaxation day on the beach). It was not something we planned on doing before going on the trip, but our girl has been accepting and understanding more about Jesus and the truths of our faith over the past year or two and we have had a some conversations about when she might be ready to be baptized and she kept saying maybe around the time she turned 8. This mission trip was a great thing to help my daughter practice the part of following God that is hard for all of us, but definitely kids, that is selflessly serving God even when it's hard or uncomfortable for us.
We had one morning early on in the trip where my daughter was not really wanting to work on the construction job our team was doing, it was hot (and it WAS and No A/C where we were working in an open air church!) and she wanted to do something else, anything else. But when the whining started I began praying and I gave her some space. I think God did a work on her heart during that time, because after a little while she came up to me ready and eager to work with a completely different attitude. I was really impressed to see that she that she had the maturity to put aside the self-centeredness that young children often have.
When our pastor announced on that last morning that another lady from our trip was getting baptized, my daughter decided she was ready too. We talked to our pastor by the pool, he said he doesn't typically do baptism counseling poolside, but when God leads, you go with it! He agreed she was ready.
Here she is on the beach shortly before the baptism (10 days shy of her 8th birthday):
We are so proud of her for taking this next step in her faith and can't wait to see what God is going to do with her life!