Dominican Reflections (3)

This will be my third and final post regarding my mission trip to the Dominican Republic for a while. It isn’t because I haven’t learned anything else from this trip. Rather, it is now time to put into action the things I have learned and apply them to my life in the here and now. It has been almost a month since we left for the D.R. and I suspect that, for some of us, things have already gone back to the way things were. I rarely hear people talk about our trip though I am sure they think about it a lot. That is what seems to happen when we get back from trips like this. When we are there, it is a “spiritual high” till we come home and return to our cushiony lifestyles of the rich and famous. This is where the struggle happens the most and I fear that for many out there, they are experiencing the same situation.

In some ways, I wish I had a video camera. I wonder if it would make any difference if I had video footage of what we saw while we were there. I wonder if the faces of those kids or the houses or the lifestyle that they are obligated to live each and everyday would be seen differently through the lens of a video camera. I wonder if I would care a little more. I wonder if I would pray for them even more. I wonder if I would cry and show compassion a little more if I could just see it up close and personal again. If I could just feel the dust and the sweat dripping down my face and smell the smells I smelled while I was there; if I could just hoist one more child up on my shoulders and carry them back to the school like a horse would carry its owner; if I could just see the smiles and the tears on the faces of the people we met; I just wonder if my life would be changed a little more. I am not sure if I can answer that though.

The truth is, I don’t want it all to slip away like a balloon from a gust of wind. I would hope that my ability to continually grasp on tight to what I have experienced would be good enough. I am saddened though. I am sad that in some ways, I have lost passion. I consider my self blessed to live here in the U.S. I don’t and hope to think that I don’t take this life for granted. I could have been born somewhere else. A different family could have adopted me across the world. I could have experienced a completely different life than I have now. Or, I could have been born in a third-world country and experience what they experience each and everyday with no hope of improvement and opportunity to better my future family or myself.

I am writing this third and final post regarding my trip to the D.R. not to be a downer or pessimistic. That is not my purpose. I am writing this to share that the experiences we experience when we go on a mission trip or something of this nature can be gone in a minute if we do not hold on tight and grasp the lesions we have learned and the experiences we have experienced. If we do not take the time to engage in the application of a trip like this, we might as well not have even gone on the trip in the first place. I don’t want to end up feeling as though the trip I went on was a waste of time. I don’t’ think it was. I think we were meant to go there and love others with God’s help. I believe that we were given an opportunity to bring a small piece of the Kingdom of God to the Dominican people. I believe, through God’s leading, we really left a thumbprint on Makarios and the children who attend the school there. I don’t want to lose that. I hope that you will pray for this goal and me. I hope that no matter where God has me, that I will never forget the lessons I have learned through this experience and the people who allowed us to be apart of their culture and their families. As long as I continue to grasp what I have learned, I know I am in a good place. With that, I hope to share with others so that they too can grasp a hold of a dream, experience, or even like mine that will change their world and challenge them to live a little different. Thanks for taking the time to read this. God bless.

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