Ashley Beck spent her summer as a STCH Ministries International summer intern in the Dominican Republic. She and four others served together from the base located on the grounds of Iglesia Bautista Quisqueyana (IBQ). The young people worked shoulder to shoulder with teams made up of volunteers from 15 different churches and STCH Ministries staff. The teams engaged in medical, construction, and teaching projects across the island nation.
This year, construction projects were the priority. Four new houses were built over a period of three months. Each new home was for a child sponsored through Samuel’s Fund – a sponsorship program that enables orphans and at-risk children to receive an education, participate in spiritual training, and have other needs met. Ashley blogged about her experiences in the Dominican Republic. Through those journal entries, she reveals some of God’s construction projects inside her life – demolishing incorrect thought processes and revealing His plan for her future.
She candidly communicates about the openness of the Dominican nationals to share their lives and culture to bring one more person to a saving faith in Christ. “I have a new place in my heart for Dominicans,” she wrote, “They love and serve unlike any people I’ve ever met.” She witnessed an unfailing commitment to working hard at every task no matter how menial, by workers of every nationality.
Over the course of her tenure, Ashley identified three major lessons she learned:
- God works His alterations in each of us on His timetable,
- Our personal hopes are eclipsed by those God has for us,
- God is bigger than all of our shortcomings.
Ashley credits God with changing her focus from herself to other people. In the beginning, she was alert to what she would get out of her time overseas. What she realized was God works in each volunteer in every group, while at the same time impacting both believers and non-believers in deeply individual ways. For instance, the girl who came on the family mission trip reluctantly is impacted by the joy she identifies on the faces of children in the orphanage as they welcome friends to church services. She has been impacted by “people who live and breathe every day to make sure one more person will join them in the Kingdom (of God).”
The focus of what she hoped for was remodeled as well. While working on a demolition project, she realized she had been inattentive to the purpose God had for the project. “In life,” she muses, “we can become so distracted by what we hope for that we miss the lessons or better gifts from God.”
Overall, Ashely has come to the conclusion each of us needs to accept: God is greater than our failures. As she grappled with her weaknesses, she noticed the hole she had dug herself into, and the temptation was strong to stop striving. God is faithful to speak to our flaws and He sent friends who encouraged her. “They picked my life apart and tried to find Jesus,” she explains, “but He was hidden underneath my selfish desires.”
She is determined now to continue to fill in those frailties with what she calls “the cement of Jesus – made with a mixture of Bible truths and water from the people in your life.” Ashley has committed to begin “digging into the Word rather than into my hole.” And she invites us to join her.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid (PK) has helped prepare Ashley to understand and accept God’s call on her life to a career in international missions. She has begun her senior year of high school with a clear focus and is submitting college applications to schools where she can pursue biblical studies with a minor in missions.