Life Outside the Contemporary American “Bubble”

As we complete our summer mission trips to the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, we reflect with gratitude over all that God did through the hands of 18 mission teams and 258 participants from Maryland to Texas.
Grateful for over 200 children and adults who professed faith in Christ. Grateful for health and safety. Grateful for growth in ministries, growth in our staff leadership and in the lives of our sponsored children. Grateful for mission teams, for their willingness to endure a very hot summer without complaints, for their energy and dedication and their willingness to flex when plans went awry. Their personal reflections affirmed the work of God’s Spirit in lives and families.

The Hung family has returned multiple times to serve since 2014. Sophia shared, “At a young age I was able to recognize and see God working. When I was about 10 or 11, I made the decision to live for God and to get baptized during the mission trip. This year a special moment for me was at the boys’ orphanage when I complimented Ezekiel on his grades and sports ability. He replied, “Gracias a Dios,” (Thanks to God). I thought about what he said the rest of the day because I was shocked to see how strong his faith in God was at such a young age. The faith that people hold in the Dominican Republic has made me realize the works of God and how powerful it can really be.”

From FBC Port Lavaca, Pastor Whittle wrote, “It was a trip that lit the fires of missions for our group. The staff in the DR were full of energy and we loved that they got their ‘hands dirty’ with us.”
One doctor reported his experience, as he worked in a medical clinic, performing ultrasound exams. He shared with some of the children the miracle of creation, allowing them to see a baby sucking his thumb in the mother’s womb!
Our team witnessed 54 children invite Jesus into their hearts and have ordered a Bible for each one.
At the Higuey boys’ home, one group reported, “Our children did an amazing job of connecting with the boys, playing baseball and various games. The day ended with pizza, s’mores and rain!”  Another team treated the boys with a special trip to a local park, where both team members and the boys played, swam and enjoyed a cookout together. It was definitely a highlight for these boys.
The IBQ church always inspires—their prayer time together on Wednesday night, their unreserved, heart-felt singing, their dedication to come to church–walking, riding a Moped with several children perched on the back or in a sputtering public car.  One team shared a marriage conference with the IBQ couples and also a devotional time with the Moms while the children participated in VBS. Another group prepared a first-ever event for the families of IBQ church, complete with games, face-painting, competitions, hot dogs and an illustrated Bible lesson that impacted both young and old.
Collectively, participants shared, ”We saw the world as it really is in God’s sight. Fears of differentness, barriers of language, skin color and poverty melted away. Our service became a worship experience—building, delivering beds and food to needy families, singing, playing and dancing with children, teaching Bible stories or English lessons and joining our Dominican family in joyful praise.”
As a “newbie,” Clark McCormick, 15 years old, added her perspective, “I experienced life outside of the contemporary American bubble. Even though we can’t speak the same language, we have the same God. They are so passionate about their faith. Serving others pushed me out of my comfort zone, and has made me less afraid to reach out to others.”