On every mission trip, there will be bumps on the road—100% GUARANTEED! Canceled, or rescheduled flights, miscommunication, a power outage and no A/C, noisy music, a mattress that is too hard, a child with a queasy stomach or fudge at the boy’s home that won’t firm up because of the heat. Teachers scheduled to teach canceled at the last minute because of illness. Gospel presentations were drowned out by trucks with loudspeakers blaring their wares. But GUARANTEED—on every mission trip God shows up in unique ways. We are challenged to yield our desires and plans to the sovereign God we serve. Families are blessed, pastors and leaders are strengthened, life-long connections are formed, children find their “forever-sponsor-family” and others are born into “God’s-forever-family” through faith in Christ.
Pastors, leaders and wives from the eastern part of the Dominican Republic met for a day-long conference. Wives, who did not know each other, enjoyed fellowship and encouragement from God’s Word. They lingered afterward to set up a WhatsApp group and make plans for a future fellowship event. Pastors connected with other leaders, perhaps known in the past, but disconnected by the pressures of ministry. Through their interactions, the Holy Spirit provided healing sandpaper to smooth the calluses of distance and misunderstanding, and bind hearts in unity and common purpose.
A grandmother brought her daughter and two granddaughters on the trip. She shared what a joy it was to serve together. Not intimidated by culture and language, she saw growth in her granddaughter’s leadership skills.
A courageous mom with three young children eagerly signed up for the trip, returning from the year before. Tearfully, she shared the impact of the trip on her family. “We were surrounded and supported by love every moment.”
God showed up when a pastor invested in a STCH Ministries leader, and changed his perspective on leadership. He showed up in the dedication of an endodontist who courageously treated difficult issues with excellence, while also training Jose Regalado, our Dominican third-year dental student.
One of the most impactful experiences happened on the banquet night. A young Dominican translator, Elias, shared his testimony. He told of the benefits of sponsorship—his education in grade school and now in college, food deliveries from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offerings during times of duress when his dad didn’t have a job, and the time he received his own bed at 10 years of age. Elias’ testimony gave meaning to all of the investment and work that teams do! Some of the team members who delivered the bed to this young man over eight years ago were present.
Yes, there are obstacles, as there are with any worthy endeavor. Ultimately, the efforts invested by mission teams are worthy, because HE IS WORTHY!