I have personally never been on a Mission Trip in my entire life until this summer. I decided to go on my first one with my church's Youth Group. There were twenty-two people planning to go on the trip. The team practiced every Sunday for three hours during the school since February and then practiced 6 hours every day once we got out of school. All these practices were full of dances and skits that we needed to learn. Though all these practices were draining, they were all worth it once we went to the Dominican Republic.
In my opinion, our Mission Trip in the Dominican Republic was successful. We went to DR for 10 day, and during the 10 days, we went to 14 different churches. At these churches, we would run a VBS, which essentially is an event where kids can come to learn about the gospel. We would integrate dances, skits, and crafts to keep the kids engaged.
Anytime we went into one of the churches we went to, the children would look at us like strangers, wondering why we were there, but by the end of our VBSs, they would call us amigo or amiga, meaning "friend". This really warmed my heart, since we were only with these kids for at most 2 hours, but watching them grow happier throughout the VBS was truly an amazing sight. These churches had no AC, 100s of kids and almost no room to walk around, and you end up pouring with sweat, but this discomfort was all worth it when we saw how happy the kids would get through our time with them
My favorite part of all the VBS was the crafts. We made paper crowns with the kids. But obviously these crowns did not come from thin air, the team had to cut out 2000 sheets of paper, which may not sound like a lot, but it is. So during craft time, we would give the kids their crown and they would color it, and then we would tape the crowns and put it on their heads. I will admit will didn't really understand what these crowns meant to the kids, because in the first couple VBS, I was just trying to give them their crowns as quickly as possible since the kids are so impatient. But as I made more of these crowns, I realized that these crowns transformed the kids. I was making them feel special for a change in their lives. Anytime I would crown them, their faces would have the biggest smile and it would make my heart ache, because even something so small like a paper crown satisfied the kids and made them feel happy.
One big thing I learned from this mission trip was that I should be more grateful for all the things I have. I am really glad I went on this trip because I gained wisdom, perspective, and a family, a big family. The team went to DR as a group of great friends and returned as a family. I am grateful for every one of the members on the twenty-two member team. We pushed each other to our limits and we were there for each other when we needed someone the most. I hope that my story will inspire you all to one day go on a mission trip yourself, because there are people out in our world who need you.