Good Evening, Youth in Mission!!
I got back from my mission trip to Puerto Rico on Friday! I had the best time ever. It was truly a life changing experience from beginning to end. It was filled with fun, laughter, hard work, growth, and God moments.
My group and I had the privilege of working to build a deck and clean the house of a kind woman named María Julia Clemente. She only spoke Spanish so we were able to talk to her and granddaughter through google translate and translators. Send Relief, the group we worked with spoke both languages. They were incredibly nice to us and we got super close with them throughout the week. From building, cleaning, eating, and just chatting together, we made such good memories and friends with them.
One powerful moment in particular, was Wednesday night. It started at María Julia’s house when we got to talk to her grand daughter about Christ, and she shared with us that she was a believer and her two favorite songs were “Way Maker” and “Oceans”. Later that night between dinner and devotions, we stumbled upon a amphitheater that was at the old police athletic academy that we were staying at. We didn’t think anything would be going on inside, but we decided to go in and sure enough there was a church service. Although we couldn’t really understand the words, they had an altar call and sang the two songs “Way Maker” and “Oceans.”
The presence of God filled that room and brought many of us to tears. It was amazing to be able to sing those songs that we got to minister to someone just earlier that afternoon. We all had so much fun and had a great connection with God. It was refreshing to be in His presence. I am so thankful for the help that your donations gave me to be able to have such an amazing opportunity.
Thank you so much for everything!! - Macie
I wanted to send Youth in Mission a huge thank you for sponsoring my Florida STEM trip and for all the prayers. We had such an amazing trip and I met some amazing new friends. I also was able to serve at the Orlando Christian Service Center and was very humbled. On the service day I cleaned portable showers for the homeless so that others could use them too once they were clean. Just seeing how they longed for a shower showed me how blessed I am. They have to figure out where their next meal is coming from while we would just go to Costco and buy something without thinking about it. I was thankful after long days on the trip to have a hot shower to enjoy each night and a nice house to stay in. We could enjoy going to the beach and other fun activities while they could just hope for a clean pair of socks. Serving the local Orlando community showed me to be thankful for what I have and to never take it for granted. I also learned that God can work in wonderful ways not only in my life but in others as well.
During evening devotions at night some girls in our group mentioned they had talked with an old man while they were there. He explained to them that people like to steal stuff from him but that it is not a big deal because they might need it more than him. After this he said that even though he loses his stuff he knows God will provide for his needs each day. When the girls told me this story it really hit home. This impacted me in a way that I did not expect. It reminded me of the verse Matthew 6:26 where it says “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” This is also a great message to remember that “God will always provide.” Even though I just cleaned showers and did some scrapbooking on our service day each thing I did impacted those who were in need in the long run. I am so glad that with your support and prayers I was able to have this experience. From the bottom of my heart thank you. - Chloe ️
I’ve been on cross-culture mission trips before, but this trip has topped every single one of them. The Dominican Republic will forever have a special place in my heart. The people, the food, the scenery, truly shows how beautiful and great our Lord really is.
Sunday, the day after we arrived in Dominican Republic, we went to a church service that was completely in Spanish. Of course, I was overwhelmed because I didn’t know any of the words, but I could feel the Lord moving about in the church. I think the biggest thing I grasped from experiencing that church service was the unrestraint and the wholehearted worship the people had. I want that. I long for that. At my school, sure we have worship, but many of us stand there, cold faces, not singing at all. It felt so good to be able to open my arms and just praise our Heavenly Father. That is one memory I hope to cherish forever.
During our time in the Dominican Republic, we did Spiritual Ministry Time that we devoted each day (9AM-4PM) traveling to villages and ministered to families that were partnered with Mission of Hope and its pastor, Jose. I saw the Lord working in each and every one of the people there. We would ask logistic questions, like how many people lived at the home? Adults? Children? Do you attend a church? Do you have clean water? etc, but most importantly, do you have a relationship with Jesus? Most of them answered yes and so we would ask how we could pray for them. I remember one time we asked this woman if she had access to a Bible and what her favorite Bible verse was. She said, Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” I’d never heard that verse before and so a smile came to my face when we read it aloud and I heard it for the first time. The Lord really is so good and He has a way of speaking through anything. I was in awe of the amount of benevolence these families had. They had nothing, yet they offered their time to listen to us and welcome us into their homes. I went in to the trip not knowing but a few phrases in Spanish, but the Lord still spoke through me, and the people understood. The Dominican Republic is mostly Spanish but a small portion of those who traveled into the Dom Rep from Haiti were Creole (French). I jumped up and down when I heard that because that meant I could finally speak some French I'd learned. There was one woman who we met and she was Haitian. She talked about the amount of violence and hate she gets in the Dom Rep because she is Haitian and traveled over here. Unfortunately, Haiti and the Dominican do not have a great relationship, so most Haitians get persecuted. My heart yearned for the woman when she talked about the grief and pain she has faced and how she has developed a lot of anxiety from it. I told her that I also struggled with anxiety and that the Lord is there for us to cast our anxieties onto Him. I got to pray for her in French and it felt SO good. I could feel the Lord in that place and I hoped that she knew that we loved her and more importantly that the Lord did. The power of prayer is one thing I hope to never take for granted.
Youth in Mission, I cannot express it enough, how grateful I am for your mission scholarship. This trip changed my life and gave me hope again. Recently, I’ve been struggling to find joy in everyday life, but this trip is exactly what my soul needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless, Olivia Hill