Hannah- July 22, 2014- First UMC Lakeland

To be totally honest with you, I was very overwhelmed with making the decision to be apart of this international mission trip with my youth group. I was scared to even leave my country. I also had never been on an airplane, which wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be. Once I experienced my first day in the Dominican Republic, I was automatically ecstatic that I tagged along with my friends.

The first day we arrived at the school we were working on, I was afraid to speak to the kids because I knew a little Spanish, but I wasn’t sure I could speak it well. It turned out that I knew a lot more Spanish than I thought I did. My youth group kept coming up to me asking how to ask a kid something in Spanish. I was glad I could help my friends.

Every location we went to, made me realize how little the citizens in the Dominican Republic have. But it also made me realize that the amount of things they did own didn’t affect their happiness in their lives. Sarah told us in our morning devotions that we shouldn’t look at the poverty, but look at what they do have.

The people in the DR express so much more love than we do in the United States. When we attended church on Sunday I was kissed, hugged, and I shook many hands of people that I had never met before in my life. It was amazing. I pray that one day we could express more love at home.

Once we met the children in the neighborhood close to the school, I instantly fell in love with them. I was so happy to be able to converse with the kids and play with them. If you could only see their faces light up when they saw our bus heading in their direction. It literally made my day to see them. I wish I could visit these incredible children a lot more often.

This experience has really changed my life. From the work being done, to the games played with the kids, every part was just as important as the other. We were asked in our night devotions why it takes an international mission trip to make us realize what we have. My answer to that is, that we aren’t as aware or social as the Dominicans. I am guilty of being unsocial just as the next person. My goal when I get back home is to put down the electronics and have a conversation with someone, or play a game with a kid. I hope I can stay committed to this goal and I’m praying for the children and others in the Dominican Republic. Thank you God for helping me realize these things on this wonderful trip.

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