A spirit of unity and service characterized the first installment of what is being deemed “Missionary Summer” in the Dominican Republic.
From 21-28 May 2022, 12 Work & Witness volunteers from North Arkansas in the United States came together with four young leaders from the host country to bless the city of Bonao.
“This has been one of the best trips I have had the opportunity to be on,” said Pastor Beck from North Arkansas. “We all enjoyed spending time serving in the same group: Dominicans and North Americans.”
With a heart for the nations, the men and women broke down linguistic and cultural barriers in order to finish the primary project for the week: repairing and painting the SMILE OF HOPE ministry home of The Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.
“I had never served alongside people who didn’t speak the same language as me, let alone the thought [that] I could enjoy non-verbal and participatory communication so much,” said Derick Rivera, a volunteer from the Dominican Republic. “Truly language is not a barrier; on the contrary, now I feel challenged to study and practice English more so that I can communicate better and be more useful in an upcoming trip like this.”
During the week, the team made a positive impact on the community through activities like Vacation Bible School, evangelism, and home visits to teenagers with difficult health conditions. The missions team donated food, helped remodel houses, and even participated in the children’s graduation from the VBS.
“We have been shocked to see people from another country taking their time to share and serve with us,” said a community member in Bonao. “We feel loved and special. It is our hope that this type of event can be repeated in our community.”
The trip sparked an interest in missions for one team member.
“This is the first missions activity I have been a part of,” said Rivera. “Missions has always caught my attention and, after having served in such a cross-cultural activity, now even more so.”
This story was originally published by Transform the Globe, a missionary blog by Scott Armstrong.