In the May of 2010, my graduating class of 27 and I participated in a missions trip
to the Dominican Republic. During the ten days that we stayed there, we served the
people by visiting with many schools and villages, teaching them the love of God
through worship songs in Spanish, Bible stories, testimonies, and by simply loving
them. Although I have been on two other missions trips in the past, this one changed
my life radically- especially after meeting one special little girl who showed me that joy
is not based on possessions, status, or circumstances. This little girl had pure joy
that came from the depths of her heart.
Her name was
when we got off the bus at a tiny, white church building in a large open field, where we
would be doing construction work, painting, and fixing anything that needed to be fixed.
She had a sweet yet serious smile that I was instantly drawn to- she was beautiful. I
started talking to her in Spanish and asking her about her family, her home, and her
at the church. She loved to be near me and constantly wanted to hold my hand. I knew
that I was totally in love with this little girl. She had captured my heart in a matter of a
The next few days gave us opportunities to see all of the children again in different
atmospheres. We were able to go to the place where they lived called Los Riales,
translated “The Rails”. We walked down the small dirt road that led to a body of filthy
water that the Dominicans of Los Riales used as bathing water and even drinking
water. I had never stopped to think about how blessed I am to have an abundance of
clean water in
rest of the children became so evident to us. As we walked hand in hand,
who wore no shoes, would bend down to brush the rocks and bits of glass away from
my feet so that I would not have to step on them with my shoes. Moreover, when I
would kneel or sit down on a dirty floor, immediately after I stood up,
be brushing the dirt off my clothes. One night when I was with her at the church, we
were all dancing in the stifling Dominican heat, and as soon as
was hot, she ran over to get my water bottle for me, opened it, and handed it to me so
that I could have a drink. She also took one of her hair ties out of her neatly braided
hair and put my hair up for me.
These are just a few of the stories that I could tell about
incredible little girl, and even though the trip ended months ago, I will never forget her.
Today, we are able to write to each other and I am sponsoring her- though it feels like
nothing I could do for her could ever compare to how much she has done for me. I
believe that one of the best decisions anyone could make is to go on a missions trip
to an impoverished country. You will not return the same- I am living proof of it.
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