Last summer I experienced one of the most life changing moments I have ever experienced in my life. Let’s start off by saying that I have grown up in the church, ever since I was born. Being raised in the church I always knew about the power of God, but I had never experienced it at a level that really blew me away. Well, this all changed last summer. My youth group at the Belton Church of Christ went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, to work with a non-profit organization called Manna. Now I had been on mission trips before, since I was in eighth grade I have experienced three Mexico mission trips. We slaved away in blood boiling 110 degree heat down in central Mexico, sweating bullets while pouring thousands upon thousands of heaping barrels of concrete so the people could have floors for their shabby homes. People would cry tears of joy, on both sides. The Mexicans would cry tears of pure joy out of thankfulness for the work we were doing, and we would cry because we looked at everything they had and were filled with so much appreciation for what we have been given. However, through all that I had never been floored by the amazing power of my God, until the Dominican Republic trip.
The day we flew out of Houston, Texas was the most hectic day of my short life. We made the long three hour drive to the Houston airport and when we got there, at 3 in the morning, we got to take a nice and long nap. That is, until our flight at 7. We boarded our flight and made the 2 two hour trip to our layover in the gorgeous town of Miami, after a three hour wait we boarded our flight to the Dominican Republic. As we took off it was the first time I had ever gotten a window seat and looking out the window at the fluffy clouds a thousand feet below me was like looking at giant blobs of whipped cream covering the sky. The week we spent in the measly town of Bobita was a long, difficult, sweaty, blessed, and overall amazing week. The place was absolutely stunning, it was almost as if I had gotten onto my computer and searched, “gorgeous rainforests” and walked right into one of the pictures. The palm trees were 50 feet high; trees lined the roads like a tunnel covered with all kinds of colorful fruits I had never seen or even heard of. The roads were another thing that I was definitely not expecting when we left. Have you ever had a really bad cold, so bad that you couldn’t even attempt to breathe through your nose it was so clogged; that was how the roads were. Two lane roads somehow managed to fit four cars abreast, with motorcycles in-between. That was another thing, it seemed like if you live there and don’t own a motorcycle then you’re a nobody. Everyone rode motorcycles. Families would own a family motorcycle, and yes, they did squeeze several people on one motorcycle, the most people I saw were five at one time. People would carry everything you can thing of on the back of their motorcycle, one person even went so far as to use one hand to steer and the other hand to balance a massive six by six foot slab of plywood.
Now all this was amazing to witness but I still hadn’t gotten to the point of the trip that was so life changing. Throughout the week we did a lot of little service projects, we fed people at the city dump, we painted a school, we put on a local VBS, but the most touching of all our service projects was the trip to the hospital. The night before the trip, we went back to camp and loaded all of our suitcases and backpack with little care packages we had prepared for the adults and children in the hospital. When we got to the hospital we went around the wards and gave care packages to the patient and then prayed over them. I saw some horrific things in that hospital, things I wish I could forget, fire scarred faces, missing limbs, brutal motorcycle accidents, and all numbers of different ailments and diseases which left patients, experiencing third world care miserably scarred for the rest of their lives. One patient I visited was suffering from recurring heart attacks; me and my friend that came on the trip with us went over to him and talked to him about his condition, I speak decent conversational Spanish and was able to fuddle my way through the conversation. After we had given him his care package we offered to pray over him and he agreed. My friend, Stephen, asked if he could pray so I offered to attempt to interpret for him, which if you know me was a little odd in the first place because I am not too confident in my Spanish speaking ability. Well my friend began praying and in the middle he must have forgotten that my Spanish wasn’t great because he began to say some highly obscure words, words that I am positive I have never known in my life. Somehow, and I know that it was through the power of God, I interpreted the prayer perfectly. Words were flowing from me like rain and I knew they were right, words I had never known were coming from my mouth and afterwards I knew that I had just witnessed a miracle. When I returned from my trip I had a change of heart, I decided to live my life differently and that is where my desire to become a youth minister derived from.
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