In every person’s life there are events that will change him forever. I had the privilege of experiencing one of these incredible events over the summer of my junior year. My week-long mission trip and travel experience to the Dominican Republic was an experience that changed the way I look at the aspects of my life forever. Our mission team was part of a bigger project that had been going on for several years with the goal of building a church and school in a poor community in the town of Villa Esfuerza.
During the week that I worked, my mission team was working on the final steps of putting a fourth floor on the cement school. We were charged with mixing the cement that would be used to lay the floor of the story, as well as sanding and painting the cement walls of the fourth floor. This was by no means an easy task. There was no cement mixer at hand, nor were there any power tools of any kind. All of the cement was mixed by shovel and, in the later stages of the project, hauled up to the fourth floor using a pulley system. All of the sanding was done with pumice blocks and hard work, all in the heat of the Dominican summer.
This trip taught me invaluable lessons that I will never forget. On one of the days during the trip, we had the opportunity to visit some locals. On that day I learned a lot about how to live. The Dominicans live with much less than we do in America, but what really stood out to me was how much happier they were than most of the Americans that I know. I also learned a lot about community while there. The Dominican people value fellowship above all else. This means that the Dominicans know the inhabitants of their towns so much that they trust their children to roam and play freely. Finally, after spending so much time on the school and seeing how it touched so many people, I realized how much the gift of time could change lives. Time is truly the greatest gift one can give; once you give it you can never get it back.
My mission trip to the Dominican Republic was something that taught me lessons and gave me experience; it gave me lasting gifts that no one will be able to take away from me. My mission trip was a positive and constructive experience that has changed me forever. Everyone has events that define him; I’m just lucky I experienced mine so soon.
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