Members of the cross country and track team have been serving alongside Manna Global Ministries for the past week, caring for communities in the Dominican Republic. For more insight into the trip, please check out the reflections below.
"As I currently type this it is 10:34am on New Years day. Today is also Day 5 since we’ve been in the Dominican Republic, and I don’t even think I can give whoever is reading this the experience I’ve had since my arrival through words. You would physically have to be here yourself to see what God has been doing for the community here in the DR. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here and we still have 4 days and 3 nights left; I’m just very excited for the things God has in store for not only myself, but for my team, and also Manna.
We took a hike yesterday on New Years Eve and when we reached the top of the mountain, it made me think about Jesus. In the Bible it talks about Jesus separating himself from everyone and everything to go pray and when he would do that, he would often go to the mountains where there is peace, and have alone time with God. Being here I find it easy to go out and find peace, and I also find it easier to find alone time with God. Meanwhile when I’m at home, I feel as if I’m always so busy I have to schedule a time just for myself to eat.
On Sunday we had community day, which is where the Dominicans here in Bolbita open up their homes for us, and treat us to a home cooked meal, and we get to learn all about them and their culture. I pray that the smile on Ms. Carmen’s face will never go away! She just lit up the room using a very special gift that God has gifted her with, which I saw was JOY through all things (the good and the bad). Ms. Carmen is so thankful for Manna, and what its done for her and her family, but especially her kids. Even through the language barrier we could still feel each and every word that came out of her mouth, and that gave us pure joy. Man oh man, just witnessing people be joyous and happy from little things (in the words of Jacob) makes you realize that money can’t buy happiness."
"The past four days in the Dominican Republic have been some of the most eye-opening days of my life. This being my first mission trip, I could not even begin to imagine what I would experience. One thing that has stuck out to me is the beautiful landscape. Never in my life have I seen such harmony in God’s creation, with the rolling hills and uninterrupted mountains that span as far as the eye can see. It’s beauty and depth truly can’t be captured by pictures and I feel so blessed and humbled to be able to experience it.
Another thing that sticks out to me is the people who live here. Even though these people have less than the vast majority of people in the States, many of them are happier and more thankful than people I know from back home. Something very special is happening here in the community and I feel blessed to be able to participate alongside Manna in order to facilitate service and relationship in the community. I have come to realize that although our group specifically doesnt' feel like we're making a massive impact, and we may never be back to this place, what we are participating in through Manna is something that has made and will make an everlasting impact in the lives of these people. It is one of the best examples of the kingdom of God that I have personally seen in my life, and it gives me hope."