Lipscomb women's basketball junior guard Kelli Smith reports in on the third day of the team's mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
It was another day of hard work in the intense heat. We started off the morning by cleaning out and squaring off the footers because the rain had caused some of the edges to collapse. Afterwards we made the rebar to put in the footers and unloaded the concrete blocks. We took our break for lunch and rest time, which continues to feel shorter every day, and returned back to the court to mix and pour concrete. That was probably the toughest work we had today.
It consisted of shoveling large piles of gravel and sand into the mixer, wheel barreling and pouring the cement into the footers, and topping it off with the concrete blocks. With aching backs and tired feet, we finally got to head back for showers and dinner.
We ended the day again with Girl Talk at the church, and tonight we talked to them about the ways the world can change the way we view ourselves. No matter Dominican or American, as women, we see celebrities or models and desire to be like them. We often think that having a boyfriend or being wealthy gives us worth. With knowing that many Dominicans, starting at the age of 12 are becoming pregnant, our talk tonight was in hope that we could help guide them to finding value in the beautiful and unique women that God created each of them to be.
Shannon (O’Brien) talked about how God calls us His masterpieces, which means that He, just as artists do with their works, spent time and deeply focused on every single detail of us to get the exact end piece that He wanted. Our prayer is that those girls realize the attention God invests into each of them and that they remember this at times when they may be struggling to find value in themselves. Just as each break/lunch time seems to get shorter, it also seems to get harder and harder to say goodbye to the girls after the night ends. Their love for life and passion for God is contagious and a complete joy to be around.
For me, today was the day that everything really started to have meaning. I began to see why our team was here and what God was doing through us and through the people here. Sleeping on mats under mosquito nets, not having air conditioning, and digging holes in the blazing heat is totally forgotten the second a smiling face comes running to hug you.
There are countless opportunities to see God through these people, and one of those for me today was being asked to go to the house of a family in the neighborhood. The girls took us into a two-bedroom wooden shack, housing their family of 15, and we were immediately greeted with glowing faces bringing us dirty, plastic chairs, insisting that we sit in them. Next, they brought us ice cold drinks. We went out back to play with their new baby bunnies; meanwhile, the mother was making us this corn meal/cereal-like snack to eat. As if they had not yet done enough, next they brought us freshly picked mangos to take back with us. Seeing the joy they have in giving to others, even when it may be all they have, was incredible. While I pray that God is working through us to touch the lives of these Dominicans, I am certain that they have already changed the lives of many of us on this trip.
- Kelli Smith