A Different Kind of Christmas

This was my first mission trip ever, and so I was excited about the opportunity. Karen had been on two previous DR trips and was also enthusiastic. Initially, I felt a bit apprehensive; really wanting to make sure that it was God’s will for us. So we prayed about it and wrote out support letters, particularly asking others to pray for us. In less than two weeks we were absolutely blown away by the positive response we received in the form of letters, phone calls and financial support. This would be the first of many answered prayers.

Ten members from First Free flew into the city of Santo Domingo on Nov 2nd, followed by a four-hour drive up to Constanza. Constanza is a beautiful mountainous city, but the standard of living for most residents is very low. Most of the houses are tiny, many of which are just poorly constructed shacks.

One prayer our group had was that God would allow us to do something with great impact for the community. And so the highlight of our week was being able to help build a new house for a woman who lived in a mountain community. The woman’s name was Santa, and her previous shack home was damaged in a tropical storm, finally collapsing three weeks before our arrival – leaving her homeless with no place to sleep. We all felt that God’s hand was guiding and blessing us with cooperative weather, and several community members jumped right in to help. From teardown to completion, our construction team took only two days!

Our group also worked very hard painting interior bedrooms in the homes inside the Kids Alive Ark; the house mothers commented how grateful they were about the new colors on their bedroom walls. All the families were so loving and appreciative.

Of course, there were so many other positive stories during our week. We got to spend time with many children, playing bingo or soccer, assisting them in English language class, and doing art projects. We had never seen kids glow and smile so much after receiving framed picture of themselves. All the kids absolutely love to give, and get, hugs!

It was so amazing to see how God is expanding the Kids Alive ministry in Constanza, and just how involved the missionaries have become in the greater community. We thank and praise God for the opportunity to serve.