A team of twelve adults traveled this past July 2019 from Iglesia Bautista Villas de Loíza (Puerto Rico) to facilitate VBS sessions in the Dominican Republic and make a special visit to the Lepra community. Sister Olga Ramos Marcano was the team leader. They knew they would find limited resources in the Batey, given that they had made a previous short-term mission trip in 2018. What they did not expect to find was the mirror that God had lifted in front of them, needing to address their own frustrations in response to scarcity.
The team was met with smiles, joy and generosity of human fellowship and gratitude for their presence.
Here are excerpts of the team’s reflections once they were back in Puerto Rico:
“The fact that we were able to make this trip back to the Dominican Republic and to give and share what we could with our Dominican brothers and sisters and to see how grateful they were was very satisfying. Some of us were there last year, so we were happy to be able to see the new Temple almost completed and being used. It was difficult for us to see the poor living conditions and the lack of basic needs in some communities. It shocked us somewhat to see someone almost get into a fight (in the Batey) for a hair bow.
We learned to value more what God has given us and to do more to serve others; to be less selfish and make better use of all our resources. We must be more attentive to the needs of others. We must listen to God’s calling and obey in order to better serve….We would all strive to make better use of our resources, money and time. We would like to work with other sectors in the communities we visit, i.e., work with the parents of the children, especially the mothers…
We feel more committed to the missionary work that is being done world-wide. Some of us will be taking classes helping us in that direction. We will get more involved with projects in our church and community,….here on the island as well as in other countries. We will work at getting others from our community of faith to get involved so that next year more will want to participate in short-term missions, whether joining us personally or helping financially.
This short–term mission has made us more sensitive to the needs of others, including the people around us…. Our relationship with others cannot be the same. We will strive to be better human being; treat those around us with love, respect, better understanding, patience and be more tolerant.”