Going on a Mission Trip is a great way to serve those in need and live Jesus! And, we also learn a lot along the way.
Read below about some of the experiences our Severn Runners have had as they were living out the call to serve.
Make a Difference in a Child’s Life…
The biggest memory for me is from our first day at IBCC is when Pastor Leonardo took us through the neighborhood that surrounds the church. There was little boy about 3 years old carrying a ripped up grocery bag wearing nothing but soiled underwear. He looked so sad and it broke my heart. It still breaks my heart to think about it today. That is when I started to realize that God put me on this trip for a reason, and that reason was to make a difference in a child’s life in the Dominican Republic. To help feed, clothe, school, and allow a child to learn about Jesus through IBCC and Compassion International. I couldn’t wait to come home to talk to husband about my experience in the Dominican Republic and my desire to sponsor a child. So next year when I go back, I hope to meet Hilary, the child my husband and I are sponsoring.
~Adrienne, Dominican Republic Trip, April 2018
Kingdom Relationships are Rooted in Love…
Our friends at Comunidad Genesis reminded me that we are called, as believers, to serve the needs of those around us. As basic as this sounds, so many churches in America have the resources, but are not using them to serve the least of these. This trip definitely challenged my faith. It was encouraging to see how much Comunidad Genesis was doing for their community, but was also convicting to see how big of an impact we could have if only more people were passionate about the Gospel. At each expression we went to, the people we served were so grateful for Pastor Alberto and the church. It was beautiful to see people of the Kingdom come together and serve Christ by meeting the practical needs of the community and the people’s response. I was inspired by the amount of love that this church has. No matter the person or what they’ve been through, the church loved them. It was so powerful to see the love of Christ shine through the staff and people of this church. I learned that kingdom relationships are truly rooted in love. This is easy to say but so much harder to actively live out. In order to fulfill God’s mission on earth, we must build relationships and these relationships must be rooted in unconditional love. I think it is important for people to know the impact that they can make through the love of Christ. You may not change the entire world but you can change one person’s entire world.
~Jenny, Costa Rica Trip, August 2018
Trust God for Everything…
My idea of missions used to be that you go into a foreign country, do some work, and then leave, hoping you made an impact. But I learned on the Dominican Republic mission trip that missions is so much more than that. The poverty there was heartbreaking. But their trust in God was astonishing. That’s one of the things I will remember the most: how the people we met trusted God for everything…and how the church completely trusted him for all aspects of their ministry. They don’t wait for a board or a committee to say yes. They wait for God to say yes, and then they act on it. Even if they have no money, they do what God says, sometimes before they have a way to do it. For example, at the church where we were helping, they had a really hard week, and they were almost scammed out of some money. They were devastated, but the pastor was sure that God would still provide the means for them to build what he told them to build. It struck me that even though it was such a bad week for them, he was still so confident, celebrating the fact that God would provide a way. And God did provide a way for the church to build, and we were able to be a part of it. The people in the churches of the Dominican Republic are passionate about seeing a need in the community and helping with it for as long as they can, or until God tells them otherwise. It was humbling to see that although they were so poor, they were so rich in sharing the love of Jesus to their community. God used the Dominican Republic mission trip to show me how integral missions is supposed to work…it’s not just popping in and helping when you feel like it—it’s all about sharing the love of Jesus to the people around me EVERY DAY. It’s creating relationships with people and then helping those people where and when they need help. It’s not about preaching to them, it’s about meeting their needs in the name of Jesus with no “payback” in mind. Through the mission trip, God taught me that I also have an everyday mission. It’s to create relationships with people, to help people when I see a need, and to tell people, “I love you because Jesus loves you. He thinks you’re important and so do I.”
~Rebekah, Dominican Republic Trip, April 2018
It’s All About Relationships…
I had never heard of a mission trip for integral missions. I didn't know what to expect or how God would use me or what he would teach me. All I know is when he said go, I replied “Yes”. That's key: we need to be willing as fellow followers of Christ to be willing to say yes when he asks us to do something even if it’s out of our comfort zone. What I learned and what God has showed me, and what I shared with the group one night is that what I thought I knew and what I thought I was doing was in fact wrong. It's hard to admit that, but what I mean is that it's not about just serving to serve, it's not about just showing up on Sunday to worship, it's just not about checking this box or that box or reading your Bible and praying. Sure these things are good things and not taking anything away from those, but what God showed me is that it's all about relationships. It's getting to know people, loving people and not having any preconceived notions or opinions about people. It’s just living out Jesus. It's getting to know people on a deep level, being transparent and vulnerable and following our church motto of “love well, live Jesus and believe big”. It’s putting aside yourself and getting to know who Jesus really is and what He came on this Earth for and how he didn't come for the righteous he came for the broken. I learned a new way to love and a new way to build relationships and just live Jesus. To step out of my comfort zone and allow Jesus to move me in such a way to build upon what I learned and to really meet the needs of the people around me in my family, our church, and our community. But to do it exudes love and nothing more. Just true genuine love for everyone, and be open, be honest and to really love. As we say, it’s really all about relationships.
~Ray, Dominican Republic Trip, April 2018
Constantly Work to Grow the Kingdom…
The trip was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into it and was nervous and bit concerned that I may be the odd person out because I didn’t really know anyone on the trip. I tend to go internal when I am in groups of people for long lengths of time. I am still learning how to walk this path and know that He is here for me. I stumble and am far from perfect ... so how was I going to contribute to the trip with this amazing group of people? I was SO wrong with everything I thought, and they let me know it every single day. They really opened my eyes to ME and to this life I am living. I thought of mission trips as visits to another country to go and “help” a group who “needed” the help of a church from the U.S. When we arrived at IBCC, I was immediately put in check. They didn’t “need” our help but they surely welcomed it. We worked side-by-side making improvements to their church that would benefit their community. I sat and listened to Pastor Leonardo as he talked about his plans to bring 900 jobs to their community. I saw how they were constantly working to grow the Kingdom every day, not just Sundays. Then going to ICC and seeing and hearing about everything they are doing in Santo Domingo … feeding the homeless, housing addicts, housing elderly homeless, running a school because they want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to learn, no matter what your place in life. It was there, listening to Pastor Rafael that I felt my entire world shift on its axis. Everything I had thought about helping people and making a difference radically shifted. I have been doing it all wrong and God put me on this trip, so I could see that.
~Kristi, Dominican Republic Trip, April 2018