Sunday, August 9, 2015

Team #5- Austin Ridge

Austin Ridge returned again and this time they brought a group of 36- We had junior high students as well as a team of families serving together during this week.  We had a blast with them and it was so fun to see familiar faces. So many great conversations took place over the week and we were truly blessed by this team.  Manny, Jenny and James led the charge once again, and we LOVED having them back.  I can't tell you how much it blesses us when we have friends (who feel like family) return to minister alongside us.

This week for our blog, we have Hannah sharing about her experience while visiting the DR.  THANK YOU, Hannah for coming to serve and love on this community.  We loved having you here.
Hannah with Mercedes

My name is Hannah Terry and I am going to be a senior at Lake Travis High School next year. I absolutely love serving others and using the gifts that God has blessed me with to bless others. When I originally asked if I could go on a mission trip, my parents said no because they didn't think we had any time to do it over the summer with being busy with my job, and other summer camps. When I kept asking about it, they decided that they would look into it, which is when we found out about the trip to the Dominican Republic. My brother had gone on the same mission trip several years before it and had come home with great memories and a greater view of the world, so I was thrilled when my dad told me that we were going, along with my younger brother Daniel!

During our week in the DR, I served on the Vacation Bible School team. Makarios had been running a VBS program all summer and our group was there for the final week of it. These kids turned out to be some of the sweetest, happiest, and most energetic kids I have ever met! Before the trip, I had taken 3 years of Spanish at my high school, but I was not anywhere near being conversational. To my surprise, I was able to communicate with the kids with what little I knew. The first two days I was helping in the Bible lesson of the VBS and it was so cool to see the kids react to Benjamin (Dominican staff member of Makarios who oversaw the VBS all summer), and what he was saying about the Gospel. On the third day of VBS we had pre-school and kindergarten, and I helped with games. Those kids had so much energy! They were so much fun to play with and hear their giggles and laughter as we playing the spanish version of "Simon Says" and "Red light/Green light" -- which were chosen in order to reinforce that day's lesson about listening and obedience.

Over the course of the summer, Makarios has a new group come to serve every week, so the kids were used to seeing new Americans every week come to their VBS/soccer and walk through their villages. To me, having a new group of foreigners walk through your community to see how you live seemed a little intrusive, but Makarios has established such strong relationships with the people that live there that they are welcoming to us. As soon as the kids saw us hop out of the guaguas (vans), they immediately tried to grab each of us for their own, like we were their best friend for the afternoon. It was a joy for me to get to play with the kids and hear their sweet laughs and see them smile wider than I could ever imagine just because we were there to play with them!

Although we went a week with out some of our comforts like having to take cold showers (which by the way were wonderful after a long hot day), electricity that went in and out, no air conditioning, rooster crows to wake you up at dawn, and trying to position yourself under the small fans so you could cool off before bed... I would not trade my week there for anything! I learned that the true value is not in the material possessions and comforts that you have, but rather in the way that you live your life without them. We could have sulked about not having AC or having to wash dishes for 40 people with no dishwasher, but when we were working together to get it done, it didn't seem like work. Not to mention, we actually got used to not having AC and it was hilarious to watch everyone's face as we walked through the doors of the airport and the AC hit them. IT WAS COLD!

I am so blessed to have been able to go on this trip! This past week was full of laughter of sweet children whose language I barely spoke, whose smiles could light up the whole world, whose energy could power New York, and whose love could change the world. I encourage you to go look into what Makarios is doing for the wonderful people of the Dominican Republic. They have many opportunities to sponsor the amazing kids in their school, or support the staff who are there to serve the Lord and the kids at the Makarios school.

Just another beautiful sunset at the Mak House

Thank you, Hannah for sharing your story!  

If you want to join in on what God is doing in the DR through Makarios, we are always looking for others who want to partner with us.  You can click here to begin that partnership.  GRACIAS! credits go to Hannah Terry and Jamie Hatcher.  :-)

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