A few families from CTK Newton recently used their February vacation week to travel to the Dominican Republic and work with missionaries there. They helped to build a house for a widow that was taking care of her grandchildren with special needs. They also worked with orphans and taught English. It was the first trip that adults took their children to serve with them, and was a great experience for all. Here are some of their impressions from the trip.
Ruth: "We were excited and nervous to take all 4 (ages 8-13) of our kids on a mission trip and God definitely opened the doors to make this trip to the DR possible. The first tangible piece of evidence that He was working was with the price of the flight which started off sounding like it was going to be around $1500/person. I remember getting in the car and saying to Chris that it looked like we weren't going, there was no way we could afford that times 6 unless the tickets ended up being 2/3 of the cost -- well, the next day, we got an email that they were going to be around $500."
"Once there, we couldn't be more impressed with Kids Alive and the missionaries that were called to serve there. There was work for all of us to participate in from manual labor, to playing with kids and teaching English. To work alongside other CTK members was such a gift and definitely bonded our entire family to the group. To see our kids jump right in to whatever was asked was another gift. We didn't know if our younger kids would be a help or liability and to see them laughing and playing with the children at the Ark was a tremendous joy."
"Re-entry has been the hardest part, but one that I think will shape what we do going forward. We have talked numerous times about not if we are going back, but when. We are reassessing how we can budget to get more involved in this ministry to hopefully make a positive impact and foster the relationships we made there in the future. We met one little boy there that had lost him mom (she passed away) and his brother (because of severe autism he was placed in residential care) in the span of 10 days. He and his father shared a hope and joy that is only possible with Him. Both of them impacted every member of our family."
Marie: "During my time in the DR, the kids alone changed my life because just walking around the school the kids would constantly come and hug you even if they had no idea who you were. My time there made me see how incredibly blessed I am. Our group visited different homes in the DR. These visits were very impactful for me because I was able to see how poor the families were and that they were missing common necessities yet they were so happy and many of them had a strong faith in God. These families were so thankful for us just bringing a little bit of food to get them through the week."
"As a fourteen year old in middle school, I want to tell all my friends about my experiences because teenagers are often taking advantage of the things that they have. Most teenagers feel that something is missing in their life and often ask questions like, "what am I meant to do in this world?" This trip helped me to see that one thing we are meant to do is to give things that you don't need to someone who does need them, or even give up things you want for others' needs. I want to do as much work as I can to share the joy of God with anybody who might be doubting or in need."
Andrea: "My time in the DR was a wonderful experience. Getting to know Fred and Kasandra as well as the families involved with The Ark delivered way more back to me than I put into the trip. I expected to come back with a heavy heart but instead came back with my faith in God even stronger. To see how faithful these families are in the midst of such hardship was a blessing to see."