Am I Doing Enough?
AS A CHRISTIAN, I STRUGGLE WITH THE QUESTION DAILY. OVER THE PAST YEAR, I HAD THE UNSETTLING FEELING THAT GOD WAS WANTING MORE FROM ME. I WASN’T QUITE SURE WHAT THAT WAS UNTIL SPEAKING WITH MY CLOSE FRIEND, SARAH.
SARAH WORKS FOR THE 25 PROJECT, AND SHE TOLD ME ABOUT AN UPCOMING MISSION TRIP TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. AT THAT MOMENT I KNEW WITH ABSOLUTE CLARITY THAT GOD WANTED ME TO BE A PART OF THIS TEAM.
God had opened a door, and I stepped through it. I was familiar with the 25 Project, but soon realized I knew so little of what they actually do. My first thoughts: “Ok, cool. I’ll go down and help set up a little Bible school. Maybe love on a few babies. Share the story of Jesus. Simple.” My perspective of the impact the 25 Project has on people’s lives was way off target.
First of all, the Dominican is absolutely beautiful, white sands, clear, cool water, friendly people. Beyond the beautiful scenery, however, are villages harboring the lives of people who are hurting, vulnerable, and desperate for a Savior. We arrived in one of these villages the first day of our trip. It’s hard to put the feelings I experienced into words. As our van pulled up, hundreds of kids began to encircle us. They were ecstatic.
I watched in surprise as children screamed out the names of some of our team members. Unlike me, they had all been here before, yet I was shocked the kids remembered. I later learned that many of my team members sponsored these very children, and they had waited a whole year to see them again. Tears formed in my eyes as I watched them reunite. A tiny hand slipped into mine, and I knew at that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
We walked into the new ministry center the 25 Project had recently built. It was a beautiful, spacious building. The children obviously loved being there. It was right in the heart of the two villages they serve. I sat and listened to sweet voices worshipping and fed many hungry bellies. Soon after, we began our prayer walk through the village. Honestly, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness came over me. How will we ever change this? What could we possibly do that would make a difference?
Hope of Eternity
My eyes were drawn to the ground strewn with evidence of extreme poverty. Sarah interrupted my thoughts by saying, “Lookup. Look at their beautiful faces.” What an amazing perspective. And I did just that. We continued on, meeting with families in the village. My team knew many by name and exchanged hugs with them all.
We began to pray with each, and the reason behind all the 25 Project does was brought to the forefront again. Sarah reminded each family through prayer that this life on Earth was temporary and there is a home that awaits them in eternity. We were making a difference. We were investing in the only true thing that matters. Their eternity. The experiences of that first day set the tone for the rest of the week. I was there to love. To show God’s love and to share God’s love.
Over the course of the next few days, we were able to meet with the children in small groups. This allowed for more intimate Bible study and discussion. The kids had specific questions about the Bible and their salvation. Guiding the children through these difficult questions strengthened the bonds and friendships that we were forming. Each child in my group now holds a special place in my heart, and I pray for them daily.
I had an immediate connection with one particular boy that I met. I can’t explain why, but he latched onto me as soon as he saw me and constantly stayed by my side. Later, I found out that he was not fully sponsored. I began to ask questions about sponsorship with him in mind. In learned quickly this was not one of those TV sponsorships. You know the kind. Send us your money and feel good about yourself. No, not this.
This was a sponsorship that would have a direct impact on his life. And I was in. The money I give will provide his family every month with food to eat, as well as supplies for him to attend school. I can’t explain the reassuring feeling that came over me knowing he would now be better taken care of because of my small donation. I was even able to meet his family and pray with them. This, by far, was the highlight of my trip.
Be Strong and Courageous
Before I knew it, it was time to return home. Leaving is difficult. Guilt washed over me as I prepared to say goodbye to all those tiny, innocent faces. I would return home to my comfortable lifestyle. They would stay behind with so little.
I looked out of the back of the van with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. I thought of the verse of the week that we had recited with the kids over and over. Joshua 1:9. “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Please take that to heart little ones. And I’ll see you next year.