I am a major internal processor. I am always thinking, revisiting conversations, reliving moments in my head, and contemplating the things I just witnessed or the experiences I just lived. I struggled back in my corporate days in HR because I couldn’t stop being so empathetic, I have a hard time disconnecting my reality from the reality of others and I would drive home crying most days because I carried the burden of the hardships my team was facing outside of work. Throwing myself into a mission trip could have been like launching myself off of a cliff but something in me knew that the Lord was calling me to go. I wish I could tell you all of the ways that God lined up this trip but this blog post would turn into a book and you might take a snooze and miss the good parts. All I know is this: at the beginning of this year I wrote down the personal goal of serving and going on a mission trip, I also would have never dreamed that during the middle of wedding season I would have five days to spare at the drop of a hat. I also never dreamed that an Instagram message to former Bachelorette Des would result in us rooming together abroad or that a simple connection would lead to booking my trip a mere 24 hours after introductions. I prayed and prayed for safe travels, timely flights and he delivered, and I even left my wallet in an unmarked cab in the Dominican Republic and the driver returned it the following day… things like this don’t just “happen” when you are serving abroad. I am so crazy confident in the fact that His hand was in on our trip that I could burst from my seams.
I can already tell I’m going to need to write a few more posts on our trip because I am long winded and have so much to share so consider this part I of a series about life in the Dominican Republic and how I am forever changed. The truth about the trip was that I went in with zero expectations. I didn’t even have time to think about it in the thick of wedding season. I packed my bag on Sunday, left my house at 4AM on Monday, and showed up. That’s the funny thing, God doesn’t call us to be perfectly prepared or ready, he just wants people who will show up. Well show up I did along with 5 others (and the fearless 75 year old CEO, Ed, and his beautiful wife, Joyce!) We were all strangers, ready to embark on a mission, and we all dove in head first like we knew our “summer camp” would only last a few days so let’s make it count. Desiree, Kayla, Kathleen, Lauren, BC and I built this kinship over our time in the Dominican that can’t be explained and all I know is I feel like a little girl at bible camp promising to be pen pals with all of my cabin mates and going home feeling like no one could possibly understand what I just experienced or how incredible it was.
The truth was, the trip wasn’t about us. Not in the least. It was about being present with the people we encountered, it was learning, and being impacted so that we can impact others. In an upcoming post I will share more about Healing Waters and The Her Initiative because I have never felt a stronger pull to support, work with, and make an impact before. Who am I? This privileged girl who has a house and a car and running water, who am I to show up and think that I will make a difference? What will people think? Do they think this is a publicity stunt? Do they see our tears as we pull away from the villages? Do they know how our hearts are feeling? The thing is, all of my overthinking only held me back from fully experiencing what was in front of me. Mother Teresa said: If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. The realization that hit me was this: who am I to not go? Who am I to not try and make a difference? Who am I to sit back and let this opportunity pass me by? And who am I to not believe that one human can make an impact? The truth is, if we all felt empowered to make a difference, we could do so much more. I can’t wait to try and explain the things we did, the people we met, and the lives we witnessed. Guys, we need to lead this change, we need to be the example for future generations, we just need to show up sometimes and I pray that this series of posts will help enlighten you of a need in the world that we can help fill. Let’s fill the void, let’s make a difference, let’s impact.
My goal right now is to get 10 friends to pledge $25/month! Less than one dollar a day can provide clean water for 25 kids a month! That’s it! Think about giving up one visit to Starbucks a week or cooking one more meal at home! It’s so simple! If you are interested in pledging, I would love to personally send you a gift and give you more information! I’ve taken the plunge, will you?