By: David Armando Garcia
I found out about the “All Hands on Deck” mission trip because a friend from the Dominican Republic invited me. I didn’t expect to go because the flights from Guatemala were too expensive, but I left everything in God’s hands through prayer. It was impressive how God worked to the point of aligning the price of the flight, the vacation schedules of my university (exams, projects), and above all the support of my local church. Even though it was the first time I was traveling alone, I decided to go to the D.R. from June 17 to 26.
Tired and hungry, I was just hoping to get some sleep during the flight. It turned out that in the seat next to me was an older man; he caught my attention because he took out a Bible from his suitcase. As the plane took off, I could see how he was holding his Bible tightly, so I decided to talk to him. He thought I was afraid, so during the conversation he shared Jeremiah 33:3 with me: “Call to me, and I will answer you, and I will teach you great and hidden things that you do not know.” Without a doubt, that word was fulfilled during the mission trip.
I spent time with what I now consider my second family in Bayaguana, D.R. Then we got to the mission where I met many people from Pennsylvania, Kansas, and other Dominicans. At first, I felt a bit vulnerable and frustrated because I didn’t know English; it was impossible for me to have a conversation with the Work and Witness team. However, God had not brought me all this way to give up. Through prayer I asked the Lord to allow me to communicate and work with them in spite of the barriers. We arrived at the Alcarrizos I Church of the Nazarene, where we were divided into teams. I was put with people that I now consider very good friends, and we were able to connect in a wonderful way. Our team mainly did electrical work, where I learned a great deal. Another big challenge for me was teaching the kids. In the end we managed to achieve our goals together. Without a doubt, God brought all kinds of circumstances and difficulties to unite us as a work team, and I now admit that I long to see each one of them again in the future.
I really found the project fulfilling. It was an answer to several prayers that I had been praying for a while, and I am glad to know that we were also a blessing for that church and community. I learned a lot from them; their testimony was a source of inspiration for me and for my local church back home. There are many difficulties in the community where I live, and a lot of children need significant help. Some of them had been a part of our church but ended up moving to other neighborhoods. The financial situation of several families is so low that the children have to work, and others have family problems that limit their ability to come to our services.
Not only was I able to bring what little I know to the project in the Dominican Republic, but I was also able to bring back to my church how much I learned from them. That made me realize that, although small, every local church is just as valuable as others. We are one in Christ, and I believe that every difficult moment can be transformed into one more step to reach more men, women and children. We truly do need “all hands on deck.”