July 29, 2011By: PR Comm
Hola me llamo Mathijs y yo estoy en la Republica Dominicana!
For the past six weeks, I have been in the Dominican Republic with a team of five others. I am allowed to take part in this amazing experience through The Salvation Army’s ‘Service Corps’ program, which sends 5 missionary teams around the world to volunteer in their respective countries. I have been to many parts of the “D.R.” since arriving in June. I have eaten delicious foods, seen beautiful mountains and beaches, and made many friends. This experience has also been an adventure; driving on winding dirt roads with the car doors open, past motorists who don’t have speed limits has made me feel more like Indiana Jones than I ever want to be.
What has really amazed me about the Dominican Republic is the willingness of the locals to talk to complete strangers. Early on in the summer, I was taken aback by the friendliness of the people, compared to the coldness I have felt from some Americans. Thanks to this openness I have seen, I have been able to work with many people. We have worked with kids, painted a school/church, worked with more kids, volunteered at a summer camp and…um did I mention kids? Mainly what my team and I have been doing is leading “Joy Hours” which are times when we lead kids in songs and games and teach a story from the Bible. In my short time being here, I have worked with over 500 children who get very excited when the team comes to visit. Additionally, I have visited hospitals to comfort the sick and elderly, and I’ve gotten to deliver food to people who aren’t able to get meals on their own.
It truly is more of a blessing to serve than to be served. Though my reason for coming to the Dominican was to serve others, I often find myself feeling the most blessed. There have been moments where I have wished to be back at home, curled up in a blanket with a Wii controller tied around my wrist, but seeing a child’s face light up as we sing a song, or having conversations with strangers on the street has given me such a joy about serving in a foreign country that I can’t wait to do it again next year.
The friendships I have made in addition to the beauty of the country has made this experience life changing. I can’t wait to return to school and band with a fresh perspective on life.
Until then, Go bears.