Short term mission, long term learning

I accompanied my two sons on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this month.

missionfiledWe worked among the poorest of the poor – migrant workers from Haiti who came to the DR to harvest sugar cane. The job pays about $4 a day for an adult male. Many of these men have worked this job their whole life.

Since this was a religious mission, the trip also served as a devotional retreat. My boys and I felt our faith deepen as a result of daily devotional sermons at sunrise.

Perhaps the most educational aspect of this trip was simply for these middle class American boys to see for the first time just how blessed we are in this country. This is how much of the rest of the world lives and on seeing this, we all appreciate the little things in life that much more.

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Much of the work we did was construction. The migrant workers have established little villages among the cane fields. Their houses are very small. Large families live in one room homes made of tin and branches. There is no indoor plumbing and clean water is no where to be found. Sewage often runs in ditches through the streets.

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The mission we worked with is building 24 brand new homes across from an existing village. The plan is to move everyone from the old village to the new homes. The homes may seem small by our standards but are a huge improvement over current conditions.

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After we returned, we wanted to learn more about few things we saw while there. The last day we were there, we encountered (at a safe distance) a HUGE Hispaniolan Giant Tarantula. I mean this was about as big as my HEAD! To spare the squeamish, I won’t post a picture here but it is on Wikipedia. If I had seen this on the first day, I would have not slept the entire week.

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