My Life-Changing Trip

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My Life-Changing Trip

Rebecca and I at her home

Rebecca and I at her home

Rebecca and I at her home

Rebecca and I at her home

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When thinking about a trip to a tropical destination, people commonly imagine palm trees, beautiful scenery, gorgeous beaches, and plenty of rich, luxurious buildings to admire. At least that is what I pictured when my family asked if I wanted to go to the Dominican Republic for a week with my brother, Nathan Jones. I was so excited to be able to leave the country, especially with my brother, my Uncle Matt, my Aunt Jess, and my two cousins, Noah and Moriah. We went to the Dominican Republic with the company, Score International. Their company and team go to the Dominican Republic annually to reach male teenagers who love to play baseball and teach them about Jesus Christ.

 I jumped at the opportunity to travel. I had never even been on an airplane! As the trip began to approach, I grew more and more anxious. I had never gone far without my parents, and now I am leaving the country without them. When the time finally came, my excitement was greater than my nerves.

 The plane ride, and frankly everything about the airport, did not exceed my expectations. Essentially, waiting was all my family and I did those first hours of the expedition. After hours of waiting, we finally arrived at our destination. When we landed, everything was very foreign to me. Everyone was dark-skinned and spoke a different language that I knew little of. As we continued walking, we spotted a group of people patiently awaiting our arrival. When I stepped outside of the sizable airport, I was hit with an immediate wave of feeling as though I am no longer in my home country. Palm trees, heat, bizarre vehicles, and oddly designed buildings were all new to me. As we traveled in a big van to our hotel, the sights and scenery became more and more different. I was told that we were traveling into a poverty-stricken part of the Dominican Republic. At the time, I had no idea how different their homes would be from my own. Later on in the trip, we traveled to villages where half of the houses were falling apart. 

On the trip, the Score International team split up into men and women. The men set up baseball camps in popular cities in hopes of reaching boys of all ages and tell them about Jesus. The women, which is the group I was in, went to different places such as The Lily House, Casa de Luz, and a home for orphaned girls.  

The Lily House is a safe place for women to live, raise their children, and make a living. In the Dominican Republic, it is challenging for women to find a safe place to work and live, so The Lily House helps them with that. When we went there, we visited with the women and bought their merchandise. 

Casa de Luz is a home for children of all ages who have disabilities ranging from a minor mental disability to being incapable of doing anything on their own. In the Dominican Republic, a child with a disability is greatly looked down upon. In most cases, the child’s parents are unable to take care of them because of the medical needs the child may possess. Casa de Luz translates to, “House of Light” in English. It is a house of light because all of the people who work there have found these kids in terrible situations, and have given them a great life in a safe home. Going there was an eye-opening experience for me. I interacted with them and spoke to them about common topics such as animals, food, and colors. It made me appreciate the things that I have, and how much I take my life for granted. 

The home for orphaned girls was my favorite part. All the girls who lived there were so sweet, friendly, and fun to be with. They sang, colored, and played with us. I was able to communicate with them over small things, but the language barrier was challenging. Even though we could not speak to each other in the ways that we wanted to, it was still a fun time. 

Through this experience I learned grace, kindness, and gratitude. I now go annually with Score International, and I will be returning this November! Before the trip, I looked at it as a vacation and a week off of school. Now, I look at it as one of the best experiences of my life.

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