As I sit here on the first flight back home, I’m reflecting on the last week in the Dominican Republic, serving on a mission trip with the Paradigm Foundation.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one part of this trip to call my ‘favorite’ so, I’ll talk about two things that stick out most...
The first being the day we got to work on the home build site. We mixed and poured concrete to help create the floors of the home and built the roof rafters. It was hard work. We were covered in sweat, sunscreen and bug spray, but I would do it all over again. While I know the we were blessing the woman who was receiving this home, I was also blessed helping with the build. As a Christian, it is our job to lead others to Christ, and to give back to those in need.
While we were building, we also took time to play with the kids. We drew with chalk, made salvation bead necklaces, played hopscotch, and lots more. We probably had around 30 children in the community out playing and hanging out with us and two little girls named Gracie and Danielle became extra special to me. We created a bond and I was truly heartbroken leaving not knowing if I will ever see them again.
The second thing that sticks out is the home dedication. We must have had 25+ people in this tiny new home. We crammed in to sing worship songs, pray and give the new homeowner the keys to her new home. I had to fight back tears as I listened to the women sing ‘How Great is Our God’ in Spanish. It was beautiful, and all I could think about was the fact that these people hardly had anything and they were singing praise and worship songs as loud as they could to God.
A mission trip is a really cool way to experience closeness to God if you're willing to open your eyes, ears, and heart. He spoke to us on this trip through the people we served. I felt as if God was reminding me what's important in life. It's not what job we do, the next outfit we'll shop for, how big our house is, or what kind of car we drive. What is important is relationships.
We made relationships with people that didn't hardly speak any English. We laughed as we tried to converse sometimes. They practiced patience with us as we tried to tell them about Jesus. They really listened to us, and we all enjoyed the time we had together. It was amazing to see how happy the children were playing hopscotch with us, and not glued to a device scrolling social media. They were truly happy to be there in the moment with us laughing, playing, singing songs, and building a home.
My challenge for you this week is to make plans with a group of friends! Go on a walk, to the beach, or plan a dinner party! Whatever you do, I promise you will be so happy you took the time to put down your phone to spend time with people that love you!
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.