by Michele Smith
How can one summarize in a few words how life changing this trip “is”. I say “is” because I am continuing to process the experience and gaining more understanding of who I am and who I was created to be. The person I was before I arrived in the DR was a little hesitant to go outside of my comfort zone. The person I am now after returning from this trip is someone who knows she was created for big things (as small as they may seem at times) and to be a world changer for Christ.
How can I expect any different from my life, for Christ was a world changer too. He is my example, and if He were there in the Batey’s, I know he would have touched and held every child with His amazing love. He would have clothed and fed those with such great need. He would have brought physical healing to those afflicted. He would have taken time to play with the children. He would have provided shelter for those in need of it. He would have changed their world forever through His love. You see, the Bible states in Matthew 25:40, (New International Version) “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
And that is what we did, we held Medical clinics (where I was privileged to serve those in need by sorting and handing out clothing along with praying for the needs of those coming for medical care) that provided medical care and medicine through the care of our volunteer nurses, doctors, dentist, etc. We had a team that stayed on our beloved Batey 50 and built homes as part of our 50 for 50 project. My husband and I and daughter were honored to be able to donate a home this year with my daughter working on the construction team building these homes (see the photo of her and I on the trip). You can see the photo comparison I have provided of the old homes and the new ones being built. We had an Evangelistic Team led by Pastor Lubin and Pastor Doug, to share our world changer, Jesus Christ, with those they reached out to in the Batays along with praying for healing and handing out food packages to each home. Another Team went to the Joe Hartman School where children from local Batays are able to receive an education through the generous donations of others. Our education team also worked with children to teach them about the love of Christ. We also had a few working on the water filter project which provides clean – life-saving drinking water to people in the Bateys.
The two things that really touched me during this trip was 1) When I was asked by John Powers to pray for people at the medical clinic. I felt so inadequate and knew I was no Pastor Lubin. But what I did know is that if I really believe in the Jesus I profess, I knew He would be the one to touch those I prayed for. What an awesome experience to be stretched in my faith and to pray blessings and healing over the precious people in the Bateys and Barrios. These precious ones live in such extreme poverty and pain, but yet are filled with such hope. When they find Christ, they are overflowing with His love because they do not have other things as we do in the States to fill their hearts and emptiness with. The men always removed their hats as I prayed for them – such a small thing, but touched me so much. I remember picking up one18 month old little girl. She was crying and so distraught standing next to her dad as the loud and hectic environment scared her. I held her in my arms and sang to her until she fell asleep in my arms. Wow! 2) The day the home we dedicated in Batey 50 was an experience I will never forget. We dedicated I believe four or five homes that evening with one of them being ours. We were able to share how God blessed us through the process of giving along with meeting the beautiful family who would be living in this home. The mother grabbed me and held me and kissed me and cried and we both cried together as we embraced each other (see photo). How can you describe the feeling of knowing the money you donated was going 100% to give these hurting dear ones a decent home to live in. My heart longs to stay connected with this family. I have left the DR knowing there is so much more I want to do unto the least of these and thanking God for the leadership of John and Aimee Powers who have provided us all with an opportunity to change our world forever.