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We are Connection!

Bob & Mary Carter went on their first missions trip last week.   While in Jamaica they showed some Connection love and took this pic!   On their first missions experience Bob summed it up, ” Hard Work, great coffee, extending our hands in service to Christ – Priceless!”

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Enter Mission: Allen Lilly shares

                                                                       

We sent a mission’s team recently to the Dominican Republic and we couldn’t think of a better way to capture the experience then by asking one of the team to share his personal experience with you.    Our guest blogger is Allen Lilly.

Allen shares in his own words…

So here we are a week and a half later after the mission’s trip.  I am on the mend from the illness that I had problems with down there, and my shoulders are feeling a lot better now (muscles were sore from overworking). On this trip we had a specific goal to refinish a library and build shelves.  I am pleased to say that we as a team had not only accomplished this goal but we surpassed it.

Being that this was only my second missions trip it is hard not to compare it to the first but being that the first was in a Spanish culture and the Dominican Republic is as well, it’s next to impossible.  The cities (buildings and shops) and culture are almost identical, as well as the family core values.  It is not strange for second and third generations to live with each other.  The income is roughly the same (both are poverty-stricken countries), and their crime and gang both reflect the condition of the state (higher than normal).

Pastor Ron Brooks also told me while on the trip that of all the mission trips he has been on that this has been the roughest.  From my limited experiences I have to agree.  The day after we landed in the D.R. we were plagued with illnesses.  We were very intentional not to drink the water while we were down there, but that doesn’t mean the food we ate was not prepped with it.  That was my only guess as to what caused us all to get sick.

The weather was 90 degrees every day and humid.  Often it would rain down there and there would not be a dark cloud in the sky.  The rain at the most lasted for about a half an hour.  When we arrived and left the plane the heat almost took the breath out of me.  I was comfortable back in my 40 degree weather, and to go from one extreme to another was not the best feeling in the world.  It’s amazing though what we can adapt to quickly, by the end of the trip the heat wasn’t even an issue.

The resort that we stayed in was fairly decent, the air conditioning was nice to come home to after working a long hot day.  There were two problems with our room.  The first was that we had ants and roaches in there.  I would wake up each morning with red ant bites on my arms neck and face, and the second issue which was the biggest was that we had no hot water in our room!  The plumbing for hot water didn’t even work.  I was roommates with Bill Abbot and we would squeal like girls every time we would have to shower.  The first day we used the shower Bill broke off the faucet in the bath tub.  After 5 days of no hot showers I finally went to another person’s room.  The resort was nice, they had a pool, we were beach side and could swim, plus whatever you wanted to eat and drink and as much as you wanted it. 

 

We would do morning devotionals by the ocean each day and I would often go out there for prayer and meditation as well.  There was something about being by that ocean that made it so much easier to go and talk to God.  In my opinion it’s because when you’re out there away from your cell phones and computers and regular life — everything is stripped down to the bare minimum.  For me that says something about how we all complicate things more than they are.  There is wisdom to be had in simplification 🙂

 The school is about less than half the size classrooms in America and they seat roughly 30 children.  The size of the library is the same as their classrooms and will also act as their science and computer room.  I had to chuckle a little bit about the ingenuity of the people here for what looks to be a make shift Bunsen burner/grill they welded some legs to a car rim and fashioned a pilot light with gas attachment….none of which would ever be considered safe or in code back in the states.  Most of the walls were only bare mortar.  We had to prime and paint everything….ceilings and walls.  The Spanish culture has always fascinated me in that they always use bright colors and often things that don’t match (at least to me).  So their color scheme was a bit odd, but that what they wanted and we are there to oblige them ha ha ha.

 

Tuesday night we got to have service with them.  Now let me be the first to say that we have some very talented people on our worship team, but some of the singers there would have given us a run for our money!  The spirit of God was there and it was loud and proud!  Even with a bit of the language barrier there you can tell these things.  The service was powerful and Gary Josephson was speaking and did a wonderful job.  I befriended Matt and Carey Love’s assistant there Hannlexx.  He is a man of God and of the same age as me.  He showed me pictures of his wedding and of his wife, we talked every day while we were down there and hung out every chance we could.  He loved my motorcycle and I showed him one of my rifles I built back here and he had so many questions.  It was more than a pleasant bonding experience to have with him.

As the time progressed, more of us became sick, and if there was one thing that happened on this trip for me was that I had to depend on God more and more each day to give me the strength and will to keep going.  I often prayed by myself each day just to get help to make it through the day just so that I could pray again the same thing the next day.  The last day of work out of 12 people only 8 of us were able to work.  Yet we still got three times more work down than what was anticipated.  If that doesn’t show you that God’s hand was on our shoulders during our time down there I may have to ask for you to get your eyes checked!

We went to Christopher and Diego Columbus’s fort/city the day before we left to come back to America.  The inside of the fort is now a city that is more for tourists, but still there are a lot of museums down there that were just amazing as well as the Columbus home we visited.  One Church we went down to had armed guards down there because there were saints buried there.  Also there was a gift from Hitler to this Catholic Church that was there as well and I found it very interesting.  It was art that basically was a bunch of crosses, but upon further inspection the crosses were made from swastikas.  Hitler was very generous to the churches back then for support of his campaigns.  I know that brings up mixed emotions with everyone, but the fact is it happened and was a part of the church’s history.  I took so many pictures of everything in this city I was just so awestruck by the history that was there.  I found out so many interesting things down there like the average Spaniard’s size back then was only 4.5ft tall!  This was because of all the cooking utensils and goblets and plates were made of brass which is a poison and stunts our growth.  The average lifespan was also 35-40 years old back then.  That’s less than half of what we have today!

I could go on further but I am going to wrap this up.  This was a hard trip, but rewarding, I learned so much about myself and God and how He works through people.  We all at one point suffered while we were down there, but yet we accomplished so much in so little time.  That’s one thing I love about mission trips.  You have to be outside your comfort zone while you’re down there, and that’s where you can truly grow.  I urge everyone to try just one time in their life to be a missionary.  You get to see different cultures, praise God with your brothers and sisters in different countries, and also do some work that you may not do on your average day back here in the States (I work on computers for a living).  I look forward to the next trip and thank you dear reader for allowing me to share some of my journey with you.

Missions Trip 2008 Team – Home Safe & Sound!

Connection Church Missions Team

Connection Church Missions Team