Reaffirming dreams

Mission trip to Dominican Republic reaffirms dream to help others across globe

Summer Frank, Guest Writer

Summer Frank (front in blue) on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. (Courtesy of Summer Frank)

I was lucky enough to get to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with the Inn over spring break. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life. I had initially heard about it from a couple friends who I went with to a college group every Monday night called Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action. They talked about their experiences and how it had changed their lives and it made me want to go the following year. 

I have also always wanted to do missionary work in the past, so it was a great stepping stone to get my feet wet and see if it was really for me or not. Since I was little, I have always wanted to go to Africa and work with special needs kids, and the big prayer I had going into this trip was that I would either see that I still wanted to pursue that post grad or pivot and find a new dream. 

I went into the trip not knowing many people and only had a few acquaintances. Even sitting at the airport with everyone, I was anxious I would not get to know anyone on the trip. 

But once I boarded the plane and touched down in the Dominican Republic, I already was feeling more comfortable with the group I was with, and I was so excited to get to know them better. It was really fun to get to hear the stories of the people on the trip and to see why they had chosen to go in the first place. The answers ranged across the board, but an overwhelming number of people said that it was because they wanted to serve others, make friends and deepen their relationships with God. 

I think that was an answered prayer for almost everyone on the trip, and we all came out of it having 43 new friends. Some of my favorite moments on the trip were when we were in the villages.  One day I was in the villages where I had been a part of cultural immersion and that was when you would go into one of the families houses from the village and we got to learn a recipe they would eat on a daily basis as well as get to talk to them and see what life was like. 

It was amazing to get to experience another culture as well as get to make new friends with people across the world. On one of the days it had been pretty packed in the house we were at so I had been playing with some of the kids that lived there and some of their neighbors. One of the kids’ moms came over and I tried to piece together some Spanish and it was hard but she asked if she could braid my hair so she started corn rowing it.

There was also a Spanish worship song that was playing on a radio nearby. She started to sing along to it and the coolest part is that I knew the song in English  as she was singing in Spanish. I think that was the first time I felt a true connection with someone while I was there. 

Another moment that was really impactful was the last day of the trip, we went to a waterfall with a bunch of the kids from the villages and I was sitting at the top of the waterfall looking out at the pools below me. I noticed a kid was sitting by himself so I went and sat next to him and we pieced together some Spanish and it was really cool to be able to understand him better because by the end of the trip I could ask what he liked to do and what his favorite foods were. It was really sweet to get to know him better and be in such a beautiful place at the same time! 

These are only some of the many experiences I had while on the trip but they are memories I will carry around with me for a lifetime. Overall it was an amazing experience and I was so blessed to have been able to go.