[Today’s post comes from Emily Amburn]
A mission trip consists of different components, each important in fulfilling God’s work. The manual labor, which today included mixing concrete, hauling it in wheelbarrows, and passing it in buckets down an assembly line, deemed “The Bucket Brigade”. While this part is extremely important, and the most visible thing we leave behind as Burke United Methodist Church, I feel the most important part of a mission trip is the building of relationships. Through working with the construction workers, learning about the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana and its mission with the United Methodist missionary Sarah and the local pastor Sairy, and playing with the kids at the site, each plays a special part in building and maintaining relationships with the Dominican people. I think it’s imperative to build these relationships not only to spread God’s word, but also to educate ourselves and share what we’ve learned about the people.
Today, our devotional was about differences between people and the town of Babel. But I believe it is more important to focus on the similarities between people, not the differences. I think if people do this more often, they would realize people are much more similar than they are different. The kids in the Dominican Republic, while they may be of different ethnicity, nationality, or wealth status, are almost identical in their actions to kids in the states.
Today, I played baseball. Hundreds of miles from Virginia, and I played baseball with three little boys. As a baseball enthusiast and a Washington Nationals fan, I was smitten. We started by just throwing a ball back and forth. Then, a little boy started gathering rocks and placing them on the ground as our bases. I quickly realized what he was doing. We played two against two, and it was cool to hear the same baseball lingo you hear in the states. We had no bat or baseball—instead our arms and a bouncy ball sufficed. When the two teammates were both on base, the one in front had to steal the next base. It was similar to “pickle”. We played until I had to leave. My teammate came to me and said we’d finish tomorrow.
It was one of those moments that I’ll take back with me and always cherish. Yes, the kids and I were different. You can list all the differences and makes these characteristics significant. But today we shared a moment: we were just four kids playing a sport we all love.